Apparently, this list is something that went viral on the internet today. It seems pretty harmless—dumb, obvious, anecdotal observations with a clickbait headline—but the more I saw it reposted, the more it bothered me.
I should probably say off the bat that I’m not the kind of person who thinks men and women are really that different. Dudes are way better at peeing standing up, but that’s really about it. Hal Sparks has a bit in his “Charmageddon” special where he basically talks about how, right now, somewhere in the world, there’s a woman fearlessly putting her life on the line, and somewhere else a dude is sobbing in terror and brandishing a rolled-up magazine at the spider he saw in his bathroom. Some guys are super into baseball and craft beer and building shit and lifting weights, but that’s 100% about the individual—it’s not inherent.
Now, for this list. First, I hate it because it paints men as boorish, but somehow also stoically heroic, while women are fussy, petty gold-diggers. Again, this may be true in some individual cases, but as a man who loves women, I’m not a fan of those generalizations. Men are capable of being great, loving, attentive, responsible, involved parents, while women are just as capable of being breadwinners and taking more of a hands-off approach to the whole “parenting” thing. Everybody is capable of making the same choices, and your body parts don’t determine what path you follow.
Second, I hate it because HOLY SHIT IT’S 2014. Two thousand fourteen. TWENTY GODDAMN FOURTEEN. “A woman worries about the future until she gets a husband. A man never worries about the future until he gets a wife.” “A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend. A successful woman is one who can find such a man.” ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? A woman’s only goal in life is to secure a man, and her success is tied to that man giving her money to spend willy-nilly, while the only reason men worry about the future is because some woman came along and started spending all their money, meaning their version of success is determined by making so much money his shrew of a wife can’t hope to spend it all?
Does anyone actually believe that shit? That’s gross, you guys. Seriously. Gross.
No one I’ve ever dated, short- or long-term, has ever asked me for money or expensive gifts or dinners or clothes or in any other way taken advantage of me financially. Furthermore, none of the women I know and am friends with (and not to brag, but I’ve had healthy, respectful, platonic friendships with a looooot of women if you know what I mean) have ever dated someone solely to spend their money and leave the person miserable and destitute. I’m sure plenty of guys, and a fair number of girls, can give examples of horrible people taking advantage of them and/or only being interested in them for their money; but again, “horrible people” is the key phrase there. Not women. Women, as a group, don’t do that.
And lastly, I hate that list because I married my wife knowing she loved me the way I was, and she’s never tried to deliberately change anything about me if I didn’t ask her for help. I married her knowing full well that she was going to change, because that’s what happens when people exist in the world and have new experiences, and it would be really weird if I thought she’d always be the way she was when I met her 5+ years ago. I wake up on the best of mornings looking like a hungover zombie while she looks every bit as pretty as she did when her head hit the pillow. Marriage or other long-term, committed relationships really aren’t something women seek out and men are forced to endure; it’s a choice, and if you’re unhappy it’s not because men and women are inherently different. Al Bundy isn’t the masculine archetype anymore. Hell, right now Ed O’Neill is on a show that can only exist because Al Bundy isn’t the masculine archetype anymore.
Here’s a thought of the day for you: No one, man or woman, married or not, should forget mistakes. Don’t hold onto them, but use them to become better. It’s something I’m working on every day, and it doesn’t have a damn thing to do with whether or not I’m a man.