Are Men Too Lonely? Are Women Too Judgmental? Yes!!

Are Men Too Lonely? Are Women Too Judgmental? Yes!!
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This article from Harpers Bazaar had my head spinning for a number of reasons.

“Women continue to bear the burden of men’s emotional lives, and why wouldn’t they? For generations, men have been taught to reject traits like gentleness and sensitivity, leaving them without the tools to deal with internalized anger and frustration.”

Yes, it’s true that men are, in general, less in touch with their emotions than women. At the same time, I think men are more sensitive than ever before. As a dating coach, it’s a big part of what women – like this author – are complaining about.

More importantly, why is it that a man acting vulnerable with his girlfriend is “a burden” but if a woman dumps everything on her boyfriend, it’s just part of his job description?

“I want a man who makes me feel safe, heard, understood. A man who makes me feel validated and powerful. A man who makes me feel connected. A man with whom I could be myself and know that I’m going to be loved unconditionally.”

Man says the same thing.

“Yeah, I don’t think so.”

I wrote about this in my second book, “Why You’re Still Single,” in a chapter called “Men Don’t Go Both Ways.” Basically, women want a man to be BOTH the Marlboro Man AND the Sensitive Artist simultaneously. If he acts too stoic, it’s frustrating that you don’t feel more emotionally connected to him. If he acts too vulnerable, it’s frustrating that he seems so weak. No matter what he does, he’s screwed.

This same double standard continues elsewhere in the article.

“As modern relationships continue to put pressure on “the one” to be The Only One (where men cast their wives and girlfriends to play best friend, lover, career advisor, stylist, social secretary, emotional cheerleader, mom—to him, their future kids, or both—and eventually, on-call therapist minus the $200/hour fee), this form of emotional gold-digging is not only detrimental to men, it’s exhausting an entire generation of women.”

Honestly, if either of the two genders was looking for a partner to “have it all,” couldn’t we agree that it’s women?

Are you pretty? Are you nice? Will you accept him and have sex with him sometimes?

Congratulations, you are capable of making 90% of men perfectly happy!

Congratulations, you are capable of making 90% of men perfectly happy!

Contrast that with my job, talking to women every day for 16 years and you’ll realize that being a cute, nice and accepting man won’t get you anywhere with most of my clients.

“What does he do?”, “How much money does he make?”, “Who did he vote for?”, “Does he love animals?”, “Does he have any fashion sense?”, “Where did he go to college?”, “Does he believe in God?”; all of these come up quickly – and that’s before we ever get to the important questions of kindness, consistency, communication, character, and commitment.

This is not to suggest that the article doesn’t have anything valid to say. It does. It’s just a bit one-sided and overstated about the toxicity of an entire gender.

Here’s something that I largely agree with:

“Across the spectrum, women seem to be complaining about the same thing: While they read countless self-help books, listen to podcasts, seek out career advisors, turn to female friends for advice and support, or spend a small fortune on therapists to deal with old wounds and current problems, the men in their lives simply rely on them.”

Is the author correct that men are isolated, less likely to ask for help, and overly dependent on their relationship for emotional support?

Yes.

Does that negate all men as partners? I sure hope not.

I’ve written before about my own loneliness. It has been a project for years to find a group of friends that I can connect with regularly. The struggle is real.

My college friends are too far away and caught up with their young families.

My local friends are great guys who are similarly caught up in the cycle of work/family and don’t have the time to cultivate deeper relationships on a regular basis.

I tried a poker game. Some of the guys were just too douchey for me.

I checked out a local men’s group. Says one men’s group member in the linked article:

“In our culture, men have always found ways to be near each other, but it’s never been centered around feelings,” he explains. “Men are taught the remedy to heartbreak is to get drunk with your buddies, objectify women, and go out and get laid; to basically distance yourself from your feelings and channel them into an aggressive outlet. We use sports as an excuse to bump up against each other, so desperate we are for human touch and intimacy. But this kind of closeness is based in camaraderie and aggression, not vulnerability and trust. The former is very surface level and not nearly as satisfying as the latter.”

This is all partially true. But you know what happened at the men’s group I attended?

There was a silent meditation and tea. We spent four hours talking about shame.

It might have been the most depressing night I’ve ever spent with other men. For the men who have issues around shame, I appreciate that it may have been cathartic.

Me? I would much rather have gone to a steakhouse with two guy friends and talked about our wives, our kids, work, and fantasy football for four hours.

Hey, if you need therapy, get therapy. I think a lot of us just need some guy friends. It doesn’t have to be deep emotional work to fulfill an unmet need.

In other words, there’s masculinity and there’s toxic masculinity. Nobody’s endorsing the latter. But let’s not tarnish an entire gender as emotionally bereft just because men prefer to connect over beers instead of book clubs.

I’m not making apologies for the damaged narcissists who drain all your energy.

If a guy is broken then break up with him.

If a guy is a taker and doesn’t give a much in return, break up with him.

But if you’re dating a good guy who, for reasons beyond his control, has a hard time cultivating an active social life with other men, please cut him some slack.

You haven’t walked a mile in his shoes to know what it’s like.

And if you don’t want him to judge you for the drama surrounding you, your work, your girlfriends, your fellow soccer moms, your sister and your mother, perhaps you should reserve judgment when he doesn’t have anyone else to turn to except you.

Your thoughts, below, are greatly appreciated.

 

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Comments:

  1. 1
    SE

    Evan I agree entirely with you. I couldn’t even finish reading this article. Men are painted in such bad light anymore. Honestly I call all of these issues in the article, just two people in a relationship talking, discussing things, communicating. If they are having a bad day or week or month I would take that discussion on. They are my partner and we support each other. If this was wearing on me a little emotionally, I would ask to put aside this discussion and get out and had some fun with them for the night or weekend. Discuss it at a later time. Give both of you a break. I would expect the same from my guy if I was having a bad day or needed advise. I do have girlfriends and I talk with them but I don’t talk about relationships problems with them much. I understand men don’t have have that outlet sometimes. However my ex always had guy friends. By telling these guys to get therapist you’re just showing them that they may have picked the wrong partner and go find another. Its risking a lot.

  2. 2
    Yet Another Guy

    “Who did he vote for?”

    Lol! You have no idea as to how many times I was asked that question when I was actively dating. I eventually refused to answer it. If a woman believes that who a man voted for is more important than how he treats her, she needs to extract herself from the dating pool because she is not fit to be a man’s partner.

    1. 2.1
      sylvana

      YAG,

      I don’t know about that. I actually joked the other day that this is the first time in history when you would actually have to ask any potential dates who they voted for. Sad reality is, right now, you can pretty much tell who people voted for by the way they act and treat others. And if they voted a certain way, a woman will pretty much know what he’ll treat her like.

      1. 2.1.1
        Yet Another Guy

        @sylvana

        That is not remotely universally true. People often vote against a candidate. For many people (especially men), bringing the Clintons back to Washington was even more toxic than voting for Trump. It is called holding one’s nose, voting against a candidate, and voting the person out of office during the next election cycle. The general election candidates are usually selected by the most partisan voters (or the party machine). However, there a lot of people who are slightly to the left or slightly to the right and the position is often dependent on the issue. For the large mass in the middle, the last general election gave us a choice between a corrupt to the core couple who initially entered office broke and exited multi-millionares (that money is little more than payoffs) and a hardcore narcissist who does not need anyone’s money. Follow the money in politics because everything else is smoke and mirrors when it comes to the two major parties in the US. It is little more than a game of divide-and-conquer via wedge issues.

