I'm sure that some of my more traumatized exes would be surprised to read that headline considering how, um, *cough cough* "unpleasantly" things ended between us, but really, it's true. I think men are great. Men are awesome, and not just when they put the seat down, or rub my feet, or agree with my opinions.
I'm writing this because, unfortunately, I think a lot of men aren't so sure anymore that being a man is great. Which, given the unrealistic expectations society has for men, isn't surprising. I'm talking about how men are simultaneously expected to be pioneering, perfectly-groomed alpha males who, with their bare hands, will chop down a tree and make it into a bed in which they give their partners multiple orgasms, all while being sensitive enough to sing along with One Direction, all the while perfectly roasting a free-range chicken for dinner. Or something. It's confusing. It's like, what do we want and why can't men somehow magically divine it and already do it yesterday, gawd.
Some women out there are rolling their eyes into next week, thinking, "Um, Carlota, didn't you used to be a feminist or something?" Yes, indeed: I am proud to be what Rush fondly called a "feminazi," but we can't really have a world in which women have the ability to use their fullest potential if men aren't part of that equation. I sincerely want to live my truest, most authentic life and I'd like everyone else to do the same, since it really does improve my chances of having a great Friday night date. When people are invested in their lives, as opposed to whatever tedious nonsense went on at the VMAs, people flourish. When people are invested, they give the best of themselves to the world, and oh look: We. All. Win! Also, the sex is much better. #justsaying
What I've noticed among my friends and clients is that the women who are the angriest at men, the women who date the worst train-wrecks, are the women who understand themselves the least. This is not surprising. If you don't understand yourself, if you dislike yourself, if you are essentially a stranger to yourself, how could you ever begin to understand and recognize a good person of the opposite sex and do the heavy lifting necessary to create and maintain a loving, committed relationship?
This is, in some ways, a gross oversimplification, but if you're convinced that you're unlovable, it's kinda sorta extremely difficult to meet a good man. However, it then becomes super easy to meet assholes. Indeed, many of the women who disparage themselves tend to become low-hanging fruit for predators. And the cycle of, "I can change him; I can make him see I'm worth his love. I can make him love me!" begins allll over again. Exhausting. Much better to expend all that energy on learning to love and value yourself, man or woman, so that when good people come along, you recognize each other.
Listen, loving yourself, accepting yourself ain't easy. Truly understanding that despite what anyone (family, friends, advertisers) says, yes, you are worthy of love right now, as you are, is an arduous process. And I'm not going to lie: I myself, about six years ago, following a brutally toxic, War of the Roses-type break-up, went through a period when I was very angry at men. I also was very angry with myself, but it was so much easier to blame any and every other man who wanted to get to know me. How much fun was I to be around?! And then time passed, and I was bored with hating, so I took responsibility and life goes on. I now get to just enjoy men as other people, like myself, just trying to do their best and savor their time on this planet.
My point being, what if instead of blaming each other, and hating ourselves... what if we committed to being the love we most wanted, and doing the work necessary to create the life and love we wanted? Spoiler alert: I'm a big fan of men, because I'm a big fan of people. People like you.
Tell me what you think in the comments, or, if you're feeling shy, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Follow Carlota Zimmerman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/kittenmagix