I invite ladies to be a fly on the wall and listen to the words of their confusing masculine counterparts.
You are in a sparsely furnished living room with even less décor on the walls; pizza boxes and pop cans are unevenly distributed in various spots in the room. You — an estrogen carrier — are an alien in the world of the testosterone breathers. Shhh. Say nothing…just listen…at first nothing but grunts can be heard, but after a few minutes a word is understood. You are not totally sure, but you think the word was…football. Yes, indeed they did say football. Before you know it you can actually understand a sentence or two. After enduring several comments on sports, cars, and food, you begin to think this is a lost cause. Then something happens…a tremendously long pause. Nothing. Not one word for what seems like an eternity. You think how rude and cold these guys must be to not say anything, but to your surprise, none of the guys seem bothered in the least about the silence. The silence is abruptly interrupted with the subject that you have been waiting for since you became a fly on the wall…girls…dating…and what guys are thinking about the two.
In the volley of verbal discussion you are quite surprised to find out that a lot of thought is put into this subject, considering the fact that it often seems that guys do not talk about relationships, let alone pursue them. This happens to be the topic of the night. Why don’t they (men) pursue women more often? Each male had his particular reason. The following is just a sample of what was unveiled.
Mr. Fear of Rejection
As he begins to talk you realize that guys ponder way more than emotions. In fact, if what these guys say is true, emotions are just not enough. A guy may be interested in a girl and still do and say nothing. Why? Because guys believe there are more factors to consider than feelings.
One of these factors is the fear of rejection. One of the guys explains a time when he was bold enough to ask a girl out, but she said no. The no itself was hard for him to take, because he really did care for this girl, but what happened is that this girl went back and told all of her friends and they began to review all of his perceivedstrengths and weaknesses. By the time it was over not only did all of her friends know, but their friends knew and their friends’ brothers knew that he asked, she said no, and that he was not tall enough for the average girl to really honestly consider. His chances with this girl were dead as was any future chances with any of her friends or most girls he knew within the area code. Due to the embarrassment and rejection he would simply rather not go through that again.
Mr. Not Financially Set
Another guy speaks up and points out that his main reason for not being active in the dating scene was that he felt he needed to be financially set before he could seriously commit to a woman. He begins to express how his parents struggled financially and how it put a lot of stress on their marriage. He would simply rather not set himself up to fail. If he could become financially secure, then he would feel much more at ease about being with a woman. In addition to this, he opens up and reveals that he believes most women want this. He expresses his insecurity that even though he has a decent job while still in grad school, that he still feels inept as a man because he could not support a woman even if he wanted to. “To pursue a woman, a guy has to be a man. He has to feel like a man. If not, what does he really have to offer?”
After the money talk subsided a man blurted out, “I don’t date simply because I’m not any good at it!” This guy was very straightforward and honest about the fact that he would rather put time into things he knew he was good at. He laid out a list of reasons why romance was simply not in his blood. His parents and many other relatives got married only to divorce in the end. His own relationships always ended in pain, and he was much better at so many other areas of his life. Why endure the heartache and waste his and some poor girl’s time by starting something that most likely wouldn’t work out anyway? After his initial premise for singlehood ended, he got quiet. Under his breath you barely hear these words, “No one likes to fail…I don’t want to fail.”
Mr. I Hate Fairy Tales
“You’re right…no one likes to fail, but no matter what any of us guys do we will all do exactly that.” A guy says from behind his saddened, but stern eyes. He continues to convey how he feels that no matter how hard a guy tries, it won’t be good enough in the end any how. “I blame it on the fairy tales and romantic comedies,” He says. “There’s knights in shining armor, the biggest engagement rings ever, and guys that always know what to say.”
This strikes you a bit oddly. You have put numerous amounts of hours lamenting how media has affected the perception of the ideal beauty and the pressures you have likely felt with all of the super models on TV, yet it never really dawned on you how that same thing might be occurring for guys. What do fairy tales and romantic comedies say about guys? They should always dress nice, have a nice home (a horse and carriage is a nice perk), never be grumpy, be the perfect balance of sensitive and masculine, able to beat up 1 to 40 guys all by himself if need be, and, oh yes, he must always leave the toilet seat down, because he is the most thoughtful and caring man alive.
Mr. I Hate Fairy Tales backs this up with a personal story of how he once bought his ex-girlfriend 12 roses. However, she was hurt, because he did not get her lilies. She felt he should know her better than that, because lilies were her favorite flower…not roses. Many examples followed, but the final conclusion was that he did not feel that getting into a relationship would benefit him. He would always fall short of the ideal, and that just did not sit well with him.
Mr. Can’t Find What I’m Looking For
After hearing all of the things that had been uttered you realize there was one guy who had not yet talked. The entire time he just listened to the others. Some of the guys noticed as well and they asked him what his deal was. He said, “Nothing…I would pursue a girl, but I just have not found what I’m looking for.” The guys asked him what that was exactly. He answered, “It’s simple…I’m looking for the same things you’re looking for. I’m looking for… . ” All of a sudden the audio is lost; then the video also fades and you realize that your masculine passport is expiring.
You find yourself back where you started…in estrogenville. Except there’s something a little bit different about how you view the men in your life. The guy you once looked at with a bit of resentment for not calling doesn’t look like as big of a jerk. In fact, for all of the guys you know, you seem to have a bit more compassion for them, because you are more aware of the things they are walking through. They are not all big jerks who care nothing for you or your lady friends. They are guys — flawed humans who just have not figured it out yet.
It was good to be a fly on the wall for just a moment, but you would really like to know what that last guy was going to say…what are guys looking for? Maybe next time. Maybe.
Dr. Jayce O’Neal is the pastor of RED Church in Virginia Beach. RED Church is a growing church community focused on Pursuing God, Loving Others, and Impacting the World.