man

As research for my upcoming book The Fear Cure, I’m rereading Brené Brown’s ground-breaking book Daring Greatly. In it, she discusses the difference between how men and women experience shame. There’s a lot of talk in our culture about how women have been oppressed by the patriarchy- and I’m not dismissing the validity of this conversation. But we spend less time talking about how women help perpetuate the shadow side of the patriarchy. The section in  Brené’s book about how women experience shame left me nodding my head. “Yup. Felt that. Done that. Seen that.” But the section about how women shame men left me gutted and feeling at risk of what Brené calls a “shame spiral.” As in, “Oh shit. I’ve left men feeling that way.” It inspired me to share what I read with you, in case you too are guilty of triggering shame in the men you love.

Apparently, according to the research, men live under the pressure of one unrelenting message: Do not, under any circumstances, be perceived as weak.

The Shame Message

When Brené interviewed men of all ages about what shame messages they experience, one answer prevailed. “Don’t be a pussy.” She talks about how men are raised to hide behind a curtain of strength, like the great and powerful Wizard of Oz who turned out to be nothing more than a blustery old man.  As women, we tend to keep them behind the curtain because we don’t want to witness their weaknesses.

Over and over in her interviews, Brené heard men talking about how women were constantly criticizing them about not being open, vulnerable, and intimate, how women were begging to be let in, to have men expose their fears.  But when men got brave enough to do this, the message they received from the women in their lives was “I can’t stomach your weakness.” When men dare to be vulnerable, women often recoil with fear, disappointment, and disgust, sending men the clear message that they better “Man up.” One of Brené’s mentors said, “Men know what women really want. They want us to pretend to be vulnerable. We get really good at pretending.”

But pretending doesn’t work. Men are human, so they’re not always pillars of strength. They get frightened. They feel vulnerable. They make mistakes. They sometimes feel small and weak, like scared little boys. Yet they don’t feel like they can let themselves be seen in these states of weakness, so they armor up. Unless men develop what Brené calls “shame resilience,” when men feel that rush of inadequacy and smallness, they wind up either getting pissed off or shutting down emotionally.

Women, Be Gentle

As women, we can help. We need to let the men in our lives, especially our sons, know that it’s okay to let us know when they feel weak and ineffective. Our sons need to know it’s okay to cry when they’ve been bullied, that fighting back is what weak men do, not what strong men do. Our sons need to know we don’t expect them to “man up” at ten years old, and they need to have healthy masculinity modeled for them, which includes showing their soft underbellies. They need permission to explore their creativity without being judged as “soft” and they need to learn how to open their hearts and keep them open, even when our culture threatens the tenderness of that open heart.

The adult men in our lives need to know that it’s okay to get fired or make a bad investment or be unable to pay the mortgage. They need reassurance that we still love them when they’re collecting unemployment or when they can’t get the mayonnaise lid off the jar. They need to know we’ll love them even if they get sick. And they need to know that we don’t need them to pretend to keep it all together when they feel like falling apart. They need to be able to tell us that it hurts if we reject them sexually and that sometimes they look at porn not because we aren’t pretty enough, but because there’s no risk of rejection at a strip bar or on the internet.

We Must Be Pillars Of Strength For Each Other

If we want men to feel close to us- and to be good partners when they grow up- they need to feel safe to unravel. They need to know we can take turns being the pillars of strength for each other.  Yes, as women, we desire men who we can lean on when we feel weak or fuzzy or ungrounded. But we can’t expect men to play that role all the time. It’s just not fair- and it’s not serving any of us. Instead, we need to be able to be vulnerable with each other. As women, we need to be able to say, “Today, I need you to be my redwood,” but we need to let men know they can ask the same of us. Sometimes, it’s our job to be the pillar our men can lean into when they’re feeling wobbly.

Men need permission to stop faking it when they feel vulnerable, which means we need to demonstrate that we can sit in the puddle of their imperfections with them, without shaming them or making them question whether our love might be withdrawn.

Yes, men need to learn how to embrace the Divine Masculine qualities that allow them to feel strong and, at the same time, vulnerable, just as women need to learn how to embrace the Divine Feminine. But masculinity can be a cage our culture imprisons men in. Then we shame them for being armored up in the prisons we helped them make.

Let’s Stop This Madness

Instead of badgering men for being shut down and unemotional, let’s have conversations with the boys and men in our lives to let them know our love and acceptance is not conditional upon their strength.

You game?

With love,

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131 Comments

  1. Linda Ione Larson

    YES! Women, I hear it all the time, to the extent it is like hearing the N-word. It is a terrible habit.

    Reply
  2. David Crowley

    While a well-intentioned stab in the right direction, this article assumes the feminine model of emotional expression as the basis for human emotional health. While society at large certainly does impose shame on males and females, and we certainly do perpetuate these tactics against each other – to assume the solution lies in mass feminization is either arrogance or ignorance.

    Given your mention of the Divine Masculine and Divine Feminine, I would expect an understanding that men and women are inherently different. The fact is that men are far more likely to deal with, outlet, and express their problems like men, not women.

    Reply
    • Ellie Nolan

      Can you clarify more, please? What does “expressing problems like men, not like women”, mean? What would you change in the article to make it more authentic to your views? I personally don’t see this article as advocating mass feminization, rather a healthy freedom for the individual regardless of sex to be authentic in their choice of communication style. But I am interested to hear other views :).

      Reply
      • David Crowley

        The article assumes a delineation between “correct” and “incorrect” ways for men to express emotion. I agree with the premise of the article in that we ought not to weaponize shame against each other, but this does not grant women some miracle insight into men, who by nature are churlish and robust, yet secretive creatures who will internalize and externalize their emotions in different ways.

        Women can’t hope to understand men by pretending they should behave like women.

        Reply
        • Ellie Nolan

          I agree that women can’t hope to understand men by pretending they should behave like women. However, are you aware that the book she cites here as her main source for this article is drawn directly from gold standard, scientifically validated research studying men themselves? Obviously not provable or 100% applicable to every man because no theory is no matter how workable. BUT, it may interest you to know that rather than the article just being a women’s opinions on how a man should express emotion, Brene Brown is a reputable shame-and-vulnerability researcher who drew these conclusions about men directly from her time spent interviewing a statistically significant sample size of them about this very issue. In fact, her conclusions were actually quite different from her hypotheses! If you haven’t read her book “Daring Greatly” I’d highly recommend it, and it includes her research methodology and sources and so on for these conclusions as well (so that you can see how she arrived at them!).

          Reply
          • Ellie Nolan

            Hopefully that helps 🙂

        • KattoTang

          Men are not anything by nature. Everyone is different, so just you being a man doesn’t mean you have some insight into how other men are. Especially if we start delving into the minds of men in different cultures.

          Reply
          • Jonathan Gray

            The whole basis of Feminism is that any given women can speak for all other women because she is a woman and has a ‘shared experience’ :p.

    • M W

      The idea that there is a feminine and a masculine way to express emotions is nonsense. People have emotions. Sometimes they need to be expressed and it is psychologically harmful to the individual when they are not. It’s as simple as that.

      Also, not just people have emotions. It’s likely that all vertebrates have emotions. While we haven’t been able to discover more than the simpler emotions like anger and fear in many species, we have yet to study a social mammal that does not have a more complex range of emotions (joy, attachment/love, etc). It is very likely that complex emotions evolved tens or hundreds of millions of years ago, making it silly to assert that emotions can be feminine or masculine. Emotions have no gender.

      Reply
  3. Alexandra Hope Flood

    Thanks for the great post, Lissa! I’m in! I really feel for men who think they have to posture strength when they really want (need) to buckle at the knees. We all need to process our feelings sooner or later. Men are no exception. They need to know they are safe in doing so and we will love them all the more when they do.

    Reply
  4. ssbys

    Nice start Lissa, thank you for acknowledging some aspects of the male experience. I am not familiar with your body of work but a friend of mine pointed out this post. As Mr. Crowley already pointed out, very femcentric view. Not every emotion felt needs to be expressed, and not every expression is verbal. See https://menaregood.com/wordpress for some wisdom on that.

    Note that it is easy to say men should have the freedom to show weakness, but what woman on the planet is really attracted in their core to a weak male partner? Understanding and compassion for some details of the role wo/men fill does not imply that anything needs to be changed about that role. In what ways exactly is it “okay to get fired or make a bad investment or be unable to pay the mortgage?”

    I’m also thinking you need to examine the idea that “fighting back is
    what weak (wo)men do” – nice turn of a phrase but you would surely not
    advocate that your or my daughter never fight back. Lets not counsel our sons to be so timid either. Power and force and strength are
    best wisely developed and managed, not abjectly abandoned or ignored.

    Whether the Putins of the planet will be opposed by boots on the ground or Wolves of Wall st, consider carefully as you tinker with the upbringing of those with the testosterone we still need to keep the peace.

    Excellent start of a long overdue conversation, keep up the good work.

    Reply
    • KattoTang

      Showing weakness doesn’t make someone entirely weak. Everyone has moments of vulnerability, it’s part of being human. Being able to express it without being shamed for it should be a natural thing, for any and all genders. And by saying it’s “okay” to get fired, have trouble paying bills, etc., they obviously don’t mean these are good things to happen, but rather that it’s not shameful to make mistakes, because, once again, that’s part of being human.

      Reply
      • Victor

        I fully agree Katto…I would suggest anybody interested in this look at works on the difference between “guilt” and “shame”….guilt is a acknowledgement of doing something unbecoming of you for which you can apologize and make amends. “Shame” is a more general feeling of not being good enough. Because was can resolve our feelings of “guilt” it is not destructive…”if we make amends, we can move on with our lives”. Shame, on the other hand, cannot be so easily resolved and, instead, is tamped down into our psyche without resolution. To say a man “must be strong” simply forces men to turn “guilt” into “shame” because there is no way of making amends (since to make amends show weakness)…that shame once tamped down manifests in many other ways….depression, anger, suicide, rebellion. If you don’t think this is a problem, you may have forgotten this guy named Adolph Hitler.

        Reply
      • Jonathan Gray

        For many men, the majority, human ‘moments of vulnerability’ are not allowed.

        It seems entirely natural from my position for most women to see it as very ‘unnatural’ thing for a man have these moments.

