Shawn Maxam talks about the difficulty of balancing modern masculinity while still engaging in traditional intimate relationships.
He leaned forward and opened his door, politely standing aside to let me by before following me in. There are some advantages to dating a guy from another era, I thought. Though I am a big believer in gender equality, chivalry scores high in my book.
― Amy Plum
Over the past Christmas-Hanukkah-Kwanzaa Holiday I had another love-related epiphany. This new mental construct only applies to men attempting to be progressive. Misogynistic simpletons won’t only disagree with me but probably will stop reading after seeing the only kinda-ridiculously long post title.
In 2011 you are expected to abide by the “good rules” of chivalry while still having the open-mind of a gender equal pro-feminist society.
It is damn hard to maintain romantic relationships in the second decade of this second millennium. Modern me have to confront antiquated philosphies of male expectation and machismo which believe you should be sexually promiscuous and emotionally unavailable. This warped traditional perspective clashes with the idea of the 21st centery man who must constantly adapt to the ever-morphing definition of gender roles while still keeping his girlfriend/wife/partner happy. It’s essentially the carry my purse/change a flat car tire paradox. You are expected to posses the “best” traits of both the modern enlightened man and the macho man pf previous generations.
In 2012 you are expected to abide by the “good rules” of chivalry while still having the open-mind of a gender equal pro-feminist society. Example one: you are still expected to propose to your girlfriend with a very nice conflict free diamond (that in this recession you probably can’t afford) but you shouldn’t expect your future wife to take your last name.
Example two: You are expected to surprise your wife with romantic gifts and lavish jewelry while having a shared bank account, open lines of communication (remember no secrets) and fiscal responsibility and restraint.
Your wife is pissed after your car breaks down because she told you repeatedly to get it fixed. But you couldn’t use the money to get the car fixed because you wanted to surprise her with a great necklace for Christmas. So you have to just bite your tongue and swallow your pride until she does receive her (well-deserved) gift and although she ‘ll be happy you can never really explain this is why the car had to wait. It wasn’t really your lame-ass excuses but because you deeply fucking love her.
The most vexing aspect of this balancing act is that you can’t even discuss it with your fellow male friends. They are also navigating this same terrain and doing it by trail and error, “gut feelings”, instinct and a bit of luck. You can’t get advice from a man on how to cross a river while he’s barely keeping himself from drowning.
So essentially what happens is you try your damnedest to keep a woman happy while all she can do is complain that you leave the toilet seat up, watch too much sports and eat too much food. Not knowing that you’re constantly trying to scrape money together to buy her an engagement ring or a house or killing yourself professionally to get a promotion at work so she can stay home with your new baby for a few more months.
For myself race confounds this issue. The new progressive Black man is essentially busting his ass. Fighting against his every biological, psychological and environmental disadvantage to make this relationship work. This is happening while our whole race/gender is being admonished. Black men suck. We are all in prison, jobless, undereducated or secretly gay. You also always have the added pleasure of trying to undo all the bullshit your intimate partner’s exes did to her and the inadequacies of her father (if he was even around).
I am not saying that women’s desire to have their cake and to eat it too doesn’t make sense. It does (if you ignore logic and empathy). If women were expected to pay for the first date I wouldn’t stop them. And yes we live in male-dominated world but goddamn can the good brothers get some daily credit. The key word here is daily. Meaning please don’t nag me. You are my lover/best friend not my new mother.
So sometimes when I’m not telling you everything going on with me or doing exactly what you asked me to do maybe it’s because I’m on the Internet researching jewelry, birthday and vacation surprises and not looking at porn.
Please share this with friends, enemies and temporary allies alike.
Thanks for reading, sharing and commenting!