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Friday, February 19, 2010


I've been speaking with a couple of male friends as of late who, for the time being, have voluntarily taken themselves out of the dating game. The main reason for their lack of desire to date is that they claim they don't want to be anyone's cheerleader. They're tired of having to convince a girlfriend that everything's gonna be okay when she hates her job, her body, her roommate, her life, her dog, etc. It's too exhausting, they say, and they'd rather just be alone.

I get it. I've spent a fair amount of time trying to convince teary eyed girlfriends that their asses didn't look fat in their jeans, when all I really wanted to do was tell them to "Put the fucking jeans on, and let's go already!" As I listened to my friends speak, I wondered if women ever feel the same way. Isn't it in their natures, after all, to nurture? Wouldn't a woman lovingly tell a boyfriend or husband that his ass looked perfect in his Levis without the slightest hint of anger or resentment?

But I suppose no one really likes to be a cheerleader - a fact that hit home this past weekend as I worked on a freelance writing gig at the NBA All-Star game in Dallas. I watched the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders sitting on the side of the court waiting to rehearse, and they could not have looked more bored and disinterested. They put on a good show when the cameras were rolling, like a man does when he's telling his weeping woman that she doesn't look like she's gained any weight, but I knew the cheerleaders' hearts weren't in it. As I watched them do their cheers, I wondered if their boyfriends were tired of convincing them that their asses looked good in their tiny short shorts.


beforewisdom said...

Hearing complaints about the same thing, repeatedly is tiresome. It is one thing with a girlfriend, but it is even worse with a woman who is not yet your girlfriend, who you have only just started dating.

Using someone as a sounding board needs to and should wait until a relationship is well established.

I hate to reenforce that Debra Tannen BS, but men aren't women.

We communicate about an issue to problem solve. We don't talk about it to get or give emotional validation.

We can handle that just the same, but not as much as a woman can without feeling dragged down or anxious.

I can handle being there for someone special. However, if they are going to need emotional validation about the same issue, repeatedly, on an ongoing basis they should find a girl-friend or a shrink.

Anonymous said...

I am a man. And the only thing I look for on my dates is emotional validation. Never happened yet.

Kat Wilder said...

Hmm, it sound like your male friends are finding the wrong women to date.

If a woman (or a man) is repeatedly kvetching about whatever , there's a bigger issue going on.

Nothing wrong with helping a loved one sort it out or being supportive while he/she figures it out him/herself, but there's a point at which validation should be left to parking garage attendants.

Anonymous said...

There are a lot of people who seek cheerleaders and this is not exclusive to romantic relationships (I know because I have ended up being the cheerleader more times than I can count). And I am a woman. Yeah, I admit that it was usually female friends and family members that I ended up cheerleading for, but there have been men, too. I don't do that anymore. I've been sucked dry and now *I* need a freakin' cheerleader. Instead of over-burdening my poor husband (and being his kid instead of his wife - gross!), I got a therapist. So far it's worth the money.

Dark Cloud Nine said...

Hm I really don't like the gender stereotypes, as in, "it is in the woman's nature to nurture". No. Women have the ability to procreate. The nurturing part, especially outside of mother-offspring relationship, is very much a gender role and therefore highly subject to inter individual variability.

Yentl said...

Well, if not nurture then nurse?