        Which really speaks to the ‘women being the more empathetic’ bollocks. You can’t even imagine men as being human with human feelings :p.

        I wonder if that is a form of objectification? Hhahaha.

        Reply
    • M W

      I don’t think weakness is the proper term. Vulnerability is a better description and being vulnerable doesn’t mean you are weak. I think it would be better if men adopted the perspective of:
      -The current paradigm is extreme and imbalanced in how it coerces men into suppressing their emotions.
      -Showing some vulnerability is not weakness. It’s a way to keep yourself emotionally healthy and balanced.

      Something else I want to throw out there:
      I disagree with John Boehner’s politics, but I got really annoyed with how the media mocked him for crying in public. In case anyone thought it was only conservatives who mocked men for being vulnerable, liberals destroyed that notion. Liberals mocked him mercilessly. Mocking him for the orange tan? I’m not a fan of mocking a person’s appearance, but he’s a public figure so whatever. It’s not a huge deal. But mocking a man for expressing emotion in public? That’s downright cruel and a clear sign that even liberals believe men should not be allowed to diverge from their traditional gender role.

      Reply
  5. Diana Wood

    Thanks for sharing that Lissa. I have often wondered why men find it so difficult to open up and I never thought of it in this light. But it makes perfect sense.

    Reply
  6. Amy Phoenix

    Thank you for saying what needs to be said. I’m definitely game.

    Reply
  7. Kurt Wilkens

    If you can accept the awe and vulnerability you are, you can see me. We all, women and men, have different parts for procreation, but at our essence we are all the same, a reflection of the Divine, Kurt E. Wilkens

    Reply
  8. Suzi Banks Baum

    I am so in, Lissa. I know I have been less than compassionate with my husband when he is sick…for the embarrassing reasons having to do with my own fear of helplessness. I am sure we are moving beyond this, becoming more emotionally mature as individuals and with each other. Working with Jill Rogers and the Seven Sacred Steps has really contributed to our 23 year marriage. Thank you for this post. xo S

    Reply
  9. Jacqueline

    This argument uses flawed logic. It assumes that openness and vulnerability are strictly feminine emotions and that strength is only allowed to be deemed masculine. The demand that men abstain from “feminine” emotions is taught by both men and women and it comes from an outdated way of thinking and the suppression of women. if we assume that all people are equal (because they are) then we do not have to assign gender roles to these emotions at all. Yes it is a serious problem that we raise our men to buy into the traditional gender roles of what it means to be a man but that is a problem that won’t be fixed until we treat both genders equally. That means teaching our girls to be leaders and teaching our boys to treat women as people, not objects. There is nothing inherently wrong with the sentiment that we should not teach shame for expressing emotions. My issue is that when it comes to teaching shame to young people I am far more concerned with the shame we teach women. There is a rape culture that teaches women to cover their bodies and feel shame for ‘tempting’ men. It assigns all the blame to the woman and none on men to control themselves and take responsibilities for their actions. That is the conversation we should be having about teaching shame.

    Reply
    • David Crowley

      I wonder what kind of monster would teach his child shame at all.

      Reply
      • Peter

        I think such monsters are usually women so the pronoun should probably be “her”. It is women who are constantly shaming men. “Man up”, “Peter Pans”, “rapists”, “walk in her shoes”, “she fears you” and on and on it goes endlessly.

        When it comes to infantisling women we can blame feminists for promoting “rape culture” which implies women have to be looked after and protected because a rapist is hiding behind every pole and around every corner. Men are given ALL responsibility for their own sexual conduct and also for ALL sexual conduct by women because “yes doesn’t always means yes” and consent has to be “enthusiastic consent”, not just consent. Drunken sex is something men may regret but can not blame anyone but their own stupidity but women can always blame ALL MEN for their stupid behaviour while drunk.

        I believe in the equality of the sexes but feminists promotes infantile women as the ideal for women kind. Feminists are HOSTILE to equality. Feminists are turning ALL women into children.

        Reply
        • whatever

          I cannot further disagree, that sounds like the boys will be boys scenario.

          I think feminism attracts a certain type of person a lot of the time, and usually those people use the cover of a once strong ideology to fuel their own agendas….but to think that they are unified as a whole to “ruin men” Solely due to passive aggression/ insert crazy crap here…is bs

          There is no unity, no true flag or definable trait that feminist fly, they have all a different ideology of what feminist means and what it stands for now. Now bringing me back to my second paragraph I think a lot of woman who do go to larger feminist conventions aka possibly tumbler or another social place can start grabbing mob mentality from the larger hogpog of emotional fuel and run with it adding on to their collective uncomfort.

          Personally we need to go back to basics, really have less of a broad term for what feminist means then we can draw a line in the sand.

          Reply
        • Rocky

          You cannot be at once a victim and equal at the same time – they are incongruous. A generation of women have been raised with the idea men are inherently bad and must overcome their natures to be more like women as women are nurturing peaceful types and men are violent abusive rapists. Wearing the cloak of ‘victim’ takes away your power and excuses some pretty sexist behaviour. When my ex once pointed a gun at me during a fight when I tried to leave she said – “you are making me do this”. Abusers justify their actions by their mindset as victim – excuses all. Dangerous waters. Hitler invaded the Sudetenland by claiming ethnic Germans were being mistreated there – were being victimized. We know where that led.

          Reply
    • KattoTang

      That is a conversation that does take place, all the time. And it definitely should take place, but if men aren’t shamed for having these emotions deemed “feminine”, then I would think that helps with that. The way men are shamed is generally misogynistic in its roots, so trying to get rid of that can only help to fight misogyny.

      Reply
      • Peter

        Not to say misandrist.

        Reply
        • KattoTang

          …lol, no.

          Reply
      • Reason

        *misandrystic *misandry

        Fixed.

        Reply
        • KattoTang

          Nope.

          Reply
          • Reason

            Yes, the way men are shamed is misandrystic. Misandry is anti-man (In other words, feminism). Misogyny is anti-woman (In other words, feminism).

          • KattoTang

            No.

          • Reason

            Feminism is anti-woman, didn’t you know?

          • Russ Vance

            yep. Be a man, man up, You must never get laid, are all threats to a mans mating potential, most often used by a woman trying to elicit a particular behavior from a man.

      • Steve Corner

        Men being shamed misogyny, and women being shamed is also misogyny. Yeah…that statement isn’t irrational at all. LOL

        Reply
      • M W

        Our culture does not despise weakness because of misogyny. It’s not because of misandry either. It just is in the same way that the sky isn’t blue because of misogyny. I think it’s an evolutionary vestige that is simply out of place in the 21st century, like our appendix and tonsils. I know this isn’t what you learned in your gender studies course(s), but there is as much evidence supporting your assertion as there is supporting mine…none in both cases, neither are falsifiable. However, my assertion makes more sense and does not violate Occam’s Razor while yours requires the existence of another unfalsifiable assertion, the Patriarchy hypothesis (it is not a scientific theory).

        I personally shy away from touting unfalsifiable assertions built upon other unfalsifiable assertions. They have too much in common with religious claims.

        Reply
    • Maarten Boks

      I absolutely never see propaganda for a rape culture, as you call it. Rape is still very illegal. Oh, and ask your brother, father, or boyfriend what he’d do with the guy who raped you.
      Sexual predetation is not a male feature. Strength and power is. The fact remains that most men are physically able to overpower a woman. That some men use this to be a raping piece of sh*t might make women angry and scare towards men in general, but that won’t solve their problem; they still need the men in they tribe to protect them.
      …or you can get a rape whistle…

      Reply
      • Peter

        Objectifying ALL men as rapists and devaluing rape into more minor slights does nothing but offend actual rape victims and offending ALL men. I’m am SO over the “rape culture” hysteria. It’s really like the witch mania so described by Frederick van Spee in Cautio Criminalis

        Reply
      • M W

        Rape culture isn’t really a thing, unless you’re talking about prison rape. If people want evidence, that’s relatively easy to collect. Compare the instances of condoning or making light of the rape of women in media/social media/etc to the instances of condemning the rape of women in media/social media/etc. Then do a similar study of prison rape.

        What you’ll find is that the rape of women is overwhelmingly condemned. That doesn’t mean no one makes inappropriate statements about the rape of women. That will always happen in a country of 300+ million people. It only means that on balance, our culture overwhelmingly condemns the rape of women. Even the people who blame the victim, saying the woman shouldn’t have worn a short skirt, still believe the rapist is ultimately responsible. They still say rape is wrong.

        What you’ll also find is that prison rape is overwhelmingly condoned. The attitude most people have toward prison rape is “they got what they deserve, they shouldn’t have broken the law”. Comedians make jokes about it far, far, far more often than they make jokes about women being raped. It has become a comedy trope. Everyone laughs at the idea of a man being humiliated and violated because our culture despises weakness.

        Reply
    • Peter

      The same “gender correct” women who sprout all platitudes about men being more emotional are the first women to react badly when what they pretend should be is actually served up on a plate to them. Feminism is all make believe. It’s really nothing more than a drama workshop used by actors to place themselves into character except feminists forget they are only playing a role of oppressed objectified beings. In fact we observe women objectifying men equally.

      For their part feminists objectify ALL men as rapists and killers. ALL MEN. This is HIGHLY offensive. Feminists live in glass houses.

      Reply
    • Harry Seitz

      All people are not equal. The intelligent, well educated son of a plutocrat is not equal to an autistic man living in poverty. Lincoln recognized this when he re-phrased the Declaration of Independence in his Gettysburg Address, stating that we are “dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal” or that we strive to improve society by making systems of governance less biased, but look around you, people are clearly not equal, some are smarter, more attractive, have more resources, etc. The article does not make explicit assumptions, but points out anecdotal evidence that most people are aware of or can relate to.

      Reply
    • CarlG

      In my experience the shaming of men happens in the same way as “death by a thousand”” cuts”. It happens when many, many little failures or “wrong-doings” accumulate and become a serious burden that starts to negatively affect his behavior. Of course, this can happen to women as well, but in both cases it is difficult to maintain good relationships under those conditions. Individual large shaming events (such as rape) can at least be identified and some form of treatment or therapy deployed to help deal with it.
      It is MUCH more difficult to deal with the thousand cuts scenario, be it with men or with women.

