The world is constantly changing.  Evolving and progressing.  Pushing the limits and boundaries that have been a part of common living for all of our childhoods.  People in 2011 are quick to reject traditionalism because it sounds good.  Advancement is good….right?  But have we pushed progressiveness to a point where we have totally gone against our best interests in some regards.  In dating pools both women and men look to buck traditionalism as they see it as a personal benefit for them.  Ladies relish the opportunity to become career women and men are very open about the idea of not being held down to the old-fashioned ideals of hard-working careers that make them viable providers.  As a result we see more “dream chasers” today that we did 20-30 years ago.  But it seems that in terms of the opposite sex that we still expect them to stay in those traditional roles.  As a man I deem it as being OK for me to be a free-spirited, freelance writer who travels to remote locations to interview random people for no dough, but I still expect the women that I date to be the more traditional image of what Betty Crocker is suppose to be?  What’s up with that?

I have certainly been accused of being old-fashioned in my day.  Conservative even.  And being a bit of a politically aware person I sort of rejected the association with the word conservative.  But I have come to realize that I am pretty conservative when it comes to relationships.  More on the traditional side of things.  And before my lady readers start to suck their teeth at what that possibly means let me clarify.  I don’t mean traditional in the “women should be barefoot and pregnant” sort of way.  I mean that in the “I don’t like to gamble and take risks” sort of way.  Or the “I respect having some level of order when it comes to my family” sort of way.  What that means is that I like women who are compassionate and kind-hearted as oppose to tough and unnecessarily aggressive.  I like to think that a woman will compliment my mannish qualities as oppose to trying to compete with them.  I need balance in my life, not a competitor.  And while it makes me proud to be with a woman who is successful at her job and career, I would ideally like to have a woman who can manage a balance between her work and giving her first priority to her relationship. 

In talking to a lot of women, they have expressed a certain level of disgust with men who have no sense of traditional responsibilities that usually are expected of guys.  Quasi-celebrity Claudia Jordan started a topic on twitter that I thought was pretty hilarious and sparked a huge conversation when she started to comment on something referring to #How2beAman.  Her premiss was centered around guys not knowing how to do handy things that are important.  Hanging pictures, fixing small things on the car or even knowing how to repair household items.  Now I would never use these characteristics as a way to define a man as “real”, but you will never hear me say that these things are not important for a guy to be able to do on some levels.  I mean you don’t necessarily need to be able to hang sheet rock in the basement but if your first instinct is to buy a new vacuum cleaner when the current one stops working then you my need to brush up on your MAN knowledge.  Being able to fulfill certain responsibilities that maintain a household means a lot.  Not cool for your lady to have to look to someone else to do things like cut the grass or re-arrange the storage room or even know what the lights on the dashboard of her car mean.  And according to what Miss Claudia Jordan’s followers were tweeting this isn’t just “super conservative” Jackson Bracey talking.  Tons of women where tweeting about their dismay about not having guys who can do this sort of stuff.  Someone who carries heavy groceries.  Someone who warms up the car in the winter time.  Someone who will shovel out the car when it is trapped in the snow and empty’s the trash on trash days.  This isn’t the most labor intensive stuff in my opinion but as more and more people buck traditionalism are these the sort of nagging things that get affected.  But the fair question that women have to ask when guys are not doing these sorts of things, is what sort of pieces of traditionalism have I let fall by the way side?

Men have a long laundry list of things that they are seemingly crying over that are lost in today’s woman as well.  And the one that we all seem to get hung up on is Cooking.  I think women do a decent job of acknowledging this issue as being something fundamental but at the same time the way that guys are feeling like they address this concern is somewhat less that stellar.  A buddy of mine once cracked me up when he talked about a girl he dates who invited him over for dinner.  He was pleased with the invite but less than pleased with the product.  He always goes into this joking tirade about how she made a meal from scratch that looked exactly like a hungry man dinner.  She cut up chicken tenders and some fries, with a side of green beans.  Nothing stellar and a meal that gave off more of that 6 min microwave feel than the pots and pans filling meal sort of feel.  But my experience I must say has been pretty cool with women and cooking.  Partly because I don’t have high expectations with that aspect as long as we can get some sort of healthy balance.  But a lot of men feel like women don’t fulfill some other traditional roles like being tidy or washing clothes. Being accommodating with respect to company or friends and family. Taking a nurturing role of support for someone else’s struggles and hardships. In talking to a lot of guys I didn’t put too much stock in some of the more barbaric and crass things that they commented on in jest but, quite a few of them did express that they sometimes just don’t feel like they are in a relationship with someone who balances them or compliments them.

We can only fight our human nature for so long. And pushing the limits too far will sometimes backfire in our face like a sling-shot. There is only so long that a man can come up short as a provider and protector before a woman starts to get frustrated. There is only so long that a woman can reject the role of being a nurturer and care-giver before a man starts to question what she thinks her role is. But as our culture “evolves” and people confuse these standards of living as being some sort of symbolic shackles that mandate that a woman cannot be successful at a job or that a man cannot take the less stable career path in pursuit of larger success, we just seem to try to rebel against them even more. Not realizing that we can only reject our earthly natures for so long. If you are a guy, don’t run from the responsibility of having to fix broken things and even situations in your relationship. And if you are a woman, don’t run away from the idea of being a nurturer and a person of compassion. It just makes for an easy compliment. And most of all, don’t ask for the traditionalism that you do not bring to the table yourself. Give what you hope to receive. Golden Rule People!

What sort of traditional Roles do you think relationships are lacking today? Are they even important in a today’s world?

 

@jacksonbracey

jackson.bracey@gmail.com

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