Male Role Models

Published in Personal - 3 mins to read

One of the thoughts I had while communing with the void in the float tank yesterday was that I now feel like I have two male role models in my life, whereas in the past I’ve struggled to find much to look up to in the men around me.

Firstly is one of my coworkers, Andy, who is a senior software engineer on the same team as me. I am usually disparaging of bearded straight white male engineers because, well, the industry is overrun with them and they’re homogenously uninspiring, but Andy is completely different to any of them that I’ve met so far. He offers few words unless asked, preferring to let others have the floor, but when he does speak he is kind and wise, betraying his vast amount of experience without using it to overshadow others. His code reviews always make me feel good about my code, even when there’s little to feel good about, and he would rather gently guide someone in the right direction than overrule their decisions. He is, in my opinion, remarkably humble, as well as alarmingly funny when he wants to be, and perhaps most enviably, ever-calm even amidst total chaos. I want to be more like him - to take up less space, to have a quiet grasp on things that I only share when prompted, to think deeply about problems, to recognise the value in helping others before myself.

The other is probably going to read this blog, so maybe I won’t be quite as gushing - obviously it’s Ted. I’m also not really sure whether to use second or third person, but we’re going to go with third. I’ve similarly always admired his calmness and unflappability, doubly so given I find myself distinctly flapped by even trivial things. He’s constantly trying to become a better person, but he’s equally at peace with who he is now, and delights in learning new things about himself, others and the world - seemingly having a childlike sense of wonderment at times that suggests a lack of cynicism that I wish I could emulate. He always wants to hear both sides of the argument, to hear out ideas in opposition to his own, and is willing to change his mind on anything in the face of new evidence, which might not sound like a big deal in theory, but in practice I’ve found to be a rarity. He’s sincere in a way that I think is very uncommon among men, and over the past few years I’ve watched him invest his time and effort in learning how to articulate his emotions in a genuine and healthy way, even though that doesn’t seem to come naturally to him. He cares unbelievably deeply about his family, partner, friends and dog, and would go to the ends of the earth for any of them - or perhaps I should say us, because I think he would for me too. He’s been far kinder to me than I’ve deserved for years now, offering support but never advice unless solicited, never judging me despite both the avalanche of judgment I levy upon myself and the slew of thoughts, feelings and I actions I’ve shared with him that were undeniably deserving of being judged. I would like to be more like him too - to better understand the space between thoughts and feelings and words and actions, to value the health and happiness of my loved ones over my own ego, to strive to be a better person without that being a rejection of the person I currently am.

I think if I could be more like these two, I’d be a pretty good person.