Way back in the day, our family used to watch ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway,’ an improv show with a brilliant comedic ensemble cast of Drew Carey, Colin Mochrie, Ryan Stiles and Wayne Brady (others, also great comedic improvers, joined; but these four were our favorites). All of those guys are on the permanent invite to Thanksgiving. That’s a special honor in our family. Ellen Degeneres, the cast of Modern Family, Maggie Smith, my kids’ dermatologist all grace that list. It’s the way our family describes people we don’t really know but consider them family. And, by the way, I make an outstanding Thanksgiving spread!
Recently, I saw Wayne Brady on a talk show. He’s still every bit as funny and fun as he was on ‘Whose Line.’ But, how he answered one of the questions posed to him made me respect him as a person and not just a performer. The host asked, “What kind of woman do you want.” Wayne said that he really wanted to find a woman who is intelligent. Now, a lot of men say that–especially when they’re on a national platform. No one (who’s intelligent themselves) is going to admit that physical appearance drives their relationship radar. However, Wayne Brady went on to say that yes, of course, he wanted someone attractive to him; but at the end of the day, he’s a single dad to a daughter and what kind of message would he send her if he went out with women who were just physically beautiful but not much else? He said that he couldn’t tell his daughter to develop her mind and then bring home a woman who couldn’t discuss relevant issues.
Now that’s a real man. A man who thinks about what he’s teaching his children. A man who lives out his principles and doesn’t just say the politically correct rhetoric. A grown-up man.
I’ve mentored several women as they traversed divorce, dating and remarriage. Many of them wanted the ‘bad boys.’ ‘Bad boys’ are exciting. ‘Bad boys’ are edgy. Most of the ‘bad boys’ reminded them of previous love interests in a relationship’s beginning when everything excited them and the possibility of adventure loomed. ‘Bad boys’ excite the fantasy that comes with many of the insipid ‘chick flicks’ which glorify relationships where men treat women badly, but the women change them in the end.
*sigh* Can we all take a moment and bask in the glory of
stupid, I mean ‘young’ love?
Okay, back to reality. The only time ‘bad boys’ work well in relationships is in fiction. When someone else takes charge of their plot, everything works out splendidly. When someone else writes their dialogue, they wax poetic and actually grow to empathize with the love interest. When someone else develops their character, they don’t cheat or stray. All of this relates to ‘bad girls’ too; I just haven’t had as much experience mentoring that arena.
Can we all take away a bit from Wayne Brady? Can we strive to be role models for the next generation? Can we leave behind the whole ‘do as I say, not what I do’ philosophy? Can we work toward thinking about future generations and how they will process what a man or woman is, then live in such a way that they can springboard from our examples and become real men and real women? Perhaps if more of us embodied that character, the world could become a kinder, gentler place.
Oh, and Wayne, if you ever read this, you and yours have a standing invitation at our Thanksgiving table!