I have had this blog post brewing for some time now and then a series of events involving some of my girlfriends drove me to finally write it!
It all started when I was chatting to a very good friend of mine who I often go to for man advice when I need to ‘woman-up’! She is my friend who will tell me to stop waiting in for his phone call, stop wishing that something will happen that clearly won’t and instead helps me not to cave in and call him but to buck up and move on! If a guy is really interested he should be chasing me, right? She is the voice of reason and reality amongst my girlfriends, a no-nonsense, head-strong kind of girl and stunning with it. She is also single at them moment. Anyway, said feisty-friend was telling me about a conversation she and a girlfriend were having in a sauna at their local gym with some guys. Somehow the conversation turned to relationships (doesn’t it always) and one guy confidently admitted that he would ‘never’ approach my friend or her girlfriends as they were clearly confident and independent women who ‘owned their own cars, had good jobs and lived in their own places’! The guy’s mates then all heartely agreed concluding they would ‘look’ from a distance and ‘admire’ but never ‘approach’. My friend was not sure whether to be flattered or insulted but after reflection decided on the latter. What is with that? So a guy would not approach her due to the things in her life that are indicators of her achievement, success and ability in life??? When she challenged the guy (who of course grew increasingly intimidated at being questioned at all) he responded by saying ‘Well then what could I bring to the table if you have a good job, your own home and a car?’ Screwed up or what?! Duh! How about love, support, encouragement, companionship??
The more we discussed this, the more angry I became at this skewed idea men have about what a woman most wants in a relationship. I know there really are those women out there who want to be kept in Jimmy Choo shoes, Prada bags and dine weekly at The Ivy but really the majority of the women I know of all ages want to be loved, desired and cherished above all else – much more than any material provision. Yes it’s important, particularly if you’re at the family planning stage, to have a stable income of sorts and to know your man will step-up and do what is necessary to support your family financially (as will you when you can) but I don’t know many women that really essentially need a man to earn more than them as their number one requirement in a relationship.
Just a few short weeks after this conversation, a young man of just 23 was telling me about his desire (verging on desperation) to get married by 25 and have children by 28! He then told me about his brother who recently dated a beautiful woman who picked him up for their first date in a Bentley. After discovering that she and her friends earned upwards of £90K and she had a penthouse flat he swiftly dumped her and refused to see her again! I can understand a little intimidation at that level of social circle but to dump a girl and potentially miss out on a soul-mate due to her high-earnings when she was really very keen on him (so clearly the financial imbalance did not matter to her) is frankly prideful stupidity!
Less than a week later another singer friend posted this image on her FB wall dedicating it to all her single-singer-girlfriends who had been told they were intimidating by men just because of the job they do:
Her post was flooded with ‘likes’ and comments with women identifying with her frustration.
Then, in this week’s Grazia magazine ana article says Chloe Sevigny says she frightens men – but are they really intimidated by female breadwinners? In the article Chloe actually goes as far as saying her success equates ‘romance suicide’. Even more perplexing is that in the same article, writer Tony Parsons, says men always want to be the high earner and comments, ‘For if a man can’t be the bread-winner, then what exactly is the point of him?’ I’m just lost for words at this point!
So then, what is a successful, able and strong girl supposed to do? Dumb herself down in order to get a man???
I discussed this with a male friend who pointed out that men have been conditioned since the dawn of time to be the ‘provider’ and it’s hard to escape the pressure and conditioning of that. It’s a good point and I do appreciate and realise this. I even get how a man’s self-esteem is often intrinsically connected to his earnings – not necessarily that they have to be ‘high’ earnings but, that if he is struggling in this area he is often struggling in every area of his life due to feelings of inadequacy – something I feel does not affect women with quite the same force. However, I quipped back at my friend that many mindsets have existed since the dawn of time but have been challenged, evolved or even overturned as society progresses and changes! It’s 2012! We women can vote, we can choose to have a career or have a family or both at the same time and we are stronger and more confident. This is progress people! It is a mortal shame if the result of these breakthroughs mean we have to miss out in love, be alone or worse case scenario, not reach our full potential in all areas of life.
Surely there is another alternative or is it me that’s deluded? The alternative I had in mind was a man confident and secure enough to rejoice in my triumphs with me, to celebrate my victories and to spur me on to be all I can be to my highest potential. It goes without saying that this is also a woman’s role in a relationship – a partnership! Is this really not possible in 2012? Really? If so then what kind of progress have we really made?
Comments please – from BOTH sexes!