Tag Archives: gender

Who Wears The Pants? Shouldn’t You Be Naked?

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In every relationship there is always a power dynamic; who wears the pants so to speak. Sometimes just in public, and sometimes in private as well, but it is almost always there. No one wants to face the world naked, so we all clothe ourselves as protection against what the world can throw at us. There are so many jokes about husbands and wives and who really wears the pants and these jokes they ceased to be funny long ago. These jokes though, they overlook one important fact about relationships, that they’re partnerships and if we clothe ourselves against our partners then we protect ourselves from our partner seeing us for who we really are.

He concedes ground and sacrifices his own needs in the face of her desires, and always he is left as the last in their relationship.

I know a couple, they seem to be in love, but I suspect they are drifting apart. You see Jill wears the pants in this relationship; she is vocal in her displeasure and forceful with her needs and wants. James is, well not so much. He will back down when he had every right to do whatever earned her displeasure, he concedes ground and sacrifices his own needs in the face of her desires, and always he is left as the last in their relationship. She clothes herself in righteousness, she worked hard, she deserves to have her desires met, she is entitled to the respect she spent years earning. Yet she forgets, forgets a partnership requires her to listen to the person who follows. He clothes himself in resentment, resentment at being ignored, and resentment about the things he needs but can never get. He forgets he defines the boundaries of his own self-respect. Finally he turns away from her in resentment as she turns away from him to do what she wants. She wears the pants, and neither is naked, and so the relationship drifts further apart.

I know a couple, they seem to be in love, but I suspect they are tearing each other apart. They both wear the pants in this relationship. John is a corporate shark by day and everything is a negotiation, as long as he always gets what he wants. Jack is a builder, a man’s man; he takes nothing from no-one as long as everyone knows it’s his way or the highway. When together they always argue, Jack never negotiates and John never takes the highway. Anything and everything is a battle which neither can win nor lose. As close as they want to be, their clash of wills continually tears them apart. John clothes himself in mistrust, always suspicious of Jack and the fact Jack never gives ground, because John forgets he is in a partnership. He forgets that Jack isn’t the opposition and both are negotiating for a good relationship, and so he turns away. Jack clothes himself in anger continually frustrated at what he considers undermining tactics because Jack forgets they are partners. That his way and John’s way need to be the same way, and so he turns away. Both wear the pants but neither is naked so slowly the relationship tears at the edges.

I know a couple, they seem to be in love, but they seem to be imploding under the weight of unsaid words. No one wears the pants in this relationship; no one is really sure how they got together in the first place. Jim and Jane are introverts, they love deep conversations about important things, but neither talks about the things that are important to both. Jim desperately wants to hear about Jane’s desires and dreams yet he is afraid to ask. Jane wants to be discovered, understood, to have someone understand who she is, she wants a connection that sets her soul on fire but she doesn’t understand that for this to happen she has to let someone in. So Jim and Jane implode, trying hard to get closer but neither letting the other in. So Jim clothes him neediness trying every way he knows to get past her armor because he has forgotten that the best way into someone’s heart is to show your own, so he turns away. Jane clothes herself in frustration, wishing Jim would just know, hoping Jim would just understand, but she has forgotten that a partner isn’t a mind reader and in her frustration she turns away. Neither wears the pants but neither is naked so the closer they try to pull towards each other the heavier the weight of unsaid words.

They have turned towards each other and only the other has their attention.

I know a couple and they are in love. During the day they fly free and explore the world of their dreams and passions but at night, when they return, they are like two long lost friends reunited with stories and tales to tell. I don’t know who wears the pants in this relationship, when they are together they are naked. When Jarred returns at night, as much as he has his own tales to tell, he misses Jen and wants to hear all that made her happy, sad or buzzing with excitement, so he turns to her and undresses her. A million questions he has, trying to see Jen for who she really is. When Jen returns, as much as she wants to relate all that she experienced during the day, she misses Jarred and wants to hear his stories, his successes and his failures. The very things that made him feel alive. So Jen turns towards Jarred and undresses him, a million questions on her lips trying to see Jim for the man he is. I don’t know who wears the pants in this relationship because when Jen and Jarred are together the rest of us don’t exist, they have turned towards each other and only the other has their attention.

I know the couples above don’t exist, no relationship lives in such a single dimensions. We all have those aspects above and we clothe ourselves as we are want to do. Depending on our loves and fears we can don any of these aspects, sometimes it is necessary. Clothes have a purpose, to protect us from the cold, wind and rain. We wear them because the world is not a place that is always fair or kind and only a fool walks into the world naked. Yet we should remember that when we don our pants that we may be turning away from our partner. The very clothes that protect us from the world outside protect us from the love from our partner. So when you next you joke about who wears the pants in your relationship maybe the joke is on you, because shouldn’t you be naked?

