Men Are People Too

Perhaps this isn’t breaking news to the rest of the world, but yesterday, I had an ephinany that caught me off guard (in a good way): Men are people too. Not just meant to be boyfriends, lovers, husbands, dads, businessmen, bosses, uncles, or other male-oriented titles – but just people. Like you and like me.

I promise I’m not crazy (well, at least not yet), but I’ve always viewed men as my counterpart, as these illusional characters that weave in my life, capture my heart, and ultimately leave or have the ability to crush my spirits. They are these creatures who I fall in love with, can’t stand, or believe could turn into my Prince Charming. They’ve been useful for buying dinners, teaching me how to kiss, and entertaining me with their “maleness” – but unlike the gals who are “one of the guys” – I’ve been the lady who can never seem to have a male friend.

Probably because I can’t seem to treat a man as casually as I treat a woman – and possibly, because I integrate them verbally and internally.

Much like when conducting an interview, when I meet a new male prospect, I usually determine if I’m interested or not within the first five minutes. If I’m honest – I’m actually very businesslike when I’m intrigued by a man and I’ve developed quite a habit of screening someone before I even really know more than his name and a few basic facts.

Usually, as I’m half-way listening, partly observing, and conniving just a tad – I go through a series of questions in my head: “Alright, so if I wore my super, super tall high heels, would he still be taller than me?” “Can I get close enough to see if he smells bad?” “Is he speaking intelligently? Is he holding a conversation?” “Am I really already bored?” “Is he making crude, inappropriate jokes that are racist or sexist?”  “Does he have long fingernails? Ew, gross.” “Is he interested in me or just focusing on himself?” “Is he shy? I totally can’t stand timidness in a man.” “Does he always tilt his head to the side like that when he thinks he’s being funny?” “Is he actually funny or is he trying entirely too hard?” “Am I coming across that way to him? How does he view me, anyways?”

…and the rambling thoughts goes on and on.

I don’t know if I can blame my career or my Virgo birthday as the source of this analytical approach, but I’ve done it from the time I started dating. While it may not be the best way to go about getting to know someone, I’ve been pretty good at trusting my gut – and if right from the bat, I don’t see a spark of fascination, I’ve thought it best to not waste my (or their) time. At this point, I really don’t need (or want) to lower my standards for another Mr. Temporary, Mr. Rebound, or Mr. Smother just for the mere fact I’d like someone to go on fancy dates with. Truth be told, finding a date is never really a difficult task. It’s actually being attracted enough to agree to a second take that’s an obstacle because often times, I’m fully-in or totally-out before the appetizer even arrives.

As I continue on this journey, I’m seeing myself develop more and more confidence. While I have my off days (or weekends) -overall, I’ve not only admitted those parts of my personality and mindset that are negative and change them, but also realize what it is that I want out of a relationship…and what I don’t. More so, I’ve learned to stop taking what people say to heart and to decide for myself what I think and how I view my own interactions. I mean, after being told you’re too picky, not picky enough; that you’re too old to meet a “sweetheart” and too young to get married; that you’re far too independent for your own good, and then too dependent on the likes of a man – at some point, you just gotta start tuning out the outside voices and listen to your gut.

And while I’d say my instincts more often than not steer me in the right direction, in my overly premature and dissecting way of deciding my opinion of a man, I could have missed out on some could-be loves. But maybe more importantly, I could have walked right past some dudes who would make wonderful friends, because instead of viewing them as humans, as potential platonic companions, I was only interested in what they could offer me romantically. And if I didn’t like what they brought to the table, I wrote them off and quickly moved onto the next eligible candidate.

But if I take off my emotional hat and put on my realistic one- when it comes to finding someone who I want to spend the rest of my life with – or maybe just a few dates – don’t I want to be with a dude who I view as a friend? Sure, passion and mystery and intrigue and all of those butterfly-inducing qualities are high in importance for me – but at the core of my desires, and when I picture my future, don’t I want someone who I can just talk to? Who will get me? Who I feel comfortable enough to be myself around?

Someone who makes mistakes, who may not say the right thing at the right time but is his own person, someone who may not be the next Dane Cook, but is charming, someone who challenges me, but isn’t impossible – someone who, like me, isn’t perfect – but human?

Love addict tendencies, like romanticizing every single man who walks past me on the street or who I’m introduced to by mutual friends, may be enjoyable in the moment (fun to pretend at times, right?) – but aren’t suitable for long term anything. Where it be friendship or relationships. I may size up my prey and determine if they’re worthy of the fight, but does that mean second impressions can never change my mind?

If I stopped treating men for just what I think they can give me: love, sex, reaching the top shelf, opening tight jars, and checking off a box on my life’s to-do list, and instead took every casual encounter at a bar, on the morning commute, or at the deli around the block at face value – maybe I’d be able to take some pressure off.

And perhaps if I took a step back and instead of wondering what it’s like to be his lover, I’ll imagine what it’s like to just be his friend.

