The Parent Trap

Women don't want men who act childish, huh? Some thoughts about Lori Duff's post from yesterday.

Today, I'm faced with a tough task. As some of you know, Lori Duff and I have been exchanging blog posts from the female/male perspective. The first exchange (on holiday gift buying advice for men and women) led to the second (on the subject of communication differences between men and women), and now we're onto the third. Lori's post on how women want partners not extra children is going to be a tough act to follow.

Mainly because I'm scared.***

It's easy to pick on men. We have a lot of faults, and if you're half of a man you'll own up to those foibles with a grin and an "aww shucks" shrug at the very least.

(If you're a good man, you'll own up to your shortcomings with something approaching discomfort. And if you're an exceptional man, you'll acknowledge that you have room to improve and then go attempt improvement, which means a trip to Lowe's or Home Depot because, hey--those are home improvement stores, after all.)

So what Lori has done so well is to hilariously point out those things which frustrate women and which we men readily identify in ourselves. Sure, some of us are loathe to point out any deficiencies, but most of us will cop to the truth. We can laugh at ourselves, and better yet, we have short memories, so things like this will quickly pass (which is part of the problem, I suppose) and we'll go on about our day.

Which brings us full circle to Lori's complaint: men are too simple.

Sure, she mostly wrote about the fact that women don't want to have a mate who needs incessant directives in order to complete the most basic of tasks, but her point of comparison was a child. Specifically a toddler--a human being in the early stages of development, devoid of the social or personal awareness necessary to function autonomously in society.

What is simpler than a child? What does a child do if it gets hungry? Cry. Sleepy? Cry. Bored? Cry. Sick of being ignored? Cry. Basically, a child is little more than a walking bag of emotion and tears. It's constantly demanding someone to take care of its needs, soothe its mind, heal its wounds, mend its hurt feelings. A child is maddening in its inability to completely articulate what it wants from the adult world. Thus, they get their point across in the only way they know how: simple, direct statements of demand, much to the chagrin of the parent being yelled at.

Honestly, what's more humiliating as an adult than for your child to point to an object and scream, "I WANT THAT, DADDY. GIVE TO ME NOW!"

Or to be in a store with your little one and have her pitch a fit in the floor because she just saw a pair of shoes she simply must have?

Or to be in the bathroom with your son and have him yell out, "I pooped! And it's everywhere! You need wipe me!"

Ah, the joys of children.

But back to my (and Lori's point): we men are too much like children. Too emotionally needy. Too selfish. Too focused on directing the lives of others around us in order to have things just the way we like them.

She's right. We need to be far less childish in our behavior. We need to be more independent. More self-sufficient, as Lori said.

Men, it's time we grow up. Be mature. Start taking care of business by devoting our lives to taking care of the needs of our spouses. We must take the time to meaningfully listen to them, to help them fully articulate the complicated emotional processes that are going on inside their heads. We must be attentive at all times in order to be present when something goes wrong. We need to see the world through their eyes, and understand that they cannot flourish without us.

The plain fact is that we men need to start parenting our wives. Lori has pointed out the great inequity. Let us endeavor to correct it.


*** This post is entirely satirical, so that means at least 85% of the people who read it will get mad and assume that it is my personal position on these matters. I cannot state emphatically enough that I do not treat my wife as if she is a child. We have a loving and adult relationship, and she is my best friend in all the world. I see her as my equal and my partner, and I cannot imagine life without her.

So before you go all high and mighty and start calling me sexist, just know that.


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