      Reply
    • Victor

      Jacqueline…you do recognize you are illustrating the limitation of the feminist message. If I may sum up, you are saying that only complaints about the treatment/roles ascribed to girls/women in our culture have validity. While you give lip service to the possibility that males may have some problems you imply that the REAL problems are those faced by girls and women. As an intelligent person, I hope you see how dismissive and insulting this is. It’s true that for many years women’s issues were dismissed with mild look of sympathy and a pat on the head (“there, there”) well, problem is, you’re not going to make a lot of friends by doing the same in reverse. Think about it.

      Reply
    • Bruce Wayne

      Even when there are conversations about make issues, you just can’t afford to make it about women. It’s always about women for feminazis like you. No wonder you’re a joke.

      Reply
    • M W

      You might be far more concerned with the shame our society teaches females, but your concerns have no bearing on whether or not it is objectively more harmful for society than the shaming males experience.

      I would argue that the shame our society inflicts on boys increases the prevalence of many of the things you hate about men: objectification, domestic violence, rape, etc. I would argue that if we stopped shaming boys, their mental health and emotional intelligence would dramatically increase, dramatically reducing the frequency of violence against women. By helping men, you help women.

      But if you hold bitterness in your heart against men, I can see why this proposition would be distasteful to you. The ability to deny boys freedom from shame emotionally satisfies you in some way. That’s understandable. You’re human and humans can be egotistical jerks sometimes. I don’t think you’re a horrible person, just a typical vindictive person.

      Reply
    • Jonathan Gray

      So any ‘shame’ that impacts women needs to be spoken about, whilst you’re not particularly concerned by a very particular form of shame that affects man and leads directly to suicides?

      Funnily enough, men are starting to be that way with women. Not our problem.

      Feminists are so funny. It’s why your little creed is dying on the vine, which makes me very happy :).

      Reply
  10. Steaphen Pirie

    An excellent, insightful article!

    Articles like yours suggest we’re slowly moving towards a beneficial “systems” perspective, one in which everyone recognizes their shared responsibility for the resultant culture, community, nation.

    One in which we let go blame (ourselves, others), and begin to ask “how did I help create this?”

    That said, there appears there will remain “push-back” for some time by those who don’t understand the underlying masculine-feminine complementarity of life.

    As Emeritus Prof. Robert Jahn (Princeton’s P.E.A.R laboratory) explained so eloquently:

    “When posed in polar opposition, whether within a single personality, or in the context of the ubiquitous interactions between the male and the female sexes, the failures of this interface are legion, legendary, and immensely destructive, both personally and socially.

    Yet, when deployed in constructive complementarity, the masculine/feminine integration within the individual can enable the highest creativity and personal
    satisfaction, and in the male/female partnership can generate some of the highest accomplishments, profoundest insights, and most beautiful resonances of human existence. In this form, it is probably the species’ most powerful resource for spiritual as well as physical survival and evolution.”

    Reply
    • Steaphen Pirie

      Which is to suggest, for men to be more vulnerable, would require a complementary balance of women accepting more responsibility for their reality (instead of blaming men).

      In other words, for men to be more feminine (vulnerable, open) requires women to be more masculine — stoic, strong.

      From a (holodynamic) systems perspective, blaming men or women or anything (e.g. some nefarious subconscious) … for whatever reason, is denying one’s own power to help co-create a better reality.

      Reply
      • Christina Haas

        Absolutely!

        Reply
    • Steaphen Pirie

      Earlier I wrote “and begin to ask “how did I help create this?” — from a systems perspective it is much more beneficial to ask “how did this serve me?” (with the understanding we all helped co-create the present reality).

      E.g. how did patriarchal cultures serve us? — well, as American feminist Camille Paglia noted, “If civilization had been left in female hands, we would still be living in grass huts” — modern technologies and industries were/are a by-product of hierarchical, patriarchal societies (noting that matriarchal societies have not been anywhere near as industrial or technologically focused or productive).

      So if we enjoy modern technologies, it behooves those who seek to blame patriarchal cultures to recognize the benefits.

      That said, I believe we’ve just about over-done the mechanical, hierarchical/patriarchal gig — time to re-pair intuitive/spiritual with physical/scientific (as Jahn noted) if we hope to survive as a species)

      Reply
      • Victor

        Well said, sir….very well said.

        Reply
  11. CaroG87

    One of the most profoundly wonderful moments the ex-BF and I had was
    when we worked for the same company — one which was sinking faster than
    the Titanic (he in engineering, I in customer service). We had gotten
    some bad work news just before going out of town for the weekend. We had
    a nice getaway but came back on Sunday with the 400 pound gorilla still
    in the room. He began to cry at the idea of his 10-year-career with
    this firm suddenly coming to a halt … and then he immediately began to
    apologize for his tears. I shushed him and told him to cry all he
    wanted, he had better reason than I did to cry (I’d only been there
    about a year). He was truly saddened and afraid for his future in those
    moments — and I was honored to be the person with whom he felt
    comfortable enough to let down his guard. It was a blessing – a true
    blessing. I just wish that he’d been more comfortable with his
    vulnerability in other moments of our relationship as he was in that
    one……. le sigh. :}

    Reply
    • Kaitlin Powell

      You are very rare – most men know this i think. Internet hug to you…

      Reply
    • shadow

      Men have been conditioned by society to view their career and ability to provide as their identity. Today we can see just about how reliable he job market is. That alone is hard on men. When your Ex man lost his career, he wasn’t crying over his career loss, he was crying over his identity loss.

      When I personally lost my career and became homeless due to an injury, everyone close to me left me including my fiance. She told me (and I qoute), “how can you take care of me when you can’t even take care of yourself?!?!”. Most men in my situation commit suicide because they are disposed like yesterday’s trash. So I am torn wondering if I am a coward for not ending it properly, or a fighter for not giving up.

      So needless to say I am a homeless man who is college educated and once had a 15 year career. I am a shadow who obviously has no women in his life anymore. All I do is spend my days studying in a community library hoping one day I can have a life and dignity. But I will always remember what I been through and will not forget it.

      It has been an eye opener.

      Reply
      • CaroG87

        How are you today? I truly hope things are better for you. And yes, you are right…. He wrapped a lot of his identity in his career so it was death for him (on a few levels) to lose that.

        Reply
    • toodleoo

      he’s your ex, your example is only more reason not to open up to a woman.

      Reply
      • Jonathan Gray

        Or bother having relationships with them :). More and more men are seeing the light and it makes me so happy.

        A ‘life’ with a women 95% of the time is nothing more than being a resource slave and an emotional tampon. You spend a lot of money on this burden.

        And in return, one display of ‘weakness’ (I think when it’s a women it is called ‘humanity’ ;p) will have a woman looking behind your back for a better replacement.

        I always laugh when a woman says ‘I love you’. No, you just love the image of yourself by my side.

        Freedom gents. More and more of us are choosing it, and it makes me very happy to see us so ’empowered’ :).

        Don’t let women shame you into being a provider. It is your life, and most of them just want to take it from you and use it up for their own benefit.

        Reply
  12. Molly

    I’ve honestly never done this, nor do I know a woman who has. Honestly, I would be thrilled to be in a relationship with a man who could actually attach himself to some emotion other than anger and express it. If you’re writing about it, then I guess there are women who do this… I just can’t imagine it

    Reply
    • Christina Haas

      I can say the same thing myself Molly. I am now single parenting, but would have loved to have my man be vulnerable instead of angry, with me or my children. My boys will be different because they are learning to be vulnerable now and that it is not only OK, but necessary. I met a wonderful man recently who was raised by his mother and never saw his dad, who was also an angry man. It gives me hope that as single moms we can change the way our boys are raised and they will make a difference in the world with their ability to open up.

      Reply
      • Rocky

        As a man I was socially conditioned (largely by women in my life) to man up. Daily reinforcement that crying was weak and to suck it up (started around 3 yrs old) has now produced in me a man that cannot cry easily. Think about it – historically men needed to be tough resilient self reliant warriors to protect the tribal woman and kids. You wouldn’t want us hiding behind your skirts. A woman I met online was complaining the men in her urban setting were too feminine – they aren’t attractive. These guys have bought into the feminist idea that masculinity is bad; ironic that evolutionary biology renders this sensitive guy unappealing. Masculinity isn’t any worse than femininity. Why can’t we celebrate and support both?

        Reply
        • Christina Haas

          Of course we can – I see that as the goal for each of us, to own our masculine and feminine essences and not be afraid of either side, but to integrate both into who we are.

          Reply
          • Rocky

            No offense but as others have stated sensitive vulnerable nice men are just not attractive to most women. Like many men my mother told me to be a ‘nice guy’ to women – I bought into it for a short time. IN HS the girls I liked I was nice to. Other girls I treated like one of the guys. Guess which group were more attracted to me? I wasn’t a jerk – just didn’t care if they liked me or not.
            The idea that men should be more like women (open, sensitive, vulnerable) is a feminist utopian ideal. Like many ideas espoused by women however, it flies directly in the face of what they are attracted to. Women as a group are cognitively disconnected from what they say they want and what they want. Basic biological imperatives are nearly impossible to over-write. Women don’t want ‘girly’ men.
            I’m sure your sons will be great guys. They will just have trouble attracting mates. They will haunt these types of forums trying to figure out why women aren’t attracted to them. As a woman you know deep down what you find attractive – don’t tell your boys to be something different. More choice in mates = better choice in mates.

          • Christina Haas

            I think feminism did a number on women too, telling them they could be more like men, that being like a man was how they became equal. Most of my life I spent trying to achieve like a man, in a man’s world, because that’s what the women’s movement lead me to believe I should have. Clearly both genders have been impacted in ways not predicted.
            Maybe I don’t “hang” with a majority, or maybe I do, I have no idea. But the men and women I keep company with want a partner who is fully aligned with their own gifts and values, no matter how masculine or feminine that appears on the outside. There is obviously way more to it than that, chemistry, interests, etc., but for my time, a man who knows who he is and is not afraid to live it is far more attractive than a chameleon who tries too hard to be what someone else wants instead.
            My oldest son is 16. As his mother, I know I am not in an objective position, but I can tell you he has had three girlfriends since junior high school, all of which were with him over 12 months each. I try to teach and model authenticity and honesty to each of my kids in knowing who they are. I would imagine that is what these young women find initially attractive. Who knows for sure? In the end, I think we are only truly happy when we follow the beat of our own drum, mate or no mate.
            All the best to you on this journey . . . .

