By Carolyn Ramos • December 14, 2012•Writers in Residence
Hermanas, I must first ask your forgiveness: I apologize for disappearing for months while I prepared for a trial and dug out from the mess that grew contemporaneously therefrom. While you were all more than supportive, you also let me know my words were missed and that meant even more to me during a very challenging time.
This month, I want to talk about boys. Yes, I am aware that I have spent some modicum of time bashing them here and while I don’t feel sorry for them, I do feel the need to acknowledge that overwhelmingly, Gen X boys are good - really good, they “get it” and I am thankful for them. I know because I have one. A sexy Irishman who reads my blog religiously and cheers me on through writers’ block and “I’m-too-busy-to-write-dammit”s because he thinks this is important. He reads and he laughs and he ponders and we open a bottle of wine and concoct the winning strategy for changing world views on women, people of color and equality (sigh).
He and his comrades are trying (well, when we let them, but that is for another column) to do their share of the cooking, cleaning, shopping, laundry, picking up, dropping off, bathing and homework and while I am not issuing any medals for what should have always been considered the fair division of labor, I gotta give some props to these guys for stepping up when it counts – every day.
Still, there are a myriad of mixed-messages men are receiving. They are celebrated for being family men, i.e., “Stay at Home Dads are Sexy” (7/24/12 CNN.com) yet berated when they show their “softer sides,” i.e., “Why being a stay-at home dad is the quickest way to kill your sex life.” (8/2/12 MailOnline.com). Study after study shows that 75 percent of fathers in the U.S. take off one week or less when their babies are born, only 1 percent takes more than 4 weeks off, the rest take off no time, all because of how they will be stigmatized at the office. Their masculinity is frequently questioned because of their connection to an independent, articulate and powerful woman, not to mention some jacked-up perception of an inability to “control” her.
Could these attitudes be waning? According to Mark Sichel, a writer for Psychology Today, “[d]espite the popularity of books about men loving and marrying "bitches,” it's really powerful and strong women that men love. We get turned on and not only want to bed powerful women, we want to spend the rest of our lives with them. It's not that we wouldn't take a roll in the hay with a woman we perceive as weak, but unless a man feels weak himself, he's going to look for a strong woman as a life partner.”
Men are so exceptionally skilled at stating the obvious.
Mira, my girlfriends have the most amazing men in their lives. Guys who are devoted to their power-girls in the truest sense of the word: staunch, generous, attentive and loving. They are sticking together and supporting each other. No sissies in that crew.
While obviously thrilling and fulfilling - it cannot be easy to love a successful woman litigator. Even the most secure and modern man has his moments. I mean, we have most of the same traits as our male counterparts for the love of Janet Reno! I, personally, can be interrogative, controlling, egomaniacal and downright nasty and I know I am not alone. This is often compounded by my passionate and sometimes overly emotive tendencies. But in the end, my guy hangs on with bloody fingernails…because I am worth it.
We all are.