Friday, 31 May 2013

Gentlemen's Day, May

Today is Gentlemen's Day, the day that male readers are invited to say what they think in the combox, as long as they don't think naughty words. Gentlemen do not type naughty words onto the blogs of respectable married ladies. It's one of those defining characteristics.

The fact is that my majority female readers love to read the Gentlemen's Eye View, possibly because the vast majority of my female readers are great fans of gentlemen and, like me, believe they are the caffeine in the cappuccino of life.

Today I have two letters upon which gentlemen readers are asked to comment. The first is a doozy.

Dear Gentlemen Readers,

I have a couple of grown-up brothers (in age more than maturity), and they are sweet as can be, except for their sense of hygiene. Somehow - and I don't for the life of me know how - they seemed to have missed learning some major life skills that my sisters and I picked up without trouble. Examples include not brushing their teeth or showering on any kind of regular basis, not throwing away trash or food wrappers like EVER, but actually SLEEPING in them;  never ever attempting to put away or fold or hang up clothes....leaving gross messes in the bathroom that they share with some of us girls...

Now, I understand that some people are chronically messy and that's okay by me, but we're dealing with unsanitary messiness, which I cannot stand. I am embarrassed for my brothers, and ashamed that they will not do even basic things like brush teeth and take showers. They are big, strapping, college-going boys, and they often smell bad. Really bad. 

My sisters, mom, and I have tried many things to get them to care - everything on the spectrum from negative to positive, from shaming them and asking them how they ever think they'll get girlfriends to encouraging them and complimenting them when they occasionally deign to put on deodorant - and yet they still behave the same way.

I feel that hygiene is not only a personal issue, but an issue that effects everyone around you, and that therefore this is partly my business too. I want the best for my brothers. I want to feel proud of them and know that they'll be able to make it in the world without being total slobs. Unfortunately,  I know I would never want to marry someone as slovenly as they are at this point.

My question for you gentlemen is: How do I help affect positive change in my brothers' lives? If you had a sister, what could she say or do to help you improve? I feel like everything I say, no matter whether it is negative or positive, has absolutely no effect. Will they just magically grow out of this one day?

~ Concerned Sister

My own first thought is "Where is their father in all this?" Because frankly it sounds like they need a huge chewing out by a patriarch. However, as the father has not been mentioned, I am assuming he's not on the scene. If I were their mother, I would throw them out of the house until they cleaned up their act. For me the issue would not be "Will they ever attract a girl?" For me the issue is "How can my daughters and I thrive and feel happy in a home made extremely unpleasant by anti-social men?"  However, it's Gentlemen's Day, so hopefullly the men will have something to say.

The next letter is about how men feel about tall girls with thriving businesses.

Dear Auntie Seraphic,

I have a question for the eavesdroppers that I'm not sure how to phrase so I'm going to type my thoughts out to you and hope for the best!

Do men find women who are taller than they are intimidating? I'm sure it depends on lots of things but in general? I'm 6'1" in flats and find that only guys who can look me in the eye (so not shorter than ~5'10") are the only ones to ever express interest, not that there's been lots of that...

But that leads me to other intimidation related thoughts: I'm 27, have been running my own [...] business for the past 10 years, making a full time living from it for the past 5. Also, I own a house now.  I've only been asked out twice in the past three years and neither of those went beyond a second date. How intimidating to men is the whole owning a business and house thing?  

Tall Girl with Business and House

Perhaps it is because I am a woman, but I am not a whit intimidated but extremely impressed. To have your own thriving business and a house by the age of 27 is amazing. Well, let's see what the men have to say.

Gentlemen, please feel free to comment on these and other issues, and to ask your own questions.

Ladies, you may not comment on the gentlemen's comments until tomorrow.


MaryJane said...

Am I allowed to comment and say that I really like the blue wallpaper? It's lovely! (And all the titles and highlighting look so nice in blue.)

