Why I dig chicks.
May 20, 2011 § 7 Comments
This article originally appeared on May issue of Women’s Health 2011. Buy a copy.
There was a great ad that went out on Women’s Day many years ago that read: “A woman without her man is nothing.” Then the same copy appeared on the next page, punctuated to read: “A woman: without her, man is nothing. Happy Women’s Day.” The simple truth is, were it not for women, none of us would be around.
A great example of what I love about women can be found in this story about one of my current heroes, Barack Obama. Back in 2004, during the Democratic National Convention, when Obama was invited to speak at the convention by Democratic candidate and Vietnam war hero, Senator John Kerry, the already charismatic speaker would deliver his greatest speech yet, the one that would make him famous.
Now you don’t get to be Barack Obama by being modest about your abilities. He knew that the whole of America would be watching him, a mere state senator at the time, yet he was described as calm. According to the New Yorker:
“Obama has always had a healthy understanding of the reaction he elicits in others, and he learnt to use it to his advantage a very long time ago. Marty Nesbitt remembers Obama’s utter calm the day he gave his celebrated speech in Boston, which made him an international celebrity and a potential 2008 presidential candidate. ‘We were walking down the street late in the afternoon,’ Nesbitt told me, ‘and this crowd was building behind us, like it was Tiger Woods at the Masters.’ ‘Barack, man, you’re like a rock star,’ Nesbitt said.
‘Yeah, if you think it’s bad today, wait until tomorrow,’ Obama replied.
‘What do you mean?’
‘My speech,’ Obama said, ‘is pretty good.’”
He was introduced, and the music soared as though a WWE wrestler was climbing to the podium. He embraced his wife, Michelle, and as he turned to ascend the stairs she patted his butt and said, “Don’t mess it up.” Those were the last words he heard before he delivered what would propel him to the White House.
Michelle understood her husband’s tendency towards over-confidence. She brought him down to the level of his constituents; she reminded him not to believe his own hype. That’s what I love about women: your ability to remind us that we are men, even though we might imagine ourselves as gods from time to time. And when you remind us of what we really are, we perform better.
We all know the famous saying: “Behind every great man is a woman.” The real truth is probably that behind every man is a great woman. Hillary Clinton was known for giving advice to Bill Clinton during his presidency; at one point she said, “We are the president.” But no one suspects she asks for Bill’s advice now that she’s secretary of state. I also love women’s strength – and you don’t even have to go to gym for it. That’s what fascinates and confuses us: how you’re able to be so strong while defying every male definition of “strength”, like not being too tough to cry.
A man playing rugby can’t say to a player, “Ouch bru! Too hard.” To us, physical resilience equals strength. Behind every great man is an even greater woman; the woman who made him. And any day now, when women are able to run the world without pretending to be in the background, we will all be better for it. A woman’s place is wherever the hell she decides it should be.