I want men who are not afraid to love.  I want the women and other men in their lives to stop telling them and showing them and beating them over the head with the fact that love is women’s work, and that men are not allowed to do it, or only allowed to do it conqueror-fashion or protector-fashion.

I want men who are not afraid genuinely to hurt.  I want men to be allowed to see hurt not as weakness, but as humanity – a genuine part of the experience that makes us us, and valid in its own right.  It is acceptable, and sometimes even desirable, to be hurt by what we experience, because it teaches us and it changes us and it gives us insight.  It is a good thing to share that hurt with the people we love, because it gives them the opportunity to do something about that hurt – to show their mettle, to mend if they choose, to do more harm if they choose, and either way to teach us something we need to know about what they will do when we show them that we’re bleeding.  I want men to be taught that hurt is acceptable to feel and to show – not just as martyrs or as superheroes, but as people being affected by experience, who are living out their lives and being affected by other people.

I want men who can be courted.  I want them not to be bludgeoned with the idea that if they are not the aggressor, they are prey.  I want them to understand and believe that their worth comes not from their ability to pursue, but from their character as people.  I want them not to hear from their sisters, their mothers, their daughters, their lovers, their wives that they are weak, pussywhipped, or sissies, or less than if they are the pursued instead of the pursuer.

I want men who are allowed to be beautiful.  I want the women and men around them to celebrate their beauty with them, and give them the tools and praise they need to feel their beauty glitter in the light like stars on velvet.  Men have a right to be beautiful, just as women do, and I want men to know that.  I want men in my life who know that.

I want men who are not afraid of comfort.  Who unlace their boots and weep.  Who aren’t afraid to get fucked.  Who aren’t horrified by their own inner child.  Who say shitty things when they need to be said.  Who apologize freely when they realize that they needed to say things that weren’t true.  Who care and trust and are vulnerable and willing and kind and amazing.  Who understand that none of this makes them any less strong, masculine, impressive, or attractive.

I want men.  And I want us to help create them, because we are the only ones who can.