Straght American Men and Relationships

This particular fight started with a room, the bedroom to be exact. It’s not about sex or sleeping positions or anything like that. It’s about the actual room. Let me bore you with over-explanation.

So we just bought a house a couple of months ago (yes it has the original kitchen cabinets, but half of the trim is painted, and there is one room with knotty pine paneling, so there.), and it was decided at that point to have a particular room upstairs be the bedroom. So me being me, I set my heart on it, and in my attempt to be the perfect attentive wife, I included my husband and his opinion on the matter.

This is the beginning of the problem, because, in general, men typically don’t care about their bedroom in terms of aesthetics. Don’t get me wrong, they might bitch a little if you do the whole thing up in some sort of tribute to Gone with the Wind or your obsession with American Girl dolls. I’m guessing, however, that after the initial shock, they are all thinking the same thing. “What do I care? It’s usually dark when I’m in here anyway.” (You’d get a lot more of a rise out of them if you surprised them with a TV or a sex swing in the corner, but spoiling them for no reason is only going to make them suspicious)

The common sense part of me knows this, but as a writer, I’m always running scenes in my head that have expectations that have almost nothing to do with reality. I’m picturing this room with the furniture and the wall color and the rugs and drapes.  As I’m painstakingly painting the walls, I’m imagining waking up in this room, what a peaceful oasis it will be, etc. I think you get it.

So, we go to move the bed into this newly painted and prepared room…and wouldn’t you know it, but our queen size box spring won’t fit up the stairwell, at all. It’s a 70+ year old house. Most people didn’t have Queen size beds back then. We would have to cut holes in the trim or get a different bed, not gonna happen.

Obviously I’m disappointed. The bed is resigned to the only bedroom downstairs, which was suppose to be my home office. I had already formed preconceived notions about that room, and they didn’t include a bed. That room has not been painted the perfect color that I saw in my head. My expectations are dashed.

And so, I expect my husband to be equally put out by this unforeseen chain of events, but, of course he’s not, and of course, I’m upset by the fact that he’s not as upset as I am. This causes a fight, because I interpret his lack of empathy for my disappointment as him not caring about things that are important to me, and in turn him not caring about me in general… Does this sound familiar?

So, my husband saw the writing on the wall and left me to my own stewing. This only made me feel abandoned on top of being misunderstood and generally neglected, so I decided to pop on my MP3 player and take a  long, angry walk.

Very long story short, while on my walk I came up with two proposals to keeping a satisfying relationship with the straight American man. Obviously, this portion of my gripe is geared toward the female members of my viewership, but let’s face it. I probably lost the guys after “sex swing” anyway.

The first is simply a change in attitude. I propose that you have no expectations when it comes to your man. I mean it. Other than what you can really leave him for (infidelity, abuse, and addiction problems), expect nothing. Don’t expect him to hold you when you cry. Don’t expect him to help with household chores, pets, or kids. Don’t expect him to listen to you when you talk about your day. Don’t expect him to initiate sex. Don’t expect him to clean up after himself. Have no expectations, period.

I know it sounds crazy, but here’s why I think it just might work. If you expect nothing from your man, when he does actually do something that is not exclusively for his benefit, he will automatically surpass your expectations. Suddenly, he’s great. He’s awesome. You will be so delighted that he actually thought about someone besides himself, that you will gush with praise and happiness… And just maybe your reaction will be so validating to him, that he will attempt other selfless acts just to repeat the reaction. It may have a cumulative effect.

My other proposal requires a change in attitude and a bit of physical maintenance. Get Hot. Work out like crazy, make yourself up like you’re going out dancing with your girlfriends, always look like you’re trying to make other men, not your man, check you  out.

Again, I know this sounds counter-intuitive, but bear with me. Not only will you feel better and look better, but you will be playing to your man’s baser instincts. In my opinion, straight guys tend to come off as not caring because they are biologically compelled to only care about conquest. The testosterone that makes them so attractive to us is also what makes them not give a rat’s ass if we ask them how we look in those pants. If they can’t kill it, eat it, protect it, fix it, or screw it, they really don’t care to be involved.

So where does looking hot come in? It’s about territory. If they think you have the potential to be taken by a rival, you become the conquest. They have to work to keep you. Suddenly, they’re more attentive, because they feel they have to be. They are protecting territory. You get to feel cherished and appreciated, and they get to feel…well, manly.

Both these proposals seem all well and good in theory. As far as practice though, don’t ask me. I’m still pissed about the bedroom.

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