        1. sylvana

          YAG,

          just the fact that you know exactly what I was talking about should tell you something. And the fact that you pointed out that some people didn’t vote FOR him, but AGAINST someone else.

          Honestly, I never bothered with politics too much. I’m independent, and not a fan other either extreme. I also have to admit that (sadly) I never bothered with feminism that much. I took a lot for granted there. But lately here, the climate has ensured that I’ll be paying a lot more attention in the future.

        2. NAB

          And that is why women ask who a man voted for. Because if a man really thinks that what the Hilary Clinton brought to the White House (not the Clinton’s, a sexist assumption right there) would be worse than a man who “grabbed em by the pussy”, was a known racist who pursued racist policies, was generally disrespectful to women, cared nothing about the environment (in the age of climate change no less), the norms of democratic government, and wanted to end my right to bodily integrity, as well as a number of other problematic Supreme Court views….well that tells me a whole lot about a guy.

          That a guy might try to claim well I don’t really support him and still hated Clinton that much…also tells me about him. None of it good. Of course, for some women it might tell the opposite story. It really is an excellent question because it tells me if our worldview aligns. I don’t think in most elections couple’s have to have the same opinions, and those times, I’d ask why they voted that way. But in this one, it really defines values. If a guy doesn’t share my values, it doesn’t matter how “nicely” he treats me, the relationship won’t work out.

          I’m actually a married women of some years, and I can tell you this to be true 100%. The women asking these questions are asking smart questions.

        3. jo

          sylvana and NAB, I hear what you’re saying, but have seen too much ‘in practice’ to really believe that how men treat women in relationships can be predicted by how they vote.

          I have been surprised seeing my coupled friends: how men who claim to be liberal still leave their gfs, wives, and other women in their lives with the bulk of the housework, child care, relational work (within the partnership and their friends and children’s groups), and more. And I have seen conservative men share this work with women very nicely. Of course I have also seen the reverse of both. But on the whole, men’s voting records do not seem a reliable predictor of how good they are as partners.

        4. Yet Another Guy

          @jo

          “But on the whole, men’s voting records do not seem a reliable predictor of how good they are as partners.”

          Nor is a viable predictor for how a man feels about women.

      2. 2.1.2
        RustyLH

        sylvana

        “Sad reality is, right now, you can pretty much tell who people voted for by the way they act and treat others. And if they voted a certain way, a woman will pretty much know what he’ll treat her like.”

        Nonsense. I volunteer time for a charity that helps the homeless. In that group of volunteers, we have people who voted on both sides, and they are all long time married, and wonderful wives and husbands.

        Meanwhile, I have met many men, and women, who voted on both sides, who are abusive, married multiple times, cheated on spouses, etc…

      3. 2.1.3
        Cathalei

        NAB,
        Why would it be a sexist assumption that they are called Clintons? It’s not a secret that she had an enormous influence during her husband’s tenure and this would be taken into account when evaluating her. Had Jeb Bush become the candidate, they would have been called the Bushes as there was such a thing as Kennedys. It’s not sexist at all.
        And this is a thing that should be analyzed from both sides, her attitude about her husband’s sexual assault accusation doesn’t draw a very good portrayal of her attitude about that issue. “Believe victims” slogan should be applied to every situation, not just those you deem convenient to paint your rivals in a bad light. I am not at all saying this to endorse the other one, (I’m not American anyway) just to point out their vote choice could hardly predict their attitude about that.

    2. 2.2
      Jane

      I have to add that Many Many Many men have asked me who I’ve voted for that I added my political view on my profile (conservative) and that has been a catalyst for some nasty emails based on the assumption that I voted for a certain someone.

    3. 2.3
      Cathalei

      YAG,
      It’s quite a valid question. The way you vote may reveal many things about the values you hold and no matter how nice the two people towards each other, if those values don’t align they are incompatible. The more important question behind it is WHY you would vote for certain someone, which reveals what you value in discerning the environment around you.
      You should also take into account that not everyone here is from the US. See [b]Mara[/b]’s comment below about how the way someone votes could reveal things about their priorities and mindset. Not every country is same in that regard. I myself live in a country in which that would make a good deal of difference. For instance being bisexual I would not date a severely homophobic person when I am dating the opposite sex.

  3. 3
    Clare

    I find the endless man-bashing in the media – TV shows, movies, the news, opinion pieces – to be not only nauseating and boring, but also deeply hurtful and disgusting. I don’t usually express my feelings so vehemently on this blog, but that is how I feel.

    Men have their issues which they are prone to – which I know we women can find very confusing and exasperating – but so very many of the men I have met in my life, from casual strangers to men I have come to know and love over years, possess such strength, generosity, kindness and courage. And an extraordinary capacity to feel things deeply.

    I am truly sick to death of the endless complaining about men. There is often a nugget of truth in these complaints, which is why they are so widely accepted and endorsed, but whom does it help to alienate men to this degree and paint women as long-suffering, virtuous victims? Not men, and not us.

    I really think that instead of all this virtue-signalling and grandstanding in the media, we should be making more efforts to connect with each other and supporting each other. And finding things to understand and appreciate in each other so that, who knows, both men and women can feel safer to let down their guards.

    1. 3.1
      Marika

      Hi Clare

      I was going to say to SE above, and you and YAG confirmed it, that I’m not even interested in reading the article. It sounds ridiculous. Supporting each other in a relationship is fundamental.

      Since reading this blog I’ve made a concerted effort to give, in particular, admiration and appreciation to the men in my life, given the importance of this to men (as per Evan’s advice, reiterated in many posts). I’m not sure if you’ve experienced this, Clare, or if some of the guys could weigh in, but the reaction is not like how the women in my life would respond. I’m not sure if men aren’t used to hearing positive words of appreciation? Don’t know/aren’t used to taking compliments? Or if it’s still the remnants of our colonizers ‘stiff upper lip’ thing still in play….? The young ones, my nephews, for instance, will beam and look proud, and it will get them talking about whatever it is I’m showing admiration for. The adults might sort of give a half- smile, look confused, laugh it off or even change the subject. Jeremy might say that words aren’t that important to men? Unfortunately I’m not far enough along in a relationship (yet, but fingers crossed) to, um *show* it on a consistent basis. So words are really all I have. I’m assuming they like to hear these things, but it’s hard to know when the reaction is obsequious.

      I suppose I find men somewhat difficult to read. Which is part of the appeal, the mystery of working them out. And the value of this blog 😉

      1. 3.1.1
        Evan Marc Katz

        It’s all subjective, Marika. That’s 5 Love Languages. Many men are acts of service – they value a wife who does the laundry, makes the bed and plans their social life. I’m a words of affirmation guy – I compliment my wife and tell her I love her 5X more than she does to me. The point is not that anybody’s “wrong” but speaking ALL five love languages (acts of service, gifts, quality time, words of affirmation and touch) is key to being a great partner…and especially discovering what your PARTNER values and trying to deliver on it. Millions of women marry successful men thinking that because they were attracted to his brains, drive and success, they’d be happy. Then they discovered he’s a selfish workaholic who doesn’t listen, doesn’t want to spend more time, and doesn’t put her needs on the same level as his own. Just because you’re a “catch” on paper doesn’t make you a great partner. That’s a gender-neutral statement.

