*Note, when I say man and woman, I mean male energy and female energy. Those energies can flip back and forth within straight couples and exist in same-sex relationships.
I’m going to rant a little bit, here. You may disagree with me. That’s cool.
On our first date, Bear brought me a single rose. He opened the door for me. He asked me what I wanted to drink and then ordered it for me. Same with dinner. He paid for our meal. He waited outside the bathroom for me so we could exit restaurant at the same time. He offered me a kiss on the cheek (which, I will admit, I politely declined in favor of a REAL kiss because…well, that I couldn’t help).
And I didn’t like most of that at the time.
I’m in a hailstorm of learning right now. I am re-discovering my feminine side, the part of me that is emotional and nurturing and protected. I lost most of that part of Erin due to some of the dynamics within my marriage. It’s a super weird experience finding out that I actually like being a girl, and it’s kind of a step-by-step process of the letting go of what I thought I should be.
I was raised in a generation of “Women can do everything.” I was taught that any and all careers were mine for the taking, that I was in charge, I held the power, I was woman hear me roar. GO VAGINAS! I heard things like “glass ceiling” and “gender equality” all over the place and I scoffed and scowled. I believed that I could be ANYTHING AT ALL. I DON’T NEED A MAN.
What no one told me was that I would still need to be soft, loving, nurturing, and receptive if I want to have a relationship.
That’s where shit got confusing.
I spent years thinking that by giving up my “power” to a man, I was being taken advantage of. But as it turns out, a man wanting to open my doors, pay for my meals, fetch me ice cream at 10 o’clock at night, that’s not taking my power. That’s not degrading. Being a GIRL is not degrading. Letting a man do man-ish things is what signals to him that you appreciate his ability to be a man, and that you like being able to be the woman in the relationship.
How do I tell the difference between a man making me “less-than” and a man wanting to be an actual man? I ask myself this: “COULD I do this myself if I wanted to?” The answer, almost invariably, is yes. However, the rest of the answer is, “…but allowing him to do it gives him space to be a man. And I want to date a MAN.” It’s isn’t a relinquishing of power or rights or status. It’s allowing both parties to feel necessary in the relationship. If he tries to open my door and I don’t let him, he doesn’t feel like he has a role. Suddenly, only one of us is necessary.
Being a girl feels vulnerable. And that’s why we don’t like to do it. It’s good knowing that WE can ask the guys out and WE can make the money and WE can mow the lawn…well, it’s just that: good to know. But allowing someone to take the reigns and to trust them to guide the ship is SCARY, so we just stay right up there at the helm with them, fighting to be the captain. It’s time to stop doing that now. It’s time for me to stop doing that. A real woman allows a dude to open her doors without a snarky little, “I got it.”
Maybe it’s not that there’s a lack of good men in this world? Maybe it’s that women have forgotten how to be women. We’ve forgotten to be soft, to wait for men to order our drinks for us and pump our gas. In the midst of all this equality, we forgot that it doesn’t matter that a relationship is EQUAL. It matters that both people feel important and loved. So go out and build your careers, women! Do all the things they said women could never do 50+ years ago. But when you get home to your man, remember that he’s the man.
Step aside. Let him.