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Single +1

Sarah Fowler

More and more, I have fallen in love with the people of the great state of Mississippi. The older I get the more I realize that there is a quiet strength to we Southerners that lies patiently at the ready, just underneath the surface. Out of all of the qualities that I admire in man, that ever present strength of a southern man has to be the front runner. I love a man’s man, a man who can tenderly brush the hair from my face with the same calloused hand that he uses to grip his .30-06 before he expertly fires the shot that drops a buck to the ground on a cold November morning. As southern women, we’ve grown up around strong men, formidable men, men who we see as towers of strength, our fortress in the storm. To be loved by a good man is something that my heart literally aches for. There are days where I long to tuck myself into the nook of a man’s arm and just have him shield me from the world for a little while. For the longest time, fear kept me from hoping for such a desire, much less saying it out loud. Yet now I can confidently say that I am a woman who is putting herself out there and come hell, high water or heartbreak, I’m willing to take that risk to find the man, that love, that’s meant for only me. That hasn’t happened yet and up until mere moments ago it never even occurred to me that there is a man out there who is equally as scared of heartbreak as I am. I’ve seen men willingly take on the protector role my entire life and it never even occurred to me that once in a while, they could use a little protecting too.
A daddy is a little girl’s first example of what a man should be. I am a Daddy’s Girl through and through and that man has been my hero since the moment I wrapped my little fingers around his 26 years ago. I grew up watching him, idolizing him, following him around and matching him step for step. He was my hero and to this day, I measure every man to my father. I first saw him cry when I was five years old. His mother had just died and I watched in stunned silence as he sat on the couch with his brother, their arms wrapped around each other as they sobbed in heartbroken pain. I had never seen my father cry and up until that moment I honestly didn’t know that men were even capable of the action. My daddy was as strong as they come but there he was, reduced to tears, mourning the loss of his mother. I’ve never forgotten that image. I’ve learned a great deal from my father but at five years old he taught me an invaluable lesson without even knowing it. Sometimes the biggest giants have the hardest fall.
The more time that passes, the more my marriage and subsequent divorce seem like a bad dream. It feels like a lifetime ago and the details of that life are becoming increasingly fuzzy, harder and harder to remember. There are some things though that your heart won’t let you forget. I remember one of our last arguments where I was standing in the driveway with tears streaming down my face begging this man to love me, to be a family with me. He looked at me with such a cool indifference that I felt the chill of his words right down to my bones. I watched him drive away and take with him any hope of saving our marriage. In that moment I knew that no matter how much I loved him, it wasn’t enough, he so obviously didn’t love me. He proved me wrong a year after our divorce was final. He showed up at my door, a shell of the man I married. He talked for hours, it was as if his mouth couldn’t keep up with his mind and he couldn’t get out the words fast enough. I spent that night listening to him as he explained four years of decisions, four years of anger and hurt and the rational behind it. Eventually he ran out of words and I just held him as he cried, soaking my shirt with his tears. I thought my heart had been the only one breaking in that house but the anguish on his face told another story. In that moment he finally let me see a side of him that I had begged to see for years, to even know existed. While he saw that evening as a sign of weakness, I saw how strong of a man he really was.
The idea that men have to constantly be strong starts from the moment we’re born, especially in the South. We raise our little boys to “take it like a man” but coddle our little girls and treat them like princesses. If Prinny were to fall down on the sidewalk and skin her knees, I would scoop her up, kiss away her tears and give her a Hello Kitty band-aid to make it better. A little boy could fall down on that very same sidewalk and dang near break his leg and his daddy would be telling him to “Man up, Son.” Slightly different approach, isn’t it? As a general rule men are allowed to cry at births, death, war and sporting events. End of story. We raise our boys to be strong, confident young men and hopefully, we are raising our daughters to be the same. I so admire the strength of a man and the role he willingly plays of protector and provider. Even more so though do I admire a man who knows that he doesn’t have to be strong all the time. While that quiet strength is something I long for, it is my hope that there is a man out there who knows his strength comes from showing his weaknesses as well.
As women we base our opinions on men from our past experiences. We have life lessons that we have stored away in the back of our minds and unfortunately for the men in our lives, we have a habit of judging the current man by the previous man’s mistakes. If you date a jerk it’s a little harder to be as trusting of the next guy who comes along. If that guy also turns out to be a jerk as does the one after that and the one after that, pretty soon you’re going to start thinking that all men are jerks. Obviously I am operating on a female perspective but I can only be lead to believe that men would feel the same way. If a man dates a woman that he loves and adores and she cheats on him, that’s going to leave a bitter taste in his mouth. Men have a deeper pride issue than women do and I would imagine that an experience like that would leave him a little gun shy. While we women may cuss and bemoan our last relationship, I’ve never met a woman who stuck to her post-breakup declaration of “I’m so done with men.” I have however, met plenty of divorced 40 year old men that will play the field with women half their age but will never settle down and will certainly never get married again; the heartbreak simply isn’t worth the risk. I’ve learned that men may not love as easily as we women do but they love just as hard. As women, I think it’s time that we start showing men just how strong we are too, so they know that they don’t always have to be. Men, it’s OK to be vulnerable and it’s OK to let your guard down and I promise, we won’t tell your golf buddies. You might be surprised to find out that we’ll love you just as much, if not more, than we did before.

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28 comments

  1. Single -3.

    Over the past couple of decades, this man has nearly died from broken hearts. Two of them. A man’s tears can ONLY be described as a sign of strength, not weakness, which is no different than his ability to admit his mistakes. It shows his ability to process grief and his ability express inner feelings; and should not be overlooked or chastised by women. Did we agree on something?

  2. Colin

    Maybe you should have written a Sept 11 article. This weekend being the 10 year anniversary. Maybe a column on how it changed your life or what you were doing when the towers fell. Did it impact the relationship you were in or the men you fell for later (military?) Crying exhusbands and daddies is all good, but maybe not for this weekend.

    • Single -3.

      you can’t publically criticize the timing of a piece after it’s already run, man. Really?? Where did you go to supervisor school, Colin??

  3. Colin

    I guess it is possible she did not know the date the piece would run or that September 11 was upon us.

    • Single -3.

      Personally,, I’d rather read the piece I just read as opposed to anything about how 9/11 affected Single+1, a decade ago which is now history… just sayin’….unless, of course, she was walking down the isle of matrimony when the planes hit, which I doubt,…but in the meantime, I recommend some management of human resources training…

  4. Colin

    9/11 IS NOW HISTORY?! How wonderfully unAmerican of you. Many of us live a life very different than the one we would have had that horrific event never occurred. Regardless of where we were. I was in college and changed my major because of it. Left Mississippi as a direct result. Otherwise, I stayed a Sports Management major and coached HS basketball in small town Mississippi.

    • Single -3.

      No reasonable person with a high school education would make the leaps and assumptions you’ve just made. Since when does making a statement of fact, that 9/11 is now history, make one “unAmerican”?? And, other than the victims of that day and those of YOU who apparently rely on consistent air travel, how has 9/11 caused “many of us [to]live a life very different than the one we would have had that horrific event never occurred”?? Did you start letting your dog go to the mail box first or something?? And, why would 9/11 cause you to change your major?? Were you in Air Traffic Control and change to coaching after 9/11?? If you let it change your life that much, the terrorists win. My life hasn’t changed a bit as a result of 9/11. But, my original point, before your character assault on me, was that “journalism” is an “art form” and those human resources in the “field” of journalism may respond better to a different style of “coaching” than your small town basketball team. And, how do you know I’m not the most American person you’ve ever known,, as you call me “unAmerican”?? Have you lost your mind?? I could have an American flag pinned on my left lapel right now for all you know…In any event, based on these few posts I’ve read from you, it seems you tend to focus on negatives when true coaches, the best coaches, focus on positives… Try it sometime. Don’t tell them what’s wrong…tell them what’s right.. You might like it. And, I promise your people will be happier and, as a result, more productive. I promise.

  5. Colin

    I WAS Sports Management but decided to get into Homeland Security and am now working for the government in Nebraska. Please re-read my comment.

