Day: August 4, 2008

  • I think men are cool

    The Man Song- (This shows up in my firefox browser, but my AOL/IE won't interface it with xanga.  So if you see a big gap or empty white boxes here, it's your browser.  Sorry about that, but you can view it at  (BTW, this thing runs automatically and keeps running other stuff, so just pause it to make it stop.)

    The Man Song -- powered by

    I was talking to my psychologist the other day about a few things, and somewhere in there he asked me how I feel about men.  I thought that was a strange question until he pointed out all the things I've survived and still seem to have a good attitude over, and then went on to tell me that he sees so many people come through his office who seem to enjoy harboring a good, solid hate of men (this includes the full spectrum of women, kids, and even men either hating other males or hating the fact that they *are* men) that he was beginning to think it was just a built in part of modern thinking.
    So I'm going to start off with what I told my psychologist and go on from there.
    I love men.  I love the whole male gender thing.  I don't know if it has anything to do with having Asperger's and the 'male mind' mentality embedded in my brain (this is an aspie theory being tossed around that I disagree with, even though tests have shown I make higher levels of testosterone than is normal for most women), but I really do *like* men.  They hit me as being so unique and themselves, and actually very easy to understand and talk with (as a woman) once you sit back and watch how they work.

    Now, I realize I'm lumping 'men' into one big generic typecast, but that is not the point.  Frankly, I'm also intimidated by men, especially if they are bigger and louder than me.  I've been abused by men as an adult, I've been hostilely treated on jobs by men, I've been ridiculed by men in every service industry job I've had, and I've been subjected to humiliating misinterpretations by men in every imaginable setting.  But you know what?  Most women I've met haven't exactly been much nicer, and I still ~like~ men.
    MST3k Mike Nelson Tribute
    Ever since I was young, I've noticed that men are more likely to 'save' whatever situation popped up.  I don't know if this is a cultural expectation or something that is naturally built in, because many women step up nowadays while a number of men don't.  It's probably an individual thing, although I do personally think men are more likely to take action when things get weird or scary.  Sometimes the action taken is weird or scary, like the time Scott wanted to shoot a snake hanging over a door frame and I didn't want holes in the house, but you know what I mean.
    My dad could do *anything*.  I had no idea he was winging it until I grew up.  I thought boys at school were the bomb, and not because I'm a girl.  Because I'm aspie, I actually experienced very little in the way of having crushes, and never dated throughout my entire school history.  There were a few boys and a couple of men I absolutely loathed, yes, but that was because they were cruel idiots.  For the most part, I enjoyed just sitting around listening to them talk about all the stupid things they had done or were thinking, wondering how in the world their heads could work that way, as if being idiots or fixing machines were the coolest thing on the planet.  I loved it.
    As I grew up and got married and raised a family, heck yeah I had frustrations galore.  But it wasn't too terribly long before I figured out that part of the reason for my frustration with my husband was because I was led to believe the things I heard around me (on tv, especially) on how lacking men were in putting any emotional effort into relationships.  It took me a few years to realize that 1- Scott was way more tolerant of MY whining than I would have been of his, 2- Scott actually whined less then I did even when he had cause to whine more, 3- Scott didn't expect as much out of me as I did him, and therefore 4- Scott actually automatically let me off the hook for a whole bunch of stuff, even when it bothered him.  Yes, it came out as his own kind of frustration and made it seem like we were having a hard time talking (some days were very difficult and I cried a lot here and there), but once *I* ~shut up~ and sat back and just watched the guy, boy were my eyes opened.  There is no way I can ever live up to being as tolerant and selfless as him, and he is the ~typical~ male, head to toe, completely lacking in the social graces, clothing style, and any kind of awareness where red flags would pop up and save him from women pounding him with rocks.
    In short, he is so innocent of the burden of head games, gossip, and emotional territory disputes that I find him endearing.  He's not stupid or dumb, he's just really different from me.  He will drop anything and everything, no matter how much it wrecks his plans, to fix things for other people in any kind of weather, no matter how miserable or hungry he is.  Even though he might be crabby the whole time, he drops everything he's doing to help me do something when I ask, not because he's 'whipped', but because I ask.  He will do the same thing for his mom and daughter.  He doesn't do this for other women EVER, no matter how pretty they are, or sweet they are to him, unless they are truly in trouble and need rescuing.  He is all man, he takes care of his own women, and I don't see his grumbling or complaining any more of a problem than if I were crabby about having to drop ~my~ day for something.  In fact, the more I perceive that he gives up for me, the more I make sure later that he's got the best meals, all his clothes are clean, and I'm ready to drop what I'm doing myself to run around with him (he's very spontaneous), no matter how boring I think it might be.  I go out of my way to be the best friend I can be, because I know I'll get it back in aces, *his* way, admittedly, but I have no complaints.
