A Thank-You Note to Men – From Mary-Louise Parker

young couple smiling, looking at each other, sitting on a bench

Let’s just say this prose made me swoon.

Thanks to Esquire for being the greatest magazine out there for men – and for women who want to understand men…

To you, whom it may concern:

How I do love thee, with your skill to light fires that keep me warm, light me up.

Manly creature, who smells good even when you don’t, you wake up too slowly, with fuzzy, vertical hair and a slightly lost look on your face as though you are seven or seventy-five; you can fix my front door, my sink, and open most jars; you, who lose a cuff link and have to settle for a safety pin, you have promised to slay unfortunate interlopers and dragons with your Phillips head or Montblanc; to you, because you will notice a woman with a healthy chunk of years or pounds on her and let out a wolf whistle under your breath and mean it; because you think either rug will be fine, really it will; you seem to walk down the street a little taller than me, a little more aware but with a purpose still; to you who codifies, conjugates, slams a puck, baits a hook, builds a decent cabinet or the perfect sandwich; you who gives a twenty to the kids selling Hershey’s bars and waits at baggage claim for three hours in your flannel shirt; you, sir, you take my order, my pulse, my bullshit; you who soaps me in the shower, soaks with me in the tub; to you, boy grown-up, the gentleman, soldier, professor, or caveman, the fancy man with initials on your towels and salt on your chocolates, to you and to that guy at the concession stand; thank you for the tour of the vineyard, the fire station, the sound booth, thank you for the kaleidoscope, the Horsehead Nebula, the painting, the truth; to you who carries me across the parking lot, up the stairs, to the ER, to roll-away or rice mat; to you who shows up every so often only to confuse and torment, and you who stays in orbit, always, to my left and steady, you stood up for me, I won’t forget that; to you, the one who can’t figure it out and never will, and you who lost the remote, the dog, or your way altogether; to you, wizard, you sang in my ear and brought me back from the dead, you tell me things, make me shiver; to the ones who destroyed me, even if for a minute, and to the ones who grew me, consumed me, gave me my heart back times ten; to most everything that deserves to call itself a man: How I do love thee, with your skill to light fires that keep me warm, light me up.

Join our conversation (19 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.


  1. 1

    “vertical hair and a slightly lost look on your face as though you are seven or seventy-five”…

    that was my favorite. thanks for the smile 🙂

  2. 2

    That was a great read!!

  3. 3

    Beautiful, wish I would have written that!

  4. 4

    Makes me cry from longing.

  5. 5

    I have a secret to share.

    I knew we were that awesome ALL ALONG. I just didn’t say it for fear of being accused of misogyny.

  6. 6

    Mary-Louise Parker—Fried Green tomatoes, right? One of the best movies ever.

  7. 7
    Curly Girl

    I went to the rehearsal for the Tony Awards show the year that MLParker was nominated for “Trust.” Not for any real reason except that a friend had a pass for working on the show and gave it to me. The pass said “Talent” on it. I looked terrible–glasses, hair in a ponytail, oversized denim shirt, crummy jeans. These people kept looking at me and whispering and finally leaned over and asked if I were MLParker. I said no, because I am not. They didn’t believe me and kept talking to me as if I were she. Finally, when they left, they wished me good luck in winning the Tony. I didn’t win because I am not MLParker. (She is much, much skinnier and my hair is much curlier.)

    That said, I wouldn’t write what she wrote about men. My ode would be different. I’d include something about how every time I look at a big, towering building or a suspension bridge I think, “Holy smokes. Some guy built this.” I think that every single time. Since I live in NY, that’s a lot of thinking. Guy hands are absolutely amazing.

    Not sure which would scarier–being on a half-built bridge way above a river pounding on metal or being on a Broadway stage trying to remember lines.

  8. 8

    “Guy hands are absolutely amazing.”


  9. 10
    Ronnie Ann Ryan - The Dating Coach

    After all the man-bashing I encounter as an over 40 dating coach, this was wonderful to read! When I started dating seriously at 40, learning to appreciate men was my first priority. I’d had some bad experiences that had soured my outlook. But I worked on that, turned things around and dated 30 men in 15 months to meet my loving husband.

    When you appreciate the opposite sex rather than live with suspicion and resentment, that is when you meet quality prospects to find the right partner for you.
    .-= Ronnie Ann Ryan – The Dating Coach´s last blog ..Dating after Divorce: Beware the Wounded Heart =-.

    1. 10.1


      There are a number of women regulars on this blog who could benefit by printing out your comment, trimming away the excess paper and duct taping the rest to their foreheads.

  10. 11


    Someone’s been reading too many chick books. 🙂

  11. 12

    I wouldn’t mind more blogs like this; reminding us to appreciate men for men and to focus on the quicky adorable awesome qualities instead of the things we don’t like.

    Kinda helped me put things into perspective this week. Thanks again. I’d love to see more blogs like this

  12. 13

    I love men, but what’s this fascination with portraying them as plain-ol’ good natured chumps? I mean, wow, how nice!! a thank you note from Mary-Louise Parker. Hm….didn’t Esquire just do a photo spread of Megan Fox? Semi-clad, lingerie wearing…
    Why didn’t they do a photo spread of Mary-Louise Parker?
    How heart warming.

  13. 14
    Evan Marc Katz

    They DID do a photo spread of MLP. I deleted the link so as not to offend my largely female readership… 🙂

    1. 14.1

      Thank you for acknowleding my some-what-grouchy point. It is funny how entrenched and different men and women’s reactions are to certain topics. I think the photo spread is fine, great artistically even. The tone of the article rubbed me the wrong way slightly, *sigh* , but it’s just one of those Vive La Difference! things.
      I’m sure taken in another context, Ms. Parker’s sentiments have merit.

      1. 14.1.1

        The photo spread and article referenced above refers to Megan Fox’s. I didn’t catch MLP’s because it wasn’t advertised on MSN.

  14. 15
    Hot Alpha Female

    That showed a good honest and realistic perception of men!

    What a beautiful way to put it!

    Hot Alpha Female
    The Only Woman You Should Take Dating Advice From
    .-= Hot Alpha Female´s last blog ..The "Hes Just Not That Into" Rules. Do They Really Apply? =-.

  15. 16

    that was beautiful. Thank you for sharing Evan! opens the heart in so many ways…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *