Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Walking the Line

Ever had one of those moments where the answers to some of life's deepest questions become clear? Well I had one yesterday thanks to my friend The Mad Black Man. He's not really mad about anything, he just likes to imagine himself angrier than he really is. Anyways, we had a 10 minute chat while I was driving to my dentist appointment after work. During our talk he lets me know that he's swearing off women for a while so he can recover from his last girlfriend. In his opinion she was "crazy." Now, we all know where I stand on the topic of female insanity. It's usually caused by male stupidity/inconsistency/ambivalence/breathing. Now I knew he and old girl were having issues and I tried my best to give him a female perspective on why she was always complaining. Obviously, it did no good, cause they broke up anyways. I could honestly care less that the relationship came to an end. I don't know the chick personally and time with her took time away from me (and I'm the most important thing in EVERYONE's life). The thing that struck me is that his relationship began to end the day she exhibited what he believed to be crazy behavior. He never saw her in the same light again, so no matter what she did that was normal, all he could see was "crazy girlfriend." It's like a line was crossed and there was no turning back.
So this got me to thinking. In relationships nothing stays perfect forever. We're human so we err. But for some reason men and women view these errors differently. While a woman can take error after error after error from a man and still see the same sweet guy she fell in love with, it seems that it takes only one error by a woman for a man to see "the crazy bitch." If that's not a double standard I don't know what is. I don't know if women are just more forgiving, more lenient, more optimistic, or just more desperate, but for some reason we sure can take a lot of bullshit before we stop seeing a nice guy who just happens to have asshole tendencies and just see an asshole. A guy can break up with us over voicemail and not say a word for 10 months (ode to the Idiot Who Made Me Cry) and we'll still think that he's a great guy, just a great guy who's going through some issues. Why is that? How come through all the b.s. women can still see the guy they fell for in the first place. I'd like to think that I'm a pretty good judge of character. When a man slips, bumps his head, and starts acting a damn fool, I'd rather believe that it's uncharacteristic, than believe that I just chose the wrong guy. I mean, truthfully speaking, who wants to be wrong. Who wants to say that they fell for a completely insensitive jerk who'd rather clip his toenails than consider their feelings. So we look past all the bad stuff to see the man way down deep inside who is charming and caring and smart and funny and all the things we absolutely adore. I mean, he's still there, it's just covered in bullshit, right?
Well this same optimism or benefit of the doubt doesn't seem to be afforded to the XX choromsome set. We're sort of on a one strike and you're out policy. One instance of suppposedly "crazy" behavior (i.e. nagging, insecurity, arguments, whatever) and we're no longer the awesome girlfriend. That look of love in a man's eyes turns to a wary look of paranoia that says, "oh she's cool now, but when will she snap." Personally, I don't think it's fair. Why does one bad day or night or even hour erase all the great stuff preceding it. It's as though an either/or proposition exists. A woman can either be cool or she can be crazy, but in a man's eyes she can never be both. This sets up quite a paradox (am I using that word correctly?). If one drop of craziness can overtake a gallon of normalcy, it stands to reason that normalcy has to reign all day everyday. But that's virtually impossible. As I stated earlier, no one and nothing on this earth is perfect, so there is gonna come a time when we as women are gonna be less than pleased with our relationships and we're gonna wanna discuss it and it may sound like complaining and it may seem irrational. Passive aggressive silence is immature, so the logical step is to voice our issues. But with this paradox, how can we? In order to appear normal, venting is not allowed, cause when we vent, we're crazy. And once labeled crazy there's no coming back. It's like walking a tight rope and I must say I don't have balance like that and it's too exhausting to try and get some.
Maybe, just maybe there would be parity if somehow the tables were turned. Maybe if women started dumping guys at the first sign of bad behavior, guys would get a taste of their own medicine. Maybe they'd be the ones walking that tight rope with us watching their every move for a mistake. It would serve them right to be suspended high on a tiny thread, exposed for everyone to see, trying to stay on track wearing nothing more than some purple tights, ballet shoes and a tank top.


Alicia said...

I hate men.
They are all dogs.
Even when you think you might have found decent one, they have some shady-ness up their sleeves.

Alicia said...

OK, let me not say that I hate men...but they are ALL dogs. I'm open to Jay Z, Morris Chestnut, and any other balla/rapper/actor that wants to HOLLA. Now its my turn to be a shady, gold diggin, what-can-you-do-for-me kind of chick. The regular guys stomp all over your feelings and leave you high and dry...I want to at least get SOMETHING out of the deal!

