February 25, 2012

The Male Wish List

What a wonderfully simple idea! Why don't we just ask men what they want? That is what a couple of good men decided to do using the Twitter platform. From that powerful intention, an unusual and global chain of events has transpired to allow this very masculine seedpod of feelings, hungers, and dreams to be opened into the world.

As the story goes, UK based Tony Martin (@redfoxcountry on Twitter) had the very creative idea of starting a “male wish list” using the Twitter hashtag #malewishlist. His US based pal, Rick Belden, author of Iron Man Family Outing: Poems about Transition into a More Conscious Manhood, so liked the idea that in addition to posting his own tweets, he started inviting men from around the world to contribute. Soon, a running archive of tweets began to accumulate. On his blog, Rick Belden says, The results were outstanding. It was great to see so many men sharing their most heartfelt desires in such a free and spontaneous way, and as the list grew, I felt I was beginning to see the formation of a running archive of communiqu├ęs from the deepest inner lives of men.

Sadly, when hashtag responses slow down, they fall off Twitter’s search radar pretty quickly. As posting slowed, the Male Wish List became hidden from view and, for all practical purposes, invisible. Fortunately, a friend of Rick's named Peter de Kock, from the Netherlands, and one of the contributors to the list, had been compiling his own collection of the original tweets from #malewishlist. Peter put his collection on his blog, and in doing so, has preserved this snapshot into the masculine heart.

Here is a sampling of the Male Wish List from Peter's collection:
  • To know and trust that I can be strong and powerful without hurting others.
  • To not be assigned the role of combat soldier by gender in time of war.
  • Not to be regarded as culpable or responsible for bad acts committed by other men or groups of men, now or in the past.
  • To not feel like I'm a rapist every time a woman walks the same route home as me after 9 PM.
  • To always remember failure and rejection do not reduce or diminish me as a man, but are pathways into my own strength and wisdom.
  • To know our real (masculine) strengths and not be afraid to use them.
  • To connect more openly with other men and allow their support into my life. I need to hear men speak from their deep inner self. I want to know all men better.
  • To not be pigeonholed as a man who is only interested in sex and beer.
  • To make a living doing work that truly moves me.
  • To live in a world in which cooperating, collaborating, and caring are valued and rewarded as highly as competing and winning.
  • To feel that my sensitivity is an asset rather than a weakness to be feared and hidden from others.
  • Being vulnerable, experiencing shame, and having friends to share about it without being judged or fixed.
  • I want the good men to start showing up for young males. I'm tired of hearing about the creepy ones!
  • To love myself enough to feel tired and take some rest instead of violating my boundaries for the sake of work, work, work.
  • To feel, without having to have words for what I feel.
  • To smile at a child in public or enjoy watching kids play in the park without being seen as some kind of threat or weirdo.
  • To live in a world in which men and boys who've been abused feel free to talk about it, and have the words to do so. To live in a world in which support for men and boys who've been abused means more than just words and candles.
  • To live in a world in which greed, avarice, venal stupidity, and amoral self-interest are punished rather than rewarded.
  • For every man to have the support he needs from other men. Far too many of us are still trying to go it alone.
  • To be able to cry without shame or fear when feeling sadness, grief, disappointment, weakness, or loss.
  • To live in a world in which tenderness, compassion, and sensitivity are no longer regarded as primarily feminine qualities.
  • To be Unapologetically Ourselves as men.

I feel pretty confident that simply reading through this list has stirred your own collection of male feelings, hungers, and dreams you could add to this list.

I think this is part of a grand re-visioning of manhood we can all, collectively, create.

Don't you have something to add?

If there is a wish from deep in your masculine soul you'd like to contribute, you can put it up as a tweet with the hashtag #malewishlist on Twitter, add it to the comments of this blog post, or sent it along to me and I'll add it to the comments for you.

If you'd like to communicate with Rick Belden, you can reach him via his website, or at his Twitter page.

Peter de Kock can be reached via his website, or by visiting his Twitter page.

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  1. John Welford6:23 PM

    I wish I had got to know my father better before he was killed. There
    are so many thing I still want to ask him.

  2. Thanks a lot Earl for your contribution tot the male wish list. I believe it helps sending a clear and powerful signal into the universe which will be anwered by fulfillment of the wishes.

  3. Bill Takacs9:51 AM

    Thank you for keeping up the Man-Making work you are doing. I was inspired when you started, and I am in awe that it still lives.

    I read your email about the male wish list and I would like to add to it. I don't use twitter but I like the intention of the conversation that began around this twitter concept. Here's my wish:

    - To be able to express yourself in the arts and in dance, without your sexuality or identity being questioned or seen as anything less than a positive form of
    YOUR masculinity, respected and valued for being in the spirit of what masculinity means to YOU.

  4. Brian Mier9:18 AM

    I am surprised that nothing about family or wives/partners or children or parents appears on the list. I know for absolutely sure that the men I mix with who are married (the vast majority) express their deep love for their wives and children when sharing from their souls at men’s gatherings. Here's my wish:

    To be the best father to my adult children and their partrners, and the best grandfather to my grandchildren that I can possibly be.

  5. Tim Rooney10:12 AM

    To stop pretending that other men aren’t handsome and not be labeled gay because I feel that way.
    10 minutes ago · Like

  6. Wonderful job of pulling everything together in this post, Earl. Much appreciated. I'm keeping an eye on comments and adding to #malewishlist as new entries appear here. Readers and commenters can click on the #malewishlist link in your post above to see the latest entries from here and elsewhere.

  7. Anonymous8:07 AM

    As a regular female reader of your blog, I thrive on the wish list....may it grow and grow and grow in all directions.


Your response to this blog post is appreciated and welcome. Thanks!