      2. 3.1.2
        Jeremy

        What he said about love languages….and also one other thing. Men, especially young men, try desperately to find their place in a hostile social hierarchy. Because whereas female hierarchies are often cooperative, male ones hardly ever are.

        I watch my 11 year old son with his friends all the time. One boy will say something….and the other boys never compliment him on what he’s said, but rather compete to say something more clever. To “win.” Because in male hierarchies, the spoils go to the victor….which is the cause of so much male misery. ‘Cause if you can’t be the victor, what’s the point?

        So boys and men starve for affirmation. Whether through words, actions, or whatever. They starve to hear that they are important. That they matter. That their opinion matters. That they are moving UP in the hierarchy and not staying the same, and certainly not down. And the higher the quality of the person giving the affirmation, the more it means.

        Older men (hopefully) mature out of this, and adopt Brene Brown’s philosophy of letting the opinions of those who matter matter, and those who don’t matter not matter. But young men? Starving.

        1. Marika

          Thank you Evan and Jeremy.

          Always especially valuable when you have the time to weigh in on the comments, Evan 🙂

          Good to know that the praise and encouragement of young boys never goes to waste. I will continue to make a concerted effort with the boys I interact with.

          In terms of adults, love languages, for sure, when you’re in an established, love relationship. Outside of that, given that men especially want admiration and appreciation, why is that not more obvious in their reactions? Or am I missing how they tend to react positively to that? Haha, or maybe it’s just me!…. 😉

          Hopefully personal example will help – some who have an issue with that can maybe bear with it or stop reading – as I do agree with you both that being vulnerable and open is the best way to communicate and learn. Last night I was texting with my beau (he started the conversation so I wasn’t chasing or being aggressive or in other ways non-feminine), and I asked him how it went with the dinner he made as a thank you to a colleague that night. He happily told me all about it and then said that he thought they appreciated it (then made a self-effacing joke, unless they are just good liars! hehe). I responded that I thought it was absolutely a nice gesture and they appreciated it for sure. Smiley face.

          No response.

          Now, who knows, maybe he fell asleep or got distracted. And it’s early days and everyone is a bit coy in early stages of dating. But this sort of thing happens when I’m communicating with other men too, even those I know well, like my brother. Conversely, I’ve never walked away from an heartfelt conversation with a woman thinking, ‘I wonder if she felt good/bad/indifferent/bored/patronised/hungry….’.

        2. Jeremy

          I think that many men, myself included, don’t really know what to do with compliments, Marika. We aren’t used to getting them and when we do we aren’t quite sure what they mean. She’s complimenting me on my cooking….. Does that mean she likes me, or that she just likes the food? Does she want a compliment in return, and if I give one to her will it seem disingenuous because she’ll think I’m only doing it because she did? Is she complimenting me because she WANTS something, and if so, what does she want? I have no idea…

          Sounds a bit ridiculous, but it’s more of less what goes through my mind when complimented. And when men are stressed, we retreat. Hence, you know, the disengagement, for not knowing what to say.

          Or, if he entirely unlike me, more confident and less neurotic, he might not be thinking any of this. He might just have thought the conversation was over, because men don’t converse like women do to convey emotion and tend the emotions of others. The whole “report-speaking” vs “rapport-speaking” difference.

          I guess that’s sort of a long way of saying… I don’t know?

        3. jo

          Jeremy, all your comments make me believe that men are actually more complicated than women. 🙂

          I think it would be fine to just say thank you when a woman (or man) compliments you. You are under no obligation to worry whether they want something, because if that were the case, then they should have taken into account that you wouldn’t read into it more deeply than that. Also, you don’t need to return a compliment unless you genuinely feel they’re compliment-worthy. Just ‘thank you’ is all that’s needed.

        4. SparklingEmerald

          Jeremy said “I think that many men, myself included, don’t really know what to do with compliments,”

          ********************************************************************

          Am I missing some nuance here ? Men want admiration, appreciation and validation but don’t know what to do with a compliment ?

          Aren’t most forms of the above, given in a compliment ? “Thank you, that was very thoughtful of you”. “Way to go with that promotion, I know you have been working very hard towards it” “Ooooh, I see you have been working out at the gym” (said as squeezing those delicious bi-ceps 🙂 ) What about a post sex “That was GREAT !” (just kidding, I don’t think any man minds a post sex compliment on the experience)

          Jeremy, have you never rec’d a sincere compliment ? Do you really think there’s an ulterior motive behind a compliment ? Or are you just speaking in generalities about men. ?

          GENERAL COMMENT: There is another commenter here who just goes by SE. That’s not me. I got confused when someone referenced a comment by SE and I didn’t recall making that comment. It’s because I didn’t. 🙂

        5. Marika

          Sparkling

          I think Jeremy was just explaining, because I asked, not justifying it.

          I’m glad you clarified because I thought you were SE too! 🙂

        6. SparklingEmerald

          Marika said “Sparkling I think Jeremy was just explaining, because I asked, not justifying it.”

          ****************************************************

          I dldn’t think he was justifying, I am just confused as to how women are supposed to express admiration, validation, admiration etc. while simultaneously avoiding complementing men, which seems to carry an ulterior motive.

          And I guess now, we will have to come up with another nickname for me besides SE, since another commenter has adopted the initials of my screen name.

        7. Jeremy

          It’s not that I think women have an ulterior motive, Sparky (?), it’s that they have an unknown motive.

          My observations run similar to Clare’s – that when women compliment each other they do so to develop rapport. As a segue to conversation, leading to bonding – with nothing else expected or required. Which is why compliments tend to put women at ease (at least, when they come from other women).

          But as a man, my experience with female compliments is that they are given with 3 possible common motivations – 1) To develop rapport/friendship/conversation, as with other women. 2) To signal sexual/romantic interest and give a green light for the man to initiate. 3) To soften a man up for an eventual request. So…what is she after? Is she just shooting the shit making small-talk (1), is she interested in me and waiting for me to make a move, or does she want something? I don’t know, and have mis-interpreted more times than I can count.

          Clare wrote that in her experience men tend to warm up to compliments with time. My tweak would be that men better understand the woman giving the compliment over time – better understand what she wants, are less likely to make a mistake, and so better receive the compliment.

          Men do want admiration/appreciation/validation from women….but that works best when we understand that that is what those women are actually offering. That she isn’t just making meaningless small talk. Because ultimately when we say that we want “admiration” what we really mean is that we want to be desired, exactly as women do. Difference is, women rarely express desire for men overtly. They express it through admiration….of something.

        8. Clare

          Jeremy,

          “when women compliment each other they do so to develop rapport. As a segue to conversation, leading to bonding – with nothing else expected or required. Which is why compliments tend to put women at ease (at least, when they come from other women).”

