Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Men's Lib

Catching up with some old friend’s at lunch this past week I came to a disturbing realization. My friend rides motorcycles, has for years, and he rides with a group of buddies. Talking about a trip they took he stated, in a matter of fact way, his friend doesn’t ride in the rain anymore because his wife “won’t let him”.

Won’t let him? This is a grown up man. Won’t let him?!

Immediately I recalled a running dialog my wife and I have while watching Pawn Stars on the History Channel. In nearly every episode some poor schmuck shows up with a highly sentimental item from his past that he’s trying to sell because his wife/girlfriend “won’t let him” keep it in the house or is “making him” get rid of it.

We think it’s kind of funny because usually it’s a pretty bizarre item or something that a grown man probably should not have. It wasn’t until talking with my friend though that I realized that I’d never seen a woman come into the store with something her husband/boyfriend “won’t let her” keep in the house or is “making her” get rid of.

Why doesn’t that door swing both ways?

I’m not ignorant of the progress that women have made in the last century or the unfair treatment they’ve received in the past. I’m not a chauvinist and have a tremendous amount of love and respect for women. I’m not a king of the castle, caveman mentality type either. However, it seems that scale has tipped ever-so-slowing and men now find themselves sliding off the back side.

Think about it. What if a man said to a woman, “I don’t want that in MY house” or “I don’t want you doing that anymore”? He’d be patted on the head like a toddler and given that ‘How cute. You have an opinion’ look.

When I brought up this injustice to my wife, not only did she not deny it, she smiled and said, “And I’ve had you change your shirt a time or two as well.” What the frack is that?! She might as well have stamped OWNED on my forehead.

I know this is a popular sentiment now with shows like Man Up and Last Man Standing on the new fall schedule. But I’m now talking about returning to some bygone era or reclaiming a lost machismo. I’m talking about regaining an equal footing in a world gone mad.

I’m not a fool either. I understand that women will be able to get away with things that we never will. For instance I would never tell my wife I didn’t like something she was wearing and order her to change it. I’m not suicidal. As much as a guy wants to look nice he will never care as much as a woman does about it so I’ll concede to the more passionate position.

We may not be the king of the castle but we should at least be a co-captain on the same team. It can’t be “her way or the highway”, it should be “which way is our way?”

If you want to keep your life sized Wookiee figurine, that you’ve had since adolescence, in the living room then I think there should be a definite dialog around that (or an intervention if civil discourse fails), but I don’t think Chewbacca should be thrown to the curb at her command.

Men if you enjoy playing rugby well into your 40’s even after multiple concussions and broken bones then I think your partner should be able to voice her displeasure at your pursuit of death and disability. I do not, however, think she has the final word on the matter and that you should abandon something you love because she “won’t let you” do it.

I’ve heard all the “secret of a happy life is a happy wife” or the key to a happy marriage is two words, “Yes, dear”. I get it but I think it’s gone a little too far. The best marital advice I ever got, besides never say “I bought you a cookbook”, came from my father-in-law. He said you’ve got to have compromise, sometimes that’s a 50/50 compromise and sometimes someone’s got to compromise 100%.

Listen, if you want a happy successful relationship you’ve got to respect your companion and her feelings. That goes both ways ladies. It’s time to stop this “I have spoken” attitude and find a place of compromise and mutual respect.

There’s probably some of you reading this right now thinking ‘I can’t believe she “let him” write this’. Well I’m a grown up man and I do as I please…and she said I could, so there.

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