Is he a Man or a Mouse?



Most women love the image of her knight in shining armour. A tall and burly man, broad shoulders and all, who will fall madly in love with her and whisk her off into the sunset on horseback – or in a horse powered German car.

But does she ever imagine that like her, he has moments when in the dead of the night he is confronted by his deepest fear?

Women are constantly reminded of their hang ups. A friend crying on her shoulder over a heart break reminds her of her fear of falling in love. A school bus loaded with chatty children reminds her of her fear of getting ‘knocked up’ at the wrong time, or not at all.

The sight of a police check reminds her that she is afraid of being mugged, car-jacked or raped.  And to whom does she turn in the face of all these fears? Feminist or not – women almost always run to their male knights in shining armour when alarmed.

I grew up on a farm in a time when living amidst vast vegetation was synonymous with frequent break-ins and muggings. So my dad – who was often away – invested heavily in armed guards and dogs (seven to be exact).

When my brother went off to boarding school, I felt like my security blanket had been lifted off of me and locked up in a closet with the key swallowed by a whale. The only thing that could get me to sleep at night, even though I knew we were as secure as a fort, was the sound of my father’s car engine parking in the driveway.

We ladies have been oblivious to the fact that men may not be as brave as we need them to. Just as we are afraid of lizards, spiders and flat tyres men have fears as well. They are just not as vocal about them as we are. And their worries are as varied as ours.

The sight of a broken hearted ex-girlfriend could remind them of their fear of not finding the woman of their lives, or marrying the wrong one. Children could affirm their fear of not being able to satisfy their women, of not being a good father, or having their daughters fingers smashed in between a door.  It could be anything really.

This is not to dispute the notion that men will forever and inevitably be our heroes in the face of unending drama. Neither am I insinuating that women shouldn’t be able to call a girlfriend when her car radiator blows. All I ask of the ladies is that we should allow our boys to flinch at the horror movies or show panic once in a while.

We know that the spider inside the medicine cabinet was a tarantula and that’s why you shrieked like a girl. It’s alright to be a little scared once in a while. In fact, there is nothing more heart warming and attractive than a man aware of his terror and the level at which he allows it to dictate his life.

My brother, the ultimate gecko smasher, radiator fixer and bully basher, admitted unashamedly that his biggest trepidation was discovering, that in that moment of clarity as one dies, that you could have done so much more but you didn’t because you held back. Embrace your fears and they will set you free!


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