The famous blog article 5 Reasons to Date A Girl With An Eating Disorder went viral recently. Some of the responses to that article compared an eating disorder with cancer. My feelings on that comparison are not relevant here. If I’m offended by something, I keep it to myself because I will not compete in the victim Olympics. I’ll leave that to the professional victims and their groups who stifle free speech based on their “offensitivity” (the degree to which a person chooses to be offended by something).

The responses to that article got me thinking about men and illness. Specifically, it got me thinking about how emotionally healthy men respond to having a serious illness. It changes a man. It makes him stronger (more details below). It’s like a forge where iron is transformed into steel. Therefore, women should indeed date a man who is dealing well with a serious illness, specifically, cancer. Three of the reasons are actually about the woman, not the man.

I’m well aware that cancer takes on many forms. My own particular malignancy (ocular melanoma) is very rare and right now shows absolutely no outward physical manifestations. However, after my eye is treated, there might be something visible. If it spreads, then all bets are off. While I’m going through this, I’m still giving dating advice. I’ve just adjusted a bit because my cancer doesn’t own me.

Other cancers, of course, are different and the treatments can be relatively benign or quite dramatic. I’ve met cancer survivors who came through only because of limb amputation or loss of other body parts with the accompanying physical disfigurement. I’m not glossing over that. Cancer can really mess up a man’s physical appearance. While new treatments aren’t as debilitating, the medication can cause temporary weakness and other serious side effects. No matter—a man who is dealing well (emotionally in particular) with cancer is worth dating. Here are five reasons why:

1. A man with cancer can be incredibly emotionally strong

If he has the guts to deal with a potentially fatal disease and to take on dating, this man can handle anything emotional a woman can throw at him. A shit test? Puh-lease, this guy bats those aside because he has more important things to deal with. He’s going through an experience where death or permanent disability is a very real possibility, depending on the cancer. But at the same time, his medical condition does not own him. That toughens a man. Ironically, it can also give him incredible confidence, the one masculine trait that women find utterly irresistible.

2. He is worthy of respect

This guy doesn’t need a ribbon for “support”. He’s facing something that can be truly awful in terms of medical treatment and the possible outcome. If the outcome is good and the cancer goes into remission, the man emerges with an amazing view of life and what’s truly important. He’s got his priorities straight. He’s stronger for it (see above) and he’ll get respect for that. Even if he’s currently coping with his disease, a woman can look up to him for his willingness to be realistic without being fatalistic.

3. Caring for him lets a woman embrace her natural femininity

A big part of femininity is caring and nurturing because its her natural biological role. A man with cancer needs her femininity. She can be there for support and encouragement, something that women can do incredibly well if they just let themselves. This, of course, requires a woman to utterly reject the prevailing social attitude of “I shouldn’t do anything for a man”.

4. He will be the strong leader she craves

A strong man takes the lead in the dating process. A man with cancer is already taking the lead in dealing with his health so he can continue this precedent into the dating process. Besides, being in control all the time is exhausting for a woman. She doesn’t have to be the strong one, that’s his job and he’s already doing it regarding his health. She can let him lead, as he should do no matter what the state of his health might be.

5. He will make a woman out of a female

Dealing with possible tragedy gives perspective on life. If she becomes attached to a man with cancer, she’s embarking on an adventure where she must put aside her selfish interests and focus on another adult who is not family. Society tells a woman to only focus on her own needs and desires. That’s the realm of children. Dating a man with cancer motivates generosity and selflessness out of desire.

From a personal experience, I have told all the women friends in my life about my recent cancer diagnosis. All said the right things about being sorry and worrying about my health. Those were kind words and I still appreciate them, but only 20% actually stepped up to the plate and gave the kind of help that I needed, especially with my recently motorcycle accident and subsequent hospital stay. Those women showed their support with actions and sacrifice, not just kind words: a visit to the hospital with clothes, a ride from the hospital, a ride to Miami for an eye treatment, and so much more.

A man with an illness (or injury) simply must show strength in the face of such adversity. That’s his natural masculine behavior as a man. Such strength is attractive to women. It’s her natural behavior as a woman to be attracted to that masculine strength. A serious health adversity peels away all the politically correct bullshit of contemporary, gender-based social expectations. It’s where the rubber of natural gender behavior hits the road.

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