          • Russ Vance

            I think women miss this important distinction when raising sons and giving them advice. What a woman likes, and what a woman is attracted to are not always the same thing. Raising a son to be a nice sensitive guy, is not going to render him attractive. Sure, girls will like him. Just never ever want to sleep with him. Like their gay friends, he will be so sweet. But, OMG, no, never sleep with him, he is too good of a friend.

            Think about the differences in guys you like, and guys you want.

          • Christina Haas

            My life experience is different and so is that of my son. I guess we will just have to agree to disagree on this one.

          • M W

            Rocky, your entire line of argument is a non sequitur. Emotions have no gender. It’s a bunch of fatalist nonsense.

          • Rocky

            Emotions have no gender but the sociological implications of display are very real on a gendered basis. Men are taught early there are a limited set of socially acceptable emotions. Woman cries; sympathy. Man cries? Baby.. Thanks for the Latin; doesn’t change veritas though. Is omniscience a burden?

      • M W

        It’s all well and good to teach your male children how to be vulnerable and I commend you for trying, but it won’t be an easy road. They are going to get bullied for it, by other boys and girls. It will sting more when the girls do it. Bruises and broken bones heal more quickly than psychological wounds. As they get older, they’ll see that the media constantly mocks men who show vulnerability. It may turn out that they learn to suppress their emotions and hide their vulnerability despite your effort to help them be more emotionally balanced because the message pounded into their heads by society will be to “suck it up”.

        Reply
    • Steaphen Pirie

      Hi Molly

      It can be subtle, the extent to which men are expected to be stoic, strong and not vulnerable.

      E.g. many studies show women prefer taller men (for relationships), Why? Height is generally considered an advantage in being more protective, etc.

      Another example: I’ve seen research that confirms women tend to (or would prefer to) “marry up” (the film “Pretty Woman” is popular with many women). In one study, women who were still university undergrad medical
      students wanted to partner male doctors who were going to earn as much or more than themselves). So that again puts pressure on men to be strong, competent, superior etc.

      The expectations can be difficult to spot, unless you observe gender differences, and why they exist.

      Reply
      • Molly

        Hi Steaphen,
        Thank you for the additional clarification. Yes, I understand gender differences and gender bias… I work in consulting, in the areas of Organizational Development and Talent Management. Especially at the leadership level of an organization, there’s a great deal of pressure on both men and women to keep their shields up… to refrain from any display of vulnerability, as it’s typically perceived as weakness.
        I’ve seen many instances where a man has ashamed another man for showing some type of vulnerability, I’ve just not personally had the experience where I’ve seen a woman do it to a man. Of course we don’t always know what someone is thinking :), but in my experience, I’ve seen women respond favorably to a male peer or supervisor who displays this level of authenticity. It helps build trust.
        And in personal relationships, after 25 years of trying to make a marriage work with a man who suffers from a passive aggressive disorder (and refuses to seek treatment), and trying to date single men my age (around 50ish), I’m finding a real absence of men who are willing to show any type of vulnerability or openness. Trust is a two way street… it is offered, not earned, so I understand my part in that. I’m just being honest in saying it would be quite a bonus to meet a man who’s willing to go there.

        Reply
        • Steaphen Pirie

          Hi Molly

          I agree — business is highly masculine. People get paid to do, not to be. When in the city I’m always amazed at the amount of gray suits worn by business women. No color.

          In relationships, though, do you prefer taller men? Do you expect or want someone to be protective while out and about socially? E.g. if while walking down a street or at some social function and someone has clear intent to be violent towards you (plural) would you expect the man to defend you, or for you to defend him? While you may think it would be a cooperative effort, initially your thought would be to protect, but with who in front? A study of lionesses in the wild, with loud speakers hidden in the grass mimicking advancing competitive lions, revealed some lionesses were aggressive defenders going out in advance, others would go along and protect if the others did, and some held back, at the back of the pack.

          If taller, and/or protective partner is desired, the man will (sensing that expectation) need to remain protective, parental (patriarchal), certainly not vulnerable (as that is anathema to being protective). That expectation will engender habitual behaviors, that make being vulnerable well nigh impossible (for many men). Our culture has imbued a deep sense of the need for men to be the protective providers. So naturally many (most) men will find it difficult to not live by that expectation, and allow themselves to be vulnerable. Hence the 4xhigher suicide, earlier mortality, higher disease and substance-abuse rates for men.

          Reply
          • Molly

            I think it’s a stretch to assume that if a woman’s preference (in terms of physical attraction) leans towards taller men, every tall man she’s with will then automatically take on the role of all around protector and in turn, refrain from showing any vulnerability…ever.

            If a man is sensing some expectation of having to be the protector in every instance and that leads him to refrain from ever showing any vulnerability, then that choice is on him.  In short, we all make our own choices as to what kind of life we’ll lead, and what kind of person we show the rest of the world as well as the people we’re closest to.

            Business is really no different than personal life…. the people who work hard at trying to uphold a certain perception of what corporate culture should be are usually the same people who succumb to their perception of what society dictates in their personal life.  And then there are those who seek to create change, and/or who are perfectly successful and happy just being true to themselves.

            A healthy relationship involves two people who protect each other by employing their individual strengths, gifts, and talents.  We protect each other in different ways, and if one happens to do the protecting in a way that is consistent with certain social “norms”, that’s still no excuse for withholding vulnerability.  I think for any couple, the responsibility lies with each of them equally to establish mutual trust… creating a safe environment where there are no penalties for honesty or vulnerability.

            I am 5’2″ and not at all very physically coordinated.  So in the scenario you mentioned above, and applying it to myself, I’d have to say that having a preference for taller men doesn’t even come into play…. almost EVERY male is bound to be taller, and probably more physically capable, than me.  Does that mean I’m copping out to gender bias if I’m not the one to step forward to physically protect my partner?  No… it means my traits and talents don’t lie in physical stature or strength.  I’m not playing into some societal convention…. I’m living my reality.

            However, I do have a preference for bald men, so what does that say about me?  Sorry…. just trying to keep it light. 🙂

          • Steaphen Pirie

            Hi Molly

            I observe behaviors (that some call “stereotypical”) of people, cultures, nations … and posit reasons for those behaviors. Stereotypes reflect the deep cultural “forces” at work in shaping, behaviors en masse.

            Those cultural “forces” provide constraints on behaviour — we are not free, no where near it. To walk naked into a mall, because you feel like it, will elicit certain reactions that aren’t conducive to enjoying a pleasant, relaxed day.

            So your comment we’re all free to choose, is not really correct. The paradox of life is of freedom and constraint (“downward causation”). No one is entirely free of constraints (those constraints take various forms, including gravity, speed of light, cultural beliefs etc).

            Long story short — your reply hasn’t really addressed how men (in general) are constrained by cultural beliefs and expectations — they’re as free to be vulnerable as for you to walk into your local suburban mall naked. You will offer various reasons why you don’t feel like doing that … but that’s hardly explaining the “causation” for those feelings.

            Feelings largely follow beliefs.

            When we take a systems view (that societies are self-organizing) we can see why men behave as they do, and why women do, in their respective ways. Being self-organizing means men aren’t vulnerable because it’s beneficial (from a systems perspective) to not be vulnerable. It’s the role of men to be (historically) the front-line soldiers — and while that remains the case, the “downward causation” of cultural expectations on men being the warriors will “trickle down” into every aspect of society.

          • Molly

            Steaphen,
            Bear with me here…but I think you took what I said to a
            black and white extreme. A man who feels he is so constrained by cultural beliefs that he cannot be vulnerable within an intimate relationship is not the same as walking through a mall naked… unless he’s in a relationship that lacks trust. Then you’re right; he and his partner would be something more like strangers at the mall, and more inclined to resign themselves to certain cultural/social constraints.

            I do believe, within the context of a healthy relationship,
            that two people have the ability to set the parameters of the relationship and choose behaviors or “roles” that fit who they are as individuals (as well as how they fit together) outside of any gender-based societal
            constraints.

            That freedom to choose is also present to a certain extent across all relationships and the greater cultural landscape. We may be bound by physical constraints like gravity and the speed of light, but I never said that
            we were entirely free of all constraints, simply trying to address the social/cultural.

            For instance… I’ve seen individuals buck convention and
            constraints within the context of working relationships. In one case, I witnessed a company president (a 58 yr old male) break down in tears in the middle of a leadership meeting. He allowed himself to be vulnerable regarding
            something he was passionate about. With a different group of individuals, their reaction could have prompted an experience for him that was a little like walking through a mall naked. But because of the trust and respect present among the individuals on this leadership team, ultimately his unconventional display actually ended up serving as a catalyst that prompted some changes (over time) in the organization’s values and associated behaviors driven by
            that team.

            On a greater scale, in any society, evolution is a component of self-organization. And that evolution is prompted by individual expression and action. (collective behavior) At one time in the US, women were not allowed to vote and both interracial and same-sex marriages were unlawful. While we’re still in the midst of making
            same-sex marriage legal in every state, we’ve finally reached a point where a majority of the US population supports marriage equality.

            What was once law or social convention born out of
            stereotype that shaped behavior (and our legal system)… now seems ridiculous to most of us. Stereotypes and bias around race, gender, etc., still exist but social convention/constraint was changed by way of individual expression and action that formed a collective. The standard shifted by way of individuals choosing something different than what had previously been accepted as the norm.

            I appreciate your perspective, I really do… I’m not saying
            that certain cultural forces don’t exist; they do. But to say that we’re nowhere near free to make our own choices regarding behavior and the expression of individuality
            (especially within the context of an intimate relationship) in order to effect cultural change… doesn’t exactly fit within the scope of my values or beliefs, or what history has shown us.

            I will respectfully continue to embrace the idea that I do
            have choices outside of what’s dictated for my “role” or gender by our society. You don’t have to agree with me, but to say I’m not nearly correct is a little dismissive… you just don’t share my perspective, and that’s okay. Getting back to the point of the original article and my post… changing this dynamic in our culture (men feeling free to be vulnerable and women supporting that without penalty) is a matter of the choices we make in thought and behavior.

