One of the stereotypes about guys and girls that I hate the most is the idea that men are simple and women are complicated. I hate this stereotype with fiery passion and loathing.
I am a woman. I grew up interacting mostly with other girls – rarely with boys. This is not to say I never interacted with boys, just that I did so infrequently. Only when I hit college did my social circle even out a bit, allowing me easy access to boys as friends and boys as boyfriends.
And what did I find out? That boys confuse me. They are complicated. And I often have to “figure them out.”
And what did I learn about girls? That I can usually pin down someone’s character/personality and how well we’re going to be friends within a few minutes of talking to them. And that I can track motivation and response about important things within a conversation with barely any trouble. In short, they usually don’t confuse me.
Of course girls are complicated, I’m not really debating that. But I am debating the idea that guys are not. Everyone’s human. Can we stop being stupid now? (Oh, wait, I just realized the contradiction there.)
During a group conversation this past year, with 4 guys and 2 girls, one of the guys said, “Guys just want their girls to show up naked with a beer. That’ll make them happy. Girls just want to be complimented and stuff to be happy.”
I didn’t say anything. It would have turned a side comment into a discussion I didn’t want to have. And I really didn’t want to say, “actually, I’d be pretty happy if my guy showed up naked and was like, let’s have sex.” But I sure thought it.
I mean, seriously, that’s stupid. Men are human and they have emotions too. They aren’t taught to communicate the same way women are, but that doesn’t mean they don’t communicate. They just use a different language. (You can’t go through life never communicating, it’s impossible. Unless you’re a hermit.)
It is possible that guys do not communicate as eloquently as girls, that they are not taught to talk about emotions, that they are taught to hide them and they have few networks and safety nets in which to express themselves. I firmly believe this. It doesn’t make them simple. If anything, it makes them more complicated.
(Suppressing emotions and using a haphazard language to talk about them? That is a scenario ripe with miscommunications, misunderstandings, and layers of meaning. In short, it’s complicated.)
This past week, my boyfriend and I were talking about insecurities. That night I went home and was thinking to myself, “why am I so insecure all the time, and he’s just cool with things? It’s not fair. And it doesn’t make any sense.” And then I realized that he wasn’t “just cool with things.” That in fact, we were both insecure about the same things, just from different angles. He was just describing it differently than I was. To him, insecurities were more of a mindset, something you got rid of by ignoring. To me, insecurities were an emotional block, something you got rid of by confronting.
What was mindblowing to me, in this instance, was the fact that we were both insecure about things.
I had known that he had insecurities from the beginning of the relationship, but I hadn’t comprehended that fact. Because I hadn’t been seeing the signs and cues that would have helped me to understand. Because he wasn’t a girl. (Well, duh.)
But the fact that it took me so long to realize this highlights the idea that men are just as complicated as women. That if you’re going to write an article about “how to understand women” there better be one that says “how to understand men.” And don’t you dare say that bringing him a beer and pizza and sex is all you need to know. Don’t you dare. (Unless, of course, you actively want to ruin relationships through miscommunication.)
(We might have another guest post this coming Friday…)