An Ideal Man... in philadelphia

What is an ideal man? As a woman, I naturally approach this question of what makes a man ideal in relationship to myself as a woman. I am not questioning what makes a man outwardly attractive or what makes a man appeal to the female senses, but rather, what is the essence of an Ideal Man. What is it that makes him truly ideal? Please join me in this journey to discover the best of manhood, what makes a man truly great. The illustrations are of men I found in Philadelphia, my favorite city. Somehow, when looking for ideals, Philadelphia is a good place to start. It was, after all, the place where the ideals of our Founding Fathers began.

Two Extremes

When it comes down to how women want men to behave, opinions vary widely. Perhaps some women would agree with Mrs. Allonby in Oscar Wilde’s satirical play A Woman of No Importance:

“Oh, the Ideal Man should talk to us as if we were goddesses, and treat us as if we were children. He should refuse all our serious requests, and gratify every one of our whims. He should encourage us to have caprices, and forbid us to have missions. He should always say much more than he means, and always mean much more than he says.”

Lady Caroline, of the same play, summarizes this thought: “As far as I can see, he is to do nothing but pay bills and compliments.”

This is not the true description of an Ideal Man; it is the picture of a man who is a mere plaything to the women in his life. He is there merely for their vanity and conceited whims. This man worships woman, at the same time as he regards her as inferior.

There is a new representation of the Ideal Man in more recent culture. This man is, in fact, a vampire, and his name is Edward Cullen. With the surge of popularity that the Twilight series has provoked, young girls are now on a quest to find their Ideal Vamp – excuse me, I mean Ideal Man. To them, he is tall, dark, and handsome with mysterious, shadowy eyes. He is a reformed monster, like Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre. He is utterly devoted to the love of his life, Bella, risking his life for her. He virtually worships the ground she walks upon, and he is as a god to her. Good, right? Wrong. Edward Cullen is no man. He is not real. An Ideal Man is not one to be worshiped.

So what is an Ideal Man anyway? An Ideal Man is considered a man of honor – an honorable man. But his facets are many... an Ideal Man is:

“A man of personality can formulate ideals, but only a man of character can achieve them.” ~ Herbert Read

A Man of Ideals

The Ideal Man is a man of ideals. An ideal is a goal; it is something that a man strives for. The Ideal Man has the vision of something perfect, something noble and good, that he must work towards. He is not idle, playing video games in his parents’ basement. He has vision, and he is working for that vision.

George Washington
George Washington

“A Man of courage never wants weapons.” ~ Author Unknown

A Man of Courage

The Ideal Man does not lack courage. He is man unafraid of consequences, as long as he knows that what he is doing is right. Bravery is something he highly esteems. This does not mean that he is never afraid, but that he faces his fears.

Commodore Barry
Commodore Barry

“A Good Man Is Hard to Find” ~ Flannery O’Connor

A Man of Goodness

Men of goodness are indeed hard to find, and yet the Ideal Man is incomplete without this quality. He puts righteousness on as breastplate (Ephesians 6:14) to protect him from the wickedness of the world. Indeed, he hates wickedness in his very core and seeks always to act, think, and speak what is good. Of course, no man is perfect, no man will shine like purest gold, yet an Ideal Man will make it his mission to seek after that which is good.

James Madison... I think
James Madison... I think

“The ideal man bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of circumstances.” ~ Aristotle

A Man of Dignity

The Ideal Man holds himself with dignity. He does not fall into beggarly habits when he is low, and he does not rise to arrogance when he is high. He is constant all his days. The Ideal Man stands as one to be respected. This dignity is revealed in his speech and countenance.

George Washington... again
George Washington... again

“It was pride that changed angels into demons; it is humility that makes men as angels.” ~ St. Augustine

A Man of Humility

Although the Ideal Man retains dignity in his bearing and actions, he also holds close to his heart a true sense of humility. He does not esteem himself as better than his fellow human beings. He knows the flaws and faults of his character and seeks to be rid of them.