          I’m sure I have told this story on this blog before, but I’ll never forget a date that I was on with an ex-boyfriend. He had taken me to see a live rugby game, and then we went to a trendy cocktail bar afterwards. There were a group of (very pretty) women standing by the bar, all part of a bachelorette party. I went straight up to one of the prettiest girls in the group and complimented her on her boots, asked her where she got them, etc. In no time, I had struck up conversation with three or four of them and we were chatting happily and unguardedly until I decided to go back to my date. He had been watching all of this with his jaw on the floor. He couldn’t believe how easily I had broken through the defenses of a group of women, which he claimed was really difficult for him and his friends.
          He came to the conclusion that the best “wingman” to have with you when you are trying to pick up women is, in fact, another woman 😀

          He might be right about that. Women can deliver and receive compliments easily and without awkwardness or ulterior motives, for the most part. For men, it seems to be a fraught area… which is a pity because a well-delivered compliment is one of the best ways to get anyone to lower their defenses.

        9. RustyLH

          Are men more complicated than women? Probably not. Just as complicated? Probably.

          Why would men not know how to react to a compliment? because men are often very aware of their surroundings, and what is going on in those surroundings. Not always, but often enough, and we see things, and pick up on things.

          For instance, I dated a girl who seemed really nice at first. However, I learned that she was a horrible gossip. Too many times, I saw her be the sweet, complimentary person in public, but as soon as she was out of earshot of the people, she would have very derogatory things to say. It made it hard to take any of her kind words at face value. It made it impossible to trust her, and trusting a mate is highly important to both genders, but maybe not always in the same ways. Like a woman may need to know that she can trust the man not to physically hurt her, while the man may need to know that she won’t cuckold him. Obviously not all there is to it, but it makes the point. We may have the same need for trust, but feel trust for different reasons.

          Also, wouldn’t a woman be suspicious of a man’s physical intimacy, if she only receives it from him, when he wants sex? Often, men can detect that people are the nicest to you, when they want something from you. We see that all around us. I have literally had a wife say that she found it hard to be open and generous with compliments, because she was afraid the person would get a big head, and then take her for granted. In short, he openly admitted to using compliments, and kindness in a manipulative way to put her needs first. I picked up on that quite well, which prompted the conversation.

          So maybe we can just agree that life is complicated, and there is no easy way around that.

      3. 3.1.3
        Clare

        Marika,

        “I’m not sure if you’ve experienced this, Clare, or if some of the guys could weigh in, but the reaction is not like how the women in my life would respond. I’m not sure if men aren’t used to hearing positive words of appreciation? Don’t know/aren’t used to taking compliments?… The adults might sort of give a half- smile, look confused, laugh it off or even change the subject.”

        I’ve definitely experienced this.

        If you sincerely compliment or affirm a woman, she will usually smile warmly, soak the compliment in, say “thank you” and chatter pleasantly about whatever it is you have complimented her on. Compliments are a great way to build rapport with women – it’s what I do when I’m making new women friends or making my female friendships closer, and it’s advice I give to my guy friends when they are dating. Women know what to do with compliments – we enjoy them, they put us at ease and make us feel more secure.

        When I compliment men, the reaction is, as you say, different. It’s not a warm, enthusiastic reaction; it is more awkward. If I tell my boyfriend, brother or guy friend that they look great, or that something suits them, or that they’ve done something well, they will generally just thank me and look away. HOWEVER, I do notice a bit of a puffing up that happens in their chest and they do walk a little bit taller after that, so I know they like it.
        I know men are uneasy with compliments, but I do it anyway. I’ve found that, when you sincerely compliment a man, it builds trust, just like with women. For example, my brother is an extremely guarded, rational-type person. He doesn’t really open up much or let anyone in much. But I took it upon myself over the years to make little comments about what kinds of clothes and hairstyles suited him and how attractive this would make him to women. To my delight, he has taken my advice and now dresses much better, looks much smarter and often asks my opinion on his outfits and takes me clothes shopping with him. I had a similar experience with an ex-boyfriend when I started complimenting him on certain shirts and saying what style I thought would look sexy on him.

        I think it takes time. I think men are uncomfortable with compliments at first, but I think over time they get more comfortable with them and enjoy them more.

  4. 4
    Yet Another Guy

    Okay, I read the article. I could barely get through it without screaming “you’re clueless.” We have reached a seriously messed up point when women start spouting this tripe. The thing that came to mind was “good luck finding yourself sexually aroused by such a man.” The attributes that make a man sexually attractive to women are completely opposite of what is spouted in this article. I have yet to see a feminized man be successful with women, not one. The phrase “emotional tampon” comes to mind when I think of such a man. You know, the guys on whose shoulders women cry, but with whom they would never have sex. Why? Because this article fails to address a woman’s most basic primal need, which is to feel safe and secure. In order for a man to make a woman feel safe and secure, he needs to be fearless and cool under life-threatening pressure. There is absolutely no way to do that without a man being able to suppress his emotions. As I have mentioned many times, the inability to process sadness/sorrow is by societal design. It ensures that a man will channel sorrow into anger/rage. That channeling is absolutely necessary for the protection of women and children. I spent five years on active duty in the military. Men who do not possess the ability to channel sorrow into rage are culled during basic and officer training because we cannot afford to have a man breakdown on the battlefield over the death of his friend. We need men who will channel that sorrow into rage directed at killing the enemy (i.e., take one of mine, I will take ten of yours).

    The reality is that men provide safety and security in return for emotional support, which I believe is a fair trade. I feel sorry for any woman who does not understand that reality. Women always talk about how afraid they are all of the time and that that fear stems from having to deal with men. Guess what? Men deal with that threat every day without being allow to express fear; otherwise, they risk being disrespected by women and falling prey to more aggressive men. I believe the real problem here is that women do not want to deal with their men expressing vulnerability because it kills arousal. Men have to listen to everything that is going on in a woman’s life, including how miserable her period is making her feel. Trust me, we all have to do it or deal with the repercussions. When a woman complains about her man not hearing her, it has nothing to do with active listening. It has everything to with how a man listens, which is to go into problem solving mode instead of listening empathetically like a woman. That is why women lean on other women. The phrase “need to be heard” is code word for this type of listening.

    1. 4.1
      mara

      while I agree with quite some of the things you wrote,, you do relize that ”
      It ensures that a man will channel sorrow into anger/rage. That channeling is absolutely necessary for the protection of women and children”
      women and children need prtection from… men?
      Men are responsible of 98% of all volent crimes. In France they make up for 96.4% of all jail population.
      And why you think men end up being much more violent an unsimpathethic? Yeah, those same traits of beign detached ans suppressing their emotions and channelling them to anger.
      So basically, you cll it the ‘solution’ to a problem (security) but it actually it is also…a large part of what makes the problem itself.
      Also, why can women be doctors, nurses, work in the military, in fire deprtment, not be detached from their feelings and STILL see a lot of blood everyday and go on protecting and saving people?
      yeah, because it is not necessary.
      As my favorite medium once said, men’s biggest flaw is detaching from their emotions. It is not a quality but I agree with you. A man that is too feminized rarely has success with women.

      1. 4.1.1
        jo

        mara, amen. YAG, in this day and age when women can provide for ourselves, the truth is that if we need protection from anything, it is often men. Not all men, by any means, but… the ones from whom we need protection, they’re men, by and large. Whether it’s resentful men at work who see us succeed where they fail and put us down, to the catcallers, harassers, stalkers, abusive or even violent partners – These are what make women feel threatened and needing protection today. Not a lion prowling around nearby, or even anymore having to be driven anyplace or fixing the roof (we can do it ourselves or hire someone to do it).

