From My Personal Experience to You
When we scan our cultural history for all of the lies that men are assumed to tell women, we’d likely come up with a slew of answers from our art, media, and popular culture. “I promise, I’ll never do it again,” would be one lie that comes to mind that might make it up toward the top of the list of lies that men tell to get what they want. You’d likely find that our culture is replete with the idea that men tell women that they love them, even when they really don’t, just to get a little bit of action for the night or to not feel lonely for a little while — not all men lie for notches on our belts, most of us lie because we feel an incessant need to belong to someone, to be loved, respected, and cared for. Childish, somewhat, yes, I know. But that’s the reality.
One of the weirdest parts of living in a patriarchal society is the fact that almost all of the women tend to assign men more power than they actually have. Most men, or, honestly, most people are afraid, fearful, uncertain, unimaginative, and in need of love in order to feel whole. The constant use of the term “narcissist” to describe men is evidence of this. Women tend to view men as having this immoveable will and treat us like we’re gods (lest the patriarchy doesn’t exist) when most guys I’ve known were anything but. Behind closed doors, they cried and wanted love and sex, but couldn’t find anyone they wanted to settle down with. Lonely, despondent, isolated, these men become increasingly frustrated because they feel like they’ll never find someone special. The truth is, regardless of your sex, great partners are very, very few and far between. People are in abundance, people I’d want to spend the rest of my life with are almost nonexistent. There are plenty of people out there who might be attractive at face value, but if we approach prospective partners with a bit of critical thinking and apply a bit of reason, we quickly realize how many people in our society are really fucked up.
Men solve this problem by promising themselves that they’ll find the perfect person someday, they’ll date her, court her, and successfully keep her. In the meantime, they tell themselves they’ll date around, have some sex, and enjoy their lives. This does more harm than good. Some of these men turn the idealized women into an object-fetish, almost, they deprive them of their autonomy before they’ve even met. They have to keep that image preserved and as pure as possible. These men are the worst types of men for women to date, they’re the ticking timebombs who have to keep everything just so in order to keep their reality congruent with their fantasy. These are the men who women are never good enough for, no matter how good their girlfriends or wives (or boyfriends or husbands) are. These men need a fantasy, a romanticized ideal, and any human element or potential conflict (read: the freedom to choose) on the behalf of their partner is unacceptable.
Weltschmerz is the German word that describes the depression and despair we feel when our romanticized ideals conflict with reality — when reality doesn’t live up to our expectations. And anger is depression turned outward toward the world. The discharge of aggression is the final step in this process.
Many men, today, have an extreme case of Weltschmerz. They’re expecting porn stars, they’re expecting tons of money, financial security, job security, and more — but none of these things are a reality for the majority of men.
Rather than admit the truth to themselves, they lie to themselves and pretend they’re temporarily hindered from finally getting what they truly deserve, usually hindered by some obstacle or another person who stands in their way. Sex and relationships (that these men feel “they’re better than”) soon become the stepping stones to bigger and better things and their frustration, anger, resentment, and sadness only grows. They keep commitment in the background as this ambiguous thing, never making concrete notions toward solidifying a long-term relationship. The ambiguity hurts them as much as it hurts the women they date. Nobody likes to live in uncertainty for very long.
We don’t want to admit this because doing so would require us admitting our ridiculous standards or explaining our constant failures in attaining them. This burden is too much for almost all men to carry. It would also require that we admit that we don’t have it all together, that we need help, that we’re inadequate. This is absolutely terrifying, to most men.
While this isn’t a universal male trait, its potentiality is universal and the potential for men to lie or keep ambiguous whether or not they’d be willing to commit is universal.
In Defense of Chemistry
Sometimes, there are universals and sometimes, those universals describe what we lie about — because what we lie about is what we consider important.
