I have a confession to make. I’m a sexist.
What’s worse is I’m harder on men about traditional roles, while I’m way more flexible when it comes to what women can or cannot do, their abilities, etc.
Part of the problem is because there has been such a seismic shift in these roles, and as a woman, I’m proud that we can do so much. But God, we really can’t do it alone. We need help. In our march to be the best women we can be and compete and be just as good as and better than men, we were quietly letting them slip.
Men started relinquishing certain aspects of their manhood, things that were innately in their makeup and now because society has told men over and over, women don’t need you, your money, your protection, a lot of men have taken a big gulp of that kool aid and started to believe it themselves. They went slinking away, for fear of retribution, law suits and being considered sexist. (Save the Males: Why Men Matter and Why Women Should Care is a great book that explores all of this stuff.)
I won’t front, I want it both ways. That’s wrong. It’s completely unfair and ridiculous.
What is probably even worse, is in addition to me wanting a man to know who to cook, clean, fix things, do yard work, take out the trash, discipline children, be there emotionally for me, compliment me, cuddle on the couch and then put some monster lovin on me in the bedroom, and bring home a nice paycheck (preferably equal to or more than mine), I tend to think I’m the only one entitled to get emotional.
I often forget men have feelings too, and they are just as sensitive as women (another stupid statement, we all are human and are built with feelings), and they often have a hard time feeling comfortable about expressing when their ego and pride have been hurt because society and women are telling them to suck it up.
But I don’t want no punk.
I think about when my nephew was about 5. My sister and brother-in-law felt they had to be careful about how they handled crying and certain tantrums. My sister naturally wanted to coddle and protect him, but my brother-in-law also had to step in from time-to-time, with a stern face and yes, tell a 5-year-old boy to stand tall. Once the little boy straightened up, and stuck out his chest, my brother-in-law wiped his little tear-stained face, gave him a hug and sent him on his little way. You could tell the boy was proud of himself after his dad gave him those strong words, but still showed him love.
This is the message we need to send to little boys from men. It’s okay to react, and have emotions. Don’t hide them, address them, but don’t run back to mommy either after the speech.
I make assumptions especially within the confines of my romantic relationships.
I assume that as a woman, I automatically care more about our relationship than he does.
I assume he has shrugged off a certain situation or a spat.
I assume when I’m complaining and he’s quiet, he’s ignoring me and he wants me to shut the hell up.
So I shut down. I say things like forget it, when I know it’s far from forgotten.
I’ve been told, men who love you want to solve your problem. In fact, they want to solve it right away. If they love you, they are quiet because they do want to process it and figure it out to give you a good solution or, they really do want you just shut up because they have problems of their own and are trying to figure those out too.
I foolishly think that men don’t care, that their feelings rarely get hurt, they get should get over stuff quickly, they should suck things up and that my words and action or inaction couldn’t possibly hurt them, meanwhile if the roles were reversed I’d be an emotional, raging nut-bag, complaining to any girlfriend who would listen and then consider not being in the relationship anymore because he doesn’t get me. And she’ll probably co-sign and say I should leave.
Well ain’t that the pot?
Where the hell did I get this from?
My dad is one of the strongest men I know, but he does not hide when he is emotional (happy, sad or frustrated) and he doesn’t have a problem with saying, “you hurt my feelings” after humbling his offender by running off a list of very recent, unselfish things he has been kind enough to do when he didn’t really have to. So I’ve always had a great example of a self-aware, strong yet sensitive man in my life.
So why am I so hard on the men I’m romantically involved with?
I told one of my good male friends about this and I said, there are times i just honestly feel like things don’t matter to yall.
I often take the approach to act like things aren’t a big deal to avoid being an “emotional female” thinking I’m saving the man I’m dealing with a lot more drama, and in his mind, I’m cool and I’m not dramatic like all of the other women.
Even in the beginning of a relationship, I’m breaking my neck to play it cool, to not seem too interested. I’ll say I’m busy even if I’m watching Sex and the City reruns in my old university sweatshirt. I’ll keep track of how often I’m contacting him, and make sure he’s contacting me just as much.
What a lie. And how exhausting.
As much as I like to consider myself low drama no drama, I can’t avoid coming home and talking about how much work stressed me out, or going on about why I feel like my more high maintenance friends misunderstood me this week and I’m tired of being the bigger person, always protecting their feelings, and if I give in again, I’m just allowing them to think they were right, thus exacerbating the problem.
That scenario just made me tired.
I can’t imagine being a man sitting across from me, loving me and having to hear this and hear me talk through it, knowing I won’t even begin to feel better about it until I’ve talked all. the. way. through. it. and knowing he’d be a jerk if he doesn’t look like he cares. He has to pay attention, because I’m going to ask him, (especially on the phone) “are you still listening to me?” “Then what did I just say?”
LOL. I just made myself laugh. Am I really that bad? Ugh…
Apparently I am. I have more work to do.
That’s been the major critique of men who have dealt with me. They said, I assumed they didn’t care, or assumed they didn’t want to attend a certain event with me and I didn’t ask them to go, or before asking about their day, I went on and on….and on about mine. They said I was not selfish, but I could go on and on and I made assumptions about how they felt and responded according to that rather than asking them and responding to their real feelings.
To me, it was staying a few steps ahead, knowing my man and anticipating his moves and not asking him every five minutes are you ok? Is everything all right?
I got to the point where I wasn’t asking at all, which can be just as dangerous.
So here’s to self-improvement and to the men brave enough to share their sensitive side and call my “know it all, read it all, I Googled everything there is to know about the male ego” ass out. This one is for you.