CrankyProf said...

I think it's a stupid social construct. We've been told for so long that we're supposed to be tolerant of such behavior -- that we deserve it, that "it could be worse," whatever -- that we've accepted it blindly.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to let you know that I've been reading your blog posts for the last couple weeks and everything you've said speaks to my soul. It honestly makes me feel better knowing that I'm not alone in my thoughts and experiences with life, love and the lack thereof.

BT said...

I love women, even through all the trials and tribulation I have experienced myself or seen other dudes experience I still love them. My moms always raised me to respect women and ain't a female walking the earth that will tell you I don't. Having said all that I want to say WHAT THE FUCK! How is it always dudes ain't shit and dudes are overreacting or dudes made you crazy. Is it totally impossible that a female really is just crazy is it not at all possible she was touched from the get-go and just flipped that switch after you'll were comfortable and the man was in too deep to just say you know what I don't need this shit. Now I could go on for hours like this and I am sure every female reading this blog has a million tales about Men that ain't shit, but think hard think real hard to your true homeboyz have any of them ever been done dirty by a female cheated on, played out, bitched at for the most minute detail. I am sure if you try real hard you can think of a situation like that as well. This my round-a-bout way of saying yes dudes do some dumb and grimey shit I will be the first to admit that but so do females. Take an example of a dude really feeling a chick they going on fine for a few months she bugs out for no reason and he's caught way off guard, a few days later she apoligizes says she was goign through some ish and he takes her at her word brushed that aside and goes back to kicking it with her because he really digs her. So they get even more involved he talks all is well but her girls always find something to pick on about her man (he has jokes alot he don't respect you, he didn't call you today he cheating, thats all he got you for valentine's day what a bum) any shit like that when they don't even know the situation so say he been a joker since you met him and he cracks jokes (and takes them as well) from everyone is he still a dick, or say that one day he had a 15 hr work day, had to help his moms with something and help his uncle move and when he got home to call it was too late or he just fell asleep is he still an asshole (you get my drift). So a dude that's continuously taking ish and apologizing even when he may have done nothing wrong is consistently catching more heat from this girl till it gets to a point where he's had enough. Numerous times she's wilded out on him (when previously she showed no indication of being upset), or she's done some of the same shit he is supposedly worng for and he's never called her on it cuz that's not his style, so is it still the dudes fault. I am sure this long ass statement I just made will somehow be twisted into another chapter of dudes ain't shit but the main point I was trying to make is females can be given a million chances, bark on a dude he does what she says and she finds something else wrong with him, or he isn't changing enuff, so why did you start talking to him in the first place. And finally if it were you and you cared about the person and it seems every conversation they are upset, hurt or crying over somethign your doing or not doing would you not just say you shouldn't be together for everyone's health. I'm just trying to see what's what.

Holla at Me!

ABLawStudent said...

Ok so You know I got loove for you cheet sheet but...ummm... when does personal responsibility play a factor into this equation? I mean I hear what you are saying about women just taking it and taking it and for those women that honestly are a dumping ground then that does suck for them...but you know like I do that most of the time there is some contributory negligence in the equation. What kind of CN you ask...glad you asked! Like you saying you want a soldier then being surprised when he treats you like another mission. Like you going after the dude that all the other chicks are going after...he knew like you did the numbers were in his favor, right or wrong it is what it is. Like...remember that dude back in high school that you played cause he wasn't as cute/fine/cut/hot as the star (insert posterboy position here) that you really wanted? You remember he was the one that you just wanted to be your friend? Remember him...yeah well he is now the grown up regular guy and he is doing his best to exact revenge. He is wrong but there is a situs for this action. All men and women are dogs or better yet animals...mammals to be exact. You stop your faults and be perfect and so will we.

And if she is the crazy girlfriend we have MUCH more to loose by sticking around...

Anonymous said...

Liz...i don't hate men...i have a good man...who has been pretty consistent for the past year, so i want to let you know that they do exist...just don't get discouraged...BTW, err is a verb, so while we all err, we don't put up with errs, we put up with errors. :-)

tilda said...

