Despite how much gender roles have changed during my lifetime, there are still times when, as a man, I seem expected to fulfill my typical 1970’s manly stereotypes. I am not sure about other men, but when this happens, it can really wear on me.
Anyone who know’s me personally could quickly tell you that I am far from a Macho Man in any way. I tend to be gentle and like gentle things. I’m artsy and musical and a host of other traits that aren’t typically seen as masculine. More than once I have been mistaken for being gay, especially in my college days, as many of these traits are seen as feminine and gay when exhibited by a man. This is ridiculous stereotyping, of course, but it still seems to happen today. Experiences like this can lead many heterosexual men to avoid these behaviors — masking their own pains and disappointments in a shroud of masculinity. It can make us reluctant to reach out for help when we need it most.
Because of this, I want to be the first to remind everyone, but women especially, that there are times when men, just like women, aren’t up to maintaining these stereotypical roles. There are times we need to be comforted — times we need to be consoled — and even times we need to be controlled (or at least be told what to do or what your expectations are for us). If I feel I can’t be vulnerable, even every so often, after a while, it exhausts me. I can be strong and supportive when needed (and even kill the occasional rat, when necessary), but that is not the sum total of who I am. It also requires a certain amount of energy to maintain. Energy that I might not always have. When this energy fails me, I need those around me to recognize this, even if I have trouble revealing it myself.
A thought that occurred to me today, after a long visit to one of my own personal Kryptonites — the dentist. I had been anxious all day and was exhausted afterwards. As I talked with Rosanne about the experience, she was trying to explain how it was ok as other people have the same reaction and other people dread the experience. I didn’t feel she was understanding me, though. Looking back, I honestly think what I really needed was a really good “Poor baby” and a hug. (LAUGH) For just a short period of time I didn’t want to consider what other people did or thought. I wanted the moment to be all about me. Selfish? Sure, in some ways, but I think here are times when we all need life to be about us. You wouldn’t want to do this all the time, surely, but I think everyone has these moments. I love to help others in any way I can, but sometimes I can forget that I need something for myself, too.
I was out of energy to keep up the facade of “manliness” any longer. I just needed a little comforting and some time to recoup my energy. For the most part, I don’t like to burden others with my problems or moods, but every so often, there is no escape. I need to reach out and ask for some help. In some cases I need to do this sooner, though. I can run myself to the ends of my endurance and that means it takes longer to recover my balance, making it more difficult for both myself and those around me. I eventually worked through it all, but I probably won’t be fully back to 100% until I get a good night’s sleep. Again, energy needs to be recouped, and sleep is usually the best way to do that.
So, as a bit of advice, no matter who your partner in life is, let them know when you need help. Let them know when you have reached the end of your patience, endurance or energy. There are times to be strong and times to let someone else be strong. I don’t think you can always play one role or another. There has to be a balance between so many factors in your life and denying that fact hurts everyone. Even worse, if you are constantly forcing one particular role on your significant other, you may be causing them harm — even if they night not know it or admit it to themselves.
Previously on End of the Day:
- You’ve got to have fun sometimes! – End of the Day for June 22, 2014
- Update all the things! – End of the Day for June 21, 2014
- Doing work, making videos or both. It can be hard to decide – End of the Day for June 20, 2014
- “Drop back and punt” technology troubleshooting – End of the Day for June 19, 2014
- Finding your rhythm – End of the Day for June 18, 2014
- …and the day flies by in Flow – End of the Day for June 17, 2014
- A little but of this. A little bit of that. – End of the Day for June 16, 2014
- Don’t ask questions you don’t really want to know the answer to – End of the Day for June 15, 2014
- In vino veritas and in conversation, truth- End of the Day for June 14, 2014
- Habits are made to be broken – End of the Day for June 13, 2014
- A week of events — End of the Day for June 11, 2014
- Sometimes I am such the “wife” in this relationship – End of the Day for June 10, 2014
- Tiring to be an adult sometimes – End of the Day for June 9, 2014
- Is it too late? – End of the Day for June 8, 2014
- When spouses travel it makes for a Sad Panda – End of the Day for June 7, 2014
- Noise and the absence of noise – End of the Day for June 6, 2014
- Sunsetting – End of the Day for June 5, 2014
- Summer is finally here! – End of the Day for June 4, 2014
- My Favorite Musicals – End of the Day for June 3, 2014
- Going without cable television — if not cable Internet – End of the Day for June 2, 2014
- Is anyone out there listening? – End of the Day for June 1, 2014
- End of the Day for May 2014
- End of the Day for April 2014
- End of the Day for March 2014
- End of the Day for February 2014
- End of the Day for January 2014