By Kenneth Stepp
It was a cold Saturday night in November, 2013, I walked into “the circle” again after many years away from a sport I was far too old for. As my opponent walked into the circle, I wondered if I could do this again, he was young and strong, certainly in better shape, I had only been training for about four weeks for this. Lots of noise, but with little fanfare, the bell rang and I would soon know if the man I once was still lived inside me. I won that fight, I won more than just the fight that night. I was still me. I was still the warrior I once was. Aside from the money I made that night, I learned the hero in me still lived, although I was aging, slower, and before the bell rang, a bit scared. He would still do what had to be done. That made such a difference in who I saw in the mirror the next day. Aside from a couple of bruises. I saw Kenny, the man I once was. He always did the next right thing.
“I need a hero
I’m holding out for a hero ’til the end of the night
He’s gotta be strong
And he’s gotta be fast
And he’s gotta be fresh from the fight
I need a hero” – Bonnie Tyler, Holding Out For a Hero
What women want these days and what they need are so different. What they seem to want is a bad boy. A newer version of James Dean. He was before my time, and was the, Rebel Without a Cause. He did not succumb to society’s way of thinking, he came and went as he pleased, he drove fast, lived hard, and women loved him. Today he’d have tattoos on every inch of his body. The reality though is, he’s a drunk, cheats, lies, and probably doesn’t have a job. Not to be harsh, but I’ve watched this play out all too often. I’ve met a couple of girls over the years who chose him over a real man that can go the distance. As a man who describes himself as “hyper-logical”, this has never made sense to me. This man, he is no hero, and never will be.
“I’m holding out for a hero ’til the morning light
He’s gotta be sure
And it’s gotta be soon
And he’s gotta be larger than life
I need a hero”
– Bonnie Tyler, Holding Out For a Hero
We over 45’s in the singles arena remember a time that made more sense to us than the search does today. We remember dating, courting, winning their hearts. Is what we do these days dating? In some seasons it seems like only hooking up. There are rules, hugging and opening up on the first meeting, kissing on the second, and the third, well, it’s progressive. I’m a dinosaur in my world. I still believe a man buys the meal, opens doors, and treats a female like the lady he wants his future partner to be… With an edge of course. I was the bad boy when I was a teenager, then as I got older, I was what the bad boy feared most, a responsible, provider/protector that was unimpressed by him. One day I will stand in front of a girl, face to face, she will be my world, and we will begin anew a wonderful journey, one of hope and happiness, I will repeat the vows I wrote years before.
She knows the bad boy, she may have even spent some time with him. But what she wanted and needed, finally came to be the same man. I’ll never lie, cheat, deceive, or leave. Neither will she. We want a life where there are knowns. We do not need glitter or gold, simply a partnership stitched together with enough commitment to go the distance, enough love to accept one another as we are, and the resolve to lift one another when we aren’t strong enough to lift ourselves…
“I’m holding out for a hero ’til the end of the night” – Bonnie Tyler