    “Left Mississippi as a direct result. Otherwise, I stayed a Sports Management major and coached HS basketball in small town Mississippi.”
    That is to say that I wanted to DO something bigger than myself. I found myself breaking up with my high school sweetheart because of this decision to move out of state. She was a debutante who wanted to come home after college and didn’t understand my new found drive.
    Many many people joined the military because of this day. Some went into journalism or found their calling as a photographer.

  6. JohnnyPhillipMorris

    @ Colin
    Get over it!
    Those attacks by whomever– and the jury is still out in that not all the evidence has been presented and much of it hastily hauled off from the crime scene without forensic investigations– were aimed at the Pentagon warplanners and the financiers of these wars for US hegemony abroad. The folks at the Al CIAda call it “Blowback.”
    No Arab or Muslim ever attacked Mississippi or Sweden or any of the non-NATO countries.

    And would you ever believe that former “Progressive” Governor Ray Mabus, as Secreatry of the Navy, would be on board attempting to lynch the President of the African Union, Colonel Khaddafi, and successfully blowing to bits his two sons and his three grandchildren.

    How many more dead Arabs and Africans will satisfy your “new found drive?”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5u06K7-TfeU

  7. Colin

    Ahhh there’s the backwoods, uneducated Mississippi I have come to know and love (and leave).
    I work in the DEFENSE department in Omaha Nebraska. I can assure you we are not on the agressive. My role is to seek out terrorism activity here in the States. Terrorists are not always Arabic, in fact, many are American.
    I did not realize that hoping to see something patriotic in a military town was going to stir something so UNpatriotic among its readers. This is not a political forum or anyone’s soap box (except the writer’s, of course)
    Enjoy your freedom, boys, it was hard earned. By others.

    • MrUnsociallyacceptable

      @Colin, Sorry to say this mate. But you sir, are a joke. You seriously think the wars we have right now are for freedom. Now Its seems you are uneducated. Nowadays patriotic is suppose to be supporting a government who polices the world and creates war and commits genocide? This might cause a stir but i can care less about being a patriot. Im not bound by a country, You call this Un-American or Un-patriotic,But I’m the one TRULY free. United States of America is just a name now, Its lost nearly all of its true value. Its sad to see you are using BASIC human physiologic trying to make people fear being named unpatriotic. This just proves a dullard

  8. Lucas

    wow. when pearl harbor was attacked in 1941, would you have been against us entering ww2 because it was only hawaii attacked and not mississippi? was hitler not wrong because he did not attack a southern baptist, just the jewish?
    Navy Lt. Darren Pontell of Pascagula was killed in the 9/11 attacks. a mississippian. there was someone from every state in american on the list of victims. do your research, the men hijacking the planes spoke arabic to one another, they have been identified. in this case, terrorism was commited by an arab.

  9. Single -3.

    I gotta confess, Colin, the only reason I attacked you was because I thought you were the same Colin who co-owns this paper; and, I thought he was publically criticising one of his writers. Now that I’m sure you are a different Colin, I’m disappointed I wasted my time. I owe the other Colin an apology.. I should have known better. With regards to your comment about seeing something “patriotic in a military town”, I suggest you look somewhere besides the “Carey Bradshaw” of the Friendly City. Because I think the Patriot Guard Riders would have a different opinion (from you) about this great City’s level of patriotism…

  10. Johnny Phillip Morris

    @ Colin from Nebraska

    Maybe you are familiar with the quote of one of the Middle East’s most infamous Irgun Terrorist, Menacem Begin who is best remembered for the sacking and massacre of 250 plus Palestinians of the village of Deir Yassin: One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.

    And this quote from H. L. Mencken pretty much fits your job description:

    The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

    The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.
    H. L. Mencken

  11. Johnny Phillip Morris

    One of the greatest American Patriots of the twentieth Century on the coming war in Europe and who was driving us toward war even then.

    Ironically,Lindbergh’s Des Moines, Iowa “peace speech” was given on 9/11 1941… the very same day that FDR’s warmongers were conducting ribbon-cutting ceremonies for the construction of the Pentagon in DC.