            I can extend/offer trust and choose to be supportive of a
            man’s vulnerability without delivering shame or penalty, essentially creating an environment in the relationship where it’s okay for him to be both the protector as well as have more vulnerable moments. However, I can’t MAKE him be vulnerable…ultimately that’s his choice.

          • Steaphen Pirie

            Hi Molly

            I responded to your delineations involving black-white assertions e.g. “almost EVERY male” … it was you who emphasized “EVERY” … shouting it from the rooftops.

            Your reply doesn’t really make much sense from a systems perspective. You’re saying one part (male person) has choice, but you (I sense) don’t — that you don’t have the choice to learn various disciplines by which to be the primary defender or aggressor when necessary etc.

            It’s easy to blame others, but a systems perspective involves accepting our responsibility for the shared reality — why have you created men to be so lacking in vulnerability. (That’s deliberately a rhetorical question). Your choice AND their choice, It’s not either/or, but “AND”. We’re all in this together.

            From my observations the feminine is towards the collective, not so individualistic — as Camille Paglia rightly observed, “There is no female Mozart because there is no female Jack the Ripper.” I’ve often heard how women were suppressed or some such, as the reason the vast majority of inventors, maestros have been men — well, I suppose they’ve been suppressed to also not murder. That’s irrational. Murderers don’t much worry about being suppressed or oppressed, they do what they do, with scant regard for their victims.

            Again, from a systems perspective, feminine and masculine have both been beneficial but each with “deficits” that are fulfilled by the complementary focuses.

            In order for you (and all) to create men being more vulnerable (feminine), will require a complementary ‘masculine’ (strong, stoic, protective) focus by those who are feminine — opening the space for men to fill, or occupy — e.g. househusbands while the wife is the primary breadwinner. Alternatively, for society to become less competitive/materialistic/masculine overall, taking the pressure of those “drafted” to be highly “masculine”.

          • Steaphen Pirie

            I should add that there’s an irony in your reply — I’ve focused on stereotypes — the driving forces that impel large sections of society towards “stereotypical” behaviors.

            You’ve focused on exceptions — e.g. the CEO who broke down and cried. Yes, and your point is? Exceptions exist. No argument. Stereotypical behaviors exist. Easy to demonstrate … simply walk down a street and ask 100 random people a few questions, and you’ll receive clear evidence of stereotypes at play. Each have choice to not abide by those stereotypes … agree. But they (by definition) don’t because … (they’re bad, evil?), or .. from a systems perspective, because you’ve helped engender those behaviors, and that’s because ….?

            Women (in general) conform to certain stereotypes, as do men — it’s what makes the society (system) function, or dysfunction, as it does. Quoting exceptions does little to advance an understanding of the underlying “forces” that cause men to not be vulnerable, or more importantly, for women to not accept they’ve helped create that lack of vulnerability, because it served them.

          • M W

            Guest: “That choice is on him”.

            Choices are not made in a vacuum. Humans have some degree of agency, at least we like to imagine that we do, but all choices are coerced to varying degrees. Males are shamed into suppressing their emotions from a very young age. The path of least resistance is to go along with society’s demands, and that’s what the overwhelming majority of men choose.

    • Gareth Mailer

      Really? It’s pretty much the entire ethos of the feminist movement. I know that may appear quite a controversial statement, but give me a few paragraphs of your time to qualify it.

      Shame men into believing domestic violence is a gendered issue: ‘look at what those other men are doing to women, you have to stop that from happening’. Irrespective of the fact that according to all official statistics suggest that at the very least 40% of all domestic violence incidents are instigated by women.

      It’s also why videos like those provided by ManKind exist where a male actor attacking a female actor in the street led to countless numbers of people intervening and shaming the man, yet when the roles were reversed and the female actor assaulted the male actor (even more aggressively than the male actor assaulted the female actor) not only did no-one intervene or try to stop the violence, people laughed.

      You can watch the video here: httpss://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3PgH86OyEM

      You can trace the routes of this tremendous power women hold over men all the way back throughout history. The white feather campaign, for example, which originated in 1914. It was a system set-up by a privileged (upper-class) woman and a general in the army. It was based on a book which was released ten years previous where a young boy left the military campaign he was engaged in to return home, only to receive a white feather from his fiancée.

      What did the white feather personify? Cowardice. It was the ultimate shame tactic.

      It was used in World War 1 because military conscription, in the early stages, was politically unpopular. Instead, the woman and the general who set it up started with a group of 30 women who would run around all day every day pinning white feathers on men who weren’t in military uniform.

      The response was, often, immediate. I remember reading one case where a woman pinned a feather and a mere 20 minutes later he turned around, walked across the bridge and back into active military duty; sent off to his death, in essence.

      It’s why feminism often opts for moral authority, before statistics. Take the case of sexism for example, and the everyday sexism project launched by Laura Bates. It’s pretty much entirely anecdotal evidence, but it’s primary purpose is to assume as much moral authority as possible – it’s a tactic men rarely engage in (at least as a gender group, more often than not we’re pitted against each other rather than supportive of each other). Women garner more empathy from society.

      When we look at REALITY, we see sexism is a two-way street, in fact arguments could be made men face far harsher forms of sexism than women. Take the most public and prevalent example of sexism in existence: the LuLu app. It’s an app downloaded by over 3 MILLION women so they can rate men on a scale of 1-10 based on their sexual performance in bed. Men are basically rated like restaurants.

      What if the roles were reversed? We’d be shamed into doing something about it through a collation of mass media outrage, Governmental intervention (feminists are experts at lobbying Governments to get what they want) and reference to sexual assaults against women.

      But because it’s men, nothing is done about it.

      Reply
  13. Maarten Boks

    Lissa, I liked this post very much. Good to hear a standpoint like this from a woman. However, “fighting back is what weak men do, not what strong men do” can be a statement that leaves men ashamed as well. There’s something women never will get, as it’s just not in their consciousness, but the world of men is about challenging one another. You have to be strong enough to be challenged and challenge another men, and this is how your self-respect and enjoyment in life grows. So fighting back is actually very much a part of being strong, of being male. Challenging one another shouldn’t go hand in hand with excessive violence and if it’s not interfered with or over coupled with shame, it rarely does. The only way women can support their men and boys is by being available and present, but not imposing any rules; that’s for the men (fathers and brothers) to decide.

    Reply
  14. KimberlyD77

    As a mother of 2 boys, I’m definitely game! So often we forget these socially accepted terms can damage spirits over time. One thing I have always done is to allow my boys to cry when they feel like it. I was raised in a home where that was not allowed, especially not my brothers. I always thought it was absurd. I will definitely be more gentle & conscious. Thank you for this beautiful message!

    Reply
  15. DG1984

    Thank you Lissa! This is very interesting, both the article and the comments. I think this point of view is really hard for us women, because we have seen men display bad behaviors, and this makes us not want to let them off the hook even a little bit, because those behaviors make us angry and it is hard to believe that they are ingrained in men form having lived as males in our society. But if we leave that anger aside for a minute, we can see this is true. Women expect men to always open the door for them, or to always drive, even when these are things we can do. Do we really have a logical answer to why men should open doors for women? (We just want them to do it because it makes us feel good, and we should wonder why that is.) I used to get soooo angry when an ex-boyfriend of mine asked ME for directions to get somewhere, even when I knew he just was not good at directions. It was actually good that he was able to recognize it, but once or twice I even yelled at him for this. Similarly, men for example always expect women to have all the groceries needed in the refrigerator (they just open the fridge and consume, but don’t want to have anything to do with list-making or meals planning in order to save money and eat healthy!). They also have unrealistic expectations about the female body. We all have expectations that we are not even aware of, but the people we love can sense them. And when problems come along or feelings get built up, this societal expectations are a big burden. We all need to figure out how to question ourselves and be more compassionate and less judgemental with each other. And we need to communicate this also, so it can be a two way street. 😛

    Reply
  16. David Ross

    This article made my night. And the next. Heck, probably the whole week. Thank you so much!

    I’m a college guy and not currently dating, but I’ve got to say that I absolutely hate the shame waves I get from so many of the women around me. I’m not exactly “Captain Macho Man” or anything. I like art and music. I like dancing. I like to cook (because I love to eat, you see, what guy doesn’t?), and I think that knowing how to cook is about the sexiest skill one can possess. I tend to be about 1000% more romantically-minded that the other guys on campus (I go to an engineering school, so it’s really not that hard). I also have some pretty traditional views (for instance, I feel like I’m respecting the wife I don’t have yet by saving myself sexually for marriage). I also know how to tell if what I’m wearing matches, or if I have grungy bed-head, or if I smell less-than-pleasant. But any time a girl finds this out about me, it’s like a target for her skin-deep judgments about me is slapped on my forehead. Fire away.

    Quite a few just write me off as gay. It’s really annoying. REALLY annoying. And whenever I just be…well…myself, there are plenty of other guys that’ll occasionally give me these weird looks (you’d think I’d just handed US launch codes to Commies or something) because I didn’t conform to some silly macho stereotype. I hate being expected to put who I am, what I care about, and what I love in a can, so to speak, so that people only have to deal with some ridiculous “macho facade” of me.

    I’ve pretty much given up trying to start a relationship in college because I’m really not sure I can trust other girls with who I am. I’ve gotten burned more than a few times. I really feel that a woman has to be deserving of a guy’s trust if she really ever expects him to be real with her. I’m not going to waste my time opening up to a girl who’s just gonna end up throwing it back in my face (directly or indirectly) that I’m not the James Bond she’s expecting me to be.

    I’m not totally oblivious, and I have noticed a couple times when a girl tries to flirt with me, but it ends up putting me in this really awkward spot. You see, I really just end up feeling like I can’t trust her. At least not with anything below surface level. When the day comes that I meet a woman who can appreciate me as a man for being who I am (and not some cliche movie character), I hope she’ll be wearing something obnoxious and/or neon so I can pick her out of a crowd and ask her to marry me.

