Ever since I was a teenager I wanted to be a HERO. Not the kind of super hero who foiled the plans of criminal masterminds with my single bound tall building leaps, locomotive power and bullet speed. Not necessarily the kind of hero who safely retrieved POW’s from deep in enemy territory.
I wanted to be a kind of machismo-infused hero, rescuing contemporary “damsels in distress” who, in my limited experience at the age of 16, were so often the victims of relationships gone horribly wrong. The tales I’d hear of betrayal, degradation and distress from some of my female friends angered me, but also filled me with compassion and an overwhelming desire to comfort them in some way.
So it was that I wanted to be that stand-up guy who came along and mended their broken hearts by being to them what other men could or would not. Fulfilling their unrealized expectations. I wanted to fix the traumatized emotions of all the disappointed and disillusioned women I knew.
Ha! As if that were even possible.
As you can probably surmise, this was not at ALL practical or realistic. Still, it took me a long time to realize that, though I had the best of intentions, I simply couldn’t save everyone.
I couldn’t save anyone.
To that one, I endeavored to define a man who successfully balanced his testosterone-influenced emotions with chivalry, romance and an understanding of authority. I made a silent promise to show her what it meant to be a modern-day hero upon whom she could always rely, trust and rest her confidence. I made a similar promise to my only daughter so that winning her heart would require the power and determination that only a hero possessed.
And yet, even now I will occasionally feel the “pull of the cape” begging to be worn when I talk to my female friends who are miserable and misunderstood. I refrain because I understood a long time ago that trying to be that for more than one woman would actually mean being that for no one. What I mean is that every woman deserves the undivided attention of the man who holds their heart. My divided attention would be both hypocritical and ineffective.
So for those, I simply listen with a sympathetic ear and an encouraging smile. And hope that one day THEIR hero will appear.