Men: The Weaker Sex?

Before I begin, I just want to say that, even though the title might suggest otherwise, this article isn’t intended to be a slam against men. Rather, it’s just some reflections on things I’ve seen regarding boyfiends and husbands over the past 10 years during my stint as a stay-at-home wife.

Not that I’ve had all sorts of relationships with other men. But I’ve had lots and lots of talks with my women friends. It was when I was living in Jacksonville that I noticed a pattern forming where our husbands were concerned. And ever since I noticed it, I see it in almost every relationship I encounter now.

Women May Be the Fairer Sex, but Not the Weaker One

As a gender, women may be hard-pressed to demonstrate the same physical strength as men, but we certainly suck up pain better. Physical pain as well as emotional.

It’s not that men turn into blubbering babies when they’re hurt, get sick, or find that things aren’t going their way, but they certainly pout. No self-respecting woman would pout for half the reasons men do.

Worse, when something’s wrong with a man, they expect all sorts of concessions.

For example, I’ve seen it time and time again when a husband’s got a cold. The husband either hibernates in cave mode, or expects the wife to be his personal nurse. Yet, when a wife gets sick, unless it’s something that’s completely knocked her off her feet and she absolutely can’t move, she’s expected to maintain her rounds. Without grumbling.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I wish someone would create a pill to give a man a full blown case of PMS for one day. I’m convinced it would not only give them new appreciation for what we suck up every month, but would also make them a little more empathetic the next time we complain about cramps, hormones, bloating, etc.

Men Demand More Attention, and, Therefore, Need More Work

Something Oprah’s guest M. Gary Neuman said when he appeared on her “Why Men Cheat” series, and something which I touched on when examining if it’s possible to affair-proof a marriage, is that, by nature, men are takers and women are givers.

This means that men not only think the world revolves around them, but they expect others to understand this too. Their needs are paramount, and therefore, come before all others. Their way must surely be the best way. A really short way to sum this up in a nutshell is to call them what they are: selfish.

Again, this is not a slam. Being selfish isn’t always necessarily some great evil. Because on the flip side of that coin you have selfless, which is where most women, being more inclined to be pleasers/givers, fall. (And which can be every bit as bad as being selfish.)

However, there is a bit of a double-standard when it comes to attention. Women can go days, weeks, months or even years without much attention. (Sadly, “years” is not an extreme, out of the norm scenario. In many cases it is the norm in many marriages.) Husbands forget birthdays, anniversaries, don’t show much interest in his wife’s hobbies or work, etc. because he’s too absorbed doing his own thing. What do wives do? Roll with it. (To a certain extent. When we have time, we do let them know they’re slacking.)

But what happens when that scenario’s reversed and the wife is starving her husband for attention? It’s the main reason so many men stray. (The most recent example of such a case is Peter Cook.)

Why This Is Not a Slam

Whether we got to be the ways we are via nature or nurture, as a species we’re designed to go together. His yang taker ways work with our yin giver ways to compliment each other.

And these are generalized statements I’m making. There are men who got more of the giver gene than the taker, and women who worry more about themselves than anyone else.

This is just my take on understanding the male human brain. Because you know those married women friends of mine in Jacksonville I referred to at the start of this blog? Many of them had 30 and 40 years of marriage under their belts. They knew their husbands were “weaker.” (Though they’d never dare admit that to anyone but their girlfriends and certainly not their husbands. They knew their man’s ego would be damaged for days and would demand exorbitant TLC. To spare themselves that drama, they kept hush.)

What they did instead was love them despite the flaws. And, while sometimes their husbands’ egos and lack of attention could be exasperating, they new how to laugh about those flaws. (And, when necessary, how to seek out a sympathetic ear to help remind them of the humor in it all.)

Hmmm…I guess that’s another one for the “marriage is…” and “lasting marriage secrets” file.

Photo credit: sxc Standard restrictions apply for use of this photo.