    Reply
    • Victor

      Sir….thank you for sharing this heartfelt confession. You sound like a really good dude. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in college (Class of ’91), but I can tell you, it doesn’t get a lot better after college. As an educated guy I’m sure you are familiar with The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock….in that poem Elliot describes so well the feeling of isolation when we try to say what we mean and be who we are and are met with nothing but dismissive looks and mockery It is so tough, but please don’t let that break you. If you need to talk to somebody I’d be happy to talk. Men need other men, just like they need women. Often I think we need each other more cause we share a struggle that women simply can’t understand. Drop me a note if you’d like to talk and never let anybody shame you by calling you “gay” or “weak” that is BS and you need to call it out for what it is.

      Reply
    • Guest2

      It’s unlikely that you read this after so much time, but just in case… read httpss://dalrock.wordpress.com, he has many great articles about this (look for his older articles), and also https://therationalmale.com/

      Reply
  17. Peter

    Patriarchy “theory” is unfalsifiable. Don’t tell feminists this though because religious believers don’t like having their doctrines challenged. They tend to react like fundamentalists slinging insults.

    Reply
    • M W

      I call it the patriarchy hypothesis. It doesn’t deserve to be called a theory. Scientific theories have evidence. Patriarchy has as much evidence supporting it as Intelligent Design…none.

      Reply
  18. Bill Krupar

    Finally a woman that understands when a man is vulnerable don’t take it as a signal to control his life. Cool. Wish I could find a woman like that in my life.

    Reply
    • Bruce Wayne

      You might as well be looking for a unicorn. Get this into your head; the only woman that will ever care about your emotional well-being is your mother. Any other woman will be looking to you for strength and any sign of being “weak” will be looked at with disgust.

      You can always go to your mother when you feel vulnerable but you can never do that with any other woman. Not your wife. Not your girlfriend. Nobody.

      Reply
      • M W

        Nonsense. There are lots of good women out there. And not all mothers are good (but I think most are).

        You’ve got issues man. You need to stop with the generalizations, the identity politics. We’re all individuals in this universe. Lots of people are jerks, but there are also lots of good people out there, men and women. If you haven’t run into any, that sucks. Have you considered the possibility that your attitude is hurting your effort?

        Reply
        • Rocky

          Anyone who doesn’t share your opinion has issues? Nice shaming language…People like you totally ignore the huge influence bio-determinism has in our relationships and how it has helped our species to thrive on this planet. Yes; feminism would have you believe we are all equal in blatant ignorance of reality. (except women are better). Mate selection is highly developed in higher organisms – we are not islands unto ourselves. Why are some men more successful in dating? If women found sensitive men to be attractive, alpha traits would have been selected out long ago. Generalizations exist because behaviors can be predicted from objective observation. Feminists have created the urban metrosexual man – my female friends have intimated they do not find these men attractive. Once one pulls their head out of the sand many things become clear.

          Reply
  19. Albedio

    I’m glad u are willing to admit to the grotesque double standards many streetway feminists are guilty of committing.I for one am baffled why men havent stood out to speak for themselves.I somehow feel men have thinner skins than women and are thus ‘afraid’ of asking for help
    Even when women are emphasizing that their skin exposure should be accepted as a choice and not be shamed,many men are still shamed into covering up to look formal and ‘adult’.I wish one day this society can accept men going to work in formal shorts,as well as totally dispel the myths of wearing long trousers being a ‘rite of passage’ into adulthood for boys,and hence stop boys in shorts from being teased needlessly.Its no different from slutshaming;this ‘immaturity’ shaming,since both involve judging others by their clothes,hence stiffling their rights to wear whats most comfortable for them.

    Reply
  20. Dale Chan

    I’ve seen this in action. I’ve been on the receiving end many times. Sometimes it isn’t fun being a sensitive introvert.

    Do you want to know the worst thing though? I won’t share this article with anyone I know because I am afraid of how they will see me and because women don’t want a partner they perceive as weak. And you can deny that all you want ladies but it is true.

    Reply
  21. mellow

    I have been body shamed by women plenty of times. The emotional toll from it sucked. Being told you are ugly, stupid, etc is damaging.
    Then

    Reply
    • Bruce Wayne

      Well said! Nothing scares a woman more than a man that doesn’t “need” a woman.

      Live for yourself. You came into this world alone and that is how you will go. Your wife, girlfriend or crush won’t go with you. You will go alone. Might as well get used to it now.

      Reply
  22. Christopher Allman

    Awww! Thank you so much for this! Probably one of the best illustrations is how American women respond to the character of Larry Bloom in Orange is the New Black . He is openly and uncritically called a ‘whiny bitch who should die’ https://uproxx.com/tv/2014/06/a-guide-to-the-internets-love-of-hating-larry-bloom-from-orange-is-the-new-black/ .
    We, as a culture, have come to focus so thoroughly on the social expectations of women, we tend to forget men are also human beings, with feelings, who experience their own social pressures. I commend you for speaking frankly about this!
    I’ve written about the additional social pressures that men face here: https://genderallies.org/2014/11/12/the-social-expectations-of-a-man/

    Reply
  23. Victor

    Very well put and a topic that needs more than just a passing discussion.

    I only have two issues with this.

    First, you’re only realizing this now??? isn’t this as obvious as the nose on your face??? As a man I can tell you in no uncertain terms one of the most difficult things our society imposes on men is the constant need to be strong. Most women have never experienced this and it is awful!! So awful, in fact, that when women speak of their struggles in society, it makes most men want to say – privately of course – you think you have struggles? Imagine having to be something you’re not 24/7 with nobody to confide in about it? Think about that for awhile. Imagine if someone said to you “you need to be what society considers “feminine” at all times – even in your most intimate relationships with your partner and parents – and if you do any differently (or even mention it’s an issue) you will be mocked, dismissed and thought less of. Not such a great place to be. So please think about that the next time you shame a man – even if you consider it in jest, just don’t, and be conscious of what you say and how you act, both men and boys are listening and feeling a lot more than you think.

    Second, it’s unfortunate that this message needs to be written by a woman. While well written, the fact that it comes from someone who has no real idea of how male shaming feels lessens its impact. It also emphasizes the point that we men need our own discussion to free us from a world of restrictions and compromise as to our emotions. From our mothers to our wives we, as men, give far too much control over our emotions to women in our lives and the reason is that WE HAVE NOBODY ELSE TO TALK TO because society has indoctrinated boys into the fallacy from an early age that to speak openly and vulnerably shows weakness – so male discussions break down into very third party accounts of facts, politics, sports and other guarded topics leaving, for most men, one person – their wife – with whom they can talk. When that one person then says – in any number of ways – “don’t show me any weakness cause I’ll think less of you” then you are really left with nobody. For good measure, this is also often followed by “why can’t you open up to me”….lol…think about how crazy that is.

    Thanks for this post!!

    Reply
  24. Academiack

    Women ask men to be emotional, but when they are they don’t like it – What kind of people can be so cruel?

    Reply
    • Russ Vance

      That is every woman I know.

      “Show me your soft side”
      translation “Be more like me”
      Reaction “OMG, so not attractive.” Recoils when you comply.

      Women know very little about what the truly want from men. They will constantly try to change and bend you. Ignore that crap. Be strong, be masculine or she cheats, dumps you or turns you into a beta provider for her cuckold children you think are yours.

      Reply
  25. JL

    “Lets have conversations with the boys and men in our lives to let them know that our love and acceptance is not conditional upon their strength”. No but their vaginas are conditional upon our strength. After opening up you get the old”I love you but I’m not in love with you talk”. Its just the way women are. Vaginas don’t get wet talking about a mans feelings. So if you don’t want any more pussy ever again listen to this article.

    Reply
  26. Insidious Sid

    Shaming of men is a fundamental part of human sexual relationships. Men who cannot compete (or simply refuse to) are a threat to the “procreative system”. Saying you won’t “be your best” to “perform your best” and try to be top dog is saying like you hate babies and puppies. There is a reason why people love babies and puppies and that’s because it represents procreation. Although feminists would deny it, I believe procreation and ALL of the things surrounding it’s successful fruition are valued greatly by most people at a very fundamental level. Conversely, things that do not support this outcome, such as men who cannot or will not ‘play’ the game, are shamed – probably due to a survival instinct that abhors extinction above all else. Men saying “to heck with it” (or men simply deemed undesirable) are cast as losers. Ironically, shaming of men for “not getting sex” or failing in relationships seems to reinforce sex as a commodity and women as objects. If feminists were truly trying to obtain equality for the sexes, I think the shaming of men would be targeted as much as shaming of women.

    Face it. So long as we retain the “compete for women” model of procreation, men will be mere expendable resource commodities and women will be expendable sexual commodities. There has to be a better way for people to get their emotional AND sexual needs met while ensuring we take proper care of the next generation of children. This puzzle has been the question of every social engineer who has put pen to paper. And now that I’ve used the words “social engineering” in a sentence, maybe we’ll have to just stick with the existing system for now, even though it makes things pretty miserable for not just women and men, but a whole lot of children too.

    I believe it’s biology and a strong survival instinct that plants the seeds of shame – not just for ourselves as individual but for us as a species. Is not a child’s first rejection by their own parent (primary object) which leaves many searching to quell the insatiable need for love and affirmation for the rest of their lives, forming unhealthy attachments in the process?

    There could be a better way, but not under the existing model. Smashing the family unit was not progress. It was freeing women from societal expectations while leaving most – if not all – of men’s expectations firmly in place.

    CEO mom with stay-at-home dad is the unicorn of the century as well. Most husbands out-earn their wives and put in more hours at the office, despite women claiming victory in the working world.

    Men are still expected to perform financially and sexually, and failure to do so results in much shame. If the shame doesn’t get him, the costly divorce certainly will, in terms of both financial and emotional cost. (Physical too).

    Reply
    • Insidious Sid

      PS – Flame suit on, let the shaming begin, prove my point… thank you.
      (Another way to guarantee shaming is to question or disagree with any tent of feminism. Ironically, pertinent to this article, I’ve noticed than when tempers flare and the real feelings come out, it’s men’s sexuality and sexual potency and prowess that are attacked.)

