In the beginning…there was a him and a her – and nobody’s agreed on anything since. In this column, we present both sides, as if we may eventually come to a conclusion…you decide!
It is a very well established fact, indeed, that boys mature at a slower rate than girls do. While recent neuroscience suggests that this is much more due to timing of development rather than any implied lack thereof on the former’s part, it is still notable as we attempt to suss out from whence the man-child’s immaturity comes. It is also quite unsurprising that this tendency, inherent in youth, carries on through adolescence and into adulthood. Still, even if that is the case, why is it that we as men just cannot seem to get it together long enough to grow up? Pull my finger and I will tell you!
First I would argue that we do…grow up, I mean…eventually…albeit, begrudgingly. In fact, I would argue that it is the very act of having to be “the grown up man of the family,” with the full weight of the family unit’s success or failure on his shoulders, that in the end often causes him to act so immaturely. But wouldn’t that just be an argument for arguments sake—and as such, further evidence of childlike behavior?
You must allow us to have our immature talk! We are all for serious conversations when it is ‘serious conversation time’, but in order for that to happen we must be able to act with a blatant disregard toward conventions of polite conversations at other times. Be honest, you know the first things that come out of our mouths in the morning, or the quickest to come to mind overall—there is a lot of idle chatter in there.
You must allow us our immature actions! If I had a dime for every time I did some ridiculous thing to which my wife could do nothing but respond with a disapproving head-wag, I would have…well, enough dimes to make a go-kart out of; upon which I would most certainly mount a cannon out of smelted dimes, that would shoot out—you guessed it—rolls of dimes at everyone who told me it couldn’t be done. So, let it happen on guy’s night, when you are not there. Which brings me to my next point…
You must allow us our immature friends! Every guy has several groups of friends. Even the stuffiest amongst us, entrenched in business and the business of family alike, has the group of friends that he can cut loose with. Heck, the golf course is practically made for such shenanigans. You get a group of guys together with a big club and a little ball with next to no women around for miles and we are going to ridicule and heckle each other into little insufferable balls of resilient clay.
Seriously though (and please note here for maturity’s sake that it took me exactly 5 paragraphs to get to a serious point—but I got there!), whether you want to admit it or not, it is precisely our childlike nature that most likely initially attracted you to us (in addition to, of course, our heaps of money, washboard abs and chiseled jaw—obviously!). Our ability to joke, and to make you laugh, is part of our charm and charisma. Our ability to be good with kids and make them laugh as well as keep them entertained too, is a plus. Sure, you would prefer that it wasn’t because these children were our maturity equals, but aren’t we just splitting hairs now?
Let’s get one thing straight, this is not about the chores, or the things that need to be done. It’s about being involved in each other’s lives and being keenly aware of what the person wants and needs and how to give it to them. If you go out with your buddy three times a week, but don’t have time to take your lady out for a nice dinner a couple times a month, you’ll get “grow up” shouted at you.
Us women give up just as much as you do. Gone are the girls’ nights out where we can go wild, the impromptu trips to exotic places and the therapeutic designer bags. We realize relationships mean sacrifices, and don’t mind that we have to give those things up. Yet, we are often startled, many times too late in a relationship, that our men are no better than children. They need to be fed, clothed and cleaned, and ushered through much of the turbulence that comes with any relationship.
With a natural born ability to multitask, we’ve been able to easily straddle between the modern working woman and the socially accepted homemaker. As a woman, I take pride in my home and love my kitchen. I want my man and children to be happy and content and wouldn’t dare to let them out of the house with a wrinkled shirt.
As we have evolved, men have held tight to their breadwinner role and even demand higher praise for their ability to have a job. Let me make this clear: Having a job is not an achievement. It’s a requirement. You need to eat your vegetables, you need to shower and you need to have a job. You don’t get a reward for that. That’s not part of growing up, it’s just a natural course of life. Giving your partner the attention she needs, now that’s reward worthy.
My husband and I tried a bit of an experiment over the vacation. I was stressed out from the combination of housework and my career. I was tired of cleaning up all the time, and he could see it. So, we switched roles. He took care of everything in the house for a full two days. He did all the daily chores, and even did some vacuuming.
I was set up with Far Cry 3, a video game where you need to save friends kidnapped by pirates after a vacation went sour. I spent the full two days playing the game. I didn’t lift a finger, and it was absolutely incredible. But by the end, I missed my husband, and felt completely unproductive. I missed doing things for him, and instead of them being a chore they became little gifts I give him every day.
This is what we mean when we say grow up. Women need to feel that they are with a man that supports them physically, emotionally and mentally. That’s what makes a man right? Your uncanny ability to support your partner fully without letting all the emotions get in the way. Men are supposed to be the rocks in their women’s lives. So, it’s frustrating when our men become burdens we carry on our shoulders.
Keep adding fuel to the inter-office fire by sending in excerpts from your own battle of the sexes. We will take it from there!