One of the most embarrassing moments of my life happened recently when I was at a prenatal doctor’s appointment at the OBGYN with my wife, Ashley. We had been waiting for the doctor who was running late due to an emergency C-Section he was performing. I really had to go to the bathroom, but I couldn’t find a Men’s restroom anywhere in the place (since their patients were all women, I guess).
We’d just had an ultrasound the previous visit, and I remembered that there was a restroom connected to the ultrasound room. My bladder couldn’t take any more waiting, so I sprinted into the empty ultrasound room and closed the bathroom door. As I started to do my business, I heard some people entering into the ultrasound room and I desperately tried to finish as quickly as I could, but I was trapped.
By the time I emerged from the bathroom with a sheepish smile, a pregnant woman was on the table with an exposed belly and a horrified ultrasound tech was looking at me like I was a deviant Peeping Tom. I politely said, “Hello” (I mean, really, what else could you do?) and exited as fast as I could. It was pretty humiliating for everyone involved, and I felt like a jerk. I made sure I used the restroom before we got to the doctor’s office for all of our remaining visits!
I’ve reflected back on that embarrassing moment, and thought it peculiar that in a place where husbands and dads need to be (being active participants in the prenatal and childbirth processes), there wasn’t consideration given to one of a man’s most basic needs (a place to pee).
For me, this was just a funny, embarrassing story to go along with countless other embarrassing stories. No real harm. Where harm can happen is when a man feels unwelcome in a place of significance like his home, his church, his community or his workplace, because one of his basic needs was neglected.
I never like to generalize, because needs are very individualized and not always gender-specific, but after studying common traits of people from all over the world, I’m convinced this list is accurate for the vast majority of men. Understanding these basic needs of every man will help you better understand yourself (if you’re a man) or help you better understand the men in your life.
In no particular order, most men need…
1. To feel respected.
Respect is a form of currency to men. It’s a commodity we treasure and one we desperately need for us to be at our best. Whether in our relationships or our workplaces, our perceived level of respect will usually dictate our levels of happiness and contentment.
2. To feel a sense of ownership.
Every man wants to feel that he’s staking a claim on his own future and that his work isn’t just furthering someone else’s agenda. Men derive a deep sense of pride and purpose from those areas where they feel a sense of ownership. He want to know he’s creating a legacy and he has the power to shape that legacy.
3. To feel useful and/or productive.
A lazy man is usually a very unhappy and disillusioned man. Men are hardwired with a need to be productive and to see the fruit of their labors in a measurable and tangible way. A man needs to know that his presence is serving a productive function.
4. A place to use the bathroom.
I mean, seriously, when a guy’s gotta go, he’s got to go!
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