Giving men a pass on being grown-ups: Holy s**t, I was doing it too
I consider myself a feminist. I am forward thinking and raised a son on my own, so I tried to teach him to respect women because they’re people, and treat them as people, not as a gender, the way our patriarchal society dictates.
However, I fell into the patriarchal trap with a man I was dating and I only realized it today, as I was mulling over our brief relationship. From the beginning, I wasn’t sure he was very mature. There were many signs, the biggest ones being his place was a mess and he paid for everything with a credit card, which usually means trouble with money.
He claimed he’d just moved his office into his apartment, so that was why it was so jammed. And he admitted he hadn’t paid his taxes for a while and didn’t have a steady income, hence the credit card. I believed the excuse for being messy for a while, but as he got more comfortable with me his place went from messy to unhealthy. He had rotting fruit in the kitchen and garbage on the floor. It smelled, and was so bad he wouldn’t let me in the kitchen.
It was not long after this that I broke up with him. That wasn’t the only reason, but it was definitely a symptom of larger issues.
As I was thinking about this today, I knew he’d made an effort at cleanliness at the beginning and gave up as he got more comfortable with me. But it suddenly hit me. If he’d been a woman, I immediately would’ve seen something was wrong with her mentally. I would’ve known she must have some kind of mental illness and/or addiction that was stopping her from doing the basics around her apartment. And it shocked me to realize, I didn’t see that as clearly with a man because I didn’t expect him to be as clean, BECAUSE HE WAS A MAN!
I admit I’m stunned that I gave him a pass simply because I didn’t expect men to be as clean as women. In retrospect, this is ridiculous. And he likely does have a mental illness and an addiction. I see that very clearly now. Especially because he didn’t realize his unsanitary behaviour was really, really weird. Sure, he was “embarrassed,” but not enough to actually clean up. The fruit had been rotting for at least a couple weeks by that time.
And the fact that I gave him a pass on cleanliness makes me wonder what else I give men a pass on and don’t even realize it. I think I can come up with a list.
- Keeping in touch, because men are always SO busy doing VERY IMPORTANT things
- Expressing their emotions, because men JUST AREN’T GOOD at doing that
- Being affectionate, because sex IS affection right?
- Caring, because men do care they just DON’T show it
- Being committed, because JUST BEING IN THE ROOM means they’re committed to the relationship, right?
I hate to say the list could likely go on. But these are the biggies. In our society, we give men a pass on pretty much everything that has to do with looking after themselves and maintaining relationships, other than sexual ones that is. They’ve definitely got a monopoly on that one. But where does that leave us women, if we want to be with men in anything other than a purely sexual relationship? It doesn’t leave us with much, does it?
If I bought into the reduced expectations for men, then so many people are doing it and not even realizing it. I didn’t even realize it until today. And now that I have, I realize how ridiculous most men are. They act like they can do whatever they want and should still get what they want. This particular man didn’t believe he needed to change anything about himself. He said he simply hadn’t found the right woman yet. So he keeps on acting the same way, doing the same things and he’ll never find the “right” woman because she doesn’t exist. Women don’t stay with him because he offers them nothing. He can’t even do the basics of keeping his apartment clean or support himself, why would any woman want to be with him? Maybe initially for sex, but that wears thin very quickly. Because for women, sex is one of the easiest things to find, if we want to. The elusive is a real man who takes responsibility for himself and his home and his work and his being inside and out. For some reason, women are expected to look after a lot of these things for men.
I admit, I’m very disillusioned and quite repulsed by the pass men get in our society, and even the ones I’ve given men. I’m going to think long and hard about the reverse-sexist expectations I’ve been living with within myself. I’m thrilled I’ve finally seen it, but wow I’ve likely got a lot of work to do to get past the ingrained society garbage that’s obviously been shoved down my throat, subtly and not so subtly.
It does explain why I’m not meeting men I can spend much time with. And it’s possible that once I change my expectations now that the blinders are off I may meet a different type of man. I mean there must be some responsible men out there who don’t expect to be looked after by their “mommies” right?
Please tell me there are. I swear there are more and more cases for switching sides!
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