Love the one you’re with

Okay, first, I’m sorry about the banner that makes your eyes bleed. Really. It’s being worked on, I swear. I just want a pretty and quirky header that doesn’t involve my picture. It will happen…soonish. Hopefully this week.

Alright, now that that’s out of the way, something that has been confusing the holy hell out of me, along with something that has shed some light. These two things are only slightly related.

At work the other night, a woman and her two teenage daughters came through my line. All were wearing Twilight shirts (I promise this is not another Twilight rant, as much as I love going on those). Two were pretty standard, but one of the girls was wearing a shirt that read “I love boys who SPARKLE”.

I get that this is a strictly Twilight reference, but I think it speaks to something much bigger. Look, emo vampires. Sparkly, sappy, emotionally confused vampires are now desired by teenage girls and, sadly, grown women. A few years ago, we had the whole metro-sexual movement, which started with guys taking care of their appearance and ended with them looking homosexual. There are books upon books upon even more “self-help” books that have nothing to do with helping yourself and everything to do with making your male significant other more sensitive and understanding. And all of this begs the question:

Ladies, when did we stop wanting our men to be men?

Don’t get me wrong, I love that J cares about my wants and needs and feelings. But that isn’t a masculine or feminine thing; that’s something called “not being a douche”. But if I wanted to be in a relationship with someone who got regular manicures and pedicures, someone who likes the sappy romances as much as I do, or someone who shared their feelings in the same way that I do, I’d be a lesbian. And it’s not that I’m out here trying to assign gender roles, because at the end of the day, that’s a personal choice, and no amount of stereotyping or societal pressure should get in the way of what makes a person feel comfortable in his or her own skin.

What it comes down to, really, is that so many women are trying to make their men better, which a) should not be attempted, because you really loved him, you would love him for who he is, not who you want him to be, and b) cannot possibly be accomplished by trying to make him more like your girl friends. Women have people who listen and empathize and take our side regardless of the situation–they’re called our mothers, sisters, female roommates, whatever. If you have a vagina, you probably know someone else with a vagina who you can relate to. That is not your boyfriend/husband.

Now, I wanted some male perspective on this topic, so I baited J with this topic (which I know gets him going on insightful yet hilarious tirades), and this is what ensued…though it has been edited for length:

“We [men] are designed to kill and survive and provide. That’s it. And while we have a little mini-man or woman baking inside the oven of our mate, it is our duty to ensure that it survives…so, the whole notion in today’s society that we’re supposed to be pussified, that we’re supposed to be equal in every way, that we’re supposed to bend over backwards to get in touch with our ‘feminine side’, that we need to understand women by adopting their emotional outputs and habits and behaviors and get rid of our own is utter nonsense. It’s ridiculous. If women were supposed to be attracted to that kind of personality, they’d be attracted to other women, and our species would never procreate. We are made to be attracted to the opposite sex because of our differences. Most women I know actually get off on knowing that they have some poor, useless, sap of an animal who would kill themselves just to know that they’ve provided for their woman. This is why women are attracted to men…who will always provide, and will sometimes have to put his emotions aside so he can take care of business. This whole metro-movement, this Twilight crap, the whole feminist movement where women have to take charge, this is why relationships have such a high failure rate. The man who takes care of his woman’s needs, but doesn’t show many emotions, is far more in touch with her than the man who just listens to her talk.”

I can’t say it better. I have a smart man, what can I say. And I agree with him on every one of those points. A lot of women may be up in arms about this, saying that their man doesn’t understand them, that he doesn’t know how to communicate, and that it’s absolutely essential for them to try and change the way their male s/o acts and reacts. Maybe your man doesn’t ‘get’ you. But maybe you don’t get him, either, which is a sneakily-crafted segway into a book I read not too long ago called For Women Only. It discusses several topics, including men and their obsessive and compelling need to be providers (which I did not understand prior to this book), the way they think about romance (see previous aside), what it actually means when someone says that “men are visual” (again, previous aside, and one more thing: now that I have this newfound knowledge, I’d like to make an apology to any of my male friends who have thought about me naked against their will. I swear, that was never my intention. Thank you.), etc. Some of it was common sense, some of it was reassuring, and most of it was mind boggling. I didn’t realize that J’s needing to provide for his family, most men’s need to provide, is an obsession, not a macho beating-of-the-chest spectacle of manhood. I didn’t understand that most men actively try to not be aware of the other attractive woman in the room, and that when they are, the feelings their experiencing are not sexual or lustful and have little to no bearing on their feelings for you. I didn’t know that a husband wants his wife to exercise because her wanting to look good makes him feel loved and desired, not because he wants to be with someone who looks like a twenty-year-old supermodel. And I bet most women don’t know that their husband wants to be romantic, but is often so afraid that they’ll fail to make us happy that they won’t even try. They aren’t the cads and the pigs that the media and society paints them to be. There are some awful, cruel men in the world, many of whom I’ve had the displeasure of meeting. But that isn’t because they are male; it’s because they’re human. The best advice I have to offer is to give your man the benefit of the doubt and pick up this book. It is Christian-based, but the principles apply to men and women of every faith. It helped me understand how Jason thinks about me and how he loves me, which, incredibly enough, made me love him even more. What I’m trying to say is, before you go on a crusade to force your boyfriend to speak your language, see what he’s actually saying in his language. There is common, lovely ground to be had.

3 Responses to “Love the one you’re with”

  1. anonymous Says:

    read a book; gender role definitions are cultural as well as era based. biological imperative is survival. this is a sociological debate.

  2. Charlie Essers Says:

    Yeah, you really should read a book! IF YOU EVEN KNOW HOW TO READ! Ha ha ha ha!


    You’re one of the smartest, most vibrant, insightful, honest, well-read women I’ve met.

    AND you know how to use capital letters.


  3. Carolyn Says:

    Yay for manly men. I don’t know about anyone else, but I can’t respect or be attracted to men who are overly feminine.

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