When it comes to modern day relationships, people are unhappy. Scanning the social media feed, there are far more posts ranting and raving about the opposite sex than there are “wow, I love my husband of fifteen years” entries. I think I’ve figured out why. Why it is so treacherous these days for relationships to work and for people to find each other.
|Don't we all just want what Sandra and Ryan found in "The Proposal"?|
My analysis comes not merely by reviewing my failures in this realm, but more importantly my successes. I'm also a patient listener with many friends of both sexes. I've examined their "wins" and "loses" too. Looking at just one side of that equation doesn’t yield a complete formula. Similarly, this article isn’t aimed at one sex or the other. It’s a global view that hopefully everyone will find insightful and helpful. We are all “in this together” so writing something aimed at males or females exclusively seems counterproductive. Actually, those types of articles and advice are part of the problem as I will explain.
Two qualifiers. One, I am a romantic and an artist. So, while some of this seems dry and based on biology and sociology, I firmly believe in “outliers”. That’s why we have music, movies, and poetry. But, and this is a big “but”, one that Sir Mix-A-Lot would endorse; too many people attribute their absolute typicalness and banality to being unique and “special”. This, of course, is yet another problem as we will explore. Your story isn’t that special, or magic, or part of some Jane Austen novel if you can easily find a similar story, with similar circumstances on answers.com. We all desperately want to believe that our experiences are unique, and by definition since we are all individuals, they are. Yet, we are all slaves to biology and the society in which we were raised. So, we can only take the individual concept so far before patterns emerge, and things become quantifiable and predictable.
Two, this is aimed solely at the heterosexual audience. However, I’m sure much of what I am saying will resonate with people in the LGBT community. We are examining global personality types that may shift in gender based on the circumstances and community, but are no less relevant.
Ok, we have males and females. Simple enough. Within those two groups we have four distinct personality types: Men, Women, Girls, and Boys. Let’s take a look at each shall we?
Men are natural leaders. The have a firm grasp of responsibility, morals and principles. They are actually the most emotional of the four groups, but know that they have to control the display of their emotions for the benefit of those they protect, support and inspire. Men build cities and empires. Men are intelligent and capable. They are forceful and unwavering in their convictions. Men are aggressive, competitive and often ruthless. Men love their mothers, but understand that in the natural flow of the world, their mother must eventually come second to their wives and girlfriends, especially in terms of taking advice, guidance and determining major life decisions.
|He kills people for a living. Of course he's a Man.|
Women are also natural leaders. Strong and confident with a good self-esteem and self-awareness. They have emotions, but are not emotional. They know how to organize and segment aspects of their lives to be efficient and care for the ones that they love. They are nurturers, be it with family, business, art or any other pursuit that they undertake. Like Men, they have an inherent lack of selflessness, being confident in themselves to constantly support and give to others.
|Running an Empire. All in a Woman's day at the office.|
Girls are natural followers. They are more concerned with themselves than anyone else. They often have self-esteem issues and focus on shallow and frivolous things like looks, money, status etc. They do not merely have emotions, they are emotional; they are slaves to their whims and the ever changing tides of life. They are unreliable and do not understand commitment. They rarely accomplish things because most things in life worth doing require a level of collaboration and selflessness of which, they are incapable. They engage in situational morality, making excuses for their actions rather than living by a code.
|Yeah. You're super hot. Yawn.|
Boys are the antithesis to Men. Selfish, frivolous and ignorant. Everything in the world is a playground to them, including people’s emotions, money and time. They are prone to exaggerate things in the course of all relationships; business and personal. They are overly emotional, wearing everything on their sleeves and broadcasting to the world all of their hardships and foibles. Most importantly, Boys consider themselves to be completely unaccountable for anything. The government, women, their friends, GMOS, the mailman etc. are more responsible than they are for their actions and issues. They are often close to their mothers (as they often lack strong male role models) and often defer decisions and parts of their relationships to their mothers rather than their spouses or significant others. They too are situational moralists and lack firm principles. They often decry competition and aggressiveness, pretending to be more laid back, zen or hippie. This, of course, is a rouse since they are completely selfish and lack real empathy.
|Feel free to print and use as a dartboard.|
Simple enough. I’m sure everyone reading this chuckled and instantly thought of a person in their lives who perfectly fits these little groups. Of course, humans are not that easy, and many people have traits and quirks that overlap this oversimplification. But, for the purpose of this discussion, let’s assume that everyone eventually falls into one of these four categories based on their predominant characteristics.
The natural order of things is for Men to be with Women. This match up works professionally, sexually, emotionally and provides for the creation of things like art, families, businesses etc. The roles of Girls and Boys have traditionally been transitory. If a Girl wanted all of the things associated with partnering with a Man, they had to change their ways, mature and adapt. Similarly, if a Boy wanted to get laid or find a spouse, they would also have to evolve.