    When I met Scott, he had been through a brutal divorce where the only way he could retain custody of a tiny child over that of an extremely negligent mother abusing drugs and alcohol and disappearing for days at a time was to, on the advice of a lawyer, ~stay married~ and ~in the house~ with this woman for several months while they collected enough evidence to take to court.  By the time he got through the mess, the cheating, the violent outbursts, the financial loss, and all the lying, he loathed women, pure and simple, completely lost the ability to trust any woman but his mom.  How in the world he ever made it through 3 years of hanging around with me is amazing, but I went to counseling with him, silently watched what kind of father he was with his tiny little kid (I'd been through my own abusive marriage and divorce, so I wasn't eager to jump back in), and stood my ground whenever any of his frustration came out on me.  It was tough when that happened, but I knew enough to not take it personally and to push it back at him saying "Put that on who it belongs".  One thing I had picked up in college is that passive aggression and displacement are NOT good.
    Women, I've noticed, can be very good at being passive aggressive.  And if you watch enough daytime television, they are clearly being trained by media talk shows and programming to be passive aggressive.  What is that, exactly?
    I'm not saying that women are typically passive aggressive, or naturally more likely to be passive aggressive, because men can be just as passive aggressive as women.  But when it comes to relationships, I do think that women are literally being trained to resent men who don't live up to certain standards of social interaction.  This is something I see on television ~con*stant*ly~, even if it's just in the form of jokes.  You almost never see a man actually being praised by a woman on any show you watch unless she wants something or is paid to say it.
    These things are LEARNED behaviors.  We all learn to either approach people and situations with clear communication, or we let our emotions take over and do all kinds of head game dances that complicate everything.  But this article is not about the psychology of relationships.
    Love Today- Spaceballs
    Going back to ~moi~, I realized early in the marriage that I was becoming passive aggressive.  I was learning to play the blame game, to feel resentful, to be demanding.  Scott finally couldn't take it any more and just let me have it.  He yelled at me that I f*ed up his life, and that THIS is how things are, they're not going to change.  He is who he is, and he will always be who he is.
    I will never forget that day.  It was a really rotten miserable day for me because I got yelled at and then ignored the rest of the day (Scott is not abusive, so don't jump to that conclusion), and at the time I didn't understand it one bit.  But you know what?  He's right, and I so totally respect him for standing up to me like that.  If he had ever put that kind of pressure on ~me~ to 'perform' in any way or change the root of who I am, I would have been much harsher on him than he was on me that day.  So I stepped back.  I got quiet.  I watched him, I watched myself.  I spent the next week holding my responses down to 'please' and 'thank you'.  And I realized how little I had been saying those things.
    It has taken a few years to learn how to be kind and thoughtful myself.  (I thought I had learned this as a child, but I was wrong.)  I had to learn to let go of silly ideals and look at real life.  I had to face myself and get really honest with who *I* am.  And while I was doing these things I began to notice a lot of really cool things about Scott, and perhaps men in general.  I've noticed that a great deal of them take the emotional beating and keep on ticking.  Maybe not with the best attitude, but somehow there is something about men where all it takes is a single moment to turn their world numbing depression into world changing action, and it's amazingly easy to reach in and pull that out of them.  Women are more like puzzle boxes.  You have to navigate the maze and push the right button and pray it's on a good day.  And I don't say this tritely.  I'm a woman, I know I'm difficult.
    All I have to do is tell Scott he looked cool on the roof of the house, or ask him how he feels and spoil him with pie after he's spent a few hours under a car in the heat or the rain.  All I have to do is notice that he got something done in miserable conditions and fuss over him like he's awesome.  I get treated pretty good in return.  Wish I'd figured that out a lot sooner, instead of sulking over my own feelings and trying to ~make~ him *do something* about them.  It's funny how women can be comfortable with the idea that men should step up with flowers and apologies and all that stuff while we conveniently ignore they might have gone through hell and high water for us already, regardless.
