I promised one of my high school friends a few weeks ago that I'd write about this topic, so I figured it's about time to address it. It seems that this is neither simply a regional problem nor a cultural one, rather an epidemic sweeping our country: the disappearance of manly men. Where have they all gone?
Hyperbolic perhaps, but this topic has come up frequently with my female friends lately. No, it's not that we're looking for guys to be every stereotype of manly at all times. We appreciate that men are getting more in touch with their emotions, care about their interpersonal relationships, and are free to take on stereotypical women's roles (e.g. cooking, caretaking). Yet, there should be some manly traits to balance things, whether it be skill in a particular sport, assertiveness in your professional/personal life, the desire to protect those you care about, the willingness to stand up for what you believe in regardless of the cost. In short, particularly with women who are themselves athletic, ambitious, and/or strong-willed, it's the realization that we don't want to "out-man" the men in our lives.
This isn't an issue with all guys (I know of a number who have found a good balance between their masculine and feminine qualities), nor is it confined solely to men. To be entirely fair, there seems to be a growing trend of wussiness throughout our whole country, not just with our males. Parents are increasingly overprotective of their children, and the overall economic prosperity of our country minimizes the need to work hard in future generations. And entirely too frequently, it seems to play itself out in the guys we date, those who can't stand up to their parents on their partner's behalf, those who shy away from leadership and decision making in any capacity, those who have to be consoled more often than they console, those who avoid/fear taking any risks, not to mention those who can't get up the nerve to pursue women they're interested in. While I usually hate stereotyped gender roles, if you are male and all too often fit the descriptions above, it's time to grow up and man up (see above link for ideas). Wussy is simply not sexy.