Society had been kinder to the Girls who never grew up than the Boys. We all have those older relatives, Spinsters and weird Uncles who never found love. The Spinsters often lived it up, and were involved in dead-end relationships like being a mistress to a married man etc. So at least they have experiences, if not good choices, to reflect upon. Those weird, lonely uncles who were always more concerned with building ships in a bottle or watching television than they were with finding a mate often led sad, unfulfilled lives.
|"He's going to leave his wife. Any day now. I just know it!"|
But social dynamics have changed. Rather than reflect the natural order of things, these societal pressures have worked against the natural order of things. A combined double whammy of misguided feminism and the “pick up” culture have, in economic language, distorted the marketplace.
Boys are not pressured to become Men anymore. In order to get the things that Men inherently want and need, Boys no longer need to “grow up”. In fact, Feminism has instructed everyone, that Men are a problem and that being a Man is not something to which one should aspire. This actually places a premium on Boy behavior, making them more socially desirable than Men to both Women and Girls. Further, the PUA (pick up artist) culture has taught these Boys how to convey the trappings of being a Man without actually being one so they can appeal better to the inherent, natural instincts of women.
|"Get a job? When I look THIS good? Whatever."|
Feminism has also preached the “you can have it all” concept to females. And, this is true. You can. But it has seeded the misguided notion that you can achieve and possess all of these things without transitioning from a Girl to a Woman, or even worse, that Girls are Women. Which they clearly are not.
It would be easy to stop here and say “Women and Girls, stop dating Boys” or “Men stop dating Girls” and all would be better. But it’s not that simple. This perversion in the market has been going on long enough that it has caused other, more complex repercussions. On the show Mad Men actor Jon Hamm plays Don Draper. Don Draper is a Man. Up until the 80s, there were lots and lots of males who were not only Men, but looked like Jon Hamm. Not the case currently. Because it’s easier, and society not only allows but encourages males to remain in this wussified, selfish state, many males who are genetically good looking simply opt to remain Boys. And why wouldn’t they?
|They don't make them like they used to...|
Now, many Girls and Women are forced to choose between the deeper, more compatible relationships with Men, and the physical attraction and biological urges associated with Boys. This is where the whole “Friendzone” dynamic enters the fray. It’s a curiosity of the modern era. That’s why there are no L.M. Montgomery books about a woman who traps a man in the “Friendzone”. Either the male characters are hideously undesirable on any level, unavailable, or the romantic foil. I suspect that if I asked most of my single, female friends about their ideal lifestyle they would give high marks to one where they had a close male friend who occupied the role of nurturer, supporter, provider and confidant and another who was a frivolous boy toy used for sex and recreation. It’s a curiosity of the female mindset that they will attempt to compensate in the men they deal with. If a male is both emotionally and sexually attractive, they call them a boyfriend. If a male is sexually attractive, yet lacking in terms of intellect or emotion...they call them boyfriend. If a male is emotionally attractive but not sexually, they call him a friend.
|"Sex was great. Go play while I read and call my Man friend for intellectually stimulating conversation."|
Men traditionally never adopted this sort of dynamic, because our expectations and needs are biologically different. So, Men would often have both a Woman and Girl in their lives at the same time. One would be a wife, the other a mistress. We don't regulate sex, but ideally have sex with everyone. The movie Goodfellas demonstrates this perfectly. Ray Liotta has a Woman, his wife played by Lorraine Bracco, and a Girl, his mistress played by Debi Mazar. The Woman lies to the Feds for you. The Girl has sex with you on a table and helps you weigh your cocaine. When the hammer comes down, it’s the Woman who stands by your side while the Girl is long gone.
|"Wait, you mean when the money is gone so are you?"|
Of course, this sort of dynamic is dramatically unfair and not to be praised. But, the pendulum has swung so far in the opposite direction that Men have now taken to the completely unnatural act of "Friendzoning" Women. Not Girls, Women. Since romantic advances from Men of success and power can now be interpreted as "predatory", most Men who encounter Women that they find attractive and of value often avoid making advances all together, especially in the workplace. It's seen as MORE respectful to avoid, what should be, a much higher compliment than merely supporting them and befriending them. Men never fear rejection, because, in our minds it's the female's "bad" if they aren't interested. But, the thought of having a tarnished reputation, conveying disrespect towards those we respect, or even legal liability is of concern. In the past, this was a natural way for Men and Women to find each other and build relationships, through workplace environments and collaborative efforts. Now, the Boys have an advantage, as they are deemed by society as "harmless" in this context because they purposely lack power. Again, edge to the Boys in the dating arena. By vilifying Men in all sorts of ways, societal structures impede the precedent established by ten thousand years of evolution.
