Andrew and I were gchatting the other day about something relating to guys and girls' relating. It may or may not have been on the topic of why I'm single (which we all know is because I let a co-worker win me at the dating auction instead of Creepy Mc-Wow-You-look-like-that-girl-from-Glee.)
I was making the oft-made argument that guys say they love it if a girl is really independent, but they really don't (which means it was definitely on the topic of why I'm single). My point wasn't that guys don't like independent women. My point was that there's a very fine line between independent being a turn-on and a turn-off. I think guys have a 3-little-bears-to-porridge view of independent women (for my international friends - baby bear didn't want the porridge too hot or too cold, had to be juuuust right).
I thought Andrew was going to lay into me with a you're-single-because-you-put-men-in-unfair-boxes lecture, but instead he said something I'd never heard anyone say before.
"Yeah - just like how girls say that want an emotional guy, but they really don't."
Touche...I thought. That may be the most interesting comparison between guy/girl hang-ups that I've heard since that discussion about guys and girls on marriage planning.
Question is - is it true?
Do girls claim to desire a man who's totally in touch with his emotions but turn-a-nose at guys who fit that bill? Is this, like the Men vs. Miss Independent situation - a not too emotional, not too stoic, juuuust right issue?
Thinking back on friends, family, people-who-email-the-20Nothings-account-with-random-thoughts I can definitely say that many women express a desire for a guy who isn't so closed off. I've heard, "I wish he could tell me how he feels" or "He never has any feelings about anything!" Also, "_______ would never go see that movie with me."
So there's undoubtedly a desire for a guy to be more expressive about his feelings, understanding of a woman's, and willing to see chick flicks. That's universal. We want guys to provide exactly the support we need in the exactly the right way specific to whatever we're crying about. I know a girl who fakes a crying tantrum early in a relationship to test the guys' coddling skills. This is terrible (slash hysterical), but it cuts to the gist of the issue - we want guys to know how to be there for us, to understand our emotions and theirs' to the point of being able to relate and help. And of equal importance is a guy's ability to explain why-the-hell-he's-acting-so-weird even though 9-times-out-of-10 we know - leading to the following argument: "I know it's because you're stressed about your CPA exam, but I want you to be able to tell me that, and then we can talk about it and get beyond!"
But if you'll notice, all those things are focused in a zone of the way guys relate to us based on their emotions. We desire for him to be more emotionally connected so that we can receive more understand or communicate better in the relationship. Fine. Smart. Valid.
Not the question.
The question is how do girls feel about a guy who is already incredibly in touch with his emotions?
He tells you exactly what's wrong, exactly how he feels, exactly when he's feeling it. If you look sad or confused or any different than you typically look he'll bring it up, and want to sit down immediately to work through it. He will coddle the shit out of you. And if he feels like crying - which he does - he will.
You're thinking, does this guy exist?
The answer is yes. But are you interested?
Andrew's point was that that guy is who girls' say that want but get weirded out when they experience. That's the guy they say, "I mean he's amazing, but he's almost too good to be true. _______ thinks he's gotta be gay." Is there a line where emotion covers manliness and the guy is rendered unattractive? Is it the same deal when a women's independence covers her femininity?
This is a sexist conversation (that I'm having with myself...). It applies when a woman is too much like a man or man too much like a woman, they're less attractive to the other. It suggests that there are ways we think a man should be, and same for women. And it assumes that at least most people agree.
I don't know if it's true. I don't know if it's universal. And I don't know, if it's true and universal, where I fall on whether it's a fact of life or a terrible condition we've created.
I just think it's fascinating.
What do you think?