I just finished reading The Man Code: A Woman’s Guide to Cracking the Tough Guy by Bachelorette contestant and Bachelor Pad co-winner David Good. Being a woman, I tend to have a curiosity about what drives guys to do some of the seemingly inexplicable things they do, so I was looking forward to seeing what this self-proclaimed “man’s man” had to say on the subject.
While Good makes his fair share of pertinent points, my overall impression was less-than-ecstatic.
In essence, the Man Code, as defined by Good, is a positive thing. It’s a kind of moral code that theoretically molds guys into a quality mix of Sir Lancelot, Steve Jobs, and Heathcliff, meaning that those who adhere to the code are still waters that run ambitious, romantic, and deep. They’re disgusted by frat boys and bad boys, and would rather jump into a brawl to save a buddy’s ass than tell a woman he cares about her more than once in a blue moon. Basically, they’re modern day knights in shining armor with a significantly less poetic take on life - and romance.
The synopsis promises a way to “decipher the unspoken rules that govern masculinity,” but this book ends up being kind of a bait-and-switch. The bulk of the content centers on Good’s childhood - learning how to be a man from his entrepreneur, workaholic dad - “what really happened” during his stint on reality TV, and understanding the Man Code man’s M.O. when it comes to women.
He says Man Code men want their mates to be equal partners, but that these manly men also require consistent ego-petting and the assurance that they’re the primary provider for and protector of the family unit. And despite being considered equal, these macho guys will never deign to ask for a woman’s help. Um paradox.
He says that these men want women who will basically be mysterious, open, boisterous, prim, flexible, decisive, dependent, independent, aloof, and emotionally supportive, among other traits. So, so many paradoxes...
He says that women should never trust a man who reminds them more of a cat than a dog, and should run the other direction if he owns a cat. He then goes on to compare the affection of Man Code men to outdoor cats who bring their masters dead birds as a show of love: “it’s not pretty, but it’s love nonetheless,” he writes. Cat? Dog? Confused? Me, too.
He says that women should learn to accept that Man Code men are reticent about love, but often show love in different ways we just have to make ourselves look long and hard for it with a high-power microscope. We also have to get used to being equally prioritized with his buddies. Oh, and we should wait maybe four dates before getting it on - otherwise, we might no longer be in the running for the prestigious “mother of my future children” award. Bull, bull, bull.
He says women shouldn’t put streaks in or “otherwise screw up” their hair. What the ?! Are certain lipstick and nail polish colors off-limits too? Jerk.
Ladies, for heaven’s sake, I don’t think we need a reality star preaching about how to love guys who are so completely submerged in their jobs and personal issues, whatever they may be, to take a second to reach out. He blames divorce and social media, among other trends, for the decline of the Man Code man. But did he ever think that their “endangered species” status might have something more to do with natural selection? Because the guys he describes, while respectable and desirable in some ways, sure seem like a hell of a lot more trouble than they’re worth.