In Search of Noble Men
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Ebb and Flow.
I donâ€™t know if itâ€™s my hopeless romanticism or if I simply have an old-fashioned streak, but honor, integrity, and nobility are important to me. And Iâ€™m discouraged that itâ€™s something I have to look forâ€”activelyâ€”inÂ people I encounter in my every day world.
Iâ€™ve often been told that my standards are too high. My ex once told me that when it came to issues of integrity, Â that Â I Â was over-the-top and Â incredibly Â obstinate, though Â the Â work-related Â issue Â we Â were discussing Â was very black-and-white to me. Iâ€™ve been in situations over the years where I went home from work not knowing if Iâ€™d have to resign the next day because I couldnâ€™t do what Iâ€™d been ordered to do and Â wondering if my temporary lack Â of Â income Â would Â cost Â us our Â home. Â Fortunately, standing my ground meant they found some other poor schmuck to sign off on what I wouldnâ€™t. Sometimes those poorÂ schmucks Â gotÂ promoted Â over Â meÂ and sometimes they got kicked out once theyâ€™d done what was required of them.
One thing that makes me so terribly sad is the repeatedly reinforced idea that men canâ€™t be noble in their personal lives. (And for the record, Iâ€™ve seen enough clingy, manipulative, Â and irresponsible behavior Â in Â women around me to understand why men think thereâ€™s no such thing as a woman who can stand on her own and doesnâ€™t have ulterior motives in offering up her love.) In the past two years, Iâ€™ve had so many women in my arena tell me again and again and again how dishonest and dishonor- able men are Â and how I canâ€™t expect any better. Iâ€™m so often told that no man can be faithful and if heâ€™s out of my sight for a couple of days, well, he just wonâ€™t be able to help himself. Iâ€™m told that itâ€™s impossible for a man to be celibate for any length of time.
When I point out that I am celibate and have been for a long time, Iâ€™m told that yeah, but itâ€™s not as difficult for a woman. Others have told me that Iâ€™m in the top 2% who believe as I do in regard to honor, compassion, and relationship Â dynamics. Â If so, Iâ€™d like to think there are men who are in the top 2% with me. I just hate that constant reinforcement Â of distrust and really want to believe that not every Â man Â in the world is out whoring Â every night. When I tell myself that my wish might actually be a reality, then I have to wonder whatâ€™s happened to all the women who tell me Iâ€™m wrong. Then again, I also deal with tons of Â men who tell me their wives donâ€™t under- stand them, that their wives Â lack the passion they want from me, that they want something no-strings Â with me, that they want to be a â€œpleasure pointâ€ in my life (still laughing over that one), that lifeâ€™s too short not to sleep with as many women Â (and men) as they can while they still can. Seems to be a very vocal majority, and Iâ€™m hop- ing that the silent minority are indeed noble men.
Itâ€™s been somewhat easier in the past two years to find honor in the professional Â arena. I can name at least two examples, though I can name Â dozens more whoâ€™ve told me they have â€œno choiceâ€ but to sign off on something unethical Â because Â they Â really Â need Â a Â promotion or Â an award or they just donâ€™t want to fight it. Itâ€™s like the cases in the news recently of student journalists being censored and the teacher Â who willingly agrees Â to Â censor because freedom of speech and freedom of the press arenâ€™t worth losing her job for. Gee, you mean Â principles Â are more than just resume fodder?
But I am heartened Â by the two examples Â Iâ€™ve found. Heartened and disheartened.
In one case, a man walked out of a six-figure job over an ethical issue. No replacement salary on the horizon. Major financial, legal, and life disruptions.
In the second case, a man refused to hide the truth from his customer, and though he wasnâ€™t fired, he faced constant pressure from his colleagues to be a team player and cave in. My guess is that he will never, in spite of his great track record, be promoted.
These arenâ€™t the kinds of cases that make â€œ60 Min- utesâ€ or the front page of the local papers. Both cases of men doing the right thing, having integrity, Â acting with honor, being noble. At great personal cost. Neither case was celebrated. Both were buried. Why?
The first man worked for a large regional corporation.
To celebrate his sense of ethics would have meant public recognition of the corporationâ€™s lack of ethicsâ€”and thatâ€™s not good for business.
The second man never expected Â anyone out his organization Â to know what Â had Â happened, Â but Â someone who admired him brought it to my attention when I had a chance Â to Â get Â some Â nice Â recognition Â for people Â doing â€œthe right thing.â€ Of course, â€œthe right thingâ€ is a nice ideal, but public acknowledgment of his integrity would have meant public acknowledgement of the lack of integrity among his colleagues and their attempts to cover up the truth. I was told no, it would make someone else look bad if we gave the guy kudos for doing what the Â right thing. Thus, his noble actions were swept under the rug of politics.
So maybe there â€˜s more integrity, honor, and nobility out there than we see. Maybe itâ€™s just obscured by all the people who donâ€™t have it.