The other day my boyfriend pointed out how grateful he was that I don’t do Typical Girlfriend Things.
Typical Girlfriend Things? Like what?
“You know, all those annoying things girls do to their boyfriends.”
I felt like I was finally let in on some big secret shared among all men far and wide, and I just had to share with all of you.
Here they are, and my thoughts about them:
1. Trying to change something about him. This goes for something minor, like hair, shoes or clothes, up to major changes, like his relationship with his mother or how much time he spends with his best friends.
I can confidently say I’ve never been this kind of woman, and I generally avoid befriending women who are this way. Chances are they’re rigid perfectionists, secretly dissatisfied with themselves. And as we all know, anyone who tries to change others or is so unhappy with themselves that they deflect it onto others,is not going to be happy in a relationship.
There’s an old adage about how men and women treat each other: a woman marries a man hoping she can change him. A man marries a woman hoping she’ll never change.
Men, if you are with a woman who is like this, talk to her and find out what her motives really are. If that gets you nowhere, you may want to re-evaluate this relationship. Is staying with her worth getting a haircut or buying some new shoes? Fine. But if she wants you to stop hanging out with your best friend, beware.
Ladies, if you start off a relationship hoping to change one thing, even something small like his cologne, it’s best if you find out what is motivating you. Be honest with yourself and examine your feelings about who you really want. Maybe you need to re-evaluate your standards.
2. Taking too long to get ready. Again, I’m confident that I’m not that girl, but I do take issue with this. As my boyfriend pointed out, it’s a double standard. Men want women to look beautiful and put-together, but they don’t want them to spend any time doing it.
But I also think there’s a serious disconnect between how men and women view that getting ready time.
I suspect most men think primping is just out of vanity. To me, it has nothing to do with looks. Mostly, it’s mental preparation for presenting ourselves in the best possible light; being fun and attractive while still staying spiritually grounded.
When I get ready, especially before a first date, I spend a lot of time in prayer, silencing the Relationship X Ray Machine, who is not invited. I also spend some time asking for divine guidance in my words and actions.
But even if men think women who spend too much time getting ready are doing so out of vanity, they need to think twice about that.Men, this woman is getting ready to spend time with you. If you’ve ever transmitted the message that you want her to look her best, stop complaining about the time it takes. A compliment, instead, would be far more helpful.
3. Pushing to meet the family too soon. I’ve learned the hard way about this one, and now, I’m in complete agreement with guys about it. When I was younger, I’d drag him to meet my family after just a few weeks. Not only did it put pressure on him, but it gave my family a lot of grief. They were all set in their minds that this was a potential mate, only to get the news a few weeks later that it didn’t work out. This is unfair to everyone involved. Don’t put your date or your family through the rigamarole of meeting until your relationship is on terra firma. Trust me on this – everyone will be much happier.
4. Getting fussy about diets. This goes both ways: women complaining about what their boyfriends eat and women who are on diets themselves. Just about every guy I know, friends or otherwise, cannot stand a fussy eater. I am with them on this one, but I do think there’s one caveat to mention: If a man wants his girlfriend to maintain a slender figure, he should not complain about her constrictive eating habits. It’s beyond unfair to state a preference for thin women and expect them to scarf down hot dogs and beer at every cook-out or complain that they eat nothing but salad.
As far as the other typical girlfriend thing, women complaining about what their men eat: Unless their men demand they cook it, women need to remain quiet. This goes back to wanting to change him. If all he has in his refrigerator is condiments and beer, bring your tofu salad when you go to his house. Let him eat what he wants, even if it’s cereal for dinner. Don’t invite him out for Thai food if he’s a meat and potatoes man.
5. Making him go places no man should go. Let’s take shopping. I am with the guys on this one, but that’s because I am not a shopper. But even if you were born to shop and the mall is your favorite place to be, why would you want to drag someone along who doesn’t want to be there? Ladies, limit the shopping trips for times with your girlfriends. Or perhaps the two of you could come to a compromise about it: She can shoe shop while he checks out power tools.
Another place men do not want to be dragged to is cultural events, particularly the ‘un-manly’ ones – musical theater, for instance. I’m also in agreement with this. I’d be downright miserable at a baseball game; why would I want to make my guy miserable at the ballet? I live in the cultural capital of the country; I could go to some event every day. But I’m smart enough to figure out who I can take with me, and it isn’t my boyfriend.
I’d never even ask him.
But the other part of this has to do with the relationship I’m in: We like to do the same things, for the most part. Last week, we went to a figure drawing class at the Art Student’s League. Upon leaving, he leaned over and kissed me on the cheek.
“I’m so lucky,” he said, smiling. “Most girls would never want to do this with me.”
I thought to myself, I’m also pretty lucky that I don’t do one of the things on this list; but if I did, I’d really re-think that.
Is a solid relationship with a great partner really worth all the anguish over a pair of pumps or the occasional hot dog? I think both men and women need to examine the demands they make of each other and, in the process, examine themselves.