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Show me the guts …

My MONEY magazine subscription came with an article on how to marry a billionaire. I don’t know. Color me new-fashioned, but shouldn’t MONEY be telling me how to make my own money, not latch on to someone because of his?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not averse to dating men with money. And I’ve dated more than a couple in my lifetime. I’ve dated rich men with their own major domos, to well-off men with waterfront homes and Porsches in the driveway, to men who simply made some really good cake and could afford to live comfortably if not extravagantly.

I’ve also dated men on the opposite end of the money spectrum — guys so broke our dates consisted of long walks, moon-gazing, used bookstore haunting, and mutual navel-gazing over endless cheap coffees. Our big nights out would come if somehow one of us scored free tickets to Fenway or had a friend bouncing the door at some hot new restaurant opening where free food and a single complimentary drink would tide us over ’til an all-you-can-eat Sunday brunch.

What I’ve learned about men — the ones with even a modest amount of money and assets and independence to protect — is that men are so afraid of losing what they already have that they let what they could potentially have slide to the wayside. By the time the realize what they’re losing, it’s usually too late to get it back.

I’ve always felt if a man wants a prenup, hell, hand me a pen. I believe in protecting assets acquired before a relationship or marriage, for sure. But at some point, marriage, heck, even living together, is all about sharing – protect yourself, yes, but share as well. I figure, a man who doesn’t want to share everything while he’s in a relationship is just as bad as a woman who wants to take everything when she leaves one.

Money, as nice as it is, means a lot when you’re talking about fear and power, but it doesn’t mean jack when you’re talking love.

Here’s what means jack: the way he stands up when you come back from the restroom at a restaurant; the way he tells you you’re beautiful when you know you look like hell; the way he kills the monster-sized bug in the bathroom while you freak out in the hall; the way he intertwines his hand with yours when he’s making love to you. And yes, the way he’d give you the shirt off his back knowing he might never get it back … and the way he’s okay with that potential loss — of both the love and the shirt.

I’ve met plenty of men who will happily squash errant bugs, but not yet one who who has the guts for love. The guts to acknowledge they might take a hit — financially or otherwise — and still go forward anyway.

I’m not trying to be mean; I’m certainly not saying men are gutless overall. I’m just saying, I’ve never met a man who had the guts to risk everything for one thing — love.

Maybe I’m the fool. I’ve certainly been played for one. Because I have. I did. And I’d do it again … risk everything for a real love — a gutsy, bold, sexy kind of love that doesn’t boil down to who pays for what and figuring out all the ins and outs before going forward.

Love is ultimately about risk. Making a relationship — a real one — requires the acceptance of possibly losing something in the long run. But love also requires the faith and desire for possibly gaining a whole helluva lot more than one can even imagine.

Yes, I’d take a chance on love again … with one major exception. This time around I’ll only jump if I’m with a man who has the same size cajones as I do. I’ve spent too many days and nights with men who lacked the balls to really go at love. With every ounce and fiber and fear and skepticism and excitement and lust.

Sure I’ve had men who dropped thousands and thousands on diamonds, dinners, flights to Paris … men who busted their ass to help me in a gazillion tangible ways. Men who made love like their life depended on it. Men who gave a lot materially. Men who talked a lot about how much they loved me.

Unfortunately, I’ve met a lot of men who talk and shop and bust ass in big ways but in the small ways of the heart — they simply end up hovering around on the sidelines of life.

They never really jump all in to anything. They talk about it. They think about it. But they just never really pull the trigger. And, I’m certainly not talking about the marriage trigger. I’m just talking about having the guts to go all in with love. To get messy, to get a little dirt on your feet, to argue and know you’ll survive. To risk losing everything. To put it all on the line.

If I take a leap of faith again, next time it will be with a man who’s ready and willing to jump off that cliff with me. Who, in fact, grabs my hand and holds on like hell as we both jump over together. Someone who will protect what he had before me, but will unequivocally share what he’s got in present day. Whether that’s money, or time, or property, or family, or friends, or emotions.

