I hate to break it to you but I view the ascendency of the matriarchy in its latest feminist manifestation mostly on men. It is the limp-wristed cowardice of the effete urban “good man” that is the power behind feminism.
Well, you did let me have it, didn’t you?
I like that about you. It is what I can expect from you.
It is (gasp) what I find attractive in you. Holding your own, is carrying your weight. You answer the questions, and in all respect and even affection, you don’t trouble yourself overmuch with whether my ego can handle it.
You aren’t pouting and whining about how my taking a contrary view makes you feel, but showing it the respect of responding in kind as to what it has you think. Even to the extent that you checkmate me on a given point in particular or two (or twenty-seven, I lose count sometimes), you go about it as if doing so with someone you neither look up nor down at.
Now then: if I had published some listicle on “things women need to do to be attractive to me(n)”, and stated in self-assigned authority on the matter that I’d prefer someone who makes her own living and is in the middle of her own thriving and impressive career, someone who would rather disagree with me in splendid detail and go point-for-point with me without ever coming unglued than adopt a posture with me and go “fine, whatever, it’s nothing” until I guessed and re-guessed umpteen-squared times what I possibly could have done wrong because it must certainly be my fault because it usually is, someone who has her day made by cat-calling sailors but goes on home to call her cats rather than taking the sailors up on proffered coffee, someone who sees no paradox between being mulishly stubborn when she believes herself in the right and diligently relenting when it is shown her she may not be (and being both even within the same conversation), someone who will hunt persistently for a set of facts to back her views but prefers to have her leaky pipes re-gathered for her while she makes tea for the gatherers,
I wonder how many folks would come back and say, “all you’re talking about, is a gal who believes in traditional gender roles.”
Or whether, on reading all that, a professor of history and world traveler who is more than capable of walking in her own shoes would recognize herself in the formula.
The point being, and the one I’ve been making with you all along, is that it may be all well and good for you to say that these traditional roles are good or necessary or biologically inevitable or healthier for society, or for me to agree with you because I cannot escape the dense research you have to back you up in saying it.
But so what?
You don’t live a life according to any of these traditional roles, any more than I do. Who does? And can it be stated as axiomatic, that lining oneself up with all these traits in real life so as to be conforming to the traditional roles, really does make anyone happier or their kids grow up level-headed or their parents able to tolerate one another enough to stay together?
No, it cannot. What makes people able to co-exist, is not any ability to conform, neither to traditional roles nor to one another’s preferred traits as listed. It is rather, anyone’s ability to adapt.
Traditions tend not to work out as expected, and prescribed formulas of compatibility tend not to add up to someone being tolerable company. But an ability to adapt, to things both non-traditional and seemingly incompatible in another, might well be the binding factor that has people able to withstand each other’s just going on and being what they are.
I daresay you are likely to be the more formidable hunter, in any sense literal or metaphorical, than any man you might ever be interested in. Does this disqualify him? Would his insisting on walking on the curb side seem manly to you, or come off as token and solicitous? Would his over-stating continually how pretty he thinks you are make you feel attractive, more than his taking the time to read a lengthy paper or review a presentation with you that you are preparing would?
Something I have observed in a lot of women whose walk in life suggests they are worth learning from, is that the creepiest thing in the world about any man, is his trying too hard to be what he thinks they would prefer. The best of women seem able to love and respect and stand beside the one man in the world they find the most irritating and indecipherable, because of other things about him they may not even be able to put into words, things they have found out, both the good and the bad about him, because they have bothered to. Because he was worth it, somehow.
In sum, I just find this “things I want to see” approach to either men or women, as both misguided and self-serving. Even when attended by some alternative list of “things I’ll trade to make it worth your while”, it just comes off as if it expresses a world view where “attraction” is some sort of shopping list. If your list looks enough like what I’ve got in stock and vice versa, voila! This means we’re compatible. Gosh, let’s have dinner.
There is a term that might serve well, for what comes of people who get together because they have found each other compatible:
And yes, my personal experiences and observations speak loud and clear and plain as day on this. It is something else, something undefinable, something that has nothing to do with listicles and theories and mammoths and what god-damn side of the sidewalk one walks on, that has people find and stick with each other.
Whenever I see someone who has all these theories about what would work for them in someone else’s personality and everyday conduct, just the simple math of it says, they haven’t found that person. Life, tells me they may never find them, not going about it that way.