        Times change, and what women want in relationships changes as a result – not because we are fickle, but because what we can do for ourselves now is so different from what previous generations were allowed. It will change even more for the generation of girls / women right below us.

        1. Gallilee

          Jo,
          I think you’re missing the point a bit. The issue is what women FEEL and what they WANT from men; crime stats are niether nor there. Do women want a confident man? Do they have different feelings for a ‘successful’ man? There you go, that’s the issue, you’re getting into minutia too much. What do you feel, what do your want? Confidence and success. Not emotions and sensitivity etc. When men act that way…well, they receive very strong negative reinforcement from women.

        2. jo

          No, Gallilee, I did not miss the point, as I was addressing YAG’s comment (not the original post) about women wanting men to feel ‘safe and secure.’ As times have changed, women no longer want men for these reasons (at least, not as romantic partners – women still respect both men and women who serve in military forces, police, etc. to keep the population as a whole safe and secure). But in fact, on a personal level, it is often men who take away women’s feelings of safety and security, and I gave some examples. Again, not all or even most men. But ask a woman what would make her feel unsafe, and too often, she would answer that it is what men might do to her.

          As to your comment about women not wanting emotion and sensitivity in men – while I can’t speak for all women, I do value those traits in men, in fact love them. A man who didn’t have these traits is exactly someone I would avoid.

      2. 4.1.2
        Galilee

        Jo,
        Look, imagine all of those awful mean men at work didn’t exist.
        What time of man is attractive?
        It’s the same man. You’re rationalizing. You don’t like the fact that women are in least in part responsible for their own unhappiness due to their poor choices, but of course they have no choice because of those meanies in the workplace who won’t celebrate the wonder and glory that is your career with enough fervour. Take responsibility for yourself. I know it’s easier to blame men for everything but you’ll just remain where you are, chasing your own tail and bewailing the reality of life.

        1. jo

          I have no idea what you’re talking about, and I don’t think you have much idea either.

        2. Clare

          It never fails to amuse me when these manosphere guys lose all credibility by going on angry rants which are completely unrelated to anything anyone is saying. 😀

        3. jo

          Clare – HA – yes. 🙂

      3. 4.1.3
        Buck25

        ” Why can women be doctors, nurses, work in the military, in fire department, not be detached from their feelings and STILL see a lot of blood every day, and go on protecting and saving people”

        Mara,
        I’ve been a combat infantry officer, AND a First Responder. Newsflash for you: in critical emergency situations, those women detach from their emotions, just like a man does. They trust themselves, their skill and training, and the people working with them, and do what has to be done with cold objectivity. They do because if they ever don’t do that, and let their emotions in the moment get in the way, bad things happen, as in people die. We used to have a saying: “Deal with the emergent situation without any emotional reaction until you have either solved the problem or handed it off to another competent professional. You’ll have time to deal with whatever your feelings about it are later, AFTER the job is done.” Never ever have known a First Responder, male or female, who didn’t compartmentalize and emotionally detach in those situations. Don’t believe me? Ask someone who has actually been there and done that on really nasty trauma scenes with multiple critical patients, in a hazardous environment. That creates some pretty powerful emotions, but those have to be processed later because there is no time for any of that when it is happening. You don’t have stay that way off-duty, of course; for those who do, there’s a name for that as well:PTSD. It’s a common occupational hazard in those professions you mention, and it doesn’t discriminate by gender, either.

    2. 4.2
      Lynx

      YAG: “The reality is that men provide safety and security in return for emotional support, which I believe is a fair trade. I feel sorry for any woman who does not understand that reality.” I agree that is how male/female relationships have worked traditionally, and that our biology has evolved accordingly.

      However, the people who most frequently post here skew older. Having worked almost solely with 20- and 30-somethings in the tech industry for the past decade — and having two children in their late teens/early 20s — I can tell you the dynamic is shifting for a LOT of younger people. Men are more open with their feelings, and women have sex with them, anyway. Women in general are having more sex with more partners — without expecting the guy to earn more or provide for them. There is starting to be more parity in couples’ incomes and division of labor with childcare (just yesterday a dad at my employer took a half day off due to an emergency with his child — something completely unheard of when I started my career).

      I can see your point that the military requires personnel who won’t crumble in the face of danger, but the U.S. active military personnel is only 0.4 percent of the population. The world is changing. Danger looks different, and it’s often not the Alpha male who’s best suited to combat it.

      1. 4.2.1
        Buck25

        Lynx,

        I get the changing times thing, bu I’ve also read that millennials are having less sex than any generation before them, AND producing fewer offspring when they marry. One thing puzzles me though, “Danger looks different, and it’s often not the Alpha male who’s best suited to combat it” Exactly what situations would those be, Lynx? I’m honestly curious.

        Incidentally, if your primary fear as a woman today is predatory men, then the best two options for saving you from harm when confronted by one (absent years of training in martial arts) are (1) a handgun with a carry permit and the skill and willingness to use it, or (2) one or more men with courage to put themselves between you and the predator.

        1. Lynx

          Buck25: ” One thing puzzles me though, ‘Danger looks different, and it’s often not the Alpha male who’s best suited to combat it’. Exactly what situations would those be, Lynx? I’m honestly curious.”

          If a woman’s primary fear is a predatory man, then she’s not paying attention to facts. In the US, heart disease is the leading cause of death, and poor lifestyle choices are a major factor. Other completely valid fears: Bankruptcy due to a health crisis. Indigence in advanced age due to a lack of a pension and/or caretakers and/or social safety net. Depression. Suicide.

          Women are rarely homicide victims, and when they are, more than half the time they’re slain by their partner. One statistic reports “82% of homicide victims targeted by intimate partners are women.” So, a combative Alpha male — especially a gun-toting one — is more of a risk than a savior.

        2. Marika

          I don’t feel unsafe around men, but Buck, I’m quite sure the research indicates that carrying handguns makes a country less safe, not more.

        3. Evan Marc Katz

          Yeah, we’re not getting into a gun control argument but innumerable studies show that more guns = more deaths by gun the way that more cars = more car accidents. You can argue for your Second Amendment rights but you can’t claim that mass gun ownership is making America SAFER. No need to respond if you disagree, Buck. I appreciate your contributions and your service to the country; I just want to keep this blog (mostly) free of politics.

        4. Buck25

          Lynx,
          I suppose I should have addressed part of that to Mara and Jo since they remarked on feeling that the single greatest source of fear for women is…men.The other fears/dangers you speak of are valid concerns for both genders(except that women are generally at higher risk for clinical depression, while men are at greater risk for suicide).

          Note that I said nothing about a “combative alpha male” or an armed one either. With regard to a potential threat to himself or another, a trained man knows that generally the preferred course is avoid, then deter, then defuse, and only then engage the threat.

          As for being armed, I suggested that as an option for any woman who chooses to avail herself of it. Just to be clear here, I DO NOT advocate that everyone who can legally do so, carry a gun. Many people simply choose not to, which is fine, and many others emphatically SHOULD NOT, for a variety of reasons, including (but not limited to) lack of skill/training, and that particular individual’s emotional predispositions.

