While I was driving to work the other day, an old school jam started playing on the radio.
You know the kind: the one that forces you to crank your system up very loud and bob your head to the beat.
Salt 'n Pepa's "What a Man" had me doing just that, but I started thinking: what makes a good man? In fact, what makes a man a man?
Being a woman, I have had some not too pleasant experiences with the opposite sex. So if you had to ask me, I'd reply by saying cheating on your girlfriend makes you a man, lying does too and so does being emotionally unavailable and acting on base instincts that will certainly harm someone.
So in my quest to be objective, I hit the phones and started calling some of my male friends to hear it from the horse's mouth.
One of my best friends, a jack of all trades, said being able to braai, beer in hand, made him a man. Another said, pardon the vulgarity, being able to stand up straight and urinate, while writing words, made him a man.
Yet another answered "responsibility".
"When you reach an age where you can take responsibility for your actions and think before you act, that makes you a man."
Facing your fears was another answer.
An older (and wiser) man I know, answered the question very comprehensively: "being able to pay your own bills, manage your own finances, look under the bonnet of your significant other's car when something is wrong with it despite the fact that you know nothing about cars, and telling her she's beautiful even though she has a swirlkous on her hair."
And then there was the practical approach offered by a guy I value as one of the most intelligent men I know (and apologies to sensitive males but I doubt many intelligent men exist!).
His reply? Testosterone. And this hormone is the cause for their "maleness" - their arrogance, their machismo and their competitive streak.
And then the lightbulb moment came, because aside from writing a name with your own urine, all the listed things are things that women can do too.
And needless to say, the bright answer came from one of my girlfriends: being able to think like a woman.
Because in today's day and age feminism has allowed women equal rights and opportunities (so when we stand on the corner with a puncture, we really can do it ourselves, we're just too lazy so we wait for a man to show his manhood by offering to fix it.)
But being able to think like a woman is priceless. And something rarely done by men. Although you think it might make you less of a man, it won't. Being kind and sensitive and compassionate and having an abundance of inner strength does not emasculate you. Instead it makes you more of a huMAN.
It may be a man's world but it would mean nothing without a woman... or a girl...