I’ve heard bravery described as the quality of someone who feels the fear but who takes action despite the fear. I guess I want a brave man. To match my own bravery. To make me brave in those places where I’m still a big ‘ole scaredy-cat. To be braver together than we could ever possibly be on our own.

The way I figure it — in love, just like in life: no guts, sure as hell, no glory.

Posted on August 19th, 2009Comments RSS Feed
9 Responses to Show me the guts …
  1. Look MC you continue to” bash” men all the time when there are “”nice guys” out there for sure who do risk everything for love plain and simple.I know because I am one and I have friends that are too.You can’t plan how love will happen , just forget rules and who has cajones and let life take it’s course.There is no game plan for love.Also not to be angry or skeptical all the time that love won’t happen.I realize you have been burnt and trust me there are alot of guys that are real P—-S but there are many woman that play games too and then it becomes impossible to have a relationship because it becomes a chess match which surely doesn’t work..I am glad you have high expectations for love but there has to be compromise for sure too. I hope you find what you are looking as you do deserve the best!

  2. Hi Steve! Gosh, I really don’t think I was bashing men … but as a female who’s straight, I write about what I know — and that’s men. I think I tried to say that men can be great and give an awful lot of themselves and their money, but they sometimes can’t jump off that cliff because they have a fear of losing what they already have.

    I, in fact, think men play a WHOLE lot more fairly than women do — about 95% of the time. I do believe however, that men, on the whole, are not as gutsy as women when it comes to matters of the heart.

    They are, however, infinitely more gutsy when it comes to other things that matter — sometimes a lot (like putting themselves between you and danger) and sometimes a little (like facing down the cockroach in the bathroom).

    Sorry you feel I was bashing — really — tons of really wonderful men out there. But I’m looking for just one — with a lot of guts.

    Thanks, as always, for reading and commenting!

  3. Maybe bash is a strong word MC but if you look at many of your columns about men to me there is a common theme and mostly negative.I appeciate your comments and when you least expect it maybe you will find a man that is gutsy when it comes to matters of the heart. NOT you John!:-)

  4. Oh, goodness. Well, I’m sorry you feel that I write in a mostly negative theme about men — I don’t agree with you, but I appreciate your perspective. Most often I write about humanity — not just men and not just women. But of course, I write about men a lot — I’m single, divorced, not really looking for love, but open to it. So, naturally I write about men. I’ve written so many times I can’t count about men who behave in heroic fashions on both big and small scales. I could supply links to those columns, but then I’d be defending myself, wouldn’t I!? But here’s one ode I wrote about men: A Man Fan — it’s on my blog.

    But anyway, the point is this: I am negative about men’s ability to jump in with both feet when it comes to romance. On all other counts, I’m pretty adoring of men. I write glowingly about them, actually, quite often. I’ve just never yet met a man yet who didn’t boil the relationship down to a fear of loss of independence, money, or material possessions. I tried to make it clear — guys can be very generous — drop a lot of dough on women and spend a lot of time helping women with things — and I believe they should protect themselves, but at some point, you’ve got to be willing to risk it all.

    That’s all the column is about. But no matter if we disagree on this issue — thanks for reading and commenting!

  5. John W. Perkins
    August 19, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    “If I take a leap of faith again, next time it will be with a man who’s ready and willing to jump off that cliff with me.”

    Care to go bungie-jumping with me ?

  6. yippee! bungie jumping. what i really want to try is that thing where you hang on a cord that’s on a pulley of some kind and yougo whizzing along the tree tops or a canyon or something… .that seems like fun!

  7. John W. Perkins
    August 20, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    Does that mean you’re accepting my proposal ?

  8. Only if we get married WHILE bungie jumping. 😉

  9. John W. Perkins
    August 20, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    I can hear you now, “I Doooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo”.


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