Reading this random thread on GMP the other day, one of the comment contributors there asked a question on a side discussion about precisely what male interests and stuff women should get comfortable about men doing. Four things popped into my mind. You can go and read my comment if you like, but I want to write a blog post to expand my thoughts about male pursuits that some women don’t like and rather we didn’t do.
To many people, video games are an important part of their entertainment lifestyle – like books and films. The stereotype that men who play video games are all socially inept, misogynistic, nerdy, 50 year old virgins who work in McDonalds and would rather play CoD than have sex at any time of the day, is persistent. Not helped by a toxic and sustained campaign of mudslinging by Anita Sarkeesian, for many reasons video games is seen as a largely male pursuit. Recent evidence suggests it is more popular amongst women than initially thought, which is encouraging. Nevertheless, men who play video games are often and regularly ridiculed by women who don’t play video games.
Suggestion: Next time he is stuck into a game, ask if there is one you might play together. You might surprise yourself, you might enjoy it.
Most men enjoy sport, though some actively hate it. Some are certainly obsessed but the average man does like to watch a game, or at the very least keep tabs on his team’s progress. I enjoy football like any other Brit, though I don’t feel the need to watch every game, I watch Match of the Day to follow the teams I do like. Most women tolerate (at best) men’s enjoyment of sport, whether his interest is passing or avid. It is seen as a distraction to the relationship on a Saturday afternoon. But why feel the need to be disparaging? Is it because it is an element of the relationship that does not include both of you? Why shouldn’t anyone have interests outside of our relationships without feeling the need to resort to ridicule? Is he disparaging of your yoga class?
Suggestion: Try to get into at least one sport he likes. If you don’t understand the rules, ask him to explain why the referee just made that decision.
Nights Out With The Lads
Again, this comes back to needing interests outside your relationships. If you have nights out with your girl friends, then you should not begrudge him nights out with his male friends. If you don’t trust him and think he’ll use the opportunity to cheat, then ask yourself why you’re with him at all. If you trust him but just don’t like it, then ask yourself whether you are being just a little too controlling. We need time with our male friends and contrary to popular belief, we don’t use it to pick up women. I’ll let you in on a secret: women are rarely the subject of discussion on a guy’s night out beyond merely “how is the other half? What is she up to tonight?”
Suggestion: Don’t make a fuss when he wants to go out; you don’t need to live in each other’s pockets. Use the opportunity to see the girls on the same night.
“Autonomy” it’s a great word and usually after our first nasty break-up we realise how important it is to maintain a degree of autonomy; too many relationships become too co-dependent as two people who barely trust each other expect to live in each others’ pockets and do literally everything together. As men, we need a place to retreat when things get rough, we need a “man cave”. For some men, that’s the garden shed, for others it’s the pub with drinking buddies, for others still it’s a blog (this is my “man cave” – Mirror Image does not know about this blog and I’d rather it stayed that way). My man cave can also be my mp3 player when I am low (I have a set of music to help with low mood), so a man cave can be an idea as well as a physical place. This is too often interpreted as men “closing down”. It’s not, not always.
Suggestion: Don’t nag him to talk to you when he is inside himself. He will talk in his own way and his own time when he is ready. The more you nag, the more he retreats and the more resentful you will become of each other