      Reply
  27. Russ Vance

    Yea, This advice will ruin the lives of the men affected by the women who read it. So mom teaches son to cry, be sensitive. It is okay little billy. But Billy grows up. Marries Suzy. Suzy never said this crap was okay. Billies friend, he is strong. He gives her feelings. Billies boss, he is looking at billy and a stoic man for a promotion. Men are what we need to be. We learn it young, and we see it all around us. Guys, do not believe this crap for a second. Ladies, you have no idea what it is you really want. You think you do. But you do not. Guys, keep pretending and teach your sons to be successful.

    Reply
  28. Bruce Wayne

    What women say they want and what they actually want are two absolutely completely different things. They might claim to want an emotional man man who will “let them in” but that couldn’t be further from reality.

    I feel bad for any son you raise to be “open to women”. You’re setting him up for a lifetime of hurtful encounters with women and being looked at with disgust.

    Anyway, he’ll quickly realize that that doesn’t work with women.

    Reply
  29. Mr. Speaker

    I was once married to the consummate shamer. Some years ago I cut half of one of my toes off when one of my power tools malfunctioned. My wife wasn’t home and I went to the hospital to get patched up. My wife didn’t know about it until she saw my bare feet the following summer because quite frankly it was a toss-up as to which route she would go, shame or sympathy. Upon seeing the irregularity in my toes and on cue she launched into allegations of incompetency.

    Reply
    • M W

      Your wife sounds like an awful person. My wife would have freaked out…in the direction of sympathy. I’m glad to be with her.

      Reply
  30. Steve Corner

    As if women are actually going to listen to this advice. No one wonder marriage rates are declining. There’s no incentives for men to get married.

    Reply
  31. Daxon Islander

    How quaint. Men needing women’s permission to be vulnerable, and then you expect women to accept the vulnerability? That’s rich. Well have fun in imagination land, the rest of us will be here in reality, where these moral stances do not and will not exist.

    Women caring about men’s weaknesses, that’s comical. Lol

    Reply
  32. ennis

    I am really looking forward to the evolution of young men who have been raised by this generation of single moms, who have NO shortage of criticism for the male of the species.

    Reply
  33. lyedecker

    This has always bothered me. Women want us to be more sensitive, but if we show real moments of sensitivity, it makes them uncomfortable and we might even get shamed. It’s a catch 22. My wife has told me on more than one occasion that men who cry are a turn off and she’s glad I’m not that type of man because she’s dated weepy men and they got on her nerves. I appreciate her honesty, but it’s added pressure to me. I don’t feel like I can be vulnerable around the person I’ve chosen to be my lifemate.

    Reply
  34. Lisa

    Shows that women prefer feisty meatheads who would beat them up when they beat up other men.

    Reply
  35. Vivian Worden

    Great article, except for the “fighting back is what weak men do. ” Excuse me? Having the strength to recognize and choose your battles is mastery over your emotions. Sometimes, I am sorry, the fight comes to u and u have to fight back. I’m not talking about just physical treats. We have the mental, legal and financial armies knocking at our door. The irony of life us that it’s beauty is carved out from hard granite sometimes.

    Reply
  36. Nathan Hulse

    As a guy, I appreciate a woman offering this advice to other women.

    When Brown’s mentor said that men have learned to ‘pretend to be vulnerable’, what did he mean? I take it to mean that men have cultivated the ability to exhibit empathy in response to a woman’s expression of her own vulnerability, whilst concealing their own vulnerability. Is that an accurate reading, in your opinion?

    I gave up seeking anything other than platonic relationships for many years. When I began to open myself to the potential for romantic encounters, I found myself getting close to women with pretty serious problems in their lives. They appreciated the emotional support I offered, but not enough to genuinely reciprocate.

    The reasons for lack of reciprocation seem varied. Sometimes it was lack of confidence in her ability to accommodate my vulnerability, sometimes a distinct lack of ability to do so, and sometimes simply an unwillingness to even countenance the possibility. In short, I found myself either rejected or faced with co-dependence upon an emotionally immature woman.

    To other guys, I would say this; if she espouses feminism, but does not appear to have developed a degree of empathy for male partners commensurate with her age, then just walk away. You are better off alone rather than attempting to maintain something that amounts to little more than a half-formed relationship with a hypocrite.

    Now, I’m not saying that women don’t face similar lack of reciprocation from some men, or that all women are bad partners, but women do have a modern political doctrine that can be readily abused to shame men with impunity, and (secular) men lack a modern political counterpoint.

    There is no political doctrine that teaches men and women how to reciprocally liberate each other from constrictive gender roles, but I think it better to believe there are people out there who nevertheless learn how to do so, rather than simply assuming that biological imperatives and/or gender constructs will ultimately deny better heterosexual relationships.

    Reply
    • Lissa Rankin

      I sincerely appreciate this insightful response Nathan. Thank you. I have been on both ends of this- the shamer of men and the one who has overdisclosed and felt ridiculous for having made myself vulnerable to someone who cannot hold my vulnerability responsibly. I have learned to go slower than I used to- disclose slowly, see how someone responds, test the waters, and if they demonstrate trustworthiness, disclose some more. Over time, trust builds. Intimacy grows. The relationship gets yummy. But jeez- it’s been hard. My heart goes out to all of you who risk and get hurt. But honestly, it’s the only way to discover the beauty of unconditional love.

      Love
      Lissa

      Reply
      • Nathan Hulse

        Thanks for taking time to reply. I’ve been on both sides, too. Acknowledging that makes it painful to be responsible for producing shame when you have suffered it yourself. I can understand why people would wish to avoid admitting being a shamer; it makes the shaming behaviour less easy as the dissonance agitates us toward change. And that change will feel uncomfortable, even if it is positive. The shamed have to go easy on the shamer too, sometimes.

        On the going slow thing, I’ve been criticised both for being too intense and conversely for being too “measured”, but I definitely agree that starting from a cautious position and disclosing slowly is better… Ohh, yes!

        Having accepted that I was emotionally neglected as a child, I see where my reticence comes from and what maintains it. I am easier on myself these days. But being in a situation where the confidant replicates the parental neglect experienced by the other person as a child produces some really tricky transference. Maybe it is harder for guys to overcome shame because society in general reinforces a man’s stoicism. It really does help when women are sensitive to this and it is really unhelpful when they aren’t. Feminist’s who follow through are great, but glib pop ‘feminists’ can be a nightmare.

        I guess the “too intense” thing is a result of letting vulnerability become too apparent. It’s hard to keep a lid on it when you’ve pushed it down your whole life. And I do suppose you’re witnessing some of that intensity now, if you’re reading this… Sorry!!!

        It’s kind of weird that unconditional love has so many preconditions. Your reply made it that bit easier to hang onto the will to put myself out there. Anyway, it’s good to hear you’ve completed the cookery without a kitchen fire and gotten to share yummy rewards. 🙂

        Reply
        • Lissa Rankin

          Thank you again for your deep disclosure Nathan. I am witnessing it and holding it safe.

          With love
          Lissa

          Reply
          • Nathan Hulse

            Thanks Lissa — a little gentleness goes a long way… It has to sometimes, huh. /hugs

  37. generalzod

    I showed up a little late to this but I think I figured it out. Women shame and don’t like nice guys cause they know that they themselves are not nice people. A shy introverted nice guy who does not approach may show his confidence in another way. Some women have such bad attitudes that men resorted to violence which I do not condone in anyway but it shows confidence that the man can whoop your a$$. Women abuse emotionally and when the man doesn’t take the bait over the lamest trivial things he is a “nice guy” or a “pushover” or he is “not manly enough” this is what we call victim shaming. Emotional abuse is not looked at like physical abuse especially with the victim shaming. Remember this when one man eggs another man on abusing him emotionally usually it ends up in a physical fight between them.

    Reply
    • Lissa_Rankin

      I absolutely agree with you. Thank you for joining us. It’s never too late to express what this touches in you. Thank you for expressing what’s in your heart. I’m sorry if you’ve been hurt by shaming. It’s never okay, but some people don’t yet know how not to do this.

      Love and blessings
      Lissa

      Reply
  38. ZanyZen

    With all the shaming going on in numerous directions within society, one can cope by attempting to become more thick skinned (however way possible). I agree we should be shaming less and be more understanding. But all the wishing away the shaming won’t make it go away. One must try to adapt to the current circumstance and hope society improves along the way. You can expose some weaknesses to show you are human and not some cold person who is obviously holding stuff in. But you don’t want to expose too much, ;lest ye be ostracized. You want to keep it real, but not too real.

    Reply
  39. Lily Lily

    Boys and men bring this on themselves. They hold themselves up above everyone, especially above other women. They want the benefits of being a ‘king’ without doing any work or proving themselves. If you are going to be enjoying certain things, like stomping all over other people, the least that should happen is they are held up to that standard and expected to act the part they expect to benefit from. If they want to be treated better, they need to stop harassing, disrespecting, assaulting, raping, groping, threatening, etc. females. They need to behave first, until then women need to keep doing what they are doing and even more. You are being part of the problem by encouraging women to abandon one of the few bargaining chips they have. The only thing you have in this life is to treat others the way they treat you . So you better treat people well and if you don’t , I don’t want to hear your fucking crying when you get only a fraction of what you deserve.

    Reply
    • pmcollectorboy

      The fact that you consider bad behavior the default position first of being a male and that men have to earn the right not be ridiculed and demasculated, but with women, bad behavior is a “bargaining chip”, perfectly illustrates everything wrong with feminism and the shrill, contentious, mean-spirited shrews like yourself who follow it.

      Reply
  40. So Very True

    Well i certainly do have to say that the women in the past were the very best of all compared to the ones that are out there nowadays which tells the whole story right there as well.

    Reply
  41. dave dale

    Great article. Some men (like myself) are naturally rugged and rambunctious, and even the frivolous shaming by women does not piece our tough , hardened shells.
    Others, are more artistic and effete, and they should be allowed, or hell yes encouraged to pursue this path too. They may never make a decent living in the world of theater, dance, or the decorative arts, but “what the hay?” They can save a fortune on gas roller blading to work. Live and let live, I say, even if you end up living in We Ho or San Francisco.

    Reply
  42. rad

    some of this is great words of wisdom, except for the part about how weak men fight back and strong men let themselves be bullied, that’s complete bs backwards logic.

