“Guys number one fear with online dating is the girl is chubby. Women’s is they’re going to get murdered!”
-Comedian Hampton Yount
I am not sure how to respond when I am dating a girl who is more of a man than I am. Don‘t get me wrong she is as feminine in many ways as has been any female with whom I have ever been involved with in a relationship. There are times, however, when I am a bit intimidated by our kind of role reversal.
I guess I spent my formative years when people had roles. Men were expected to fulfill such roles. I was kind of a rebel back then as I refused to do what was expected. I hated all things mechanical such as working on cars and fixing things such as washing machines or roofing repair. I was cerebral. In other words I was mechanically not inclined and pretty much inept in such things.
Heck, I jokingly have always said that I am a leader of men and a follower of women. The unbelievable advancement of women’s roles during my lifetime has been astounding. I have the pleasure of knowing many highly successful women in varied fields once considered “man’s work” that I consider to have been pioneers.
The fact that I can say girlfriend itself is a bit intimidating for me. I haven’t had a girlfriend for 34 years. I have no idea how to be a boyfriend. I guess I have just gone back to default mode. And for me that is simply to suck up and do whatever she says, feels, insinuates, or hints; so far so good. Just to prove my lack of manliness I will admit that I asked my girlfriend for permission to even use the word girlfriend in this column. A real man would have just written it.
As a man in today’s world what is expected of me is constantly in a state of flux. To make things worse I am one of those sensitive, caring, metro sexual male types. I am pretty sure I am the very opposite type of man with whom she has ever been involved.
I say schmaltzy things, love to write poetry, and pretty much can be a mushy person. She pretty much despises most of those traits in a man. I wrote a short bit of prose, which by my standards was pretty damn good. Her response was after she read it to text me that her first thought was, “Don’t be mean to Lindon.” I don’t think she is a metro sexual. No wonder Walt Whitman decided to write poetic love letters to other sensitive men.
There is a term used for most of my life that describes certain men as a “man’s man.” Miriam- Webster defines a man’s man as the following; “A man noted or admired for traditionally masculine interests and activities.” By definition I am whatever can be defined as the opposite of a man’s man. For me it would be nice if the opposite of a man’s man was a ladies man.
Because I have been somewhat educated and scholarly in many fields, played musical instruments, and have been a writer during my lifetime (as well as an athlete which is surely the most masculine thing at which I ever really excelled) I have been referred to on at least one occasion as a Renaissance man and once even called Machiavellian. While not worthy of either description I suppose each would certainly be closer to defining me than man’s man.
Like most men of my generation I think we have had to deal very closely with changing roles and perceptions of what a man or a woman should be. It’s not our collective fault that we have been at times and often overwhelmed, confused, and astounded at the changes. Yet those Renaissance men and Machiavellian types among us have welcomed and accepted the changes with no resistance.
This dissertation leads me back to my current girlfriend who can do plumbing, light construction, electrical work, and perform emergency auto repair on the side of the road. The closest I will ever come to electrical and plumbing is to follow the signs to those departments at Home Depot to pick her up some supplies for one of her jobs. She is handier than a Swiss Army knife.
And after a day of performing such one time traditionally male tasks she can be a loving, sexy, tender, and nurturing female. I think I have had a bit of influence on her as the other day she texted me something very sweet. If I had texted the same thing to her a couple weeks ago she would have sent me the gag and spoon Emoji.
She is also educated and more proficient in computers and other various pursuits than I am. In fact, the only possible thing that I can add to her life is comedy relief which usually comes in the form of my mechanical inaptitude.
Perhaps a sense of manliness might rub off on me by some form of interpersonal osmosis. It’s possible she might humiliate me into more masculine pursuits and activities. I am not sure but I might have found the perfect woman — one who can plumb a house and still make me feel like a man — even if not in the traditional sense of the word.
Lindon Dodd is a freelance writer who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org