The talk by Elder D. Todd Christofferson during the priesthood session of LDS General Conference really jumped out at me. You see, I’m tired and frustrated with the men I meet. It seems that everywhere you look, men aren’t trying anymore. I’ve struggled internally, and even read magazine articles and books, trying to understand when men stopped caring about BEING MEN.
Are the women partially to blame? Did the women’s liberation movement, and ascent to equality, somehow make the men stop trying to carry the load? If so, that isn’t really the women’s fault. It’s like saying my neighbor mows his yard so well, that I decided to stop mowing mine because it isn’t as good as his. Stupid logic. And yet? It might be true.
I want a real man. I want a man who impresses me. I want to meet women who impress me too. I have no tolerance for a pansy who doesn’t try to live up to his potential. (And the same goes for women as well.) To quote Christofferson (who was quoting the book, “Manning Up“)-
“It’s been an almost universal rule of civilization that whereas girls became women simply by reaching physical maturity, boys had to pass a test. They needed to demonstrate courage, physical prowess, or mastery of the necessary skills. The goal was to prove their competence as protectors of women and children; this was always their primary social role. Today, however, with women moving ahead in an advanced economy, provider husbands and fathers are now optional, and the character qualities men had needed to play their role-fortitude, stoicism, courage, fidelity-are obsolete and even a little embarrassing.”
A few months ago I went to Duck Beach with a few thousand of my fellow Mormon singles. When I returned I went straight to a nannying job. At that time I wrote a column for Meridian about my experiences. In it I said that after a week of “fake mommying” and a weekend of wild, and carefree single life, I had made some changes. I realized I could be a single mother, and I could handle it. If you’ve read this blog for many years you know how much I have wanted to be a foster parent and to adopt, with or without a husband. I took care of 4 children, by myself, for a week. I survived. I enjoyed it. And I learned that I am capable and able of being a single mother.
I learned I can do it all by myself. I have lived alone for years. I can change the light bulbs in the vaulted ceiling. I own my own power tools. I can change the oil in my car. I can earn an honest living and support myself. And it turns out, I can do it all while taking care of four children.
I don’t NEED a man to take care of me. I WANT a man who will take care of me. And will let me care for and tend to him as well. We (men and women) bring unique traits and gifts to a relationship. All of our trains and gifts must be celebrated, appreciated, and enjoyed. I have never heard of any relationship being fulfilling or happy when one person had to do all of the work alone to keep things working.
It is a huge burden to make a relationship work alone. I don’t want to try anymore. See, in dating, the men have become lazier and lazier. (I should clarify- I am referring to the men over 30 in singles wards I have attended. And as much as I hate to make blanket statements, I make one now. Yes, there are exceptions to every rule. That is what makes them special and exceptions.) I don’t want to do it all alone. I’m tired. And so are all of the women I know.
The Rules of Dating Changed (in case you haven’t heard)
I don’t know when the tides of dating changed. There wasn’t a date marked in red on the calendar to let me know when it was time to move on to the next level. In fact, I may have only fully noticed today that the tides changed.
When I was in high school I often heard the advice, “Smile and be nice to the boys, and they will be nice to you.” I also regularly heard, “Friendship, not courtship, should be the relationship between teenagers.”
And then, still a teenager, I graduated from high school and went off to college. Suddenly it wasn’t about friendship, and it was all about marriage. The advice changed to “Don’t chase the boys. Let them come to you. That’s how you get a man!” Throughout my twenties that advice was repeated many times. Don’t try too hard! Put yourself out there, but let them come to you! In the cutthroat and often competitive world of singles wards, that was some hard advice to take. (How do you get noticed when the other girls are chasing the boys?)
One day I woke up in my thirties and the advice had changed again. “Don’t wait for a man to call you! Ask him out! How else will he know you are interested? The world has changed! These men don’t know how to date. You have to make it happen for yourself!”
I fear for the advice I’ll get in my forties! Can someone warn me now what I’ll be hearing then? I want to be well prepared (because I’ve always felt a little behind thus far)!
My mother likes to say, “Men don’t reach their thirties still single because they are good at dating.“
She makes a valid point. (I’ll admit, I don’t think many of the women are good at it either.)
I confess, I am tired. I am tired of dating. I am tired of wondering which piece of advice I should take, and then second guessing, worried I applied the wrong one.
But what is most exhausting may come as a surprise to you.
I’m Tired of Meeting Great Guys*
I’m tired of meeting great guys.
*Don’t get me wrong, I’m tired of meeting all of the Mr. Wrongs out there too. I’d rather meet a great guy than another loser.
But it is the good ones that let relationships dissipate or fall apart that I am tired of. I used to be a big believer in the “He’s just not that into you,” mode of thought. It helped me accept a lack of action and move on. But I’ve discovered there is a new breed out there, a new problem. These are the men (and maybe women do this too, but I highly doubt it) who are good, who are interesting, and with whom there is an attraction and interest. But they do nothing about it. They sit back and wait for the women to do all of the work, and put little effort into it at all. This sends an incredibly confusing signal to the women. Not to mention, a very disheartening one as well.
I used to say, “It’s okay, he’s just not that into you,” if a man didn’t put an effort into seeing me, and moved on. After all, I’ve “not been” into plenty of guys. I can accept that not all guys are into me.
But I have learned that there are guys who are into you, who are interested. It isn’t always just in your head. They really are interested and inviting. They just aren’t going to try because, well, they just don’t do that anymore.
Inevitably, the relationship fails because a woman can only do so much on her own. I’m tired of men not being real men. I want a man who wants to live. I want a man who wants to be a man! I want a man like the one described in Elder Christofferson’s talk!
Men, man up! Rise up! We want you! We like you! And we really want to love you!
And women, don’t give up hope yet. Help the men around you become the good and honorable priesthood leaders they should be. Don’t do everything for them. Tell them they could do better. And don’t just give in and do it all. Make them work for it, even if it hurts you a little to say goodbye.
Erin Ann McBride is a writer, dreamer, and blogger. Check out her newest book, “You Heard It Here First,” a romantic political thriller with conservative values and a good sense of humor!
She is the author of the novella “The Agency,” and co-author of “Beyond Perfection.” She regularly blogs about the stock market for “The Motley Fool.” She enjoys politics, pop culture, all things 80’s, and watching canceled science fiction TV series. She is a native of Washington, D.C., and currently resides in Roanoke, Va.