So, I'm back, just some thoughts/opinions to throw out.
1. Most of what's a fault RE problems btwn men and women is socialization, so I agree w/crankyprof. Women are socialized to view themselves as less powerful/valuable than we are and overvalue/idealize men/relationships. Men are generally socialized w/these same dangerous ideals undervaluing women as well as being often denied opportunity to express themselves in a healthy way as full human beings throughout childhood (leading to violence as an outlet and lack of adult communication skills). All this leads to f-ed up male/female relationships w/sad consequences.
2. It's tempting to say so, but all men aren't dogs (and all women aren't saints). I am more likely to understand a woman being a sicky than a man in light of all we have to go through to maintain in this world, still no excuse for being a 3rd rate person. If you're not well, minimize interaction w/potential victims of your illness until you can sort things out well enough to effectively deal.
3. A man saying that women are often "off" too is no defense for the general complaint against men. Men are generally socialized to prey on and undervalue women in my observation. There are good men, but when you feel you're being attacked, consider who is really to blame. If the shoe doesn't fit, don't wear it. You're not really in that much of a bind as I see it.
4. Most ppl who intend to do someone else dirt will steer clear of those whom they sense will not be a good mark. This is my theory RE why good ppl are often in relationships w/abusive, unappreciative types who seem purposely malicious.
5. Anybody in any relationship needs to ensure it is mutually beneficial and not usurious, esp. if the person being used is you, lol. The whole "gold-diggin'" myth is b.s. If women are "gold diggers", for what are men mining? If they get what they want, shouldn't we get something out of it considering we are in fact risking more in the transaction (e.g. reputation; primary child care giver responsibility for minimum 18-year plus sentence; loss of time to lock in a meaningful relationship in time to be dumped for a younger (or otherwise 'more attractive' (wink, wink) model if it doesn't work out. In reference to this higher risk, a comedian once stated that women are more anxious to hold onto a man b/c we are allowed a lot fewer sexual partners than men before we're labeled as a "ho"; this makes it imperative for those who fear being labeled as such exhaust excuses for a grimey type before finally dropping him (if he doesn't beat you to the punch).
6. Moral of these stories is to make sure you're happy. Jump ship if you're feeling 'crazy' or someone's taking advantage b/c you only have one life. Make sure you surround yourself w/ppl who appreciate you and aren't unreasonably into living their lives by stereotypes based on women or other groups.

alicia said...

Well, I HAD a good man, and he was pretty constistant over the past 4 1/2 years....but surprise surprise...he turned out to be a DOG in the end. I have NO man's back, and I believe ALL men are dogs deep down. It just takes a while for their true colors to show.

RebeLioness said...

Wow...what a eyeful. You know I usually respond so this one is no exception, although it's mad late now!

I gotta say I agree most with Tilda, but what still leaves me dissatisfied is this idea that it's that easy to "steer clear" of the bad guys and ppl who live by stereotypes. If it is true that ALL men and women are socialized, who, really, is left that doesn't fit this mold. To respond to the retaliating men, it is NEVER appropriate to say, yeah, dudes is f'd up but so are women. That leaves us back at square one. This is not a contest of who does what worse, but you must admit that, just like with racism, men/women relationships, and it's psychology, are deeply entrenched. Just like with racism, one set of people are MOST OFTEN victimized, so, too, in a generally sexist, male-dominated society the "weaker" gender is going to experience that much more oppression than their counterparts. That's not to see all women are saints, but we're not making this shit up! Yes, I know a couple dudes who've been burned by females; but I know a WHOLE lot more females who have gone through some BULLSHIT with guys, myself included, with no clear justification or deservedness (not to say there should be). Face it, we women are the ones who are taught that we must get married, which is why there are so many frantic and desperate late 20 and 30 year-olds (even 40s) that feel inadequate despite having stable jobs and finances. Men are the ones propose, men ask us out, men mostly decide the status of the relationship; and, sure, women can, too, but those who do are mostly unsuccessful (spoken from experience).
I'm not as bitter as Alicia, but I'm not as "kumbaya-ish" as Tilda. There IS a problem and, unlike racism where it's obvious, there is no obvious way to address a problem that no one is taking responsibility for. As for ablawstudent this is not the time to want to use all your pretty words learned in law school. Contributory negligence? That's BS! It comes down to the innate selfishness and "get-overability" of people who know they are the "hot commodity". Stop trying to equate us! We are equal in value but not in circumstances so don't even go there! I can go on all day, but in closing. Ultimately, what Liz is trying to say is...WE ARE NOT CRAZY!