The pernicious cult of Boyhood permeates everything. Even when used for comedic effect, being an ignorant and frivolous Boy carries weight in our society. Take the show Parks and Recreation for example. On the show Ann (Rashida Jones) dated Andy (Chris Pratt). Ann is a Woman, Andy is a Boy. In the beginning episodes this relationship was played for comedic effect, demonstrating how ridiculous it was for a seemingly intelligent woman to be with a child. After they broke up however, the show focused on Ann’s difficulty in dating, while Andy found true love and a model relationship with a Girl, April (Aubrey Plaza). To the show’s credit, there were episodes where the issue of maturity was addressed. But still, making incredibly likable characters, who narratively find happiness superior to their more mature counterparts is rather nefarious.
|"We can't feed ourselves, but we have LOVE."|
The changes in culture and business landscapes have further convoluted the structure by allowing Boys to appear even more like Men. Just keep in mind, these lowered entry ways into culture and business allow real Men to build empires, not just a small sole proprietorship or allow them to be the proud owner of a business card. How many Boys have skateboard companies? Record labels? Film production deals? Again, in past social structures, these grown babies would have been eaten alive, but our culture places a premium on behavior that allows a thirty something year old man to skateboard to work.
Both Feminism and PUA culture were engineered by the weakest elements of society in an attempt to bring down the strongest. Feminists are just Girls who want what Women had without the effort and discipline. PUA culture is the same thing from the other side. “How can a socially inept douche pretend to be a player to get laid?” Unfortunately, the strongest of our society are forced to play by idiot rules because few of us have the courage, or lack of regard for personal reputation, to call them out on it.
|Ah, yes. Alpha Males. I'm sure.|
So, what is to be done? Everyone seems frustrated by a lack of maturity and accountability from the opposite sex. This is because society, and by default, all of us, have actually placed a premium on the very thing that stands between us and our happiness. Here are some simple suggestions:
First, know who YOU are. Accept it and deal with it. Don’t try and fit the description you aspire to, but really analyze yourself and act accordingly. Don’t put expectations on others without first placing them on yourself. Be confident and happy with who you are, or work to change. As I said, we are talking about transitory states. Everyone can evolve and undergo some level of self-improvement, just don’t be surprised if your relationship landscape changes as a result. If you are a Boy, becoming a Man will rule out many of the reasons people found you attractive in the first place, so you have to cultivate new, and superior attributes to attract members of the opposite sex. And don't act like a Girl and then be furious when a Man treats you as such. It goes with the turf.
Second, know who you are dealing with. It’s very attractive to both Women and Girls to try and transition a Boy into a Man, but know that you are probably attempting the impossible. Not only is society against you, but there is a line of other, unenlightened Women and Girls waiting to give your special project a shot. Identify the other person and their type and deal with it. Don’t treat Women like Girls and vice versa. Don’t treat Men like Boys and vice versa.
There are benefits to dealing with all kinds of people. And it can be healthy, enriching and most of all, fun. Just don’t get carried away by not being honest about the other person or yourself. You will forever be disappointed if you expect your Boy to act like a Man. You are in for a world of hurt if you extend the level of intimacy, support, trust and respect that you would naturally give to a Woman, to a Girl. But treating a Boy like a Boy? Or a Girl like a Girl? All good. No worries.
For Men? Never sacrifice a Woman for a Girl. To make yourself more attractive and have more fun, don’t take yourself as seriously. You know the stakes, you know what you’re all about and what is needed to kick the world’s ass, but just know that those traits are both intimidating and, in some circles, evil. Society is against you. But hey, you like a challenge. Fuck them.
For Women? Don’t be afraid of Men. It’s what you really want. Unlearn what you have learned from your peers, media and older women in your life. You don’t need to fabricate a Man in your own image like Dr. Frankenstein, there are plenty of them out there and they want you too. Play with the Boys when need be, but never choose a Boy over a Man. And never, ever, let a Boy shake your confidence or self-esteem. By definition, it’s about them, not you, in the first place.
|"I work hard everyday on his self-improvement..with no results. Why?"|
For Girls? Live it up while you are young. Take all of the things that you think you want while you can get them. But, seriously, you need to start cultivating the deeper aspects of your personality if you don’t want to end up alone. Because you will end up alone. It is the way of things. You are what we call in business a “depreciating asset”, so you need to find ways to raise your stock. If you find yourself lucky enough to actually snare a Man for a longer term commitment, YOU should find ways to change rather than lose him. And for the love of God and all things that are holy don't ever, ever try to make an actual Man change to meet your immature expectations. Every day that passes places you further and further away from ever finding long term happiness.
|"2k an hour? I don't know, I can do a lot in an hour..."|
For Boys? Grow the fuck up. You are what is wrong with the world right now. Everything negative in the world and this country can be traced back to your entitled, weak, wussy ass. It’s not about you. Grow a pair. Stop pretending that you’re cool when you’re not. You are fucking up the whole system. Stop being a Mama’s boy. Stop pretending that you compete with Men, because you don’t. You are frivolous and disposable. And while you may think that nothing is ever your fault, everything actually is.
99.9% of people's "relationship problems" come down to simply not understanding what type the person sitting across the the table or lying in the bed really is.
So there you have it. A simple explanation of the current landscape and how to navigate it. Good luck and happy dating!