I’m not sure about you all, but I’m tired of women being told that the only way to have and keep a man is to manipulate him. It seems to always point to the quintessential “tease”. How soon do we invite them to our bed? Too soon and he moves on quickly, to frequent other beds, and too late turns into never, because he’s fed up with not getting any-or so we’re told. I’d like to think that women don’t have to analyze and plan every step of their courtship. It should happen naturally, and not be the result of mass planning or scheming.
Many women seem to be turning to self-help books or movies with titles like, He’s Just Not That Into You and Think Like a Man, Act Like a Lady. What does that even mean? To think like the opposite gender? Last time I checked I had lady bits, so I’m already more apt to respond to the female side of things. I can’t transplant my brain into a male body, no matter how much I want to understand. But seriously, not all men think the same, and I certainly don’t think on the same terms as a lot of my female peers. We’re all individuals. Subject to different experiences and different methods of romancing or bedding.
I think everyone would be better off if they’d stop lumping all people of similar genitalia together. When a singular man breaks your heart, don’t huff and say, “Men,” in a loathing, bitter tone. And guys should really stop using the singular word, “Women,” to explain away all of their or their friends’ problems away.
It’s movies like He’s Just Not that Into You that really discredit both genders. There’s a happy ending for everyone at the end, one gets engaged, another learns not to be desperate and starts dating a decent guy, etc. But all of this seems to be the result of skilled manipulation. And the guys are the chums like putty in the women’s hands that blindly profess love.
These movies usually emphasize the importance of the sex card. Women are always depicted as the holders of this card. They don’t need it like those sad sops of boys that come panting after them. They dangle it over their heads until they commit. I don’t like this depiction. First of all, it makes men seem like one-minded animals that can’t live without a screw, and it portrays women as the calculating mistress, enjoying the pain she’s causing.
Honestly, I think if you need to manipulate a man into committing it shows a) he’s the type of person that is easily manipulated, and b) he’s probably not all that interested in the actual you. I’m going to use a cliche now, but it’s well deserved: honesty is the best policy. I’m not saying that anyone should pour out all of their deepest, darkest secrets on the first date, but it’s much better to self-disclose than self-promote. What do I mean by that? Self-disclosing shows a trust you have in the person. It demonstrates that you’re comfortable with them, and like that they listen to you. If you’re a self-promoter, you’re rubbing your ego, extending the truth a bit perhaps, and praying they stay interested long enough to give you the image of a desirable person who knows how to get a date.
A lot of these gender problems, or dating problems if you will, result from a divide between the sexes. Women are taught that men are scoundrels, needing a good slap on the wrist to draw them into line, while men are taught that if you say the right thing, you can get the panties off of any broad. Mass media, such as these self-help books and movies I’ve mentioned, are part of the problem, but we ourselves are also to blame.
It is our group of girlfriends, or bros, that often perpetuate these stereotypes. Girls gab over lattes and fashion magazines, all selling us things to make us sexier, or an easier trap for a man, but not necessarily telling us what it is we need to hear: get to know the dude. And guys often brag about their conquests because it’s what supposedly defines them as a man. I say down with the “I’m a real woman,” or “I’m a man’s man,” crap. The only thing that makes a woman a woman is her vagina, and the only thing that defines a man is his disco stick and sack. I’m speaking for myself when I say I’d like to be known for more than just what I was born with.
I try not to be preachy, but let’s face it, I’m an opinionated broad. I would like to see people stressing the individual more than their sex instruments. And hey, we all like to have sex. If anything, I’d say we’re all somewhat slaves to it. Not just men. Why else would women buy all of those products, make-up, tanning sessions, gym memberships, not to mention clothes? Only for self-fulfillment? I should think not.
I’m reading a book right now called The Honey Badger. It’s about a man’s life as it revolves around the women throughout it. The main character says, “There is a bloody brave little animal called the honey badger in Africa. It may be the meanest animal in the world. It kills for malice and for sport, and it does not go for the jugular-it goes straight for the groin. It has a hell of a lot in common with the modern American woman.” As funny as this comment is, it also demonstrates the flaw I’ve described in gender relations: generalization. As much as I’d like to say back, “Well men cheat, and lie to get into bed, and are arrogant pricks who always think there’s a better lay out there,” I’d have to immediately follow that with, “But there’s just as many women that do the same.”
Honestly, we’re all human, and we all hurt each other. Why? I don’t think we’ll ever know. It varies from person to person obviously, as if I haven’t driven that point home enough. Most of us have the capability to lessen someone else’s pain, but choose not to. Most of us would like someone who’s interested and devoted to us, even if we’re aren’t mutually devoted. And most of us like a good lay every now and then. I would just think that when dealing with members of the opposite sex; they’re really not that different. It just makes it easier to bury the hurt, and forget the pain to separate them from yourself and chalk it up to some innate inadequacy that all members of their gender have. It takes the blame away from them personally as well as yourself. Because let’s face it, when a relationship fails it’s often the result of the two people’s discrepancies, not just the one. Within each of us is a honey badger, waiting to destroy or hurt for fun, but there’s also the capacity to care and be honest. Life and relationships, I think, are about mastering the latter, and suppressing the former.