Sunday, July 1, 2012

This One's for the Girls

I won't spend too much time telling you where this one came from.  I have a feeling many of you will sort that out without my help.  The realisation struck me this week that I've not necessarily kept this blog in the spirit I originally intended it.  Really, the original intent was kind of a news stream of what's going on in my life.  I know there's still some of that here, but It's also become a venting ground for my ramblings and meditations. I am anticipating posting a couple more in relatively short order, as I've had a lot of time to think and reflect on a lot of things.

Back to the heart of this particular post, this one's for the girls.  Basically what I'm doing is giving insight while at the same time imploring you all to look at us differently.  Guys, feel free to read on and (either on facebook or in the comments section of this blog) post agreements or disagreements.  For the first time, I'm admitting that I'm more like most guys than unlike them.  I may be revealing some deep secrets of the guy book (I haven't referenced my copy of the Bro Code), but I hope that maybe, MAYBE we'll make it easier for us to sort each other out.

Girls, I realise we suck some times.  I get that we can be jerks (Also, trying to keep the language on this blog PG as best as I can).  and seem inconsiderate.  While in the age range of 16-24 (or so), some of us are intentionally.  You make us believe that's what you want.  For most of us, that's actually hard to do.  We are not like that by nature.  Like you, we are looking for companionship.  We are doing what we think you want us to do.  While our pressures don't quite compare to yours (body image, etc), we have similar pressures.  We are expected to be strong when others can't be, be logical yet emotional when you need us to be, be taller, etc, etc.  Yeah, some of it is incredibly superficial, but guess what, we put pressure on ourselves internally the same way you ladies do.  We're not that different from you, it's just that the pressures are different than yours, a reason we often have a problem of understanding what's bothering you.  Your problems seem small to us, but I hope that ours seem small and insignificant to you as well.

Guys don't like to share.  Now, I realise that I sort of addressed this a couple of weeks ago (mostly imploring my gender to share more of our feelings), but I want to explain as well.  That part earlier, where I said we're supposed to be logical and strong?  We have taken that to heart.  When we have a problem, we find ourselves wanting to work through it on our own.  We are not intentionally being distant.  We get that you want to help and how much it helps you when you share, but that's not necessarily in our program.  Understandably, it's frustrating when it seems like we're being distant and disconnected, but we're trying to do it in our way.

In a similar vein, I realise that we can be inconsiderate.  Again, not intentional.  We get excited when we think we can solve a problem.  We also like being able to do things that we think are going to make our relationship better and bring us closer and taking that stress off of you.  Want us to stop?  Don't get so upset with us.  You're not all this way, but when we get snapped at, we get defensive.  Think about what happens when that goes on: voices get raised, fights break out, and that closeness and strength that I referenced earlier in this paragraph gets injured.  This feels a little like the way we work with kiddos to avoid conflict, but "I" messages are a great tool here, as well as talking specifically about the behavior, not general statements.  "You never think about me/us" is a killer.  "I feel like this was kind of inconsiderate" will get us more involved in the conversation and lead to better communication in future decisions and conversations.  We're not a terrible enigma ladies, and we're a hell of a lot smarter than we've been credited with.  We just are often driven to primal reactions that are at our base.  We need to learn how to be partners and communicators.

Guess what, you do, too.  Relationships with your partner are different than they are with friends.  Relationships differ from one to the next, even in the romantic context.  I am not like your ex, nor are you like mine.  Small tangent, but we get so caught up in the Hollywood romantic ideal, that we forget that relationships require work.  If you're waiting for that perfect man that Channing Tatum, Matt McConaughey, etc play in their movies... HE DOESN'T EXIST!  If you ask the couples who stay together 30, 40, 50+ years, they'll tell you how important work and communication are in their love.  We both need to learn how to be in this relationship.  We live in a society of instant gratification and now expect it in all aspects of our lives. Guess what, true, meaningful love will not come that way.  Hell, nothing worth having will be instant gratification.   We will work if you will also work.  Wow, that was a terrible side tangent that originally started as a parenthetical addition to the last sentence in the previous paragraph...

That being said, we're also not good at advocating for ourselves.  We don't want to seem needy.  It scares us because we don't want to seem weak in your eyes.  This is especially true when it comes to someone that we're so close with, we need to advocate for ourselves.  I get that this is a bit confusing, so let me try and clarify.  When we are with you, we want nothing more than to hold you tightly.  We feel safe, and we know you feel safe and loved.  Those are the arbitrary gender roles in our society.  Man protects woman.  Well, sometimes I want to be protected by you.  Once in awhile, we need to be held and protected.  I love being big spoon, but sometimes I want to be little spoon.  How, as guys, do we express this to you?  By turning our backs.  Yes, from time to time, we get frustrated and just need to turn away, but most of the time (especially when your intuition tells you something's wrong), we're expressing that we need to be held.  We won't say we want to be little spoon, but if you put your arms around us, and we settle into you, you got it.  Should we tell you when we need you to be "the guy" for just a second?  Yeah.  Will we?  Probably not.

See?  We're not that hard to figure out.  I answered all your questions in a (fairly long, but relatively short) blog.  You have other questions?  Just ask.  I am seriously considering starting a column wherein I address the questions of the people who read my blogs.  Good idea?  Bad idea?  Let me know.

As always, thanks for reading.

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