While I can’t speak for most men, I will venture to speak for the assortment of male relatives, friends, confidantes, and co-workers I’ve interacted with over the years. Relationships frighten some men because they have to compromise certain aspects of their male psyche, or altogether relinquish control to someone other than their mother, sister, or aunt.
If the adage is true that little boys grow up to marry their mothers, and little girls grow up to marry their fathers, it wouldn’t be a huge leap to accept that men covet what they find most familiar.
Example: my mother is a pastry chef. I’ve been spoiled by her homemade desserts over the years, and no one, absolutely no one else can or will make peach cobbler, oatmeal raisin cookies, or lemon glaze cake like she does. My mother bakes and ships oatmeal raisin cookies from Houston to New York whenever I ask.
Beyond the childhood memories of licking the remnants of the cake mix or cookie dough from the mixing bowl, I think there’s an element of loyalty entrenched in my taste buds when eating desserts at cafés, coffee shops, or restaurants with Michelin or Zagat ratings. I’m a dessert snob, plain and simple.
How does or would this translate into a romantic relationship? Any woman I date or eventually marry, best know that she will be in the shadow of a huge mixing bowl, blender, and spatula- decorative sprinkles, optional.
Is it Freudian or Jungian, that a large part of a man’s past, present, or future relationships is tied to his mother or primary female caregiver? We all want comfort, and seek out what’s familiar; however most men can’t or won’t acknowledge this basic human need.
In a departure from our mothers and female relatives, do we aim for women with qualities that are in opposition to those we love? Do men want to design an ideal woman as some affluent couples do with eye color, height, and IQ with their unborn child?
If most men could design an ideal mate, which women would we choose? Would we combine Lena Horne, Ruby Dee, and Halle Berry? How about Eartha Kitt, Naomi Campbell, and Diahann Carroll? What about Julie Newmar, Salma Hayek, and Angelina Jolie?
Do we want an athletic mate who’ll play weekend baseball after she’s picked up the overbooked kids from extracurricular activities?
Do we want a woman who’ll do our every bidding, not unlike a Stepford Wife?
Men: Ask a close female friend when she was last fully satisfied in the bedroom, and you might be surprised by her response.
Women: Ask a close male friend how many brain cells he exhausts thinking about how he’ll make his mate coo, ooh, ahh, and perhaps reach the high C similar to soprano Kathleen Battle.
Men want validation for a job well done outside the bedroom. I’m not talking about assembling a bookshelf or curio cabinet that was buried, still in the box, behind clutter in the garage or hallway closet.
Men want women to meet them where they are, emotionally and spiritually, and walk alongside them as the relationship evolves over time. A simple, “I see you for who you are,” goes a long way.
Please don’t compare us to your father, brother, previous jock boyfriends, or ex-husband. We’ll do the same with the women in our lives. Comparison breeds contempt and hostility in platonic and romantic relationships.
Women: If you’ve a history of buyer’s remorse, step back and reevaluate why and how you always seem to find Mr. Wrong, according to your best girlfriend.
Men: If you’re prone to shutting down emotionally and skulking about before you call your (mother, sister, aunt) and complain that your significant other just doesn’t get you – stop. Communicate with your mate.
Relationships are about compromises, battles won, and wars lost. Choose wisely or become accustomed to sleeping on the sofa, at your best friend’s house, or worse, your mother’s who’ll side with you most of the time while she’s preparing a hot bowl of grits, scrambled eggs, and coffee.
The secret language of women can be difficult to decipher. I’ve tried to over the years, and growing up in the Southwest with eight strong-willed aunts, my mother, and granny didn’t help. The women would speak in hushed tones to my six female cousins about minding their P’s and Q’s. I still don’t know what P’s and Q’s are, and my mother refuses to tell to this day. When one of the many boys would happen into the living room en route to the kitchen to get water at granny’s house, all conversations would cease.
Women, help us out, please. Men want to be understood just as much as women, if not more, in a society that frowns upon intuitive or sensitive men. Our society rewards aggression and competition.
Download or buy CD's by Barry White, Marvin Gaye, Sarah Vaughn (The George Gershwin Songbook, Vol. 1/2), Luis Miguel (Romances), Sade, or upcoming artist LeNora Jaye, as the soundtrack to making up, making out, and starting over when problems arise.
I’d like to know what you think about this topic. Are there more renaissance men than spoiled brats or cavemen among us? Are men constantly at a disadvantage in relationships because of radio and talk show hosts offering unsolicited advice, self-help books, and overprotective parents?