A friend recently explained this theory of the real man to me. I don't know about the rest of you, but frankly, this is the first I have heard of it.
A real man apparently does what most men fail to do - on top of that list is, being responsible. My friend, let's call him Manley, shall we - Well, Manley reckons that most men these days have no real clue as to what responsibility truly means, and most women nag more than they think they do.
But Manley believes that if men were really responsible, then women wouldn't have to nag at all. In fact, Manley implies that women take over most tasks and are becoming more self-reliant because the men fail at their end. So, if men are doing such a great job, women wouldn't have to do anything at all! She just sits pretty and have her man pamper her from head to toe all day.
I don't know if this is what Manley is suggesting in truth, but what he has said many times over is that he wouldn't want to bother his woman with all the decision making. He would like to do it all for her. She shouldn't have to be troubled in the least. Sounds chauvanistic may be? Well, may be he is just old school or perhaps, he is the last living relic of the 'real man'?
Then again, Manley is in his early forties and still single. He claims that he has a real sense of what responsibility means and until he is sure that he can keep up his end for his woman, he will remain single. However at the same time, that doesn't mean that he can't have casual relationships and dates. But that's another story altogether.
Contradictory? Perhaps...but life and love is all about contradictions.
Think about it for a minute. Seriously.
Women want men who would adore them, pamper them and open doors for them, take out the garbage when he can obviously see it is over-flowing and not ram more rubbish into it, help to clean up the dishes without being asked, better yet, help clean the whole entire house without her having to ask him to, compliment on her new hairstyle, or shoes, and especially give her a real opinion when she asks which outfit looks better on her? Therefore, women do want a little bit of that chauvanism, but without being dominated or patronized by her man. Because at the end of the day, a woman would like to believe that the man loves her for the beauty of her mind and soul.
Men, on the other hand, are such visual creatures. ( And I do say this with great affection. ) They must really 'dig' what they see. If they don't 'dig' what they see, it's all over. Well, it wouldn't start to begin with. Now, that is not to say that some men can't transcend beyond a woman's looks and fall in love with their personality. But it is far and rare.
Personally, I don't think it is a man's job to make a woman happy or to complete her so-called 'wish-list' or to fill in all her blanks. It is not a man's job to compensate all that's missing in her life, it isn't his responsibility to provide a secure and comfortable environment for her either. Just in the same way that I don't think that it is a woman's job to serve a man, to please him and to agree with everything he says/thinks. It is not her job to fulfill all his fantasies, especially those involving threesome. ( HAHAHA. Couldn't resist inserting that in. )
This is what I seriously think -
When a man or woman have a set of ideas of what should and shouldn't be, they are already setting up parameters and expectations of each other's roles in a relationship. And when those ideas and beliefs are especially rigid, problems ensue. Because more than likely, we will fall short of each other's expectations - especially so in relationships when there is intense lack of communication and maturity.
Expectations is the real silent killer of most relationships.
Do you know what's the other fatal disease in relationships?
It's taking each other for granted. When you have certain expectations, more often that not, you would start to take things for granted. These two elements come hand in hand.
You will notice that of all your personal experiences in life or love, those which you had no expectations of, will usually yield the most joy and pleasure. Because you hadn't expect anything out of it, or from that individual, and you appreciate it so much more. From having no expectations alone, you don't take it for granted. In fact, you actually become grateful and thankful. And you can or will actually express it - be it subconsciously or consciously.
It is always such a warm and wonderful feeling to be appreciated, to be thanked and to be recognised or remembered for the things we have done or said. It is innately in us. Perhaps, this is the very thing that makes us human.
At the highest level, I do agree with my friend, Manley, that responsibility does play a big part in all relationships - be it between families, friends, husbands and wives, or lovers and etc. But beyond the concept of responsibility, it is, in essence, a promise between two individuals. A promise not to lie, cheat, or be unfaithful. The promise to hold and keep, beyond thick or thin, in sickness or in health, through richer or poorer and so forth.
Now, before you roll your eyes and say, come on, Shirley Maya, this kind of promise only extends to marriage vows. Does it really? Now, think about it deeply and ask yourself these questions:-
Do you want your best friend to lie and cheat on you?
Would you want your brother or sister to abandon you when you are sick or poor?
Do you want anyone you care about or know, to be unfaithful to you? Here, unfaithful does not just mean having adulterous sex and all that phsyical intimacy. As long as the faith you have in a person has been broken and damaged, that is being unfaithful. Because that person is no longer being truthful to you in whatever way or form.
I dare say that all of you would not want your friends, families and people whom you care about to do all those things to you. So, therefore, these are not confined to just marriage vows. These are implied vows and standard promises we make to people we care about, eventhough we may not have expressed them verbally or intently or solemnly at all. Truth is, who in the world has ever entered into any friendship or relationship with the intent to want to cheat or lie, or be unfaithful to one another? And who has ever started any relationship or friendship with anyone, with expecting that their friend or partner would commit all the above wrongdoings to them? The answer is simple, no one.
Thus, this is what I mean, when I say, at the highest level it is all about responsibility and a commitment to up-holding that promise made.
All of us have responsibilities of sorts - ranging from our parents, children, siblings, friends, wives, husbands, to lovers, colleagues and so forth. They are the very things that sum up our lives. So, if we are serious about caring for the people we care about, and loving the people we claim to love, being responsible would come naturally.
Granted, we may not always do it so well, but we do hold some parts well enough. Otherwise, we wouldn't have any friends or any family members who would want to be with us, or who want to come near us at all.
To be honest, responsibility and commitment have been two very issues I have been severely adverse to. ( You can ask Sharon and Terence for validation. ) I've grappled with them all my life simply because I've misunderstood what they truly mean.