I also have a question for the gents: do you have a moral or aesthetic problem with women using traditionally "foul language"? (I don't mean taking the Lord's name in vain, but rather certain words designated by society as "swear words," regardless of the meaning they share with non-swear words.) Why or why not? And if you do, are you more of a "trad" type in general, who likes women in skirts, etc.? I'm interested, statistically, though this is hardly scientific :)

hip2bsquare said...

Answer to Concerned Sister:

Your intuition that whatever you say, positive or negative, will have no effect is on the mark. The only thing I can think of for you to do is to recruit a male authority figure, who your brothers respect, to have a talk with them. It's no guarantee, but it is your best shot.

Answer to Tall Girl:

I think your height could be an issue on two different levels.

The first issue is that there is a well-established notion that women prefer to date men who are as tall or taller than themselves. It may be the case that a man who would otherwise be interested fails to ask because he assumes he'll be rejected.

If you're willing to date men who are shorter, you might find some creative way of letting men know that their height isn't a barrier. This would be easier to do in an online dating profile than in casual conversation.

The other height issue could be that some men prefer to date women who are shorter than themselves. There isn't anything you can do about that. Trying to argue men out of their preferences is a fool's errand.

I don't think that success in business and early home-ownership are as likely to present problems. It wouldn't bother me. At the same time, there can be some issues around male pride if his career hasn't flowered quite as much as yours. But would you really want to date a man with those issues?

Answer to MaryJane

I have an aesthetic objection to women using swear words in casual conversation. I find lady F-bombs especially grating. I don't think it's a huge moral issue, although I try not to employ swear words and never use them in mixed company. Letting loose an occasional expletive in extreme circumstances isn't the end of the world.

I'm trad in that I prefer traditional music at Mass and am a huge fan of Pope Emeritus Benedict. I'm not trad in that I only attend the Extraordinary Form several times per year and am not interested in the pants vs. skirts issue.

Gentleman Reader said...

Re: Hygiene

Looking back on my own life, my sense of hygiene was significantly worse at 18 than it is now at 30. I cringe a little when I remember how I was when I was younger, but I did improve over time. So, your brothers might eventually improve.

On the other hand, they might not. My two roommates (30+) have significant hygiene problems (not scooping cat litter, leaving hair everywhere after shaving head, not showering adequately, etc). The lives of these roommates are also disorderly in other respects (poor performance in their jobs, too much TV watching, etc), while when I was younger, my life was orderly for my age.

I guess the question is, are your brothers' lives orderly in other respects (aside from hygiene)? If so, I would be optimistic that their hygiene will eventually catch up.

Re: intimidation

I would be much more intimidated by a tall woman than by one with a business. Don't ask me to explain why, as the intimidation is instinctual and ultimately inexplicable.

Is it possible that your business leaves you with little free time, and men are noticing that it's difficult to find a time when you're available? Men could be deterred if they feel that it would be a struggle for you to find time for them in a relationship.

Re: foul language

I do have somewhat of an aesthetic problem with women using foul language, especially when women use it to get laughs or add emphasis to a story than they're telling. (As opposed to using foul language when genuinely feeling overwhelmed.)

WereNotReallyHere said...

Hmm. The first question I really am stumped. I'll admit it's happened to me a few times that another person will inform me that I need to wear deodorant. I was so mortified that I never ever forgot about hygiene again (for at least a few months until I um...forgot. Then cycle thought over and over again until about 3-5 years ago when I just finally broke some bad habits.) All I can really offer is that you seem t be going about things correctly. It sounds like your brothers have a long long way to go, but my best guess would be to keep doing what you are doing, and maybe they'll grow up eventually. Some guys just take way too long to get past age 14 emotionally.

Some never get there.

IMHO, there is nothing intimidating about a successful businesswoman. If anything, it might be nice to be in a relationship and know that, if it works out, that I wouldn't have to put myself under so much pressure to advance my own career. But ultimately that doesn't really matter either way. If a guy likes you, he likes you and the financial aspect won't come into play very much.

Also, I agree with announcing that you wouldn't mind dating shorter guys if you get a chance to make such an announcement. Guys are only really intimidated for two reasons: One is because you are pretty. Good looks are scary. You are probably extremely gorgeous, so there's not a lot you can do about that you. The second is if he thinks a woman is out of his league. That's where Hip2BSquare's advice comes in.

