Friday, 20 May 2011

Bitter Won't Help You

So many nice new readers! My stats are through the roof. Yay! Now everybody who hasn't done so already go read The Badness of Bitterness. Read it!

"I don't like women my age," whined a guy I know when we were both 27. "They're so jaded. I like younger girls, girls without baggage."

He was not exactly a catch himself, but I think he gave me some useful information. This information was confirmed by another guy I know who watched a parade of models on TV and declared (in a repetitive, almost-stoned way) that he liked Heidi Klum. The reason why he liked Heidi so much better than the other models was that she smiled.

The models skulked down the runway in undies and wings, glowering. Heidi strode down the runway in undies and wings, smiling a thousand watt smile.

"There's Heidi Klum," said the other guy I know, for the third time. "I like Heidi Klum. She's smiling."

It is not hard to get bitter and jaded. Some days skulking is easier than striding. We pop into the outside world full of ideals and enthusiasm, primed with the messages we learned in the nursery aka the TV: "Because you're worth it", "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful", "Diamonds are forever", "Dreams come true", "Reach out and touch someone", "Sinfully delicious." We toddle into kindergarten, expecting to be loved and adored by little boys, and instead they hit us with toy trucks. What the --?

You: Let's play house!

Him: No thanks. I have finally escaped my mother and I am now trying to differentiate myself from her by embracing my masculine identity. Therefore I don't want to play with girls or have anything to do with girls at all.

You: You talk funny.

Him: You have threatened my masculine identity, so now I will pinch you.

You: OW! Teacher, he pinched me! Waaaaaah!

Frankly, it's amazing that I wasn't smoking Gitanes and reading Fleurs de Mal by Grade One.

Speaking of Janeane Garofalo, one of the differences I discern between men and women is that many women are drawn to sneering, caustic men who smoke outside cafes between bouts of writing sneering, caustic poetry or prose, and not many men are drawn to female versions of ditto. Men love confident and happy women, but zillions of women will just go for confident.

I suspect that because women know so many women are attracted to sulking snarlers with messy hair, they make the mistake of thinking just as many men are attracted to sulking snarlers with messy hair. Uh-uh. They almost always prefer happy. Not necessarily perky. Happy.

When men really get you down, you start to develop a belief system which can be summed up as "Men Are Pigs." However, if you go through life thinking Men Are Pigs, you are magically going to scare away all the men but the piggy ones and maybe one or two really annoying puppy ones. I don't know why this is, but it is.

One solution is to write a list of all your beliefs about men's badness and then write the opposite on the other side, like this:

Most men are jerks./ Most men are great.
Most men hate women./ Most men love women.
Most men would rape if they could./ Most men are appalled by rape.
Most men want supermodels./ Most men marry women who aren't supermodels.

Eventually you find yourself convinced by List 2 and able to let go of List 1. And this should cheer you up enormously.

Another thing to do, as I have written before, and it's not my own idea--I got it from a book I used to hide from my mother--is to silently bless random men on the street. When you are in a really terrible mood about men, go for a walk and every time you see a man, silently say "Bless his little heart!" or if that seems too patronizing, just silently pray "Lord, bless this man." It really works, but make sure you don't get run over when you cross the street. Pay attention to traffic in between blessings.

Bitter simply won't help you. Let bitterness go. Let it go.


Anonymous said...

It's sad that some men think that older women have more baggage. I'm 40 yrs old, and I have way less baggage than I did when I was 24. I've mellowed as I've gotten older, and returning to the Church and sacraments (especially reconciliation) has really, really helped. I'm a much better person would make an awesome wife now - I would have been terrible at 22 or even 27. Now I just need to practise eye contact and smiling (I'm painfully shy).


Ginger said...

I think I commented yesterday that I didn't see the appeal of Mr. Darcy. Likewise, I was never one who went for the brooding, poetic, moody type. I always figured I had enough stormy moods for the two of us to do just fine, thankyouverymuch. I never did understand the girls who liked troubled, unhappy men. They're boring and they tend to suck the life out of you.

There was one man I went on a date with and had a brief interest in, until I realized that I stopped telling him the happy parts of my day because he would do nothing but shrug and list all the reasons that it was either no big deal or an outright negative. It really added some clouds to my otherwise sunny attitude.

To me, happiness = strength. As you said, it's often easier to just slump your shoulders than use the muscles in your back to hold them up. And I want a strong, happy man. The best men I've met and the ones I've loved most (my exboyfriend, my father, my confessor, etc.) are absolutely jovial and love life and fun. I'm sure it's not by chance that I never had feelings for anyone who sulked.

sciencegirl said...

I always thought the nice men (not the seductive jerk) from Sense and Sensibility were the best of Austen's men. I really like P&P but I never thought Darcy was so desirable. I like him being nice to Elizabeth.

Anonymous said...

Well, it seems to me that most men like the girls who appear not very intelligent. If you are smart, witty and you have a well-paid job, you have no chance.

Seraphic said...

I don't usually pass completely anonymous comments, but this one is a brilliant example of what I've been taking about.

If this is the script in your head, I just you remove it and install the opposite: "It seems to me that most men like the girls who appear intelligent. If you are smart, witty and you have a well-paid job, you are almost certain to attract a suitor."

As a matter of fact, I believe this to be absolutely true.

This said, if 'smart' means "sounds like a know-it-all who never gives anyone else a chance to shine", and 'witty' means "telling wisecracks at other people's expense", and 'well-paid' means either "bragging about what I earn" or "no time to socialize ever", then we're not talking about a fundamental flaw in the men around.

My brother married a medical doctor. She's very smart. I can't remember if she tells jokes. She certainly laughs at my brother's jokes, though. She's never said an unkind word about anybody in my hearing. And she's a very good listener. She's much more likely to ask a question and listen to the answer than to dominate a conversation.

Men are programmed to be interested in women. Therefore, if absolutely no men (not just men YOU are interested in) show an interest in you, it may be time to ask your bluntest friend why this may be.

Seraphic said...

Whoops! That should read, "I suggest." And I guess I should have written "MOST men are programmed to be interested in women."

Bitterness clouds judgement. It really does.

Christine said...

I just finished reading "Jane Eyre," and Mr. Edward Rochester comes to mind. He's not easy to deal with, definitely not happy-go-lucky, but he seems to naturally act brighter with his muse nearby. It seems that for the two in this story, they fit well together because of their shared blunt edges. However, in real life, I'd say that a man as angry and plotting (as in what he tries to hide) as Mr. Rochester might not be ideal (although reading it the book is so angstily romantic).

Anonymous said...

Well, thank you for making me an exception :-))
Yes, some of my friends are sometimes blunt, my brother always :-)). So, they tell me I look too intelligent and strong, and most men are afraid of this.
I dated only one guy, 10 years ago. It lasted about 6 months, it didn't work, he was a typical emotional quadriplegic (not only imho). And no, I didn't break up, he did. So you can be sure I never had many suitors.
But I have many who want me for a friend, who are asking for advise, etc. It may be a compliment, but also it's a kind of annoying - why noone wants more from me?
If you think my appearance is problem, it isn't. I'm tall and fairly good-looking, many say beautiful and look 7-8 years younger.
My confessor tells me to be patient, pray and wait. But I'm 42 and very, very tired of single life.