Men becoming more emotional

Gender reversals reveal double standards

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Eric and his Father from That 70s Show

HEY DUMBASS, STOP BEING OBSCURE AND START BEING STRAIGHTFORWARD. As traditional roles fade, insecure guys are drawn to independent girls, leading to more girls who have to put up with clingy men.

They’re the stereotypical situations exaggerated by television. Earl taints his karma by faking his own death just to break up with a clingy girlfriend. Donna declares “I love you” too soon, to which Eric responds, “I love cake.” Rachel insists she’s not mad at Ross, but would like him to drink a jar of fat anyway.

Clingy, eager, passive aggressive " to some, they are considered the female’s weaknesses in a relationship. Guys presumably see this and come to one conclusion: “Man, that girl was crazy.”

Yet, while all the blame was being put on estrogen, lately, it’s the guys saying dating no-no’s like “Where is this going?” and “Fine, don’t worry about it” (but do).

Women are now at the receiving end of stereotypical female relationship tactics like the guilt trip and the silent treatment.

More and more girls are the ones scratching their heads, trying to read between his lines rather than vice-versa.

Even Cosmopolitan, which generally sticks to stereotypes, has picked up on this jump from tradition and dedicates a whole section to decoding what a guy says and what he actually means (e.g. He says: “My buddies really like you.” He means: “Okay, we’re officially dating now.” " Cosmopolitan July 2006 issue).

Psychology insists the male brain is left-side oriented, causing men to be less emotive, less intuitive, but more direct and logical. So why are girls putting up walls instead of breaking his down?

There was a simpler time when the only thing girls pondered was whether he really liked her or just wanted to take a roll in the hay. What changed? Did our prayers for emotionally available boyfriends make it acceptable for such frightening behavior, in turn opening the Pandora’s box? Or are we just paying too much attention to Samantha on Sex and the City?

Guys are employing “female” strategies, perhaps because they think women will understand their code better or that a silent treatment will come across more clearly. Or maybe women’s desire for the emotionally available man misled guys into just being emotional.

Scott Wetzler, psychologist and author of Living With the Passive Aggressive Man, claims that guys who lack a sense of self create drama and act clingy to seek acceptance. This is what divides emotional availability (good) from plain craziness (bad).

“It’s the whole evolutionary theory,” Michele Jones, a psychology graduate at Western, explains. “Clinginess represents fear ... when girls see that fear, they subconsciously believe that the guy cannot provide for them. It’s like the fight or flight theory. Women want a fighter, not a fleer.”

Complicating the situation is the notion that opposites attract. Insecure guys are likely to be drawn to independent girls and, as traditional roles fade, more independent girls mean more girls who have to put up with clingy guys.

Sadly, society is not sympathetic. Girls who get dramatic when their boyfriends ditch them for the big game are having “that time of the month,” whereas guys who act out when date night becomes girls’ night are just looking for more quality time. While it was understandable for guys to be scared off by neediness, girls are expected to see neediness as loving and sensitive.

Consequently, the surge of independent girls have been made to feel like the man of the relationship, taken aback by too much commitment and not enough freedom, too much talk and not enough sex, too many obscure questions and no straightforward answers.

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