-L said...

-L here, back to impart some more XY-chromosome wisdom...

With regard to the hygiene-impaired: it seems quite obvious to me that those fellows are being gross and stinky for the specific purpose of freaking out you and your mother. No doubt they are asserting their masculinity and unique identities as men, albeit in a foolish and disgusting way. But there is an age-old solution: have them move out. As college-aged fellows, they should be in their own place anyway. Stick 'em together in a one-room studio apartment, and showering will seem like a great idea - particularly in the absence of womenfolk to annoy. (Barring that, have them enlist. The Army works wonders on the hygiene-impaired with scrub brushes and duct tape.)

With regard to the tall lady: as the fellow wrote above, your best bet is to aggressively advertise your willingness to date not-tall men. We menfolk figure out pretty quick: women do not want to date fellows shorter than themselves. (For this reason, men shorter than 5'3 or so have an awful time in the dating market.) Thus, you must take special steps to make a potential 5'9 suitor feel as though you will not laugh at his overtures. And don't worry about the business/accomplishments thing. Not to be too harsh, but: for good or ill, men don't care about the accomplishments of women they hope to date.

With regard to ladies with foul mouths: speaking only for my unapologetically reactionary self, I don't care. Cursing becomes a problem only when the lady in question cannot refrain from cursing in inappropriate settings. Put another way: when you curse in front of me, it's endearing, but when you curse in front of my mom, there's an issue.

I'm a little surprised that there are so few questions this time out.


Seraphic said...

@L. Fridays are always quieter on the blog, and I didn't give the girls much time!

Thank you, gentlemen eavesdroppers, for your contributions. I am sure the girls appreciated them. I certainly did.

Michael said...

Thinking of (not personal) Hygiene I've to admit that this an area where I still have to struggle to find time to do it. However, since I have a female flatmate plus a cleaning lady, it works fine. For me, living with a woman in the same apartment makes me more orderly than living with a guy. Now if I leave my room, it is in due order!

Thinking of tall woman with business. I always wanted a "great girl", who is successfull in secular ways. I would even love want to date "up", since I feel being the head of the family doesn't mean that I have to be superior than her. I feel submitting just means that she respects me and lets me feel like the manly hero and gentleman. Otherwise I would feel as somehow her child.

Thanks at this point to Alisha insisting on dancing in the "nervous guy" discussion in february! You are perfectly right in it. We started with Parish dance exercising lessons and it's wonderful. It's a wonderful interaction and a model of a christian marriage. You are leading and she is willingly submitting and all in friendliness ;-)
I feel much more manly and I feel also the womanliness of women more. And I feel how much more easy talking is going on with women and how relaxed the atmosphere is. Very much difficult from meeting people after a mass.

Concerning the height: with my 178 cm, I feel that the 185 cm lady would be ok for me. With women smaller than 155cm, I have much more of a problem.

Nice greetings
Not-Nervous anymore

Seraphic said...

Michael, I'm delighted that you have profited from your parish dance lessons, and I know Alisha will be delighted, too, when she finds out!

MaryJane said...

Thanks, gents! Sometimes I wonder how much of the male "I find it unattractive and it isn't ladylike when women swear - ever" is a fiction of the internet or uber-trad circles.

Next time we have gentleman's day, I am very curious to hear more about L's statement, "for good or ill, men don't care about the accomplishments of women they hope to date." I find it to be experientially true, but am curious to know more about the thinking behind it because it is very foreign to my female mind to think this way about men.

Jo said...

On a matter related to the hygiene issue, I think some young men also need to be tutored in the habits of keeping the front car seat or dining room/rest room of their place presentable for guests. A few times I've gathered with a mix group from church for a social dinner, and while the house wasn't dirty, per se, I was slightly irked to find the bathroom counter near the sink cluttered with all varieties of male grooming products (it took me a few moments to find the hand soap!). I think the young men hosting were totally oblivious to this. I was glad to see that they clearly paid sufficient attention to facial and oral care, but I would like to wash my hands without the minefield of toiletries, please.