I've always thought them to be limitations and a real hindrance to my freedom and independence. Because I was one person who valued my independence and freedom more than I valued life itself.
In my deep attachment to my false sense of independence and freedom, I never wanted to be tied down to anything or anyone. So, yes, everyone and everything were disposable and replaceable. As you can imagine, I was never sentimental - to the point that I could easily up-root and leave anyone or anything without much thought.
In my personal assessment, I believe my fear of responsibility or commitment hid a more selfish desire. It is not so much of freedom or independence which I craved. Those were just disguises for something else entirely.
What I truly wanted was to be showered with attention and affection all the time, but I didn't and couldn't give back the very same things I yearned for. Yes, I enjoyed being pampered and adored. I relished being someone special or the center of the universe to a man, or a few men for that matter. But I didn't like the responsibility and commitment that came with being given that status in someone's life.
You could very well say that I did the taking and receiving very gladly. In fact, I could make a real career out of the taking and receiving part. But I couldn't and wouldn't give in the very real sense, or at the very highest level.
I remembered when I was in primary six, I had a little pink book which had all the names of all the boys who liked me, or who had a crush on me. And I would write down what they each could do for me - be it helping me with my Maths homework which was my most hated subject in school, or doing my Science homework, which my second most hated subject. ( You get the picture, I am sure ).
At one time, I think I had over 30 names in my little pink book and it made me feel truly triumphant in the most egoistical way. Well, I was much cuter when I was 13. ( I know it's kind of hard to imagine me being that cute now. Well, time is what ravages and it does that so well. Coupled with the inevitable powers of karma.)
And as I grew older, I perfected my so-called 'art' of removing responsibility and commitment from my every being. I never had any real boyfriends or relationships. And for those who were brave enough, or even foolish to want to ask for more than just my friendship, I'd give them my favourite 'blanket cover' line :-
"If you want to be with me, these are the things you must be prepared to accept. I get bored with people and things very easily. I have many male buddies whom I like a lot, and would spend a lot of time with. I have no intention of settling down. And don't for one minute think that you would be the one who can change me, or influence my mind. So, if you are ok with all that, you can have my number. Otherwise, it ends here and now."
Of course, at the end of the day, someone would always want more and yes, I'd fail to give them more than what they desired, but I could always say to their faces that I had told them so, and that I had even pre-warned them. But that doesn't change the fact that I still had broken quite a few hearts and wounded a lot of people's feelings in the process. At that time, I thought I was being as honest and open as I could have been. But the fact remained, I was the cause of many people's unhappiness.
No, I am not proud of the things I have said and done. And yes, I thought I was being very clever to have devised all the ways and means to escape responsibility and commitment like they were some death knell. In truth, I was not a nice person in every sense of the word. I wasn't even a good friend to anyone. I was completely incapable of thinking of anyone else's feelings or needs, other than my own.
Now, it has been almost 8 years and counting, since I was last attached with a man. And no, I haven't removed myself entirely because I was afraid of getting myself hurt. It was namely to stop myself from hurting someone else.
In these eight years, I have learnt much more than I ever did in the last 40 years of my entire life. And I thank the kindness of so many people for that. For this small measure of mercy and blessing in my silly life, I am compelled to share my story with you all today. Because I don't believe in hiding anymore or any longer for that matter. And I certainly don't think that we should continue to carry any more fallacies onto the rest of our lives. We have all come to this stage of our lives, wasted enough time going after the things we thought were important, and chasing after people whom we thought could make us happy - how much have all of that done us any real good? How much of time have we truly wasted on these pursuits or telling ourselves we would go on waiting for something good to happen, or 'the one' to come along?
The question we should be asking ourselves is, are we ready?
And if we keep thinking we are not ready, and we rather choose to sit out and wait on the side-lines, how would we ever know when we are ready?
How can we ever know what we are made of, and how much we can do by removing ourselves entirely from the whole equation of life and love?
By refusing to play at all, we will definitely not have a chance to find out, let alone, know the truth.
And so, how do we know when we do play, we will do it well?
Truth is, we will never know until we try. And sometimes, it is by the very virtue of certain situations and challenges taking place that we come to know what we are made of.
We do not become better people, better lovers, better anything or anyone by not living out our lives in full. We become better in all aspects by immersing ourselves into life and love. That is why they say, heros are not born. They are made.
So, for my friend, Manley, I have only this to say - you will always have to console yourself by saying, 'I am not happy, but I am not unhappy.' But by deciding to take a leap of faith, you might just be able to turn it around and finally say, 'I am not unhappy, but darn happy!'
When we truly care about someone, we would naturally want to be responsible and committed to them, because their happiness and peace of mind become paramount to us. Just in the very same way that our happiness and peace of mind are important to those who love us.
We wouldn't feel that we'd be losing our freedom or independence in any sense. In fact, we would understand how much we are all inter-related and inter-dependent in the first place. And we wouldn't feel trapped or suffocated at all. In fact, we would finally get the taste of what it means to truly be free - free of false expectations, free of inhibitions and false pride and ego, etc. More than anything else, our lives would become so much more enriched just because they are in our world.
I was the PHD holder of 'I AM NOT READY'. I held the Masters of 'NOT WANTING TO LOVE OR BE LOVED'. I was the graduate of 'THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A SOUL MATE'.
I was all the above because my heart was closed and I refused to allow myself to see, feel and believe.
It would be such a shame to live out the very little time that I have left on earth in the same manner. Don't you think so?
After all, I think I have wasted enough time proving that they don't exist when I was clearly proven wrong.
So, what does the theory of the real man means to me - simply this, the real man is someone who isn't afraid to love with all his heart and soul. And the real woman is someone who can be loved in every sense of the word.
p/s as to why am I still single? Well, that's another story altogether.