I Love Men.

I Love Men.
Alfredo and young Salvatore in Cinema Paradiso

I love men.

[That may sound weird to you, or perplexing, or perhaps, refreshing to hear. I'm not trying to make a big statement. I'm not saying I don't love other people - I'm just saying I love men.]

More specifically, I love men who lead with love.

Most of my favorite movies are stories of love between men: Creed I & II (Donny & Rocky), Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid (Paul Newman and Robert Redford), even Die Hard (that movie is 100% about the bond between John McClane and Sgt. Powell - there is more chemistry between them than between McClane and his ex-wife).

My favorite movie of all time, Cinema Paradiso, tells the beautiful story of a filmmaker whose life is changed and shaped by his friendship with Alfredo, the older projectionist in his home town. Writing about that movie (which is still a joy to watch) makes me think about the love between father and son in Life is Beautiful, and the love between a reluctant man and an abandoned boy in Kolya.

I could go and on.

What I love about these stories is the tender hearts of men. In American culture particularly, there is an expectation that men's hearts have no value - or at least not as much value as their intellect, their physical strength, their prowess.

[Similarly, there is an expectation that the emotional strength of women isn't as valuable as their sexuality, their bodies, their function in service to others - but that's another story for another post].

I love the exploration - tentative, vulnerable as it may be - of men leading with their hearts.

My husband and I recently saw Bruce Springsteen in concert.

Three different times during the concert, Bruce talked about loss and grief and love in such an honest, vulnerable way, Bill and I were both in tears. He normalized the emotional experience of men's lives in a way I've seen women do with greater ease. And he gave us - the audience - permission to release some of our own grief in that moment. It was a real demonstration of the power of leading with heart.

Bruce Springsteen, San Francisco