Today a friend sent me a collection of jokes making fun of the ineptitude of men.  Here’s one of them:

One day my housework-challenged husband decided  to wash his sweatshirt. Seconds after he stepped into the laundry room, he shouted to me, 'What setting do I use on the washing machine?'

 'It depends,' I replied.   'What does it say on your shirt?'

 He yelled back, 'OHIO STATE!'

And they say blondes are dumb.…

The jokes were funny, and I got a kick out of them, but on the other hand they were depressing, since they are a slander on so many good men.  I suppose there are plenty of men like the ones in the jokes, but I don’t know many, and was not raised as one of them.  These cartoon characters are not Christians.

Although my mother did the majority of work inside the house, my father cleaned, cooked, changed diapers, and used the household appliances often and with perfect competence, particularly when my mother needed help–and this was long before it became a virtue among enlightened progressives.  My father’s boys grew up with a reasonable and flexible attitude on what comprised men’s and women’s work, and with the ability and willingness to do all the things pictured as unthinkable for the brutish nincompoops of the dumb-male joke. 

These boys also grew up as secure in their headship over their households as their father was, and as convinced as he that women could no more be pastors than men could be mothers–that as willing as one might be to make exceptions where required and keep the division-of-labor lines light in some areas, there really were such things as men’s and women’s work decreed by God and nature that are the bases of culture and not simply its artifacts.

Men who have been taught, and who believe, that they are to love their wives as Christ loved the Church and gave himself for her, do not refuse to use vacuum cleaners, mops, washing machines, or stoves.  They do not leave the discipline of the children to their wives–a cowardly and shameful practice–or insist on being waited on by consorts they treat as idiots or slaves.  They seek to marry the kind of women who value them as men, whose opinions are worth listening to, and whom they can trust completely with everything.  Then they seek to do the most they can to make their lives happy.  Of course they lapse into selfishness from time to time, but these are not the joke-men; these are men who love their wives as their own flesh, make and keep their vows to them, draw close to them and love them.  There are many of them in the world, and the Faith teaches that all Christian husbands are to be among them.

Don’t let the feminists tell you that Nice Men was all they really wanted all along.  No, feminism wishes to destroy men as men by making them equal to women, to efface every difference between the sexes that it can instead of exult in them.  It is the opposite of the love that a woman gives a man that encourages his manhood.  It approves the domesticated male because his domestication symbolizes his degradation.  It is full of self-consuming and isolating contradiction and self-loathing, defining successful womanhood in terms of its equality to the maleness it seeks at once to possess and destroy; it is demonic, inhumane, wholly un-Christian.

No doubt, though, it is fond of the joke-man–who, over against the woman who needs him like a fish needs a bicycle, is the inferior, the incompetent, the heedless, the foolish, the improvident, the helpless, the selfish, the lazy, and the stupid.  But the man who seeks to obey God in his treatment of women, and especially of his wife, is none of these.  He exalts her by helping her–which includes increasing his field of competence–while the believing wife gladly lifts him up as the lord of her home, her family, and her self.  This is not an impossible ideal.  By the grace of God it is lived out every day among millions.