Adam Levine is a great man. I read an article a while back in Details magazine (did I mention I’m occasionally accused of being a bit metrosexual?) in which he said:
“There’s two kinds of men: There are men who are fucking misogynist pigs, and then there are men who just really love women, who think they’re the most amazing people in the world. And that’s me,”
-and followed that up with-
“Maybe the reason I was promiscuous, and wanted to sleep with a lot of them, is that I love them so much.”
Perfect. The moment I read that article I gained a new and lasting respect for the man (I’m a fan of Maroon 5 to some extent, but nothing like my obsession with DMB.) Honestly the only thing I would add is to specify that he meant there’s two kinds of straight men in the world. The gay guys out there add a whole new dimension (and are probably much more diverse.) Those close to me know that I really don’t generally like men much. Too many times I’ve come across men that the epitome of the “misogynist pigs” Adam talks about and don’t even realize it:
Really think women only “belong” in the home raising children? Pig. Get upset when you come home and house isn’t perfect or dinner isn’t ready yet? Pig.Think that women shouldn’t be CEOs, soldiers, police, firefighters, mechanics, security guards, or any other profession? Pig. Get mad when she goes out with her girlfriends (even though you’re out late with women often…)? Pig. Think women should get paid less than men for the same work? (Is this even a fucking question!?) Pig!!
I get it guys, you’re insecure. She’s pretty, charismatic and intelligent. If you let her out alone for too long, she’ll probably wise up and leave your ass. Lucky for you they seem to have a programming flaw built into their system: They’re generally pretty damn loyal too. But, they are NOT stupid, and even if they don’t leave your ass, if you don’t put some effort into giving them reasons to be happy, they can and will go out and find their own reasons on their terms. Is that a betrayal? A violation of trust? Well it’s about damn time. The statistics say that historically married men have cheated on their wives 2 to 4 times more than the other way around, but that ratio is beginning to shrink.
See it’s not like the good old days. Though the term “Nuclear Family” initially shows up around 1925 or so (in the Oxford-English Dictionary), the concept got really popular in US culture around the 40s and 50s. Those were days when you had the “ideal” family of the Husband and Wife and their children. They were respectable members of the community that attended church every Sunday. Father was the breadwinner that went to work all day while mother stayed home and cared for the home and children. It all sounds very balanced and idealistic. Straight-up “Leave It To Beaver” style.
Except that it’s a bullshit facade. Let’s talk about what was really happening. First of all, Daddy was the master of the house. Let’s be clear that though the United States has made great strides in the modern era (there is still work to do,) it was founded very much in favor of the white male. So sure, daddy went to work all day, and often had to go on “work trips” for days at a time. Even when he was home, he often had to stay late or go out with his co-workers for drinks after work. It’s just what you did as a professional. Daddy worked very hard to be the master of the house. I suppose this is true, because in reality daddy was probably seeing his mistress(es). You see, in that ideal time men also had a great deal of power over whether a young lady got a job, was promoted, or kept her job. It certainly wasn’t every case, but if you think this didn’t happen and often, I suggest you do your research. Regardless of that, daddy didn’t have trouble finding a mistress because, after all, he was the man.
Meanwhile mommy was at home and is probably well aware of the mistresses. Deep down it probably hurt her, but she had no real recourse. As a woman you didn’t divorce in that day and age because then the church/society blames YOU for breaking up the family. You were then no longer “family material”, and your skills and experience wouldn’t lend themselves well to the
professional world (unless you planned to work you way up the ladder as a mistress… again at the mercy of the men you serve.) So what was mommy to do but accept her prison and make the best of it? She needed him and she had to serve her husband and children or she had no real value to society or in the eyes of the church (and therefore god!!) She once sought out her pastor for advice in dealing with her husband’s infidelity, but his response was that she must learn to forgive and maintain her “duty” to the family. He also wanted to talk to little Billy (who is an Alter Boy!) to be sure he was remaining well-adjusted at home with mommy under stress.
Though it seems far-fetched, that a very realistic (albeit generalized) rendition of life for a US housewife in the fifties. Basically, throughout history, and in those “ideal” times when the “Sanctity of Marriage” that the anti-gay bigots like to toss around was the center of society, women were getting a pretty rotten deal. But lately, the misogynist’s worst fears are coming true. Women know they are strong, and smart. In fact, they are very possibly in better shape than you are right now and I know a few that can pretty definitely kick your ass. It’s also very likely they were smarter than you to begin with.
So what’s a man to do? How do you keep your interest/girlfriend/wife from going off and doing what she wants to do? It’s simple, you can’t. The harder you try to restrain her or hold her back, the more likely she’ll resist (just like you probably would were the roles reversed.) Once you get jealous, and angry, and controlling… once you start making her feel bad or guilty for wanting to be herself, then you’re in trouble. Because then she already feels bad about herself, about you and about your relationship. Then you’ve created exactly what you were scared of and even if she doesn’t leave, she might very well find something to make her feel better and forget about things for a while. At that point, it’s hard to blame her.
Modern relationships must be a partnership. Equals. There is no longer a “master” (well.. unless you’re into that.. but that’s your business…) Further, the most important parts of any equal partnership are trust, respect and (positive) communication. If we truly want to be the one and only for somebody in the modern world, we’re going to have to work for it and earn it. Not just in the beginning during courtship or the “honeymoon” phase, but one, two, five, ten, fifty+ years down the line.
It’s not easy, I believe most honestly can’t wholeheartedly pull it off. As much as I’d like to think so, I’m not even certain I can. But sometimes I come across one of those old couples celebrating their 50th anniversary that both seem genuinely happy. They figured it out, maybe some of us can too.