Year for the Planet Year 2 Week 12: The Character Dowry – 10 Things to Look for in a Man in the Name of Sustainability

Year for the Planet is a campaign to make better choices for the planet. 2017 was when I fixed my eating habits. This year, 2018, is where I deal with my clothing choices.

For this post, I’ll talk about men. Specifically, what women should look for in a man, beyond the Tall, Dark, Handsome, Has a Proper Job invisible listicle that permeates many an awkward family conversation. I’ve often wished I could share this with women I know, and given the reactions I’ve had in two previous posts, here they are:

Ten Things to Look for in a Man in the Name of Sustainability

1. Can do household chores
2. Controls his temper
3. Respects other people’s beliefs and can question his own
4. Reads books, not just his social media feed
5. Has a growth mindset
6. Is not wasteful
7. Owns up to his mistakes
8. Is able to relate to people with different backgrounds / cultures and counts some of them as friends
9. Has one “face” inside and outside the house (i.e. Isn’t a “great guy” with strangers but a jackass at home)
10. Demonstrates resilience

Bonus: Has a healthy non-dependent relationship with his mother (or has resolved his issues). Because I think all men marry their mothers whether they like it or not. (Same with women marrying their dads.)

I like to call this The Character Dowry. I’m often dismayed at how superficial things such as wealth and race become critical determinants of relationships. A lack of character for both sexes (though because of the patriarchy, this insufficiency tends to skew towards the male) leads to unhappy marriages in the long run, and a heck of a lot of waste borne from mindless and entitled consumption. And let’s never forget the horrifying loss of potential from women whose sense of selves and goals have been derailed. It has always been my fear to be among them. (Why on earth do you think I push on and am currently writing this at a castle in Vienna?)

While we all have our quirks (I like guys who smell nice and are on time, for example), I think this list should be the bare minimum requirements for obvious reasons that have nothing to do with class. I mean, in the Philippines, you need to go to confession before your wedding in a Catholic church. Surely ticking off all these items ensures that there’s less to confess to begin with?

I write this list for a lot of women who I felt have chosen to settle. “I’m 30; I need to pick one now.” Or those who thought that entitled men is really something inevitable. If anything, this is a call to raise our standards, if not our middle fingers, in order to push human evolution forward. Or at the very least, lead fulfilling happy lives. Or simply for the sake of curbing climate change.

And if not, well, gee, what to do? A sex strike? Stay single and just adopt dogs? Send men to a husband academy before marriage? (That’s a great startup idea!) As women, we hold up half the sky but can also close our knees, so let’s have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to men who can’t wash their own underpants.

What would you add to this list?



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