• Men can make life interesting. Having men in one’s life, whether or not there’s romance involved, shakes things up a little bit. Diversity is strength, as we all know, but it’s also a lot of fun. Just as it would be a shame to be in the company of men only, it would be a shame to limit one’s company to women exclusively.

    It’s like mixing patterns with block colors or adding tonic to a drink: there’s a sparkle and fizz when a variety of elements come together. Whether they’re your old friends, your new neighbors, your colleagues, part of your community’s groups or the love(s) of your life, the best men will help the smartest women see the world from a slightly different angle.

    Here are four reasons that some men should be celebrated, for when you need a reminder….

    1. While it’s true that almost everything a man can do, a woman can also do, it’s terrific that some men like to do things more than women.

    For example, I love men who can fix stuff because I’m not big on fixing stuff. I’m not quite as a bad as friend of mine who moved house every time her dishwasher broke, but let’s just say I understood her reasoning.  While it would not be entirely impossible for to repair my own windshield wipers, my own roof or my own Twitter account (after all, I repaired my own broken heart, my own credit rating and what is laughingly referred to as my own “reputation” without any help from their side) I’m nevertheless relieved when a nice guy who apparently enjoys doing such things offers the benefit of his expertise.

    2.  Charming men are like exotic creatures brought in from the wild.

    Not only are they amazing to look at: They are inspiring and sometimes breath-taking. Entertaining and rare, simply by being in a room they transform the atmosphere, making it a little wild. Fur bristles, eyes widen and territorial habits are displayed. You might not want to have one in your own house, but they’re worth watching.

    3. Some men are enormously kind, compassionate, intelligent, gentle, open and funny.

    The charmers often eclipse these nice guys but, to be honest, they are far more essential to everyday happiness and well being than the George-Clooney look-alikes. These are the men strong enough to welcome women’s opinions, ideas and achievements. They’re the ones who listen well instead of orate; the ones who can sit with you when you’re in real need of company without turning on a ballgame or scrolling through their messages; the ones who will defend you, console you, cheer you and celebrate you right alongside the best of your female friends. They dust off their shoulders for us to lean on and to cry on—and they’ll hope for the same right back.

    4. Finally, a woman fortunate enough to have had a good father is a woman as lucky as an heiress.

    Even if in his will, her father cannot leave her a dime, she accumulates riches vast and secure enough to help her through the toughest parts of life. If your mother teaches you how to love, then your father gives you permission to succeed; if learn from your mother how to walk carefully around trouble, then it is from your father that you learn how to face trouble when it comes. I’m not talking about a father who teaches you how to shout or shoot down your enemies. That kind of courage can be taught cheap.

    I’m not talking about the courage to face death, but the courage to face life. We learn lessons when lifeassigns them. I speak with the authority of an heiress myself; I had one of those good fathers. The older I get, the more I appreciate what he did for me on those evenings when he made supper in the quiet kitchen after my mother died, when he sent me twenty-dollar bills tucked inside small envelopes, when he carried bags of food to my apartment during graduate school, when he wished me luck on every adventure. “Go get ‘em” my father used to say to me.

    In my heart, I still say “Thanks, Dad” every day.

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    Article by: Gina Barreca

    GINA BARRECA is nationally syndicated columnist with Tribune News Service. She's the author of It's Not That I'm Bitter, Babes in Boyland, They Used to Call Me Snow White but I Drifted and co-author of I'm With Stupid: One Man, One Woman and 10,000 Years of Misunderstandings Between The Sexes Cleared Right Up with Pulitzer Prize winner Gene Weingarten. She's a professor of English at UConn, and a member of the Friars' Club. She grew up in Brooklyn, NY but now lives in Storrs, CT. Go figure.

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    1. rozspam@aol.com' Roz Warren says:

      I’m a big fan of Gina Barreca and am happy to see her on Zestnow. (She’s in Readers Digest this month too!) I’m really enjoying her new book.

    2. Nira@surviveyourhusbandsretirement.com' Nora says:

      Gina, it’s nice to see your work again…especially in the form of this beautiful story. It brings back fond memories for me of my Dad and even a slight tear! Go get me girl.

    3. beaudmj@gmail.com' Phoebe says:

      I love the title and the article–great humor but also nice serious sentiment. Also, want to mention–and I don’t know the PC way to say this–but some gay men make great friends for women for many reasons.