July 11, 2013

A Lady’s Guide To Strong, Resilient & Radiant Men.

Recently, elephant journal has been a hotbed for debate on that all-important question:

What should we, as sophisticated, sensitive and modern ladies of grace, virtue and character, require from the men in our lives?

These articles have provided much food for thought, but I’m going for something a little different here.

Ladies: how should we behave towards the kind, thoughtful, radiant men in our lives?

  1. First, make note of gender roles throughout history.
    For millennia, gender roles have been more-or-less prescribed. Things have changed more in the last 100 years than in all of recorded history.You know… that ‘Downtown Abbey’ stuff? The patriarchy? Men are expected to hide their feelings, to always appear strong and in control. Vulnerability, essential to all healthy relationships, is considered a liability. Guys are supposed to ‘lead’ in a relationship by actively pursuing a female partner.

    Women, on the other hand, are expected to wait around for a guy. As a lady, you will never get angry, nor kick a man to the curb for his shit. Take up a cool hobby if you get bored. Crochet or tiddywinks or birdwatching, anyone? Keep your corset tight, just in case, even if you pass out on the couch. Ask him for a glass of water to revive you, but never ask him where things are going in your relationship. You will wonder—does he want love or does he just want sex?

    Men are expected to provide financially and materially. Women are supposed to accept the uncertainty and disempowerment and boredom that comes with this particular financial arrangement.

    And now I’m done. Blah; glad I got that out.

  2. Culturally, we are in a period of deep transition. We’re all confused about who is supposed to do what.
    Women are still discriminated against and objectified in the most overt and subtle ways.Male-bashing has, disturbingly, become more common. Fathers like Homer Simpson and cads like Charlie Sheen dominate our television sitcoms. Young men, as a whole, are doing poorly in high school and college. Women are forced to ‘behave like men’ to succeed in many endeavors.
  3. So, as a modern, empowered woman, allow your gentleman to do manly things for you when he offers…
    A good guy may offer to a) open doors or b) help you to carry a heavy box or grocery bag up the stairs. He may c) call to make sure you get home safely, d) offer to fix broken things or e) give the car a look-over when it starts acting funny. This is evolution at work here, ladies.He is showing he cares for you.

    To this, you will reply yes, please. And hallelujah.

  4. Allow retreats to the ‘man-cave’ with minimal drama.
    The ‘man-cave’ comes in many incarnations.Guys need to retreat from time-to-time. This does not mean he dislikes you or has a crush on Claudia from Accounting. This means he needs some time to regroup.
  5. Do not force a man to be your Alpha and Omega.
    Nothing is more unsettling than somebody who attaches his or her self-worth and happiness to another person like a barnacle. This sort of arrangement tends to bring the entire ship down.Do not make a man into your entire life, no matter how deeply you find yourself ensconced in the warm fuzzies. Do not dump friends, family, hobbies or your twice-weekly yoga class.

    Time spent apart ensures you will both have a new and exciting energy to bring back to the relationship.

    (In the event that you part ways, you may call upon the assistance of cherished family and friends.)

  6. Ease up a little on the self-help stuff and let go of the narcissism. Love yourself and trust yourself.
    Yes, we ladies are valuable, righteous and radiant beings. We’re smart and we’re sexy and we definitely know it.Yes, there is a heavily narcissistic trend in much of the self-help stuff out there.

    Do you know what I’m saying?

    I’m such delicate flower. I’m unique and special and as deep as the Marianas Trench after a rainstorm. I wear malas, and organic cotton. I’m an exquisitely spiritual yoga goddess and I go on retreat to Chiang Mai and I’m looking for the most divine of male energy to complete me.

    This stuff is okay if you plan to be in a love affair with yourself rather than a radiant, loving man.

    Be really revolutionary. Be that lady who’s like: yeah, I’m really not that different from anybody else. Knock yourself off the pedestal (with all due respect).

  7. …and put away the damned checklist.
    This is another human being. Not a grocery list.There are, in my opinion, certain ineffable qualities: kindness, compassion, a sense of humor and an ability to make things happen. (The ability to make a fine lasagna or give a great back rub are icing on the cake.)
  8. Cool it with the trash-talk.
    You know when people on Facebook talk about their “perfect” group of friends and family?They’re lying.

    Nobody’s friends and family are perfect. If you are close to them for any period of time, they’re totally gonna push your buttons like some sad sap from an 80s movie pushes telephone buttons. Guaranteed.

    If you have an issue with a friend or family member, talk to her or him about it rather than complaining behind his or her back. (Your guy will wonder what you say about him when he’s not there.)

  9. Be yourself.
    Yes, it’s trite, but true, and tried and true.Do not pretend to be somebody you are not. If you love Dungeons and Dragons and couldn’t make a bowl of spaghetti to save your life, just own it already.
  10. …and don’t take any shit.
    You know what I’m talking about? Lying. Cheating. Abuse. Laziness. Blaming.There are plenty of radiant men out there just waiting to rock your world; and they wouldn’t dream of engaging in this infantile behavior.
    Find yourself one, or honor the one you have.

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{photo: via Flickr–The U.S. National Archives}

Ed: Sara Crolick

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