    Before I go any further, I hereby make a big flourishing apology to anyone reading this already hating my guts.  To feminists, to men haters, to men reading this who think I'm silly-- sorry about that.  I'm generalizing, yes.  I'm being subjective, yes.  But I don't apologize for being in love with the male gender, including every quirk that connects the dots to male types and all the characters represented as such by Steve Buscemi, the Myth Buster guys, Jackie Chan, Ghost Hunters, and before I plunge headlong into more, including Jack Bauer, I'll just leave the rest to you to add to that.  I could easily go on for miles.  But the main point I'm making is that there is just something unique about men that I don't think women will ever be able to mimic-- the innocent coolness of being a complete idiot, or the soul wrenching absurdity of trading one's soul for power or sacrifice.  I think a great mental picture here is comparing Spaceballs to Star Wars.  I really don't think those movies would have made any sense if most of the characters were women.  From Arnold to the Pet Detective, men are men are men...
    So how do I love men?  Let me count the ways.  By the way, hats off to women who also do this stuff, but this is a man appreciation post, and I'm in it for the testosterone in all its glorious aspects.
    I love Git 'R Dun men.  They smell like oil and look like grease monkeys and aren't afraid to take things apart and make a big fuss over fixing teeny little hard to find stuff that was ruining my day.  I especially love that they seem to enjoy making me feel better about it.  I love that I'm treated like a queen by big greasy guys who could squash me like a bug.
    I love 'son of a bitch' men.  I love men who train for combat or law enforcement or security, with equipment and badges and gadgets for talking to other guys like them.  I love that they watch out for bad guys and control terrible situations and for the most part are able to retain quite a bit of their dignity and coolness doing it.  I love that they have families at home and struggle to keep it all together when stuff overwhelms them.  I love that they face the hard grit of life and uphold standards.
    I love any kind of medical men.  I love first responders, ENTs, nurses, doctors, technicians who run the labs and equipment...  I feel good that they take care of me and try to figure out what's going on when I'm scared.  I feel even better when they teach me stuff I didn't know without making me feel stupid.  Some of my most comforting experiences have been through people like this during very scary events.  I love that these guys stay cool and follow protocols and always seem to know what they're doing.
    I love action men.  Scott is one of these.  I love men so pumped up with 'pioneer spirit' that they just up and do stuff without worrying about whether they're about to lose a limb.  I love that they want to go see stuff, do cool stuff, make things go fast and wreck and explode like it's some kind of fun game.  I love that they learn from their mistakes and go try again.  I love that they get spontaneous ideas and get so excited about them.  I love that they come home dirty and smelly with big grins on their faces.
    I love intelligent men.  I love men who figure out the hard stuff, and do crazy math or field studies so that we can have better lives.  I love that they invent stuff, obsess about details, forget they haven't eaten while they solve the world's problems, like suspension bridges and transportation science.  I love that they care deeply about observing and documenting and doing thought experiments.
    I love girly men.  I can't help it, I find them adorable.  Makeup or not, it strikes a chord with my own draw to androgyny, and I admire and respect that the men out there who feel they are cool enough to find ways to express this in themselves, instead of bending to silly cultural and social 'rules' that try to tell us who we are supposed to be.
    I love 'work men'.  The forgotten ones who do the dirty work and the super hard work for the rest of us.  I love that they can grind through their jobs working on power lines in nasty weather or come out at all hours to fix furnaces and air conditioning.  I love that they are strong enough to get the trash hauled off and pull in the harvest.
    I love men who live to entertain.  They get everyone excited or laughing and help us see a side of life you either took for granted or weren't aware of, and then they get everyone thinking or having big feelings and help us navigate through our 'stuff'.  They make it look easy, but it's hard work with long hours, and they pour their souls into sharing themselves with others.
    To sum it up, I love that men are more willing and likely to get dirty, be miserable, face danger, and fight for the right than I am.  I feel good when I see men protect people and help people and fix things for people.  I have loads of respect for men *being* men and tolerating all the crap they have to put up with, whether it's on their jobs or the things they have to put up with when so many others out there 'hate men'.
    I think men are cool.  Especially this one.  15 years tomorrow.

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