Every single day, I check my Gmail constantly looking for comments on my posts. I can’t even begin to describe how happy it makes me to hear from readers as they share their insights and their stories – somehow, in my little neck of the world, it makes me feel like we’re all in this “love addiction” journey together.
Also, as a journalist, I’m intrigued and often inspired by reading the words of others. And yesterday – a post from a frequent visitor to my blog, Facebook page, and Twitter – Mr. Moose, completely struck a chord with me (You can find his blog here). In response to “Dearly Beloved…I’m Afraid I Don’t” he said “you mentioned before you were attempting to adopt a guys attitude towards relationships (or something to that effect, I’m paraphrasing here.) but you just couldn’t do it. However you are nearly there if this post is the enshrinement of your actual thoughts on the subject.”
Now, I don’t quite remember if I did ever say that or not (I could have, but after over 100 posts, I forget!) – but I will say when I read it, I had to take a second look. And a third and fourth. Really, I kept coming back to it all day and even asked my mom what she thought about it, along with a few of my friends.
Is what I’m attempting to do with this blog, with this journey, with my dating life, is to be in a relationship like a man? To think like a guy? To be calm, cool, and collected like the many gentlemen (and jerks) who I’ve been involved with? Here I thought I was waiting for a guy with actual gumption, but in reality, I’m really just growing a pair myself?
The fact that men and women are very different creatures is not a new revelation – the great divide between the sexes is noted in every societal structure and institution. It is something that’s caused deaths, fights, wars, protests, and the introduction of new laws and viewpoints. I could go on an incredibly long rant about all of the influential, powerful female leaders in history and across the world who have helped me be as free and successful as I am, but for the purpose of this post, I’ll tell my sociology minor to calm down.
However – can we lay to rest some of these stereotypes separating what the ladies and the dudes want, think, feel, and act like in a relationship?
If dating like a man means picking my career over the opportunity for true love because my personal achievements are more important than a white picket fence. If dating like a man means I fear being exclusive with a Mr. I’m seeing because I’m so happy with how my life is, that I don’t want to change it. If dating like a man means that I value my independence and my alone time and sometimes would rather just sit at home, completely in the company of myself, and ignore phone calls or texts messages. If dating like a man means marriage scares me because I’m not ready to give up or modify my lifestyle or what I want or to commit to something so serious and life-altering. If dating like a man means I turn my head when a piece of physical beauty crosses my path. If dating like a man means I have sexual urges and desires and needs that are often not met, but I wish they would be. If dating like a man means an amazing day in the office, where I feel like I’m on top of the world, gives me way more pleasure than baking a casserole or taking care of a baby. If dating like a man means there are days when I forget to shave or not always dress to the nines. If dating like a man means I don’t always call after the first date (or even the second) and sometimes, I’m simply not interested, regardless of what they have to offer intellectually. If dating like a man means a great way to get to know someone is going to a baseball game, followed by some beers at a local pub…
…then folks, I may just be a guy. Let’s call me Mr. Tigar.
I despise the notion that women are excluded from possessing altruistic qualities and understandings once they accept the title of “girlfriend.” That because we’re female, because our bodies have higher doses of estrogen and we like to cuddle after we orgasm – we’re thought to be more dependent and that we value our independence less. That really, all of us, regardless if we have a PhD or are the head of a company or have started organizations and funds, really are just seeking a man that we can lean on and who can take care of us. That if we’re vocal with our opinions, if we decide not to get married by the age of 25, if we’re confident about who we are, what we have to offer and demand nothing less -we’re not perceived as self-reliant, but as braggers and bitches. That because we obsess about time between text messages or we want someone to think of us as irreplaceable or we want anniversaries to be remembered and see tardiness as unacceptable - we’re the more obnoxious in a relationship? Sorry dudes, but try dating yourself for just a week and I think you’ll understand. Actually, maybe even just a 24-hour period.
I will be the first to admit that these concepts are highly generalized and do not reflect every man or every woman. In fact, they probably do not represent most – but isn’t that the point? Should our sex really determine how we act when we’re in love? Do we have to take on these roles, these descriptions, these standards to be healthy when we’re part of a duo? Once we accept that Facebook request or cuddle into the nook of a man-who-could-be’s body, are we unknowingly allowing ourselves to sink into a submissive part, instead of a dominant one? Just because I’m a powerhouse and a vixen at work, that doesn’t mean I can’t be the same way when I one day flip the switch into loving-girlfriend mode. Leaving who I am at the office or tucked away for girl’s night out only gets me stuck up on some shelf or inside some box of “who I was” before I found love. A man is supposed to be my partner – not my authority. And I’ll do him the courtesy of him never having to wonder what I’m thinking or if he’ll need to take care of me – because, really, I get along pretty well on my own – even more so as this journey continues.
Men aren’t the only ones who are cowboys and desperadoes, Mr. Moose. Because if my freedom, my independence, my me-time is not allowed when I get married or stumble across a guy who is more than a possibility – then I think he’ll learn how quickly my boots are made for walkin’.