when the status quo frustrates.

Bullshit of the Highest Magnitude

I generally avoid “Psychology Today”. The magazine believes in just-so, evo psych nonsense, it has tons of advertisements for SSR inhibitors (I’m against medical ads in the first place), and it’s just generally a tacky magazine. Scienceblogs has better biology, Scientific Mind America is better when it comes to psychology. But, Shakesville linked me to this article, and I just had to say something.

We say we want someone who surprises us with daisies just because it’s Tuesday, serenades us with his acoustic guitar, and bakes us brownies when we desperately need a chocolate fix. However, when brought face to face with a man who is truly devoted to romanticism, we quickly dismiss him. No longer considered swoon-worthy, his antics evoke discomfort and sheer terror in the hearts of women everywhere….

If Monday’s episode of “The Bachelorette: The Men Tell All” has taught me anything, it is that taking on the persona of the “sensitive male” is the quickest way to get sent home sans rose, not to mention become the butt of countless jokes among your fellow dumpees. For those who have been keeping up with the latest Bachelorette (i.e. those of you who lack any semblance of a social life) know that Kasey will forever be branded as the creepiest contestant the show has ever seen. During his time on the show, he spewed cheesy lines like, “You look imaginary,” performed an impromptu (off-key) serenade after a helicopter ride, and even got a tattoo to prove his dedication to and his vow to “guard and protect (bachelorette, Ali’s) heart.” He has every characteristic we say we look for in a man, yet we cannot help but cringe with pity and embarrassment as we watch poor Kasey pour his heart out to the frightened Ali…..

A husband knows that when his wife cries, he should comfort her by putting his arm around her, rub her back, and tell her everything will be okay. A wife is less sure of what to do when her husband cries. Instead of a complete role reversal, women tend to feel awkward watching their husbands or boyfriends in such a vulnerable state, and men tend to withdraw and feel emasculated when their significant others pat their heads and say, “Poor baby.” Although the idea of a man in touch with his feminine side seems perfect, the reality is too new for most women to fully accept….

Perhaps the answer to this puzzling phenomenon is nothing more than a simple case of “grass-is-greener” syndrome. I could spend all day looking forward to a relaxing evening on the couch catching up on my reading, but as soon as I see my roommate ready to go out, my book which was once enthralling becomes tedious and all I can think about now is how much I’d rather be going out than stuck at home. If you have straight hair, you want curly hair. If you’re tall, you want to be shorter. We are never satisfied with what we have, and maybe this same principle holds true when it comes to boyfriends. In any case, I leave all of the Kasey’s of the world with this one final word of advice: Dry your tears, replace all turtlenecks for muscle tees, and trade the roses you were about to purchase for weeds because apparently this is what women really want.

Let’s start with the obvious part: “women are” and “men are” and “women want this…”. This is the easiest shit to start with because, as a women I can clearly state that I want a sensitive guy.

I have a Hubby who buys me flowers and other small tokens for no reason but he loves me. I have a Hubby who just last week made me cookies because I was in desperate need of a chocolate fix. He doesn’t sing, but despite not having much in the way of practice, will still take me dancing. This flower-buying, dancing, cookie-making sweetheart is the person I MARRIED, not dismissed. His affection didn’t “frighten me” it is what attracted me to him in the first place.

I have also held him while he’s cried, and I know that he did not feel emasculated. We’ve already seen each other through some very dark times in our lives, and it didn’t make us feel like we were babies or unmanly- it made us feel strong in our relationship; like we could trust each other with our true selves. This “lie to one another so someone will like you” is the most damaging, unsatisfying thing I could think to do in a relationship.

Now, on to bullshit number two: while flowers just because and cookies are sweet, what she described Kasey as doing is not “sweet” it’s “creepy and stalkerish”. I don’t watch the show, but if someone showed that much emotion it would set off warning bells to me. His behavior meant that he was treating the young woman as a cypher- a “woman creature” to which he could perform the actions of a “sensitive male”. Trading in turtlenecks for muscle tees would not address the fact that he was treating someone as an interchangeable cog, and the fact that he was performing rather than being an actual person. Just because “women” don’t want creepy stalkers doesn’t mean that they want macho meatheads either. This isn’t about the grass being greener: this is about wanting a person and not a role; a medium and not an extreme. I complain about the 100 F degree weather in the summer and the -20 F degree weather in the winter- this neither makes me a hypocrite or too picky. It means I like neither of those temperatures.

And, I know my husband is not the “perfect man” but rather he’s a man well-suited to me. There are other women who would want their guy to be a little more serious than my fun-loving husband. There are other women who would prefer a husband who was more pacifistic, or musically inclined, or what have you. There are some women who’d want a partner with a lot more X chromosomes than my husband. I know that my “type” is not the “type” that attracts everyone- women are different, and will want different people. But this “women, you thought you wanted respect and affection, but you know you want to be ignored and abused because that’s “manly”" is complete and utter bullshit (and heterocentric to the extreme).

Psychology Today, fail.

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