    Wow!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_F48oaOskI

  12. Johnny Phillip Morris

    Colin at Nebraska~

    You are probably not old enough to have seen live NBC Jim Miklaszewski’s LIVE Pentagon report on the morning of 9/11. I was watching as Katie Couric switched to Miklaszewski for an audio report and as he was talking, a small explosion– an industrial explosion, he speculates–was heard and Jim moves to the windows to see what is happening He sees construction workers running from the construction site. He promises to go down to ground level for an on-site report. The on-site report never happened and Miklaszewski disappeared from the NBC airwaves for several months. The audio report was never re-run and ultimately I found it posted to DailyMotion five-years later, posted by an Italian connection. The audiotape finally made it to YouTube.
    What do you find “telling” in Miklaszewski’s report below. Keep in mind that Miklaszewski NEVER reports hearing the sounds of jet engines before the “small explosion” and the shaking windows.

    Have a nice day.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uft90QQfuFU

  13. Colin

    @JPM-

    I was 20 at the time, but you are correct, I watched Fox News and CNN most of the day so I did miss that.

    You’re all about some YouTube aren’t you! Haha. Take care.

  14. Johnny Phillip Morris

    I watched Fox News and CNN most of the day so I did miss that.~Colin

    There’s your problem.
    While I have your attention, the press coverage of SEAL killteam # six was all about how it came up with that sobriquet.
    The official respose was that the name was to fool the KGB into thinking that there were five more killteams rovonig central Africa, the Caucuses,Iran, Libya and points in between. To anyone that had seen Mel Brooks’ Blazin’ Saddles back in the 70s(you weren’t even born at the time)the SEAL’s took the name from Mr. Taggart “working up a # six on the poor folks of Rock Ridge.”
    See if your co-workers over at Al CIAda can confirm my claim.
    Yes, YouTube has become the poorman’s Guttenberg Press.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-UM9GjnTFIM

  15. Johnny Phillip Morris

    {SNIP}
    …In the name of fighting terrorism, the government has institutionalized a massive response based on fear more than anything else. In the name of defending our freedoms, our government has fractured them as thoroughly as the WTC towers and Pentagon. In the name of enhancing security, it has damaged the authentic security and future of the nation.

    Propagandistically “selling” the new security institutions and technologies to Americans has served the selfish interests of demagogic politicians, a conflict-loving mainstream media, and the wealthy contractors from the military-industrial-surveillance complex. But this has come at the expense of everyone else in the nation, now and in the future. Terrorists and criminals can easily evade most of these technologies; ordinary citizens won’t.

    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/09/10-1#.TnAE6yyXr6w.google

  16. Johnny Phillip Morris

    Mr. Pitts above quotes the tyrant Abraham Lincoln.
    I prefer General Robert E. Lee’s prophetic response to British historian Lord Acton on why he chose to defend his Virginia and the Confederacy:
    {SNIP}

    …When the famous British historian, Lord Acton, wrote to Robert E. Lee after the war, in a letter dated November 4, 1866, he inquired about Lee’s assessment of the meaning of the war and the result that would follow. Lord Acton’s letter stated, in part, that:
    “I saw in State Rights the only availing check upon the absolutism of the sovereign will, and secession filled me with hope, not as the destruction but as the redemption of Democracy . . . . Therefore I deemed that you were fighting the battles of our liberty, our progress, and our civilization; and I mourn for the stake which was lost at Richmond more deeply than I rejoice over that which was saved at Waterloo.”

    Lee replied in a letter dated December 15, 1866, and stated, in part, what the result would be:
    ” . . . [T]he consolidation of the states into one vast republic, sure to be aggressive abroad and despotic at home, will be the certain precursor of the ruin which has overwhelmed all those that have preceded it.” (emphasis supplied).
    Never have truer words ever been written or spoken…

    http://www.southernheritage411.com/truehistory.php?th=054

  17. Single -3.

    Ok,, we were discussing broken-hearted men admitting their mistakes. So, where did we leave off???

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