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15 thoughts on “Men Are People Too

  1. Linds-

    I’ve ALWAYS been one of the guys. So speaking as ‘one of the guys,’ I feel it needs to be said:

    Girls like you scare/annoy/irritate/intimidate the crap out of most men. They KNOW you’re sizing them up when you ‘talk’ with them. They KNOW they’re being interviewed and judged. And I ask you, who LIKES to be judged?

    I think this is a breakthrough for you. It is SO important to step back and think of them as people, like you and me, before ANYTHING else. We are all human, and we are ALL just trying to survive. How do YOU feel when you’re being sized up and compared to a mental checklist- one which you have NO idea of the contents?

    From my side at least, I know it doesn’t feel good. Having just been told by my most recent interest that he’s still in love with his ex, a woman whom I know nothing about as a person, but only as the person who hurt the person I’m starting to care about- I’m in the dark as to this mystery competition.

    And there’s nothing I can do about it.

    So PLEASE keep this in mind, and start conversing with an open mind and an open heart. Men ARE people. And the pressure some women put on them to be perfect is not unlike the pressure society puts on women to be perfectly beautiful and flawless… and girls, we ALL know how THAT stings. If you don’t, I suggest you try pants shopping at a mall store.

    Keep yourself in check, chickadee. Remember humility. You’re drastically on the verge of sounding a bit like the girl we don’t want to be.

    I say it out of love and honesty. TB is not one to hold back much.

    xoxo

  2. Wow, such a great post. I do the exact same thing, and have almost never had a successful friendship with a guy. Sex, feelings, intimacy always get in the way. You are right though – they are men, but more importantly, they are people. And I should stop giving them a check mark or an X depending on if I would date them, and get to know THEM first… figure out the dating situation later (if at all). Really loved this post – thanks!

  3. Men like men for friends. To go camping with. To hang out with. Not to listen to but just enjoy a beer with.

    Men can be friendly with women but for a best friend a man should be able to look towards someone that he truly identify with. Women are great don’t get me wrong I just believe we think different.

    I found it amusing that you where reminding yourselves that we are human too. Yes we are and we have feelings too.

    I really enjoyed your post.

  4. a very important point to remember – not just while exploring romantic options, but also once you’re in a relationship. i “forget” with more frequency than i care to admit that my boyfriend is a person with feelings – and i’ve tromped on them a few times.

    also, as tall brunette said – it’s best to view all interactions as person to person – for at the end of the day, that’s what we all are, and how we all want to be treated.

    great post.

  5. I love your blog! I guess I can relate to many of the issues you discuss as I am perhaps a love addict too.

    In my personal experience I’ve been in relationships where I was seen as a “man”. What I could provide, what I could offer, what I was… When I had needs/weaknesses of my own I was often discarded and/or ridiculed for being human.

    But it is a journey and I am making better choices now than I have before.

    You have me hooked! :)

  6. Lindsay,
    I see quite a bit of wonderful vulnerability in this post. To Tall Brunette, yes maybe these things Lindsay is saying are not good qualities, but she is being brave enough to admit some things she is doing incorrectly that she would like to change. Isn’t that one of the steps? To admit your wrongdoings to yourself and others. This is an essential step. Before you can change something, you have to recognize it. Name it. I had this revelation, too, not too long ago. IF we are ever to be successful in forging a loving relationship, we have to stop viewing men as the enemy and seem them as people first. If you haven’t had a successful love relationship yet, maybe you are passing by those people who could be a fabulous match. This is similar to the post I wrote in what is the purpose of dating? If I view men only as possible mates, then I will pass by anyone who i think isn’t my “type.” But if I view them as people, then I will not view any dates as a waste. Yes, don’t just think of what someone can do for you. How can you bless THEIR life, regardless of if they are your man again. Maybe you are the one sent to show them that not all women are the enemy. Here’s that post http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/5774926/rethinking_the_purpose_of_dating.html

  7. Great post Lindsay. I have never had an “adult” relationship. I blame it on being one of the guys, thus not being able to get out of the friend zone. However, these guys don’t have a problem with hooking up. In fact, after a crazy night of Boone Bar Golf, one of my bestfriends and I did the deed,and it didn’t change ANYTHING about our friendship. I ask my guy friends why: why won’t someone look at me like someone they could fall in love with? Why does being who I am- genuinely girly (come on, I have a paisley tattoo design for that some day crisis), full of laughter and love, and an amazing cook- fall on the friend side of love? I go on dates all the time, guys are intrigued by me- I’m kinda fierce and a whole lot of fun, but all they seem to wanna do is F@+k… What a vicious cycle!

  8. I used to be the exact same way! I had plenty of guy friends, but I would categorize men as soon as I met them as either dating potential or friend potential. I had a very specific idea of the type of man I wanted to date, and everyone else got stuck in the friend zone. I didn’t think of myself as superficial, I just wanted what I saw in the movies: a guy to sweep me off my feet and give me butterflies. Until I accidentally fell in love with my best guy friend. He’s not always perfectly suave and romantic, but he always makes me laugh :)

  9. I don’t consider myself “one of the guys” but I have had some pretty wonderful guy friends come through my life. They DO come in handy, and it’s completely different fun than being with the girls. They give a different perspective on issues than gals do (sometimes). Anyway, sounds like a new adventure to me ;)

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