Kate the Peon takes a point-by-point on Maureen Dowd’s essay on modern relationships. So, too, will I.

I. Dating
Relationships are unfortunately a negotiation. Don’t show your hand too early and all that. With guys this is more about expressing emotions, with women it’s more physical. A guy who says “I love you” in earnest has lost a lot of leverage if he’s not satisfied with the sexual progress of the relationship. A girl who sleeps with a guy that has not had to demonstrate emotion or attachment is less likely to be able to get him to do so at a later date.

II. Money
I can’t really think of a point where this has ever been a problem in my relationships or even the relationships of my friends. I’ve never minded paying, never minded being paid for. Same goes with most guys I know. Not sure how much this is really an issue.

III. Power
This one works both ways. Are men intimidated by women with more power? Some, surely. But a lot of women are uninterested in men of a lower station and that skews the statistics. Part one is that men are willing (or desiring) to marry their secretaries in larger numbers. Part two is that women are unwilling (or desiring) to marry theirs in larger numbers. Unless one believes that it’s a bad idea to marry out of class, I’m not sure that either is right or wrong. So says the codemonkey that married the doctor.

IV. Sex
On the whole, I’d probably rather be a guy than a girl in the dating and sex world. Even if you’re expected to do most of the initiating and face rejection at every turn, at least there’s something you can do about it. A lot of being a woman is waiting for some guy to do something, cause if you do something it might be looked upon unfavorably. That’s one double-standard that most assuredly exists and, in my opinion (though others disagree) quite favors men.

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6 Responses to Relationship Thoughts

  1. Becky says:

    As always, I think you make very valid points. I do read one blog (TAB) where he constantly complains about women not paying, esp. when he seems to go out on more first dates than anything.

    I can understand the power thing. I can’t describe it, but I’ve also been on the other side where my ex-husband seemed quite bitter about the fact I made more than him. Seeing that he chose to be a teacher, I didn’t think that was my fault or something he shouldn’t have expected nowadays.

  2. trumwill says:

    I poke my head over at Tab’s every now and again. I think he uses dinner dates as a stand-in for larger issues, but you’re right that it is an issue with some people. But not enough to be significant, in my view.

    Agreed, there are men that are resentful of being out-earned. But I find the notion that this is a really widespread problem (and evidenced by the dubious study oft cited) to be flawed. A more successful woman is less likely to be willing to stay at home with the kids, which many men want. A career-driven women is more likely to expect a career-driven man, and since many non-career driven women want the same there is a natural shortage. Unless one is willing to state that it is wrong for a doctor to marry a nurse, a lot of this necessarily falls in to value-neutral territory.

    I don’t begrudge those women that have been slighted a time or two by what they earn, but those (like Ms Dowd) that explain widespread discontent among career-driven women on male immaturity and intimidatibility are looking for excuses, in my opinion. I have always been available to career-minded women, for instance, but few of them have been particularly interested in me until Clancy came along. I often wonder how many of them will later use Ms Dowd’s thought train to explain their lack of prospects.

  3. InterstellarLass says:

    Ah yes, the double standard as to point IV. That really does suck for us girls. I would love to say that I’ve taken what I’ve wanted, when I’ve wanted it and not felt guilty about it. But as hard as I tried not to feel guilty, I did a little. But not for too long. 😉

  4. Webmaster says:

    Lass, the double standard helps nobody.

    If you’re a woman, and you want something, the double standard means you drop hints (and guys are notoriously bad at catching hints), or you just wait, or (very rarely) take the initiative.

    If you’re a guy, you’re expected to take the initiative, but likely (at least at first) have no idea what she may or may not want, and since she’s waiting, you either risk coming across as crass by asking, or risk rejection by initiating, or something else somewhere between the two.


  5. trumwill says:

    As I’ve heard it said, if you’re shy it’s better to be female because guys are expected to come up to you. If you’re not attractive, though, it’s better to be male, cause you can make your own opportunities more easily.

  6. Webmaster says:

    Shy, unattractive (or at least thinking they are) males are just kind of stuck then.

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