Thursday, April 10, 2008

So My Friend is Writing This Book...

...And it's all about the idea that women are the ones who actually have no idea about men rather than men being clueless. There's actual research involved so don't start throwing a women's lib fit just yet. There's going to be an actual survey that women will fill out stating the 3 things you've learned from your previous boyfriends, and the 1 thing you wish you knew. But it's not an open invitation for a bad-boyfriend-bashing session. The survey is meant to be taken seriously with a pretty intense amount of thought. I'm the first victim of the survey and have been thinking about the questions for about five days now and here's what I've come up with...

Three Things I've Learned from the Guys I've dated.

1- You really cannot change a man.
Doesn't matter how idealistic you are, what approach you take, how nicely you beg. You can't change them. They grow and change on their own and the only hope you have is setting a good example or kicking them to the curb until they realize what was the problem and either fix it or find a girl who's willing to put up with it. Saying "it's okay, baby" and then praying for a change or different behavior doesn't help, it just trains them that what they did actually was okay. Training, by the way, isn't change. It's just a classical conditioning procedure that can and will be undone by instinct and subversive interpersonal cues. There's no communication theory that helps, there's not test that helps, and there's no amount of crying that helps. They just don't change on your terms and you have to understand, accept and be patient about it.
2 - Destructive Is as Destructive Does.
Destructive men don't hide it easily. Watch how they respond to heavy traffic, making a mistake or basic stress. If any of it involves hitting, throwing, kicking, yelling or breaking something you're in trouble. As a general rule if they throw things when they're mad about trivial things, they'll throw stuff when they're made about not so trivial things. Angry destructive men don't turn soft for a certain woman, they just tone it down and try to control it. However, the destructiveness usually manifests itself in other ways. Be it turning to verbal destructiveness, negative emotional issues, or just general irritability they're still as frustrated as always. And it always escalates, the first time you let him get away with a bruise turns into a bigger bruise next time. The first time there's a bruise, or a shoe flying by your head, or a broken windshield get out. There is no such thing as "He won't ever do it again."
3- The good ones don't care what you look like naked.
The two men I've been around in my life that I honestly felt good around a) didn't care when he got to me in bed he was perfectly happy waiting and being wonderful with me, and b) seemed to actually value my time, and my interests. It's like they make you feel better and more comfortable about yourself and your body image because they're happy hanging out with you in jeans and a big hoodie. It's incredible how amazing it is to be taken care of simply because someone cares, and not because they've got dirty lingerie for you to wear later. There is no planned surprise in the world that could be better than the shock you get from realizing that somebody listened to what you were saying in some random conversation, picked up on a detail or two, and actually learned something about you. There are things to do, places to go, people to see, and pictures to take that require not having to wash the sheets later. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure those two guys are happy I'm not 300 pounds, but there were other things about me that they thought were more important. The funny thing about it is that by actually caring it makes them even sexier every time they do it.

The One Thing I Wish I Knew.

1- Why do the bad ones always leave a much longer, deeper impression than the good ones?
No matter how recently a woman's been treated well by a wonderful man she still maintains the insecurities she learned (taught herself) from a bad boyfriend. This could happen for years, there are hundreds of communication case studies that show women inadvertantly hurting great relationships because of behaviors they've developed from insecurities they have. Some women hold themselves back from any kind of interpersonal relationship because their terrified that the next guy could be just as bad or worse than a previous one. And no matter how nicely we play, there's always that doubt and restraint that holds us back from really involving ourselves in what could be a great relationship. All the theories say its just a conditioning issue that can be fixed over time with "positive saturation". The Social Penetration Theory believes that when applied to negative relationships there's a lot of depth to the involvement but not a lot of breadth, which in turn limits breadth and depth in later relationships. However, the social penetration theory has never been thoroughly explored in negative relatshionships. Call it being overcautious or too logical or just scared either way I don't understand why the bad ones make such a big impression.

I now feel mentally/emotionally exhausted. It's amazing how much a little bit of thinking can bring up. Frustration ensues. But not for long... I'm in too much of a good mood to let a bad ex or six get me down.

In Other News, I had a fantastic week with a wonderful friend and feel completely reassured again. I love knowing that I'm not crazy and somebody else at least understands what I'm trying to get at. Graduation is exactly 30 days away (it's 2pm right now and the ceremony is at 2pm May 10th). I am terrified. I don't have a job yet, I don't know where I'm moving too, I just know I want to get out of here... and make money doing it. I also have about a million things on my daily to-do list, and apparently only 30 days to accomplish any of it. Add that to the heart-strings issues I'm wrestling with and this could prove to be a pretty crazy month. Finally, I started teaching Yoga at ODU for the Recreational Sports Department and I love it. Class is at 7pm Mondays & Thursdays, Noon on Fridays. See you there :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Can you add a 3rd to the list of men ur comfortable with darling? Even if we havent been naked together? (ew, no offense)

I think there may be something to this research, although I dont know if its healthy to blame one sex more than the other in relationship-issues-terms. We are all fucked up, and we all bring things to the table that can be detrimental to understanding and communicating with our partners.

Can I reserve a night with you sometime soon? I miss.