I’m impressed that I’ve built up a substantial male readership; not with myself but with the men who have read and participated in discussions and debates about male and female roles, bad male behavior, rotten men who pretend women are invisible, selfish men who hog all the gear and the attention and the adventure movies and the magazine articles and sheesh, it must seem like I really don’t like men.

But I do. Especially my male readers because if they’re reading this stuff and finding it interesting and debate-worthy, they’re not that unpleasant kind of man anyway. Thanks for reading, guys, I appreciate your virtual presence here.

Since I write so much about the men who frustrate me, I thought today I’d write about the men that I like. You see, there is a particular kind of man for whom I fall. Occasionally I find myself in the throes of these massive platonic crushes; always on a man of a particular type. I find these men so admirable as to be irresistible, but not in any sort of sexual or romantic way. It’s less about relationship potential or physical attraction or legitimate desire and more about utter, stunning veneration. To this day not a single one of them knows that they were the object of one of my big crushes and very few people know that I even get this way (uh, until now).

You probably noticed the disclamatory “platonic” statement in there. Again, these aren’t romantic crushes. The men are almost never available, usually not of my generation, and just not ever courtship potential, in large part because I admire them so very much that I immediately put them on a pedestal and stop considering them to be human and think of them more like mystical heroes. We all know that’s a terrible way to foster a relationship anyway, so I just leave them up there where I don’t have to learn about their flaws (which I would dismiss and forgive anyway, because I think these men are just that great).

What makes me admire these men so fiercely is their mastery of their chosen craft, their utter self-assuredness, and open demeanor. Each one of these men has been capable to the extreme, to the point that things like plane crashes, avalanches, earthquakes, and civil wars won’t even shake them up. They’d just handle it. They are down-to-earth almost to a ridiculous level, because they know that they don’t have anything whatsoever to prove. Contrast that with an insecure dude who will turn himself inside out rather than admit he doesn’t know how to work the jack to change a tire even though he’s been talking like he’s been a master mechanic for the last ten years, and you get the picture. The men I admire don’t have to talk themselves up. They’re so dialed that words wouldn’t be adequate anyway (sorry, that’s my crushiness talking).

These men don’t waste time with ego-stroking posturing or bravado. They just go get the job done. They’re already an order of magnitude cooler than anyone else so they don’t have any reason to prove it. They’re more likely to stand back and let the young guns charge in because they know that if things go south, they can take charge and make things right as rain again.

Sometimes I wonder why I almost always get these crushes on men who are older than me. A few times I’ve crushed on men my age but it’s not as common (not that this is totally “common” anyway, but I think the ratio over my lifetime of older to my-age crush targets is like 4:1). I think it’s because a lot of men of my age haven’t reached the point in their lives at which they are utterly confident in their abilities, and when they are confident in their abilities they’re not totally confident in themselves, so they tend to act disdainful to those who have lesser abilities, rather than help them along or just plain be friendly. They might be good at what they do but they’re still finding it necessary to prove it. It’s hard to find men my age who are dialed-in like the ones I’m talking about, and I don’t have the detection skills necessary to choose the ones who have the potential to get there, and someone else has usually snapped them up already anyway (I don’t move fast when it comes to relationships. Some describe my pace as “glacial.” Not a very effective strategy but I can’t change my nature). So all I can do is crush from afar; most of the time from a generation away and light-years’ distance in “cool.”

You’re probably thinking the obvious; that I crush on men who are older, wiser, and more capable than my peers because I’m comparing them to the default ultimate measure in manliness, my own father. I wasn’t going to get Freudian here, but I know you’re thinking it. But so what if I’ve got daddy issues? My dad was a professional helicopter pilot for twenty years, flying an incredibly complex and tightly coupled machine in the worst weather imaginable – the kind that makes most people frantically clean off grocery store shelves and stock up on the ‘essentials’ like whiskey, candy, and blue-box mac and cheese and then sit in their cozy Barcaloungers watching CNN weather reports on their flat screens and letting the anticipation whip them into an histrionic social media frenzy – to pull distressed people off of sinking boats, lift hypothermic and nearly-dead fishermen out of the freezing Arctic water, rescue lost souls off of islands you don’t even know exist, and bring back victims of plane crashes and other catastrophies, restoring families and saving lives and generally being a real-life honest-to-Pete hero. When my dad walked with the rest of the Coast Guard crew in the town’s 4th of July parade, the cheering was deafening. If that’s my yardstick then you can probably understand why the bar is set pretty high.