          All that said, there are still situations where a man or men of courage can make a big difference In a news story that I saw the other night, there was the case of a young woman who passed out drunk at a frat party. A frat boy present, also intoxicated, got her outside and dragged her unconscious body to an area where he began to remove her clothing and started to sexually assault her. Two male grad students passing by happened to spot the situation, and intervened, They immediately went into action, the assailant (a college athlete, BTW) ran, whereupon these two men tackled him. One held him for the police, while the other made the call, then stayed with the unconscious victim until police arrived. Result, a bad enough situation, but at least a completed rape was averted, because two men saw something that didn’t look right and had the courage to act on it.

          We thankfully live in a supposedly more civilized time than formerly (though sometimes I have some doubts about that), but life even in a first-world society is not risk-free. Even setting aside violent crime and terrorism, there are other dangerous situations, from accidents to natural disasters, where a man (or woman, for that matter) with courage, skill and leadership can save the day, or at least mitigate the potential damage. Alpha males are somewhat an endangered species these days, but not quite obsolete just yet, and in future you’ll still need to have at least a few around, I suspect.

      2. 4.2.2
        Yet Another Guy

        @Lynx

        “However, the people who most frequently post here skew older. Having worked almost solely with 20- and 30-somethings in the tech industry for the past decade — and having two children in their late teens/early 20s — I can tell you the dynamic is shifting for a LOT of younger people. Men are more open with their feelings, and women have sex with them, anyway. ”

        I am not buying it. My undergraduate and graduate degrees in computer science and engineering. I been involved in the tech sector my entire professional life. I am 58 years old, so we are talking about a long time.. What I have seen is that shear difficulty of obtaining a woman for the average male technical worker due to male-to-female ratio at work and at play. I can assure you that it is more difficult than for the average male non-technical worker. That is why I become a bodybuilder in my mid-twenties. I took me out of a world with limited options and put me in a world with almost unlimited options.

        As far as Millennial women and masculinity, I have news for you. On average, the average Millennial woman desires the same type of masculinity their mother’s enjoyed, especially when it comes to romance. I was surprised to discover how many Millennial women crave the type of masculinity provided by men from previous generations. I was quite confused as to why women who were young enough to be my daughter would extend a “like” and/or attempt to chat me up when I was online, so I started to ask them why they are interested in older men. The answer was usually along the lines of, “All men my age want to do is hang out and hookup. Men your age know how to properly court a woman.” My response was usually, “I am flattered. I find you to be very desirable, but I need a woman with a few more miles in her rear view mirror” (I am certain that many men my age would take advantage of the situation). You should not confuse the desire for equality in work and domestic life with the need for traditional gender roles when it comes to romance. It will take more than fifty years for women to align their arousal needs with their comfort needs, and when it comes to arousal needs, traditional masculinity wins.

        By the way, I too find Millennial men to be quite feminine. It used to be that only bodybuilders removed their body hair, and that was usually reserved for competitions (body hair obscures definition). The genital area was only waxed or shaved enough to wear a pair of posing trunks, which make a Speedo look large. 🙂 It is not that men from previous generations did not groom. It just that they did not groom like women by waxing their eyebrows and removing all of their body hair.

        1. Lynx

          YAG: Sounds like you and I are having a Blind Men and the Elephant moment. Both of us are applying personal anecdotes to two very different populations: your experience with single women who are online dating, my experience with married male work colleagues. The truth, no doubt, is larger than either perspective.

        2. Yet Another Guy

          @Lynx

          As I mentioned, I have worked in the tech sector my entire professional career. I interact with Millennial men and women on a regular basis. Things have not gotten easier for Millennial men in the tech sector when it comes to women. In fact, I would say that things have gotten worse due to the high male-to- female ratio in the tech centers, which is why men in this sector are more likely to have modern egalitarian relationships than say men who work in law, medicine, or even sales. Trust me, this type of behavior is not new to the tech sector. Men in the tech sector have been this way as long as I can remember.

          Something that is unique about the tech sector is that heavy culling within the workforce starts at age 35, especially within product engineering. In most areas of the tech sector, the career trajectory is up or out. To say that the tech sector is a Darwinian area of the economy is an understatement . By age 40, there are fewer individual contributors than there are in just about any other sector of any economy because the tech sector’s motto is get them young (and cheap), burn them out, discard, and repeat the cycle (Craig Barret’s famous “The half-life of an engineer, software or hardware, is only a few years” quote).

        3. Lynx

          YAG: I do not doubt what you’re saying, it’s just that my personal experience is different — maybe because I live in a lifestyle city rather than a high-pressure place like the Bay Area. The biggest difference I see in my region, among my colleagues, compared to what I observed growing up, is the degree to which dads are involved. They get up in the middle of the night to support their nursing wives. They talk knowledgeably about projectile vomiting. Just today, outside of my workplace, a dad strolled by at lunchtime wearing a baby carrier and walking the dog. They chaperone field trips. They take sick kids to the doctor during the work day. They coach soccer. One dad, at a former place I worked with a very hip industrial office, brought his boys in on a Saturday and had a Nerf gun war to give his wife and daughter some girl time.

          I feel so happy for their children — and for the dads, themselves. They’re bonding in a way that men of previous generations just weren’t given the societal permission to do.

  5. 5
    jo

    While I agree that many women are too picky about insignificant traits in men, I wonder if Evan and the Bazaar author are writing about two completely different populations. Above, Evan seems to be writing about people’s pickiness in looking for relationships, while she is writing about people who are already in long-term relationships.

    So I don’t see the two as being in conflict. In fact, maybe women have to be more picky upfront, precisely to avoid being saddled with such large emotional burdens when she is in a LTR. Not necessarily picky in terms of ‘What is your voting record?’ (I agree with YAG that this doesn’t matter) – but whether he proves himself to be mature, not breaking things when upset (like one of the men in the article), calm, thoughtful, and willing to seek sources of emotional support and friendship outside of just her. I think there is plenty of truth in both sides here.

    1. 5.1
      mara

      I totally understand why someone would ask who you voted for.
      Who you voted for in itself isn’t all that important but it is the tip of the iceberg of a to of other traits, so it’s more of a question to tell a lot more, like a psycho quiz.
      All the people I know that voted for Berlusconi are somewhat ignorant and machos, so yeah, if I know you voted for a mafioso that decided to fix his problems with law by illegally buying TV channel (or three) with mafia money then chnging the laws itself so he couldn’t be prosecuted anymore while his major point ws ‘i was able to get riich so you should vote for me’, yeah if you voted for him that shows little intellect, little culture, and too much tv brainwashing for sure.
      women ask these kind of questions becuse they DO tell a lot about somebody.
      Maybe me care less because they are simpler for a true mental connection.
      Usually they care more how pretty and young you are lol.
      But I do care to have a true intellectual connection and it has been proven that dating someone with far political views from yours usually doesn’t last, so it is not a stupid question at all.

      1. 5.1.1
        jo

        mara, good point – it does differ by country. I am fortunate to live in a place where even those men who did not vote as I did, I still consider good men. In other places, and depending on the person(s) involved, it may be different.

      2. 5.1.2
        Cathalei

        “Maybe me care less because they are simpler for a true mental connection.
        Usually they care more how pretty and young you are lol.”

