Neely Steinberg loves you, as long as you don’t love yourself

Neely Steinberg, the relationship/dating columnist for Blast Magazine, has a lot of things she loves about men; Twenty, to be exact. She posted the complete list as part of an article over at the Good Men Project, an online publication that has, by a rather strange twist of events, begun to accommodate some actual defense of men in recent days, and in the process has alienated some people whose bread and butter resides in attacks on the same.

But before we rush to praise this newfound religion, we should take a moment to examine Steinberg’s ideas, especially as honest money says they echo the oft stated sentiments of GMP founder Tom Matlack, and his increasingly vocal shill, Lisa Hickey, regarding men and masculinity. I bring Tom into this because Steinberg’s piece is indicative of where I think Tom has wanted the GMP to go all along.

So what are the qualities in a man that makes Neely’s heart go all aflutter, and lifts it up on the wings of her womanly passion? Here’s her version of the testosterone top 20:

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I love when a man puts his hand on the small of a woman’s lower back, as if to say, I’m here for you if you need me.

I love when a man wipes away a woman’s tears or pushes a strand of her hair away from her face, tucking it lovingly behind her ear.

I love how millions of men go off to work every day and then come home after long work hours to share in the housework and child-rearing.

I love how men contribute hundreds of millions of dollars every year to charities in the U.S. and across the globe.

I love when a man makes us feel like women.

I love when a man waits patiently inside an elevator to let all the ladies out first.

I love how a man who would go to the ends of the earth for a woman he loves.

I love how a man who will rub his partner’s feet at the end of the day even though he’s had a hard day at work too.

I love the men who so bravely and willingly risk their lives in service to our country and to protect us all.

I love being Little Spoon.

I love the way a man looks into his child’s eyes and loses himself.

I love that men’s various discoveries throughout the ages (scientific, mathematical, medical, etc.) have made our lives easier.

I love the way a man runs into the ocean like maniac.

I love the shape of a man’s big, strong back when he leans over to pick up something heavy.

I love when a man knows what to say and what not to say to make a woman happy.

I love when a man tells a woman how lucky he is to have found her.

I love the way a man takes a woman’s delicate hand, brings it to his lips, and kisses it gently, showing how much he adores her.

I love when a man chows down on his food, as if only a 9.0 Richter Scale earthquake could shake him from his glorious feast.

I love how a man in love thinks of his partner’s sexual pleasure before his own.

I love a man who will do the jobs that most of us would never consider. Sewer inspector, anyone?

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I understand the appeal. There was a time in my life when I thought the world of people who didn’t clutter my life with their own needs or concerns for their own well-being; who did all the nasty, painful, dangerous and sacrificing tasks in life, while I got to remain protected, carefree and clueless. I got to live on a pedestal at the expense of others, and I didn’t have to consider the cost.

Yes, I remember it clearly now. It was called childhood. It was a time that was, in retrospect, one of unending self-indulgence – provided by responsible people that knew such sacrifices came with raising someone who, by the nature of life, was relatively helpless. Fortunately, they also took the responsibility of walking me through pain of growing out of that and showing me the more realistic world that did not revolve around me.

Am I being verbose? Well, I could have summed all this up in one sentence.

When the things I loved about people were the closest to the twenty items on Steinberg’s list, it was also the time that I didn’t have the maturity to care about anyone else’s needs and wants but my own.

What else could such a list represent?

Twenty reasons to love? No, Neely, twenty narcissistic fantasies; twenty ideas that reveal your belief that you are more inherently valuable than the men you claim to love. And for me, twenty eye rolls and twenty reasons to figure that your notions of love originate not in the heart, but the mirror.

You tell us you “love the men who so bravely and willingly risk their lives in service to our country and to protect us all.” Well, as a man who wore the uniform, please allow me to say thank you for that. I will remember to carry your message of “love” on my next trip to the V.A. Hospital, and pass it along to the young men with no legs; men whose bodies and lives have been shredded and shattered and piled up through the ages at your entitled feet. I will tell them all is not lost. They have love of Neely Steinberg, internet relationship guru from Boston.

But first please indulge me with a question or two. Did it ever occur to you to plead with these men you “love” not to put themselves in harm’s way? Is it not strange, even perverse, that in a world terrorized with illicit wars, that you dangle love like a carrot for the men who leave body parts, or everything, on the battlefield?

And please tell me, if you really loved these men, in the most pure and real definition of the word, and you support their being fodder, would you not be better off talking of your willingness to stand with them where the metal meets the meat, willing to offer your own blood for whatever cause you have deemed sufficient to demand their sacrifice? Or are you just satisfied in a world where they fall in your stead while you bestow platitudes and hollow affections?

You also say that “love the shape of a man’s big, strong back when he leans over to pick up something heavy.” No doubt, this is a great turn on for you. But isn’t your sentence incomplete? Would it not be more accurate to add the words for me on to the end? This is one of the things you really love most about men, is it not? The willingness to do your heavy lifting; and the payment of the price for that labor with a broken body that eventually buckles beneath the weight of all your “love”?

I think that is the answer, and nowhere is it more aptly revealed than in three of your reasons in particular, as follows:

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I love how a man in love thinks of his partner’s sexual pleasure before his own.

I love when a man knows what to say and what not to say to make a woman happy.

I love the way a man takes a woman’s delicate hand, brings it to his lips, and kisses it gently, showing how much he adores her.

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Admittedly, these things do not rise to the level of catching bullets, staring down danger or converting one’s body into an appliance for your convenience. They do, however, make all things possible. You’ve concluded in them that even in life’s most intimate moments, even after you have been serviced and sacrificed for, that you, and only you, are the only thing that really matters.

Love? Please. These acts, or rather your infatuation with them, are not elements of any kind of love. You don’t love men. You love yourself. You just use men as your visible proof that what you want is justified and wholesome, and not the conceited, parasitic sickness that it is. If there is love to be had in this world, you are the least deserving of it.

What is a man worth to you, Ms. Steinberg? I don’t mean his service and sacrifice, but his intrinsic worth as a human being. What love do you have for your fellow man that is not based on his blood, his back or his wallet? Do you even comprehend these questions and why I am asking?  Or am I asking the wrong person?

I was pleased to see that Tom Matlack finally took some semblance of a stand against his own expected utility to feminists, apparently after spending too much time on their leash settling for the crumbs of appreciation tossed down from his betters. So I do have hopes that as Tom continues to mature, to learn, and to find values that are actually worth standing up for, that he gets to the next level of his development as a man, and figures out that there is no difference between Neely Steinberg and the feminist ideologues that have just crucified him for not toting their barge. Both view Tom only in terms of what he will do to serve them; both will blithely slip a shank in his back the moment he forgets that they both “love when a man knows what to say and what not to say to make a woman happy.”

That will happen when the day comes that he starts writing about the innate human worth of men; about their real struggles and not just their willingness to sacrifice for women and other men. And no, we are not talking about men embarking on a path of solipsism that would result in more self-indulgent lists of petty desires à la Steinberg.

I am speaking instead of the simple and honest fruition of love; the idea that you are worth something before you pay for it in blood, sweat and tears. And that the idea of tending to your own needs and your own survival, and those of your fellow man, is not an act of shame, cowardice or unworthiness, except in the eyes of the depraved.

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