Earlier this week, I flew with Virgin Airlines from Melbourne back to my home town of Sydney. It had been a crazy four days in Melbourne and I was looking forward to a snooze on the plane, a cup of tea and chomp chocolate, my regular flight requirements.
I settled into my seat in the third row. Suddenly, the first few rows were crowded with loud, swearing boys in their early twenties. They all looked the same, wife beater tee shirts, gold mafia style necklaces, caps on backwards and an over practiced swagger. They chewed gum violently as they pushed their way to their assigned seats. Unfortunately for me, these seats happened to be next to me and behind me.
I proceeded to spend the entire journey listening to them talk very loudly about ‘smacking dem bitches, F%$&*#@ing that whore,’ and referring to the Captain of the plane and Virgin staff as “fat c#$@ts” and a whole host of other vulgar comments. Add the constant kicking to the back of my chair and presto, I was in hell!
I had never felt so unsettled on a plane. I frantically looked around hoping someone would pull these kids into line because that’s all they were….. boys.
There was a row of business men sitting in front of me and no one did anything. The Virgin staff had to repeatedly request that the thugs move their legs out of the aisle so they could have a clear passage for the food cart.
Everyone just sat and put up with this…was everyone too sacred? If someone had gotten up and pulled these boys into line, would the group of them have reacted violently?
As I sat and observed, something sadder came to my attention. These boys clearly had no role models, no decent men in their lives telling them that it is NOT okay to call a woman a ho, bitch or any of the other profanities that came out of their mouths.
There are of course certain men out there who still have their affairs in order, but they are few in number. What people are most often subject to is the company of boys who are refusing to grow up and man up — boys who offer very little to their community as a whole. These ‘Peter Pans’ are trapped in adult bodies and we as society are becoming more and more accustomed and accepting of this behavior.
Where have all the good men gone? You know the ones that make you feel safe, protect you, hold your hand, open the car door, value you, respect you and have earned the right to be called a gentleman?
When did being a violent, crude, aggressive thug become okay and how as members of society do we fix this?
I’ll tell you how…you start with your son, your nephew, your cousin or godchild and you educate this little man that this is what a real man looks like:
- A real man treats women with respect. If you don’t respect women, you’re not a man. Its that simple!
- You can depend on a man. You can’t depend on a boy.
- If a man finds someone special, he doesn’t treat her like she’s everyone else.
- A real man is not determined by age but by behaviour.
- Real men are not selfish.
- Real men do not treat their women like interchangeable commodities.
- Real men make you laugh, not cry.
And just when I had lost all hope, a real man walked up to this group of boys, looked at them firmly and said, ‘Enough, there are ladies on this plane.”
The loud, bravado of the pack was silenced as one of them answered sheepishly, “Sorry.”
Not only had I ever so slightly fallen in love with the beautiful blue eyed stranger but in all of three seconds, he restored my faith in man kind.
So here is what this episode on flight VA0883 taught me…what you accept will follow. Be the change you want to see in your world, stand up to a better quality and never settle for a boy….