Marquis de Lafayette
Marquis de Lafayette

“My strength is as the strength of ten, Because my heart is pure.” ~ Alfred, Lord Tennyson

A Man of Purity

A pure man is even harder to find than a good man these days. The Ideal Man keeps his heart, his mind, his very being, pure. He is not given to impure thoughts; he does not look on pictures of impurity; he does not live an impure lifestyle. To him, his mind is easily tainted by the ways of the world, and therefore he keeps his thoughts focused on that which is pure.

Edgar Allan Poe in brick
Edgar Allan Poe in brick

“The strength of a man isn’t in the weight he can lift. It’s in the burdens he can carry.” ~ Jacqueline Marie Griffiths

A Man of Strength

The Ideal Man is strong, and I don’t mean physically (though that surely wouldn’t hurt). He is strong in what he believes; he is strong in his ideals, his goodness, etc. He is one that stands up for what is right, and yet is always ready to correct himself if he finds that he is wrong. He is strong where those are weak; he lifts up the oppressed, the outcast. He is the strong leader and provider of his family.

Rocky
Rocky

“A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.” ~ William Shakespeare

A Man of Wisdom

The Ideal Man seeks after Wisdom as after precious stones and makes her his constant companion. The wisdom that he seeks is not the wisdom of the world; it is the wisdom of the Word. Though worldly men may speak the foolish wisdom of their own hearts, the Ideal Man stores up inside him the wisdom that is not his own.

Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin

“Men of sense, whatever you may choose to say, do not want silly wives.” ~ Jane Austen

A Man of Sense

The Ideal Man has what everyone calls “common sense.” He does not follow the herd as they jump off the cliff to their deaths. He rather uses the mind God gave him to make smart, thoughtful decisions. He is not rash. He is not easily led. He does not waver with the trends of the day. He uses his head, when others use their whims.

Thomas Paine
Thomas Paine

“The gentle mind by gentle deeds is known. For a man by nothing is so well bewrayed, As by his manners.” ~ Edmund Spenser

A Man of Manners

The Ideal Man is a gentleman. I would never expect the Ideal Man to read Emily Post’s Etiquette and obey every rule of manners to the utmost: that would be more than ridiculous. The Ideal Man has manners that come from the gentleness of his heart. These are the manners that concern themselves with more than which spoon is prescribed for which course. The Ideal Man treats women with respect, children with courtesy, and other men with esteem.

Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson

“A man without humor is like a car without shock absorbers.” ~ Author Unknown

A Man of Humor

The Ideal Man would be rather dull if he did not have a sense of humor. His humor is, of course, in the best taste. His sense of humor tempers his personality and lifts him out of the pit of mediocrity.

person unknown
person unknown

“I detest that man who hides one thing in the depths of his heart, and speaks forth another.” ~ Homer

A Man of Honesty

The Ideal Man is honest with himself and others. He does not hide who he is from the world, especially from his loved ones. He is discreetly open about himself and does not attempt to put on a façade of perfection. The words that he speaks are carefully weighed and measured before he speaks them. Truth is his only language.

Edgar Allan Poe in sculpture
Edgar Allan Poe in sculpture

“Good words are worth much and cost little.” ~ George Herbert

A Man of Clean Lips

The Ideal Man does not find it necessary to relieve his passions with vulgar language. The words that come from his lips are pure and good and inoffensive. His speech is the direct result of what lies in his heart. If a man has a good heart, he will speak good words.

William Penn
William Penn

“A man with God is always in the majority.” ~ John Knox

A Man of God

Unpopular a concept as it may be, a truly Ideal Man is one who has faith in God. His supreme alliance lies with his Creator, his Lord, his Savior. The Ideal Man seeks to please God in his life. He looks to His Word for guidance. He is unashamed to be a man of prayer. He loves others, because he has been loved first. He would die for his faith in Jesus Christ.

John Witherspoon
John Witherspoon

"Likewise urge the young men to be sensible; in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us." ~ Titus 2:6-8

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Comments 17 comments

Jane Grey profile image

Jane Grey 6 years ago from Oregon

This is so good. A reminder of all that God has placed before His creation as a high calling for Manhood. Now I think of Christ, the one Ideal Man. He was fully man, fully God: ideal in every way.

