I stand before you all and declare, that as of today, I am DONE dating the “Damn Babe, That Sucks.” kind of guy. From here on out, I will only date the “What Can I Do To Help?” type of guy.
Ok, ok, I hear both sides rumbling already. I hear you ladies, from your pedestals, “Girl DUH! Why were you ever dating anything else?!” And men, ok, I hear you too “That sounds selfish. All you want is someone to take care of you.”
Great. Now that we’ve acknowledge the comments from the peanut gallery, can I continue?
I recently got into a pretty major-minor car accident. What’s a major minor accident you ask? It means that it was major in that I fell asleep behind the wheel, totaled a friend’s car, unable to walk for 3 weeks, and out of work. Major, right? Physical, mental, & emotional damage. I say minor because I only totaled property, not lives. Minor, because I only hit a parked car which could have easily been a pole, a person, or a moving vehicle. Minor, in the fact that I made it out alive and am here to write a blog about it. (Plus I had an ill, little crutch vibe for a few weeks and somehow worked out a mean pimp limp.)
Anyhow, I spent a lot of time in the bed. Like, a lot of time in bed. It was during this recovery that I began to note my interactions with friends, and in particular men.
The first week I was stuck in Adrienne’s guest room in Los Angeles. When the pain medication did not have me asleep or in the clouds, I was glued to my phone. I first noticed how certain girlfriends reacted when they learned the news of my accident. Some people immediately picked up the phone to check on me. Other friends offered to lend a hand, a shoulder, an ear, a dollar, or a good joke.
I’ve noticed that men typically respond to women in 1 of 2 ways when we present them with something that’s bothering us:
“Damn Babe, That Sucks” or “What Can I Do To Help?”
Let’s forget the accident for a second and use a general example:
Man: “How was your day?”
Woman: “Ugh! It was so long. I had 4 meetings, missed lunch, and now stuck on my last conference call. I can’t wait to get home to eat. I’m starving.”
Man: “Damn babe, that sucks.”
What’s wrong with that guy you ask? EVERYTHING!
He offers fake emotional support, but nothing more. If you dump your issues in his lap, they slide right off onto the floor. His desire to see you stress free does not supersede whatever he has going on in his life. His response makes it seem as if he cares or feels your pain but actually he’s just preoccupied with more important things than his feelings for you. (Important things like meeting the guys for cigars or watching the game. Or REALLY, REALLY important things like getting the cars washed or getting a haircut.)
The unfortunate part about the “Damn Babe, That Sucks” guy is he’s typically the one who has his own problems. Each time he needs something? You drop everything to help him. As soon as you need something? Here comes the auto-response. “Damn, babe. That Sucks.”
What would be the proper response to our busy, hungry work day example above? So glad you asked.
“Babe, what are you in the mood to eat? I’ll bring it over when you get home.”
“Babe, you sound stressed. I’ll pick you up from work, let’s get a bite.”
“Babe, I’m swamped at work too. I’ll order some takeout to both of our offices”
Something that shows he actually cares to help solve the problem and release a bit of your stress. In my case, I’ll have you know I did not receive a single bouquet of flowers from a man while I was on bedrest. Yet, so many of them want my time, energy, conversation AND body. How is that supposed to work? HOW SWAY!!
I want the second type of man. The man who who looks at himself and asks “What Can I Do To Help?”
The “What Can I Do To Help” guy is the man who thinks of how he can relieve some of the stress before he offers his words of encouragement. He’s a protector and a provider. He’s a real man who won’t rest easy, until you rest easy.
I’d be a liar to say my deck was completely void of these men. I did receive a couple responses along the lines of, “Let me know if you need anything” or “Let me know if I can help.” I’ll be honest, I don’t want to hear that. I do not want to let a man know if I need anything. I want to check my email and see there’s an order of groceries on the way because he KNOWS I cannot walk, let alone drive to the grocery store. And hey! Maybe I’m hungry?!
Listen, I’m not here to discredit or criticize the men who try with “Let me know how I can help.” They do have the right intentions. However, me? I am looking for actions. My ears are broken baby, you gotta show me.
(SIDENOTE: I have been told I give off this aura that seems to read that I never really need any help. It’s almost as if men assume women who are career driven, social, and financially stable are always “good.” I’m here to let you know we’re not!
I don’t know if it’s the way we carry ourselves? Is it displayed our through confidence, our demeanor? Perhaps it’s what you assume of us? Either way, I wish I could find someone to cleanse that aura because dammit, I love assistance and need help sometimes!)
Men are supposed to protect & provide. Unequivocally simple. It’s in the bible, don’t argue this point. Therefore, shouldn’t it be impossible for you to care about me and not WANT to protect or provide?
So yeah babe, “you’re right. It does suck.” because from here on out if you do not believe you should protect & provide, do not pass go, do not collect $200.