Do Women Expect Too Much Of Men?

Or are adjectives standing in the way of love?

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Courtesy of Dreamstime

“Butterflies are always following me wherever I go.” Mariah Carey

I blame the division between men and women on adjectives. Nothing seems to make men less manly, or women more assertive than adjectives blowing in the wind like open milkweed pods. The way women list what they expect in a man, you’d think they were building the next president.

“I want someone who’s honest, kind, caring, giving, chivalrous, doting and reliable,” one woman wrote. “If I don’t find him, I’ll bake till I do.”

It seems a lot of women are baking these days. Men just aren’t measuring up, or maybe the baking smells better. As Renae Tobias explained to me, “My one and only partner was not a generous or even courteous lover, so the bread was often more rewarding for me.” Boy, fail at even at the simplest adjectives like “generous” and “courteous” and women head for the oven.

She just joined Match.com, saying she’s lost 20 lbs already (which could be Nick Cannon).

Mariah Carey just had her stomach stapled. Now it’s the size of a collapsible umbrella pouch. There’s only so much you can pack into a stomach that size, and Mariah’s seen positive results. She just joined Match.com, saying she’s lost 20 lbs already (which could be Nick Cannon).

In her Match profile, she loaded on the adjectives, which include tall, handsome, financially self-sufficient and between 6’ and 8’11”. He should also be “available,” meaning close to New York. Being an “available guy” has numerous connotations, both physical and emotional.

Mariah didn’t specify which, but since she’s flogging her new album “Infinity,” it’s safe to assume she’s covering all bases. “I was yours eternally,” she sings, and “Boy, you’re actin’ so corny like Fritos.” Well, okay, she’s more into similes than adjectives, but I guess she wanted to mention Fritos because she still enjoys a snack now and then.

Other women aren’t nearly as sparing where adjectives are concerned. In response to my article “What Makes Women Horny?” Donna Pinkston didn’t mince words (or adjectives). “When a woman is taken care of by this authentic, caring husband of hers, this will in turn produce much fruit.” She also goes on to say that she never second guesses her spouse “spending his time attempting to make my life absolutely beautiful and cared for.”

Donna says it actually makes her horny. Women’s horniness doesn’t fall out of a jar.

There’s a man for you. He makes the rest of us look like trolls. I can safely say my own marriage was trollish. I didn’t live up to the adjectives normally assigned to a truly, completely, unequivocally loving relationship. In the future, I intend to do a better job. Who doesn’t want their love described as “absolute” and “unconditional”? Women obviously appreciate it. Donna says it actually makes her horny. Women’s horniness doesn’t fall out of a jar.

Unfortunately, not all men can live up to the adjectives women put out there. Being honest and caring isn’t so hard. It pretty much comes with the territory. Reliable? Same thing. Chivalrous and doting? Now that might be a problem. Not that we can’t be chivalrous and doting, but there are only so many hours in a day (we work, too). Even chivalrous knights weren’t waiting with flowers and a clean castle when their wives came home.

In fact, their wives didn’t see them for years. Knights were frequently off fighting wars or roaming around on crusades, while women sat at home, chaffing like crazy from the chastity belt. So the next time you say, “I’m looking for my knight in shining armor,” remember the chastity belt.

Same goes for when when you say, “I like a man who finds it natural to share house chores and doesn’t complain about it, who loves good food and enjoys cooking and trying new recipes, who is curious about wines and knows how to prepare a cocktail.” You could just as easily be describing a waiter or a bartender — and a doting one at that.

Men who are doting, caring, considerate and chivalrous could find themselves in the “friend zone” as opposed to the bedroom.

As another reader put it, being all these wonderful adjectival things has a downside. Men who are doting, caring, considerate and chivalrous could find themselves in the “friend zone” as opposed to the bedroom.

“Nice guys don’t display courageous behavior,” Jean-Paul Antona pointed out, “and that’s unattractive to many women who want the male to be a protector. If he can’t stand up for himself, he won’t stand up for us [women].”

Jean-Paul believes women are turned on by the alpha male renegade, the James Dean type, who would rather shrug off chores. It’s based on animal behavior which is about survival and looking good. Male animals wouldn’t be caught dead wearing an apron, for instance. It’s just not cool.

In the animal kingdom, males are more likely to be surly and laze around, growling at the occasional intruder. We may have advanced beyond, say, the lion or cheetah, but when something comes looking to eat your young, it’s nice to know your lazy jerk can tear the opponent to shreds. You sure as hell don’t want him standing there with a cocktail.

Obviously, the threats of the past are mostly gone, leaving men with more time on their hands. But, as I also I mentioned, we work, too, and being that loving, caring, honest, doting chivalrous man making cocktails and having delicious meals when you get home, could mean we have to leave work early just to get the shopping done and everything in the oven.

By a conservative guesstimate, to do all that, we’d have to come home right after lunch. That’s a lot to expect, even if we love fruit, which is what Donna’s offering.

Yet, looking at dating profiles today, the adjectives still roll out of women’s profiles, with the added codicil:“I won’t settle, I made that mistake before!”

I love fruit as much as the next guy, but I was never the “home early” type. I might not get out of the office until after ten, leaving little time for adjectival requirements like “chivalrous” and “adoring.” I’d be too tired to get a toothbrush in my mouth. So either the women mentioned above have super human husbands, or dental hygiene isn’t a priority.

You’d think we could find an equitable balance, especially with both parties working, yet, looking at dating profiles today, the adjectives still roll out of women’s profiles, with the added codicil: “I won’t settle, I made that mistake before!”

Well, we’ve all made mistakes in marriages and relationships. It’s like doing a bad wallpapering job and figuring, the next time, we’ll use more layers of wallpaper. Eventually, we stucco until the whole wall falls down.

What sounds good isn’t always good, yet women in my comments section continue applauding adjectives, supporting them and adding new ones of their own. At some point, we have to be realistic or we’ll collapse from expectation and frilly words.

Could adjectives be going the same way? Or should we be tempering our expectations possibly down to “honest” and “caring”?

It’s fine if you’re looking for a president, not so great if you’re looking for a partner. Being a “knight in shining armor” is a nice dream, but armor was heavy, and a lot of knights died from heat exhaustion. Chastity belts were no picnic, either. Both were impractical and eventually discarded.

Could adjectives be going the same way? Or should we be tempering our expectations possibly down to “honest” and “caring”? At least we won’t be exhausted — or worrying about tooth decay.

Robert Cormack is a novelist, journalist and blogger. His first novel “You Can Lead a Horse to Water (But You Can’t Make It Scuba Dive)” is available online and at most major bookstores (now in paperback).

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I did a poor imitation of Don Draper for 40 years before writing my first novel. I'm currently in the final stages of a children's book. Lucky me.

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