The quotes in the blue boxes were a special touch, and I loved the richness of all that has influenced your words: authors, statesmen, puritans, comedians. This is definitely going under my "Best of Rose West" bookmark! (Yes, I have one of those for you. :)


Rose West profile image

Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan Author

Hi Jane! Yes I was thinking of Christ as the ultimate Ideal Man, even though I don't think I outright said that. The quotes were fun to find, and I think they say what I mean better than I can. Oh dear, you don't really have a bookmark, do you... that's so sweet! I'm so glad you enjoyed this so much!


Nikkij504gurl profile image

Nikkij504gurl 6 years ago from Louisiana

yea, and there is too little and so few good, ideal, real men these days. I haven't met one who is all of those let alone maybe 2 of those lol


Jane Grey profile image

Jane Grey 6 years ago from Oregon

Oh, and congrats on 200 followers! That was a fast 100!!!


Rose West profile image

Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan Author

Nikkij504gurl, you are right, good men are very hard to find! I do believe there are some out there though, and I've even met a few. And not one of them is a vampire ;)

Jane, thank you! I have a tidy little congregation of readers now :)


Kendall H. profile image

Kendall H. 6 years ago from Northern CA

This made me smile. I just can't seem to understand the fascination with Edward. He just seems far too moody. :) Great job on this hub!


Rose West profile image

Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan Author

Me neither, Kendall - I mean he's a vampire for goodness' sake! It really saddens me when I see the young women of our society falling head over heels for this unrealistic immortal being.


keiranthapa profile image

keiranthapa 6 years ago from Darjeeling

Loved reading your hub! Although the notion of anything ideal differs from individual to individual, you've taken universal yardsticks to guage a man.


Rose West profile image

Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan Author

keiranthapa, thank you for reading; I'm glad you enjoyed it!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

Hi, I read every word, trying to see if any men that I had dated had any of these virtues! Some had one or two, some had none, and some acted like vampires (mentally sucking you dry)lol It seems to me that men in the old days, were so much more like this. Today men seem to have weakened and changed. But of course not the Armed forces, they are still as great as ever. And as for the Twilight films, no way! I watch the Vampire Diaries!! Can't help it, the two boys are so gorgeous.... Oh for goodness sake nell grow up!! ha ha cheers nell


Rose West profile image

Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan Author

Nell Rose, thank you so much for reading and commenting! You know, you're right. Men today are often weak and unmanly. Something needs to change! I don't know what it's like in the UK, but here, the country is falling apart because of weak men who are unable to stand up for what is right. No wonder young girls are finding their heroes in vampires; the men are simply not good enough. I do know some strong, upright men though - they're not extinct yet!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

Hi, just thought I would answer your question about men in the UK. Useless!!! lol I went to Greece a few times, and when I got of the plane, I fell in love with about twenty men in ten seconds!! hee hee they are gorgeous, they are very family orientated and have brilliant manners, oh, and they are gorgeous! then i came home, the men are pale, miserable and bump into whenever you try and get through a door, or cross the road. There is only one gorgeous man in my town and he is AMERICAN ha ha ha that figures!! cheers nell


Kendra  5 years ago

This is so good. What really makes an ideal man is the God in him. If he is faithful to God he will be seeking for all of these attribute to be increased in him. This is even good for us woman to make sure we really have on the inside. Integrity, honesty, humility, patience,compassion, tact, sobriety, balance, common sense, love etc. All of this is a person character.


Rose West profile image

Rose West 5 years ago from Michigan Author

Hi Kendra, thanks so much for reading! Good point about these traits being good for us women as well. Strength of character is important, and I wish that more people would take it seriously.


Richycholmes profile image

Richycholmes 4 years ago from Moseley, Birmingham, England

If you put all of these qualities together you would have the ultimate person but lets be honest no one 100% is ideal are they?

Maybe a little of everything will take someone a long way.


Rose West profile image

Rose West 4 years ago from Michigan Author

Very true - the very essence of Ideal is pretty much impossible. We all have flaws we need to work through - it's what makes us human.


Richycholmes profile image

Richycholmes 4 years ago from Moseley, Birmingham, England

Spot on. We would all be very boring if we were all the same after all.

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