    Reply
  43. pmcollectorboy

    I’ve been interested lately in other aspects of gender, such as the way children play or in our entertainment choices. People want to say gender is binary, but then why do we insist on attributing gender to areas that have little to do with it? It’s the whole blue is for boys and pink is for girls argument. A girl who likes wrestling or GI Joe is cheered, but a boy who likes cheerleading or My Little Pony is ridiculed. We feed our boys this narrative that super macho masculinity is bad but then stab him in the back when shows the briefest hint of sensitivity or wants to play with traditionally “girly” things.

    Reply
    • Lissa_Rankin

      I agree. I am about to write a new blog- A Love Letter To Men- and in it, I quote Robert Augustus Masters new book To Be A Man. He articulates what you say SO masterfully (no pun intended.) Highly recommend reading it if this topics interests you.

      Reply
  44. MGTOW Is The Better Way

    Very extremely dangerous pathetic women that are everywhere these days since they’re very nasty to talk too for many of us good single men looking for a serious relationship now. God forbid saying good morning or hello to a woman that we would really like to meet since they’re ready to chew our heads off. Very psycho women that are all over the place today which is why many of us men are MGTOW now, and that is the real safe way to go for many of us men which will certainly save us a lot of pain, torture, misery, and keep a hell of a lot of extra money in our pockets as well.

    Reply
    • Lissa_Rankin

      I just looked up MGTOW. Never heard of it before. Thanks for letting me know that’s a path some are taking.

      And on behalf of the feminine, I’m really sorry if you’ve been hurt.

      Love
      Lissa

      Reply
  45. Frank Johnson

    My storyI had been divorced for about 2 years. I had time on my hands, and since I was a member of a health club, I decided to start working out, again. I worked out on a set schedule and time and after a while you recognize people who are on the same schedule and time as you. There was an attractive women, I would have guessed as being 5’ 9” or 5’ 10” tall. One evening, she was working out on a machine that was about 30 feet from where I was. She was alone, and I thought this would be a good time to approach her and ask her out. I thought to myself, ”Nothing ventured, nothing gained”. I walked over to where she was and said these exact words. “I have seen you work out here for the past several months, and you are in great shape and very attractive, and I would like to know if you would care to go out sometime?” This is what she said to me. “I can’t believe you came over here!” “I can’t believe you said that!” She then stuck her index finger in my face and said, ”I don’t date shorter men!” (I am 5’8”.)
    I was in total shock. I didn’t know what to do. I stopped listening to her, for I was trying to figure out a way to save the conversation. I was trying to figure out what I had said to make her so angry and fix it. It was then I realized I had only asked her out, and my only sin was that I did not meet her height requirement. So I turned and walked away while she was still venting.
    I posted this little article in another site, but later wondered if the women rejecting me was a good thing. Why? Does anyone think that this woman’s only character flaw was heightism? Heightism might be the tip of the iceberg of her irrational thought patterns. After all, she flew into a rage over me just asking her out. What other triggers would do the same? I don’t ever have to worry about being in a relationship or marrying her, some unsuspecting tall guy gets her all to himself. Oh what a lucky guy he will be. Sure glad it is not me.

    Reply
    • Lissa_Rankin

      Dear Frank, I’m sorry you took a risk and were attacked when you were being brave and vulnerable. But yes- I think she did you a favor, painful as it might have been! This is not the woman for you…you sound wonderful, and you deserve better than someone who cares only about your physical height.

      Much love
      Lissa

      Reply
  46. Frank Johnson

    In an apartment complex that I lived in Houston, there was a loose knit collection of about 10-15 singles. We would meet at the pool on the weekends, and have informal parities. If one person knew of a singles event, they would inform the rest, and whoever wanted could attend. I even dated one of the girls in the group for a short time.

    In the group, was an attractive girl named Heidi. She was a degreed professional in the oil business. And you couldn’t miss her. She was 5’11”, blonde hair, with blue eyes. Typical for a tall girl, she didn’t have much up top, but she have broad curvy hips and an hour glass waist. She, needless to say, she got the attention of single men.

    One Saturday, I was catching rays and drinking beer with some of the other guys at the apartment complex pool, when one man I knew walked up to the group of us. He stated he had proposed to Heidi, and she had turned him down. He approached us in the off chance that someone might know Heidi and put the good word in for him with her. Months later, I was at my section’s pool of the apartment complex. There was a water polo game in progress, one man about 10 feet away me on my left, was playing boom box, and about 10 feet in the other direction were two girls from the group talking about how Heidi had rejected two other men’s marriage proposals. I wasn’t getting all the details of the conversation due to noise at the pool and that fact I didn’t really care, so I don’t know if the two girls were jealous of Heidi getting the attention of these two men, or if these women were mocking these men as losers, due to Heidi rejecting them. But the point here is not only was Heidi getting the attention of single men, but marriage proposals.

    Fast forward 12 years, one child and one divorce later on my part. A friend wanted me to join a dating agency. He would get a bonus if I joined, and I could join at a discount. I said before I join, I wanted to see what the single girls in the agency look like. I was given a binder of women 30-34 years of age. In the binder were pages of women. At the top of the page, in about 1 inch high letters was the girl’s name, then below that a 2″x3″ photo of her and below that 3 or 4 paragraphs that she wrote of herself. I started looking, when I got to page 7 or 8, I noticed the name Heidi. I took a good look, and it was her. I quickly scanned her paragraphs. I remembered a phrase of one sentence, it read, “34 years old, never married, no children.” I thought how could this be? I knew of three men who wanted to marry her, and in the 12 years that had passed there must have been more. How was it possible she never married given all the advantages she had? What dating parameters did she employ that failed her so miserably that resulted in her being a childless spinster given all the physical advantages she had?

    In a social setting, if she were not the most desirable girl, she certainly was one of the more desirable girls. And I am here to tell you Heidi could have had absolutely any man she wanted, and I mean absolutely any man. If a poll had been taken by the single guys in the complex of who would be the childless spinster at the age of 34, I am here to tell you Heidi’s name would not have been at the top of the list. What had she done with her life? How was it possible she never married? Did she think at the age of 34, she would have a bigger and better selection of single males than when she was 24?

    I suspect in her 20’s, she had a male qualification list as long as her inseam, and if a male were lacking any one of these parameters, the guy was rejected. She kept saying no to men, until there were no men to say no, to.

    I also suspect that since all during her early years, she was used to getting plenty of male attention, and assumed her future would be like her past. Why would it change? In her years 17-26, she most likely was the crème de la crème of women. But as she entered her late 20’s, much to her dismay, there were lots of younger girls, many prettier and more approachable, meaning shorter. At 5’11”, she was taller than 99% of the women, 80% of the men and at 28 years of age, older than 90% of both men and women in a single’s bar. She stood out like a sore thumb due to her height and age.

    How her story ends? I don’t know. I didn’t join the dating agency. But it was Heidi’s actions and Heidi’s actions alone that made her single. I bet never in her worse nightmares, did she ever think she would be a childless spinster at the age of 34. She wasted her youth and fertility using extremely flawed dating parameters that she created and imposed on herself and refused to change in spite of years of obvious failure. I can’t say for sure, but I will bet a dollar to a dime, she was a heightist, which made her dating life even harder to forfill.

    Another heightist story
    Albany, NY.
    I was taking a training class in Albany, NY, in the year 2000. A co-worker was looking over a singles web site on a computer during a class break. The site allowed you to read personal ads, but to write, you needed to join the site. I remember seeing a photo of a girl 20, who looked marginal at best, between a 6.5 to 7. We’re not talking about a Kate Upton look-a-like, but rather a plain girl. She was 6’1”. She said in her introduction that it would be hard for you (the reader) to believe that she would most likely be alone this weekend. She claimed to be a wonderful person, fun, outgoing, friendly and intelligent. She stated she was “tall, VERY tall”. And “Shorties need not apply.” How is that for a condescending attitude? I wonder how her life ended up? Did she become another Heidi?

    Sharon-heightist
    Sharon was a 35 year old divorced woman. She was 5’6” and average in looks and weight. She didn’t have any extraordinary physical characteristic that would distinguish her from any other female her age. She didn’t have a beautiful face or big breasts (maybe an A cup). She didn’t have an hour-glass figure or a Kim Kardashian ass. All in all, she was just average. She didn’t have a college degree and had no income generating skills. She was broke and living at her parent’s home with her 2 children from a failed marriage. One day, she is talking to my wife and says this. She will not date a man below 6’ AND he has to have a good income because he has to support her and her 2 children. When I heard this, my reaction was, Sharon is either insane or a delusional narcissist. Did she think that there was a severe shortage of broke women with children and that 6’ plus wealthy men just can’t get enough of them? That somehow a broke, divorced, 35 year old woman, average in looks with two kids was what every 6’ plus successful man wanted.

    Well, surprisingly she did get what she wanted —– sort of. She did get married, at the age of 40, to a man barely an inch taller than herself. I can’t speak of his income, but he is karate instructor, so I doubt he made a 6 figure income that she demanded 5 years earlier.

    What happened to the 6’ height man requirement? It would be interesting to know how many good men she rejected due to their height from the years 35-40? Maybe if she had used a man’s character as a measure him rather than his inseam, she would have found someone sooner or maybe if she used character as the most import factor years earlier, she would have found the right man in the first place, for her ex was 6’4”.

    In all my years of men friends, co-workers and acquaintances, not one time did I ever hear any man ever state he would refuse to date a woman because she was too tall. I can remember guys talking about long legs of certain girls at the beach or at bars. But again, never did any of my friends or acquaintances ever state they would reject a girl due to her height. I can’t say that about women, for I have heard plenty of women state they would not date a man due to his height. This can be easily verified by looking at any personal ads in the newspaper or web sites where women clearly state height requirements, with no exceptions.
    I have traveled the world. I have worked in 20 countries, and I can tell you the number one topic among men is women. And in all my years, I can tell you I never heard any man, anywhere, anytime, ever say he would refuse to date a woman because she was too tall. But as for women, you can go to any dating site, and I say again, any dating site and see height restrictions for men spelled out in no uncertain terms where women clearly state men’s height requirements, with no exceptions.

    Reply
  47. Eric Tucker

    I’ll continue to man up

    lol

    Good article though

    Reply

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