I was recently challenged by a reader, and fellow lifestyle blogger, by the name of Katya Evangeline. The comment was on one of my earlier posts, On Female Perspective, and challenged me to show that men can desire women the way they are portrayed in romance novels, or at least, what they really think as far as romantic relationships go. Keeping in mind, the insecurities that women have towards whether a guy is actually into her, or just looking for another orifice. So, I went to work, jotting down my own thoughts on the matter, as well as researching articles on male ego, and the psychology of men as it pertains to relationships. The following is a summary of everything I found.
The first, and probably most important, thing I realized when reading an article from Psychology Today, is of how misconstrued the difference between men and women is perceived. I recalled back to a comedian I watched once, who explained how the simplest way to explain it is this: men are simple, women are complicated. I’ll admit, for a time, I thought the same way as well. Then I considered who I am now, and how much I’ve grown, both as a person, and as a male. That’s when it hit me: looking at who I was before, who I am now, who my friends are, the other men I’ve had interactions with; it became clear to me, men are just as complicated as women, if only for different reasons.
So, I dug deeper.
I was intrigued, of course, but I had to remember the reason I had begun this journey in the first place. So, how do men really view women, and their relationships with them? My answer may be a bit more complicated than you might think. The whole explanation is very detailed, and includes several parts that kind of run tangent from the subject matter, so I’ll stick to the key points. At our most basic of instincts, we’re very romantic creatures. Although we may talk a big game, and act like we don’t need anybody, the truth is: we’re absolutely terrified of being alone. Anything we may say, or do, that may prove otherwise is nothing more than an act we put on for the society that expects us to behave this way.
Everyone, from those who raise us at early boyhood, to the women we pursue, all play a part in our behaviors, and yes, our egos. Of course, we’re becoming much more aware of the cultural stigma of boys being taught to always ‘man up’ and not to show emotion, but it’s more than just our upbringing, it’s those around us during adulthood who play a role as well. If you think back, there has probably been several instances where you, or someone you know, has made some dramatic exclamation about the opposite sex. Whether it be a guy who rolls his eyes, muttering, “Women, huh?” or a lady groaning in frustration, shouting, “Ugh, MEN!!!” What this does is further build up the stigma of every person of the opposite sex only ever behaving in a particular fashion. “He can’t help it, he’s a guy” or, “What more can you expect from a man?” they all play a role in creating this image of what a man is supposed to be like.
So, naturally, when a man tries to act a particular way, outside of this expected behavior, they’re immediately shamed by friends and family, and called a woman, or the most popular phrase, a “vagina”. Some argue that being called a woman implies that women are seen as weak, and I agree, women are certainly not weak, but the insult has more to do with not finding acceptance within the group. What else can we do, but act within the expected behavior? We have to, we’re too scared of being alone.
Because of this, we never really got the chance to be open about our emotions. Men are not incapable of telling you how we feel. In truth, we know exactly what our thoughts and emotions are, but never got to practice saying them out loud. We have to keep them pressed down. I feel like I’m starting to tangent, so let’s get back to it. Just as how we conform to fit in with the group, we do so during courtship as well. At the start of adulthood, men begin as very sexual creatures, which I’m sure I don’t have to convince you of. Testosterone is the hormone responsible for sexual arousal, and men produce it in droves. Just as women are still adjusting to the painful cramps, mood swings, and other unpleasant side effects of periods, guys are also still learning to ride the dragon.
Yes, at the beginning, sex plays a major role in finding a mate, but it’s not the only one. You need to understand that men also see their sex drive as a problem, and we’re insecure too. Some of us may act like sex is the only thing that matters, but that’s also to find acceptance in a society that expects us to fuck like rabbits to prove our manliness. Currently, it’s talked of how men’s egos are so sensitive, which is true, but given how we’re treated, it’s also all we know.
When you break us down, to our very core, behind the egos, behind the fist-bumping and high-fives, we want you to love us for the person that we are, and not the person we’re expected to be. We worry you might want us only for what we can do for you, to be your bread-winners. We wonder if you’ll love us even if we go broke, and you have to get a job to support the household. As young adolescents, our first concern may be for sex, but we also like to discover more about you along the way. Sometimes, we discover you’re not the kind of person we want in a relationship, so we end it, and we’re seen as pigs who used you for your orifices. But, sometimes, we like the person you are, and it becomes more than just the sex. We’ll adore the person you are underneath, and, maybe not right away, but we’ll start to go to bat for you. We want to surprise you, we’ll fight for you, we’ll take up new habits to help out around the house, just so you don’t have to work so hard, we’ll start doing several little things you might not notice, because we adore you. We’ll walk along the street, going past the flower shop we never looked at twice, and we’ll stop for the first time, and think to ourselves, ‘Maybe I should get some flowers delivered to her work’.
Moving on, I hope this can clear up any confusion on how we really see women. We can be just as insecure about why you want us, and whether you desire us, just as much as you do, if only for different reasons. We can both try to prove to the other how much we desire you, how much we appreciate you, how much we cherish you; but we live in a society that expects us to behave and react in pre-defined ways, so we end up always suspecting the other of faking it. Sometimes we do, which is terrible, and sometimes we don’t. Insecurity is a fickle beast that sits on our shoulders, constantly whispering doubts into our ears. Only when we can have the confidence to stop listening will the other person notice, and feel confident with themselves to be honest with you. That confidence carries over, and will fan the flame that fuels our desire for you.
I hope this answer is to your satisfaction, Katya. If it’s not quite the answer you were looking for, I hope it can provide the insight to help you find it. To make the long story short: men have every chance and ability to be the romantic book boyfriends you want, but perhaps not in the form you might hope for. Just as women portrayed in smut isn’t a realistic image of what women really are like, men aren’t exactly the romantic fools found in romance. But in both cases, each can become that person, in their own ways, and only if they feel their partner deserves it.