Jo said...

On a matter related to the hygiene issue, I think some young men also need to be tutored in the habits of keeping the front car seat or dining room/rest room of their place presentable for guests. A few times I've gathered with a mix group from church for a social dinner, and while the house wasn't dirty, per se, I was slightly irked to find the bathroom counter near the sink cluttered with all varieties of male grooming products (it took me a few moments to find the hand soap!). I think the young men hosting were totally oblivious to this. I was glad to see that they clearly paid sufficient attention to facial and oral care, but I would like to wash my hands without the minefield of toiletries, please.

Seraphic said...

Well, Jo, that strikes me as harsh. If you're a guest in a man's home, you don't get to complain about where he puts his stuff. That's in an entirely different league from men making the women they live with suffer from their soap-dodging ways. In short, you live with the man, you can complain about his home hygiene. You don't live with the man, you can't.

Jo said...

I have been in the habit of being cross around here, haven't I? :) Well, I should clarify that this was a bathroom being shared by the FIVE men of the house. I do think, if anything, that the bathroom should be tidied up for guests if there are half a dozen people's articles scattered about.

Seraphic said...

This may shake up my most beloved Eavesdroppers, but I like to see men's shaving kits and weird hair potions scattered about because it makes them seem more like family, like brothers or sons or extra husbands, second class. It's a bit of a privilege to be allowed in their lairs, even to the point of seeing their badger-hair shaving brushes or what have you. Secret man stuff.

However, I am assuming you are a whole lot younger than me and therefore find such intimate discoveries a bit squeamish-making. I suspect I would not have enjoyed having to contemplate that my male friends were actually MEN when I was in my early twenties because when I was in my early twenties I felt rather oppressed by male sexuality, which seemed very inconvenient and unpredictable and would somehow be connected to their secret man stuff. "So-and-so shaves! Ick!" But the older I get, the less modest/bothered I am about this sort of thing.

Well, if you are icked, all I can advise you is to turn down their invitations, although I think that would be a pity. Some of your fellow readers would give their back molars to be invited to parties at houses of five men they knew from church and would exult over their shaving kits.

It would be extremely counter-productive to tell your hosts they should clean up their stuff before young female guests come over. Only a mother, sister, wife or girlfriend might have that kind of privilege, and even then only the women they lived with could enforce it.

B.A. doesn't bother telling me not to leave all my woman potions etc. on the bathroom counter before parties. He just scoops them up and shoves them in a plastic container in the corner, which drives me NUTS as later I can't find anything.

Jo said...

As bothered as I am by it, I certainly don't think it is a good idea to vocalize my opinion to the young men in question. That being said, the point I was trying to make is that the appearance of the powder room has the potential to make a very strong impression (I don't remember at all what I had for dinner that evening, but the image of that bathroom is still etched in my memory). Cleanliness can be a way to impress.

The ick factor really has nothing to do with what you described above-but it has everything to do with neatness. I imagine my behavior with a spouse with be similar to B.A.'s-it was standard operating procedure in my household to squirrel all miscellaneous toiletries aside from the soap away whenever my mother was preparing to have folks over to our house. To this day I get annoyed if ever I accidentally leave so much as the toothpaste outside of the medicine cabinet in my own house (same for the kitchen), so I think it is hardwired into my brain that a state of such clutter is a sign of neglect (excepting folks with children, where most of the time trying to clean is futile). My inner neat freak is put on edge by cluttered bathrooms of my female friends as well. I don't care how lovely a man's shaving kit is-to me it belongs in the cupboard :)

alliecat said...

This may be a personal and/or cultural preference, because I agree with Jo. Men's toiletries don't make me squeamish at all, but I think there are just certain things you do before guests come over, and making sure they can conveniently wash their hands is one of them. Of course, I would never comment on it, but it would be nice if that was something they were taught by their mothers before leaving the family home. I also agree with keeping the passenger seat of the car cleaned out. If I'm riding somewhere with my boyfriend in the winter, the last thing I want to do is stand out in the cold for five minutes while he scoops a pile of stuff out his front seat and throws it in the back.

