I live in Nashville, Tenn., A.K.A. Nashvegas, home of the up-and-coming country music star and Christian music Hollywood. If it weren’t for the blaring neon lights of Corky’s Barbecue on the side of the road, I would sometimes swear that I was in California. A lot of guys around here are high maintenance and just don’t seem to want to eat. If I see one more man in a baby tee, I might kidnap him and make him a good home-cooked meal. I mean, I thought this was the South. But no, this is Nashville, where so many are/ want to be/ want to be around/ want to look like a rock star.
Not that there is anything terribly wrong with skinny guys (I have crushed on many skinny, heroin addict-looking rock musicians), but when you tack on the effeminate, pretty boy factor, it gets a bit discouraging. Don’t tell me you can’t look under the hood of my car because you have your new Diesel pants on. And if I can’t find my Lancôme mascara because it is in your Abercrombie gym bag, then be prepared to get your teeth capped. This is just one of my frustrations with some guys in this town—and one of the things that has intensified my fan-like admiration for real men.
The older I get, the more I realize that while guys are good, men are great. Within the past couple of weeks, I have actually gotten to be around some real men, and, up until this point, I didn’t realize how much I missed them—men who camp, men who climb, men who fix cars and build things. Men who can work hard, get mussed and, all the while, can sing, write poetry, paint and interior decorate. Men in mechanics uniforms, men in three piece suits, men who cry, men with scars, men with families, men in love; there is something in me that makes me their biggest fan. Maybe it’s their logic and rationale in contrast to my emotionalism; their ability to be straightforward and to the point; their shoulders, their jaws, their chiseled noses. I think I spent a good half hour one night examining the curves in Gary Dourdan’s face. How can you not love a man?
This appreciation is by no means lustful or solely concerned with romantic attraction. I love men as friends, brothers and father figures. I love my bus driver who wakes up at 3 a.m. and works hard to take care of his grandchild. I love my friend Eric who is rugged and loves the great outdoors but unashamedly cries when he talks about the unconditional love of Christ. I love my dad who is a shrewd businessman, but knows just how to randomly kiss me on top of the head and tell me that he loves me. I love my coworker for taking charge the other day and helping me make a difficult decision, while showing compassion for my feelings in a way that only a true man can.
And while thinking about all of this, I can’t help but realize that the very things I love about men are the very things I love about Jesus. Honestly, I love men who can build things. Jesus was a carpenter. I love men who love children. Jesus got indignant with the disciples when they wouldn’t let the children near Him. I love men who take charge and are not punks. Jesus went into the temples where they were ripping the people off, flipped the tables over, made His own whip and threw people out.
He was at parties, but didn’t fall into temptation and get drunk. He was man enough to turn the other cheek and die for the very people who spat on Him, whipped Him and crucified Him. He loves me enough to die for me, doesn’t hold a grudge when I act as if it never happened and welcomes me back when I get a clue. He is jealous of my time and always here when I need Him. He doesn’t pretend to know how I feel; He knows exactly how I feel. While being a man, He never ran off with Mary Magdalene and then used the excuse, “I’m just a man.” Jesus embodies everything I could ever want in a man and everything that I can ever hope to be as a person.
Ever seen the bumper sticker that says, “Real Men Love Jesus”? It’s the only Christian bumper sticker I have ever liked. Think about it: A real man is secure enough to humble himself, despite public opinion or persuasion, and model his life after and submit his life to the greatest man who has ever lived. Now that is sexy.
So yes, I am a huge fan of men, a “man cheerleader,” if you will. They light up my life and make my world a better place. Even though they rarely ask for directions and hate to admit when they can’t fix things, real men are a constant reminder to me of how awesome Jesus truly is.
[Toya Haynes is a freelance writer, DJ and ’80s fanatic who is desperately trying to find a way to get into Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp without actually having to play an instrument.]
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