        Let’s be honest here, women care about physical attraction too. A LOT. That’s why we are seeing many questions about whether a woman is settling because she is not sure about whether she is not attracted enough. None of which is mutually exclusive with caring about values. Of course men care about such things too. Most women who are happily coupled with a man aren’t supermodel types. I am not saying to belittle them, far from it. But if men only looked for youth they would have left them behind. Physical attraction is not solely about supermodel looks anyway. It’s about health indicators. Anyway your commentary about vote revealing deeper values about a person is correct. Men too ask these questions in LTRs.

  6. 6
    April

    I agree with this, but I also feel it’s a benefit for men to be able to compartmentalize or hide/suppress emotions. There are times I wish I had that ability. It would make decision making easier some days.

    Yes, my boyfriend has emotionally dumped on me…a whole lot. As an ex, he still does. I think I’m the only person close enough to him he confides in and trusts. I consider it an honor because he doesn’t open up easily. For him to be vulnerable is a big deal and that’s not something I take lightly. And no, it never made me less attracted to him…at all.

    He’s expressed frustration in trying to find friends for years. Me? I found 3 new ones I hang with on a regular basis just over the course of the summer and going out and doing things. Maybe it’s easier for women to make friends.

    For what it’s worth, I never base a dating decision on who someone’s voted for. I’d like to think I’m above that – I hope!- and having an intellectual conversation doesn’t mean you have to only date the same kind of person you are. If anything, seeing other’s perspectives can give us incredible insight and empathy.
    As long as values align, it’s all good.
    My aforementioned ex voted differently and was a different religion. None of that changed the fact that he was loyal, strong, sweet and kind. However, his binge drinking affected us.

    Here’s another dynamic: If your (male) S.O. is trying to remain sober, he’s even more lonely because he’s now eschewing his normal habits and friends to handle THAT struggle (alone), too.

    So, yeah…patience and understanding go a long way. Agree wholeheartedly.

    1. 6.1
      Yet Another Guy

      @April

      “He’s expressed frustration in trying to find friends for years. Me? I found 3 new ones I hang with on a regular basis just over the course of the summer and going out and doing things. Maybe it’s easier for women to make friends.”

      Understanding why men have difficulty establishing new friendship is easy to understand if one follows a man from his childhood through college and into the workforce. After all, why is it that men experience difficulty bonding with other men after college age? Women complain about the patriarchy, but men know it as the male social hierarchy. While it can be detrimental to a woman’s work life, it is clear and present danger to a man’s life 24x7x365. It only takes having his throat slit at work and in social settings a few times to make the average man treat all men like they are potential adversaries. The transition from young man to established man is brutal for most men. While a very attractive woman will get a pass or even help from a high-ranking men in the male social heirarchy, you can be assured that these men are doing their best to kick every man who is attempting to climb the ladder up to their level off of the ladder. Why? Because they are attempting to preserve their place and/or advance their position in the male social hierarchy. Women do not experience a rise in desirability as they climb the social hierarchy. The same cannot be said for men. Men learn to internalize that difference and keep their distance from other men until they determine where they stand. Women generally approach the world in a much more cooperative fashion.

      1. 6.1.1
        April

        Ah…I never thought about that…and it’s a very fair point, @YetAnotherGuy .
        I feel you’re likely spot on now that I think about it…
        He never wanted me to reveal any kind of personal thing or weakness to anyone at work or around him…and he never added anyone from work to his Facebook page.
        Now that I think about it…yeah. His actions reflect the truth in your statement.
        Thanks for explaining that.

  7. 7
    Gallilee

    This is why it’s so important for men to have somebody to talk to other than their girlfrienss/wives. If you dont have those kind of male friends, it’s very advisable for men to look into some of the mental health related help lines. Just talking can save you from depression and suicide.

    Live Evan said about the Marlborough man and the sensitive man being different people. Can we just grow up and accept that heterosexual men can’t show any weakness without losing some of their attractiveness to heterosexual women. I really thimkmsome of these charities that offer free talk therapy can and do not only save men’s lives, but save relationships.

    1. 7.1
      Clare

      Gallilee,

      “Can we just grow up and accept that heterosexual men can’t show any weakness without losing some of their attractiveness to heterosexual women.”

      A common misconception, but a misconception all the same.

      A man showing vulnerability can be extremely attractive to a woman – but it’s the way it’s done that is important.

      A man simply sharing himself with a woman is attractive – a man wanting a woman to fix him is unattractive.

      Just as jealousy when shown in a certain healthy way can be very endearing and attractive, but when it comes from an unhealthy place and is taken to extremes it is very creepy and off-putting.

      Context is important, and the intentions and motivations behind something are important.

  8. 8
    Galilee

    Clare,
    Something might be theoretically possible while also being realistically improbable. Ask yourself honestly; how many men have you known who were ‘confident’ and ‘manly’ enough to be attractive while simultaneously possessing the ability to share his feelings and vulnerabilities without slipping into what you perceive as whininess or unattractiveness? Be honest, its close to zero, right?

    You’re also up against the reality that people define these terms differently. Even if you found a men who in every way conforms to what you say you want, there’s a strong possibility that you and he would define things like ‘sharing himself’ totally differently; him defining it as sharing himself and you defining it as wanting a woman to fix him. Even if this hypothetical guy is totally congruent with your view of what a man is (which is itself unlikely, surely we can agree), he always has to consider if he’s crossing a line into what you call ‘very creepy and off-putting’.

    And when you can into areas like ‘intentions and motivations’, and where it’s ‘coming from’…these ideas are so nebulous. Of course there are not really men who consciously think ‘i want this woman to fix me!’ It’s not male psychology. All of those men you have experienced thought they were sharing themselves. Rather than ascribe malice and bad faith to these individuals, surely it’s more wouldnt an emotional occams razor point the fact that…these types of human relationship just don’t work. Okay, perhaps there are some men who action bad faith and share their feelings to excess in the hope of reducing their own attractiveness. Now that seems highly improbable to me, but ,etc assume it’s true. They must be a miniscule minority. The obvious alternative is that Marlborough man and feelings guy (at least in a form that can be bi-directionally recognised as such) are simply different people; you can’t get both. A .it of us accept too much from our partners. The central problem is you get to define what confidence is, and also what an acceptable level of feelings sharing is. The terms and ideas they represent are not concrete, and it’s astronomically unlikely to find two people’s who’s ideas on these issues mirror acceptably. Hence men need somebody other than their girlfriend/wife to talk to, and women need to accept that Marlborough man and feelings guy are different people. You should aim for a simulacrum of one who fulfils his other needs elsewhere. It’s healthier and, more importantly, actually possible.

    You can respond with more ad hominen attacks and dismiss me as a ‘mansophere’ misogynist or whatever. Don’t believe me, believe your own experienced reality; where are these mythical emotional chimeras (as defined by, and as acceptable to, you)? If they existed the women posters wouldn’t be here, there’d be nothing to discuss.

    1. 8.1
      Clare

      Gallilee,

      My earlier comment was not an ad-hominem attack – it was an observation that your reply to Jo had nothing to do with what she (or anyone else) was actually saying. It was an angry rant that came completely out of nowhere. You cannot but lose credibility here on this blog when you do something like that.

      I understand that you think these kinds of men – the ones who are masculine yet also quite vulnerable at times – do not exist, and I think that’s rather sad. I’d say in response to that that they are probably rarer than they should be, but I’ve known quite a few.

