Woman's Ideal Man

The ideal changes with the idealist.

I suppose there was never yet a woman who had not somewhere set up on a pedestal in her brain an ideal of manhood. He is by no means immutable, this paragon. On the contrary, he changes very often. If, however, the woman whose ideal he is grows upward in every way as she grows older, then these changes all go to improve him, and by the time he is finished he is a very fine creature. He never is finished till the brain of his creator ceases to work, till she has added her last touch to him, and has laid down the burden of life and gone elsewhere, perhaps to some happy land where ideals are more frequently realised than ever happens here.

My ideal man.

A man’s brain should be as fine as his heart.

Like every other woman, I have my ideal of manhood. The difficulty is to describe it. First of all, he must be a gentleman; but that means so much that it, in its turn, requires explanation. Gentleness and moral strength combined must be the salient characteristics of the “gentleman,” together with that polish that is never acquired but in one way: constant association with those so happily-placed that they have enjoyed the influences of education and refinement all through their lives. He must be thoughtful for others, kind to women and children and all helpless things, tender-hearted to the old and the poor and the unhappy, but never foolishly weak in giving where gifts do harm instead of good—his brain must be as fine as his heart, in fact. There are few such men; but they do exist. I know one or two. Reliable as rocks, judicious in every action, dependable in trifles as well as the large affairs of life, full of mercy and kindness to others, affectionate and well-loved in their homes, their lives are pure and kindly.

The furnace of experience.

It was once said by a clever man that no one could be a gentleman all round who had not knocked about the world and associated with all sorts and conditions of men, high and low, rich and poor, good and bad. Experiences like these are like the processes for refining gold. The man who emerges unharmed from the fire of poverty and its associations, and who retains his independent manliness in relations with those high-placed, must have within him a fibre of strength that is the true essence of manliness. So many, alas! go down, down, when “puirtith cauld” touches them with her terrible, chilly finger. And so many become obsequious and subservient, false to themselves, in dealings with those above them.

Humour an essential.

Well! my ideal does neither. He is always true to himself, and “cannot then be false to any man.” And he must have a sense of humour, too, otherwise he would be far from perfect. How life is brightened by a sense of fun! Think of what breakfast, lunch, and dinner would be if all were to be as solemn and as serious as some folk would have it!

On behaviour in one’s own home.

The ill-bred young man at home.

If good manners are not practised at home, but are allowed to lie by until occasion calls upon their wearer to assume them, they are sure to be a bad fit when donned. It may be a trifle of the smallest to acquire a habit of saying “if you please” and “thank you” readily, but it is no trifling defect in a young man to fail to do so. If he does not jump up to open the door for his mother or sister, he may omit to do so some day when the neglect will tell against him in the estimation of those to please whom he would gladly give much. Carelessness in dress and personal appearance amount to bad manners. In the home there is sometimes a disagreeable negligence in this respect. At the breakfast-table unkempt hair, untended finger-nails, and a far from immaculate collar are occasionally to be seen, especially on late-comers who do not practise the ingratiating politeness of punctuality. Lounging, untidy habits are another form

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