While this might not be what everyone wants to hear, it’s the truth, that no matter what, any man knows immediately whether or not a woman is someone he’d consider a long-term relationship with. If someone isn’t his image of “keeper material”, in his mind, he already knows that he doesn’t want to stay with them, though he might date them for a little while for a bit of fun and to not feel that cold, gnawing loneliness I spoke of earlier. No man will admit to women that he knows immediately whether a woman is someone he considers a relationship with, but that’s the reality of men. Chemistry goes a long way and you either have it or you don’t, but few want to admit this embarrassing fact, because it means that someone got rejected and it’s completely outside of their control.
We know it because attraction is not a choice. When the anti-gay-marriage advocates came out to say that marriage equality wasn’t necessary, because gay men and lesbian women had ample opportunity to marry someone of the opposite sex, every one of us with half of a brain and a bit of common decency knew that something was amiss with that argument. What was the problem, exactly? Well, it pretended that attraction was a choice, a switch we just turn on or off and decide to be sexual with other people. For the same reason, the idea that we’ll “win someone over” falls flat on its face. No matter how nice we are, no matter how interesting we become, we can’t force someone to be attracted to us. They’ll never “learn” it because attraction isn’t something that’s learned.
Now, that’s not to say that taking care of ourselves, practicing reasonable hygiene, having our lives and emotional selves relatively well-put-together doesn’t make a difference. Not doing these things can certainly turn someone who was attracted to us off from us and make them decide that we might not be worth the headache of their attraction. But improving any of these areas of your life will not suddenly make an uncertain man fall in love with you. If a man is uncertain whether he wants to keep you or settle down with you, the answer is no — there is no maybe. He either knows or he doesn’t know and he usually knows within the first few minutes of meeting the woman in question.
I can’t wholly fault these men, either, though I can suggest that they outgrow this. We can’t wholly love another person and we’re not ready for relationships if we haven’t learned to love ourselves and just be happy by ourselves. If we can’t be happy alone there’s no sense in making someone else miserable along with us, that’s beneficial to no one. But, on the other side of that coin, a lot of men come from broken homes with awful families, they have no real friends or support structure, which is actually even more incentive to learn to live alone and learn how to be happy alone. Those are the best men, the men who know how to be completely, totally happy just being left alone.
Of Good and Bad Men
Every man knows whether or not a certain woman is someone he wants to settle down with, the difference is, a happy man doesn’t need to date anyone in order to fill some existential void within himself in the meantime. We don’t want to admit this because doing so would require us admitting our ridiculous standards or explaining our constant failures. This burden is too much for almost all men to carry. Very, very few men will ever admit to who falls in which camp, the “Misses Rights” and the “Misses Right-Nows,” and the men that do are the best men.
So how can you tell the difference? Pay attention to what men value. Do they value praise? Do they value material gains beyond the basics of life, home, health, and sustenance? Are they dependent on these things? Do they need a nice car? Do they need nice clothes? Do they require affection from women constantly? All of these dependents are liabilities in relationships. Our dependents are things that most people try to force upon their partners, responsibilities they off-load onto the persons they end up with and charge them with the maintenance of such “necessities.” Right or wrong, this is the reality.
But, what about a guy who’s perfectly okay with a cheap cup of coffee and getting lost in a good book they checked out from the public library? What about the guy who’s okay with a leisurely day in the park. What about the guy who’s got a hobby sewing interesting things? Well, when push comes to shove, these are the most truly independent men out there. The men who don’t need anything but themselves and the very basics of life. Simple men are independent men and independent men are the best men. They won’t lie and tell you they want to be with you when they really don’t, they know it, they admit it, and they continue on about their lives because they don’t need to obtain anything, not love, especially, because they already love themselves.
If there’s one, solid piece of advice I could give to anyone, man, woman, or non-binary, out there, who are interested in seriously dating men, it would be this: find a man who’s happy with little, for that is the man who’s resolved his inner conflicts. If you’re a man, the same rule applies, I suggest learning how to be happy with little and resolving your inner conflicts.