When Mr Hero and Miss Princess get married
Reading a blog about common marital issues on communication and how different expectations affects the relationship (“Prince Charming?”), I’d like to add a few thoughts.
The post is about popular fantasies. How girls grow up wanting to be treated like princesses, and boys grow up hoping to become Heroes one day, saving the day and getting the beautiful princess in the end. Would the dream come true if we really were a bit more princess-like, or hero-like, respectively? The author indicates the need for communication about our feelings and wishes, but also the need for reality checks. I’m all about reality.
I’m not sure what the problem really is:
Is it how the fantasies of living like the princesses / hero types, clearly clashes against most everyday life reality?
Or is it our inability to treat our partners like something they want to be, but are not?
Or is the problem really that the fantasies have little correlation with the general ethics of society?
I don’t think all of this is necessarily bound to be specific gender issues.
Most people probably want to be considered useful, helpful and friendly (and admittedly, most of us would like people to find us attractive too) – because that would make them highly valued. Both as persons and members of society / family / friends.
Thus, if we do show our spouses appreciation, prove to them we value and respect them, I think we’re doing well. That’s all a Prince Charming needs to give me, but also what a Hero would possibly seek from his Princess.
Then again reality kicks in, and obstacles, hormones, sleep deprivation and a career or children draining you of energy will possibly cause a lack of adoration. Which both spouses will long for, and sooner or later whine for, in a less than charming way. And of course we need to talk about that.
But we don’t need a helpless, giggling, fainting and ever hair brushing lady to do the dishes or deliver a child, as we don’t need her in charge of anything of importance – like raising a child or drive a car. So clearly any self respecting woman cannot go for princess, the way they traditionally come.
The same goes for heroes, actually. We don’t need them flexing their muscles in front of the crying baby or pulling their swords out in traffic. I’d rather see them making friendly connections than fighting off possibly kind neighbors too. I’d rather see them vacuuming or cooking than just looking at me with admiration, because that gives both of us a reasonably clean home, and more time to admire each other, later.
In a war zone and in the face of crime we need heroes, I know. In the bar or at home, I rather see friends and well functioning citizens than fighters though. As a woman I do value safety, truly, but I don’t feel secure close to a Bully or any aggressive type. What I want to praise is friendliness.
Now, more on gender equality. It is basically about having the same rights and possibilities in life, regardless of your sex. We are all different, of course. From what I understand there are relatively far more differences between two individuals, than the average differences between gender groups.
Take a Woman and a Man and there are differences yes, very likely. Take another woman to compare with the first one, and there will probably be as much, or more, differences between them. There will be similarities too, between most people. It’s just not only a matter of gender, but general health, IQ, perception, skills, strength, reaction time or sensitivity. Some characteristics are generally more developed in one gender, but with each individual – it’s what’s there that counts, not what’s a bit more likely.
Some of us are physically strong, some have high IQ, others have developed great senses for something. Some paint well, others have beautiful voices and again others are good at playing football, and so on. It doesn’t have to do so much with your sex as it has to do with the rest of you, what nature and practice work out together in your case.
Personally, I refuse to be pushed into a category of people who by default seem to obsess with spending money on uncomfortable footwear, spend most of their time gossiping about things of absolutely no importance at all (men) and who seeks comfort in any muscle- or money flexing moron that crosses her path.
Most of my female friends are well educated, smart people with a lot of things going on in their own lives, feet to stand firmly on the ground and they are not to be pushed around. I know lawyers, medical doctors, scientists and international company owners, all female, none of them ugly (although admittedly one of them refuses to wear a bra, but she’s the sexy one, so she’s well of). When they have the time left over, they do take care of themselves.
Their men are usually also smart, well educated, but a bit lower profile kind of guys. Definitely not muscle flexing, but usually charming in their own way. More importantly they generally seem trustworthy, talkative and fun to be around. They have self esteem high enough not to feel threatened by a woman with a will of her own. They can stand their ground just as she can stand hers, and the couple will meet in the middle somewhere, usually. The pushy types of guys I don’t see much of, as they are not chosen by these women.
(- Oh, there is one vivid exception – the most Guy-guy I know. Pushy, loud and muscle flexing – but in an ironic fashion. Most people don’t see beyond the irony. He is as close a friend as my female friends, even more than most of them. He’s -of course- manager in a large international company, military officer… and the softest person on the inside. Caring for real. In a crisis he will be there, serious, honest, supporting. But he’s also giggly and more gossipy than any of my girl friends, he’s even reflected upon the penis size of a friend of his. No, he’s not gay and not my husband. I think he considers me as much “bro” as most of his other Bro’s. His wife is a real tough one too, with a tongue that bites. He loves her for it. But they wouldn’t be together if it wasn’t for the fact that they both share a truly caring heart.)
So I do think Nice Guys are much higher valued by Nice Women in general, than they seem to be in media and in a number of comment-fields all over the internet. But not all men considering themselves “a nice guy” may be the type of the woman of their dreams. There is the matter of attraction, and chivalry, and romancing. He doesn’t have to be a Hero, but some communication skills help. There need to be some kind of mutual connection. Some of these men are quite creepy (“I’m the right for you because I want you sooo bad!”). Others just a bit dull to be around, perhaps lacking a sensible self distance. And sometimes there is everything right about someone, except for chemistry.
What I want to say is basically – there are Good women, looking for Good men. Yes, we’d possibly like to be treated as a highly valued and deeply respected person, just like most men want to. No, we won’t always look as beautiful. We won’t always be as kind, sweet and funny. There will be times when we are more like the swamp monster in Shrek than any princess. But we may recover, just give us a reason to.
Neither will you, the possible man reading this, be all covered up by the pink fog we swoop you in when we are all romancing. There will be times you will not be all pretty either. We won’t always respect everything you do. We won’t value your dirty socks as diamonds either. We will not take your crap.
Of course we should sugarcoat our concerns a bit, out of respect or general politeness. Just like we all need to take care of ourselves a bit. Peel off a bit of the less flattering parts of reality, put a veil over others. It proves our consideration, respect. Helps with the admiration.
But true love is forgiving too. It sees beyond reality. It goes deeper than the pink fluff. It does value the person behind the dirty socks. The heart of him, or her. The prince or princess charming within.