RMVB said...

I have to be honest - I am astonished that men think women only want to date men who are taller than they are!!! Speaking from experience, I have had many a crush on a shorter (even significantly) guy! Even in the situations where there was mutual flirting and obvious attraction on his part, he never made any move of any sort because I was too tall (on several occasions throughout my life). I even had a guy friend tell MY best friend that he had a crush on me, but didn't want to date me because I was too tall. Not to mention all of the dances that I sat out on because no guy wanted to dance with a tall girl, even if he was himself tall, but all the tiny girls get grabbed up immediately.

I totally understand that guys are attracted to whom they are attracted, but in these experiences the rejection of tall women has nothing to do with not being attractive/compatible with men, but with men being, dare I say it? too shallow and prideful?????
I know that is a generalization, so please don't take it as a man-hating statement ( I really do think most men are great, and even the "shallow" ones are sometimes just subconsciously so and not intentionally). I'm just calling it as I see it, for this issue. And not to say that women are not shallow often enough as well, but usually they value other superficial things, like facial looks, muscles, money, popularity, etc, but I've never heard a girl say she didn't want to date a man who was shorter than she was....

Again, speaking from experience, I find shorter men who pursue me MORE attractive than if they do not: it means that they are not obsessed with physical social standards/not shallow, and that they are brave enough to think they can be the "protector" of this woman who is taller than he. That is super masculine.....

Having said that, PLEASE MEN! Spread the word at any given opportunity!!! Tall women don't necessarily need a man to be taller than her!!! Proclaim it from the rooftops!


Nzie (theRosyGardener) said...

Thanks, fellows! I'm currently 4 hours ahead of Seraphic (summer job adventure) and don't have internet at home, so I didn't see it in time to ask questions (not that I have any at this point, but I can say I think boys come late to hygiene - three brothers versus five sisters, and whose bathroom is messier? - personal neatness is another thing; girls can be just as messy). It's nice to have gentleman's day - maybe a bit more notice a couple days before? Also, I had never heard of being too short a problem before - do heels count towards those 155 cm? I can't reach that without them. ;-)

Thanks Seraphic and NCBs and my fellow female readers for the discussion. :-)

MaryJane said...

RMVB, I'm not a tall girl, but I am friends with several, and they all would tend to prefer tall guys. This may change as they get older, but for now, it's just something they prefer. They aren't being shallow: it's just something that is personally important to them. (Everyone has stuff like this - you can't help what you are or are not attracted to! Some people like dark hair. Others prefer blonds. I assume that it isn't a hard-and-fast rule, but more of a personal preference.) Obviously, it just depends on the person. Personally, I'm not attracted to men who are my height or shorter, in general, but I have a met a few lately who were so confident and gentlemanly that I certainly would have considered dating them had our life circumstances been different. I guess a good amount of confidence can make up for a lack of physical height! :)

Anonymous said...

@ RMVB - I assume it is because almost all tall women I have ever seen have spouses or boyfriends that are as tall or taller than them (I guess they need to be a few inches taller, so when the girl wears heels...). Could be something to do with the man being expected to physically protect her from rival men of similar stature? (but that is junk pysch stuff ;) )

@ Mary Jane - Never been to Latin or TLM, orthodox but not trad as such, prefer skirts (on the girls, not me!) but not fussed. Sooo, not worried about swearing if you hurt yourself, but prefer swearing to be limited, for moral and niceness reasons. Guys look to girls for moral guidance I reckon. We act all put out if a girl chides us, but we like that she sets the moral boundaries (reveals her moral character).

@ Tall Girl - business/career success and a house are not intimidating per se, but a lot of guys seem to have low self esteem now if they aren't bringing anything to the relationship, so may not date at all. A rare liberal success story is the reduction in sexism - most men see women as their equals now, but.... if girls can do anything, guys do nothing, and feel useless, so may avoid the ultra-capable girls. Give him something useful to do, like dig out a tree stump ;)

Southern Bloke.