      I think you’ve created a false dichotomy: 1) Marlborough Man on the one hand, and 2) Feelings Guy on the other (to use your expressions). We do not have to deal in these extremes to find the middle ground that I was talking about in my post.
      The men I was thinking of have some masculine qualities – they enjoy outdoor activities like biking, sports, camping, they more or less know their way around a toolbox, they know that they’re supposed to ask a woman out on a date, contact her, etc., they care about doing well at work – but also, with a little prompting, they can tell you if they’ve had a bad day, are very stressed out, have had painful experiences in their past, etc.

      My boyfriend is such a guy. He’s not all Marlborough Man, and he’s not all vulnerability. He can step up, suck it up, and toughen up when he needs to, but he is also capable of letting down his guard when he feels trusting and safe (like with me). It’ll never be a waterfall of emotions, but it’s enough to make me feel close to him. And sure, he bottles it all up or gets a bit quiet at times, but with a bit of coaxing, I can usually get at what is bothering him or how he feels. It’s also intuition and emotional skills on my part – I was not referring to the perfect man in my post.

      I wasn’t remotely suggesting – and nor did I say – that a man needs to be able to achieve the perfect balance of masculinity and vulnerability. That would be quite impossible for any of us. Nor do I consider myself the arbiter of what this kind of perfection would look like – as I said, it’s impossible for a human to achieve. We’re all just muddling along doing the best we can.

      But what I do appreciate is a man (a person) who can take responsibility for their feelings – that is what I meant when I said “does not expect a woman to fix him” – it’s the difference between a man saying “My ex-girlfriend broke my heart. She was a manipulative bitch.”
      And a man saying “The break up of my last relationship was extremely tough. It really upset me, but I learned a lot about _______________.”

      1. 8.1.1
        Marika

        C & G

        The first comment was reasonable, IMO. About finding a trusted friend or professional to talk about at least some of your problems. Men and women probably both don’t want to be their partners’ only source of support. And I would imagine this would be more damaging to a woman’s attraction towards a man than the other way around. But…then, MO, it went a bit far in the following comments. We don’t need to be lectured and argued with about what we find attractive, G. Do women want men weeping all over them constantly and too scared to make a decision? No. Can a man show vulnerability to a woman who finds him attractive & with whom he has rapport without risking never having sex again? Absolutely!

        That said, Clare, we’ve been down this road before. I explained at length that I found my ex-husband’s vulnerability charming and it actually increased my attraction towards him, which was of course high to start with (we broke up for multiple other reasons). But men before Gallilee haven’t accepted this. He won’t be the last.

        I will say for those men who are interested, that being completely stoic and emotionless, or only ever showing anger, isn’t particularly attractive. You end up either feeling completely confused, alone or even scared.

        1. Clare

          M,

          I agree with you & Galillee about the bit about men and women needing external support (people other than their partners to talk to). I’d say this support is absolutely essential for all of us.
          It’s even better if we can afford to talk to a professional once in a while. I wish to God a lot of people, and particularly men that I know, would do that because they’d feel so much better and be able to put things in perspective a lot more.
          HOWEVER,
          You do need to be able to emotionally connect with your partner. Otherwise you run the risk of being an automaton going through the motions. That sharing brings depth, richness and closeness to a relationship. Men like Gallillee, who suppose that women want a man who just says “I’m fine” and sucks it up all the time have it quite wrong.
          I’ve kind of made peace with the fact that I’ll always have to work a little bit to get the men in my life to open up to me and that they’re probably never going to tell me everything, but when they do share with me, it makes me feel trusted, honoured, and bonded.

          But if men like Gallilee refuse to accept this, well then… I wish them luck.

  9. 9
    Galilee

    Sorry for the autocorrects: ‘a lot of us EXPECT too much from our partners.’
    ‘Surely it’s more likely an emotional Oscars razor would point to the fact that…’
    Cheers

  10. 10
    Mrs Happy

    Maybe different women want different mixes of sensitive/tough attributes.

    I can’t stand men who cry over little, or get too wimpy, ick. But I don’t often cry, and I’m not thrilled by anybody crying too much, even my 9 year old daughter cries too much in my opinion so there’s no way I’d feel attraction for her father if he turned on the waterworks.
    I like a manly man who can get the snakes out of the pool, kill the dangerous spiders, deal with whatever other threat I can’t solve myself, and not dissolve into a heap of tears. I’ve dated a lot of military men, I like them.

    YAG and Galilee are describing me in their comments above. Totally turned off by wimpy men. My first serious boyfriend (18) said I hurt him when I hugged him – I was a 50kg teenage girl. What a wuss.

    1. 10.1
      Marika

      Snakes out of the pool?? Are you sure you live in Sydney… 😉

      Unless you are backing on to a national park.

      I get cockroaches non-stop. The odd huntsman. I’ve seen a few red backs, lots of lizards, possums in the wall cavity, and in one place, jumping in through the window. That’s about it. Maybe you are the spider whisperer.

      What you write above, I can imagine. It’s why I’m always so impressed with how you handle motherhood. To be so endlessly patient, caring, understanding etc.. must be hard when you’re not naturally a softie.

      1. 10.1.1
        Mrs Happy

        Marika, the spider stories I could tell you w.r.t. me would chill your bones.
        Instead a milder one re my son: We moved into this house when my youngest was 1. Day 2 of living here, I put him down to play with toys while I unpacked. A few hours later I lifted a box a metre away from him, to find a dead funnel web under the box. His first word was spider a few months prior, so it’s possible that if it had bitten him I’d have found out, but probably not….

        And last summer we had a 1.5 metre red-belly black snake in the pool. My 8 year old daughter swimming in the pool watched it for a while before telling me about it, because she liked the way it slithered. My husband and a snake catcher got it out together 4 hours later at dusk. Pretty dangerous, pretty sexy. Also last summer, a friend’s husband calmly lifted a redback spider from our pool filter while here for a BBQ lunch, no fuss, no fanfare, and I immediately found him hot and viewed him in a very different light (the man, not the now-dead spider). I’m clearly easy to turn on, i.e. just remove a dangerous animal from my vicinity. Luckily for my libido I live in this country I suppose. I do think our men are pretty tough here, and I like that.

        But creepy crawlies aside, I just prefer very contained masculine men, and all these women posting about wanting a man who can talk about feelings and cry are at the opposite end of the spectrum to me, but that’s good, there are enough of all types to go around.

        After the small-framed initial wuss-burger boyfriends of my teens, I’ve definitely also had a physical type (the very opposite of the wimpy boys) and stuck to it. My type was very apparent one dinner party I attended, 3 of my ex boyfriends were there with new partners, unbelievable odds; I arrived with current man in tow, and they all stood up to size each other up of course, under the guise of shaking hands, and they were all exactly the same height and shoulder width, skin colour, size, weight, everything. The host, an ex, cornered me in his kitchen later in the evening to tease me about their apparent inter-changeability. Huh, he can talk, his wife is very similar to me.

        And Marika I’m a complete marshmallow with my kids. They have me wrapped around their little fingers. Two weeks of school holidays start tomorrow, so watch this space, I’ll be near a breakdown in a fortnight. Tough husband does not equal tough Mrs Happy mother. I think I’m no-nonsense only with adults.

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