manhood and girls who say no

Manhood is weird. Some days I feel like I need an assistant to keep track of which guy friends I handshake, fist-bump, slap-hand/grab-fingers/finger-point, or tough-hug-while-maintaining-heterosexual-distance with.

Today I confronted another lack of manhood in a public place.

My family and I ate lunch at a pavilion near a local park. Afterward I took my boys to play, and my wife and baby daughter hung out in the shade of the pavilion. After fifteen minutes my wife got my attention, and as I approached her informed me that some pre-teen boys were giving a girl a hard time who was resisting one of them.

I walked over quickly, assessing the situation just as she described. Even from a distance the boy noticed me and let go of the girl... as if he knew what he was doing was wrong but only was reminded of it by my approach.

Using my best "man" voice, I got close and asked, "WHEN A GIRL SAYS NO, WHAT DOES IT MEAN?"

"I don't know," he answered to avoid answering.


"I don't know."

"Yes," laughed one of his buddies.


Turning back toward the first kid, I asked again, "WHEN A GIRL SAYS NO, WHAT DOES IT MEAN?"

"I don't know... maybe... or no, I guess."

I paused, looking him over. "You WILL respect these girls." The two females, about 12 years old each, sat on the picnic table listening with their backs to me.

"Why does he care?" chirped the third boy.

"He's trying to be our father figure," said the first.

"Do you have a father figure?" I asked him.

"Yeah," he answered.

"Does he set a good example for you?"

"I don't know," he replied.

"Not mine," said the second boy.

"I don't have a dad," blurted the third. He seemed serious.

"Then stop waiting for someone to set an example and start setting one," I pressed. "I know how this works. You nod your head now and then when I walk away you shout out something that sounds clever but is your attempt to look cool instead of be a man. So decide if you're going to be boys who don't respect girls or men who fight for their purity and honor."


"Don't tell me okay. I have a daughter and she's going to grow up, and you'd better respect her."

"I won't know your daughter," he said.

"But you do know these girls, so start with them."

"Okay... okay..."

I sat down across from them.

Awkward pause.

"So..." he said, "are you just going to sit there and watch us now?"

"Yep. Someone will always be watching you."


I had this happen once before and wrote about it:

Different boys, same lack of respect.

As long as it keeps happening, I'll keep on giving the same talk. It may go in one ear and out the other... it may only stick with one of them... it may be the girls decide to stop hanging out with guys like this.

Or maybe you read this and will be the next reminder to someone that what is common in our world should never be considered normal.
"Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us." (Titus 2:6-8)


  1. Oh man, that's awesome! I totally wish that was on video. I wanna see the looks on their faces! :)


    Thank you for posting your experience, and (most of all) for showing those young ladies that they are worthy of being championed, and the young men that THEY are the ones who should be standing up for the young ladies.

    I can see that I'm going to be spending some time here reading. We can thank Bob Senz for sharing the link on FB. :)


  3. I am humbled by this. That you would stand up for a stranger in need is amazing. As a former 12-year-old girl, I will say this for all the other 12-year-old girls, past 12-year-old girls, and 12-year-old girls to be (and for myself as well). Thank you, with all my heart, thank you.