Originally published at the Good Men Project

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The Lost World Of Male Desire

man-desiring-world

There is a world out there full of heroes and villains, mountains scaled, oceans crossed, risks taken, accolades won and lovers dancing beside silver lit glades. Yet this world is being overshadowed and lost. It is the world of male desire, a world connected intimately with our identity, connected with our dreams and our passions and it is being buried and covered by the world we live in, this reality we must be a part of. Some may say this is a good thing, but I doubt they truly see how amazing and beautiful male desire is. If they did comprehend, if they truly understood, they would be saddened by exactly what is being lost.

As young children boys can no longer be boys. Their world of good and evil, guns and cars, play acting of their role models, its been deemed disruptive to class. Offending boys are suspended from schools, dosed with Ritalin and their play time removed. This is the world of a boys desire, the world they use determine right from wrong, the world they use to explore ethics and morals, the world they use to understand action and reaction and this world is being lost. How can these boys grow to become leaders of men, meant to change the world in their desire for a better place if they are not given the opportunity to understand this world? Those who are strong enough internalize this world and never speak of it again, those who aren’t become lost in a system where they only comprehend that the system is right and they are wrong.

When they say they want to be a doctor they no longer mention they want be the one to cure cancer.

As teenagers these youths can no longer be youths. They enter a world where they are trouble, where they must be stopped from making mistakes. The real world is a place where risky behavior is deviant behavior, a world where risks are inappropriate and the only approved outlets are games of sport. Yet even sport is not the rough and tumble game of risk it once was. This risky place is the world of a youth’s desire, it’s the place where fears are conquered and youths become the men they are destined to be. This is the world where a youths desire to take the world by its horns and wrest from it the keys to greatness is discovered and learnt. Those who are brave hide their ambitions and passions from the world, they keep them close to their chest. When they say they want to be a doctor they no longer mention they want be the one to cure cancer. When they say they want to be an astronaut they no longer mention they wish to be an adventurer of old discovering new frontiers. Those who never learn to be brave become pushed and pulled by fear and insecurity instead and their passions smolder to embers having neither direction nor outlet.

… torn forever trying to prove they are not the monster that the world tells them they should be

As young men a much sadder lesson is taught. The world tells them they are monsters, violent rapists looking for their next victim. They are told they can not be trusted, that they are not wanted, and that they are nothing more than fodder for wars or backs for endless drudgery. They are shown that even if they succeed and become married they are nothing more than boorish fools incapable of even the simplest household and fatherly duties. There is a world inside these men, a world of both sexual and romantic desire. In this world epic tales are dreamt where they learn about seduction, mystery, allure and romance. Where they learn what it is to bring a women to the edge of passion, what it means to deeply connect and what it means to touch both a partners heart and mind. But this is wrong, men’s sexual and romantic desires are wrong. Those who are wise continue to dream these epics, they learn to release these lessons in mere smidgens waiting, hoping, to one day find a partner they can fully express these desires. Those who never learn wisdom, those who let their dreams fade, become torn forever trying to prove they are not the monster that the world tells them they should be, trying desperately to keep close the knowledge that they are passionate human beings too.

The world of male desire, this is the world where the strong become leaders, where they are born and created, activists whose desire is set on the path to right the wrongs in the world. When these men cross our paths we can’t help but follow such desire. This world of desire is a world where the brave become the front-runners of progress. These are the entrepreneurs, the inventors, the artists and adventurers, the men who take their desire and use it to mold reality into the shape of their dreams. When we come across these men’s paths we can’t help but follow the trails their desire has cut. This world of desire is a world where the wise know the true meaning of romance. Where Gomez’s relationship with Morticia is the true expression of male romantic desire and not laughed at as an Adams Family eccentricity. When we see such men we can’t help but fall in love with the ideal of love, a love which shines through their every action.

This world of desire is hidden though. We have strong men, brave men and wise men but always they keep their desire close to their hearts. They achieve such wonders but you can only guess at their desires through their actions, never do these men they truly reveal such desires to the world around. I don’t think the world understands what it is losing with the suppression of male desire. I wonder what would happen if a brave, strong wise man let his desires be fully known. Would the world tear him apart, would it know what to do with such a man? I think such a man would be a force to be reckoned with. Gandhi, Henry Ford and Pierre Curie all rolled into one. Is the world ready for such a man? Does this world deserve such a man? This world of male desire is not a thing to be feared. Scratch the surface of this world instead of burying it because underneath great marvels lie in wait, hoping for a time they can be set free.

Originally Published at The Good Men Project