About the differences between men and women there has been written, it is written and continue to be written many lines, because this nebula represented by the world of men versus the world of women still intrigues and fascinates at the same time.
We are used to looking at both the strong sex and the fair sex, in terms of gender stereotypes, socially and culturally. They make us see men as strong and dominant, reluctant to express their feelings, a little distant in romantic relationships, but always ready to conquer.
At the opposite pole, a woman is represented by refinement, elegance, vulnerability and the desire for stability. We unanimously disapprove when an apparent lady is showing rudeness or flies freely from flower to flower... though, isn’t this also a kind of stereotype?
Although the classical images of men and women are constantly changing and subjected to more or less subtle changes, the patterns persist yet in the collective mentality, often punishing those who dare to cross those particular boundaries.
So, having no choice, we conform tacitly to the roles assigned to us, blinking our eyelashes seductively if necessary, or showing our muscles in a superior way when the situation requires it. According to the case, of course.
Even in the love life, traditional gender roles and the way they are assumed have an important word to say. The custom tells us that the man is always ready to jump into the bed of the woman who attracts him, while the woman thinks twice before, in order to keep intact her image and reputation so precious to her... through the eyes of the world.
Let’s take, for example, the case of a couple newly formed, still in the first steps of mutual knowledge. Let’s say that HE just found out what her middle name is (which anyway nobody ever pronounces) and her parent’s hobbies (some information coming too early, in his vision!) and considers, of course, that these new knowledge can propel him straight into the next stage of the relationship. That one foreseen with pillows, bedding and possibly red rose petals.
Despite his gestures of tenderness and insistent allusions, she may have a completely different opinion.
Let’s imagine how it would sound a conversation between the two:
-Honey, we've been dating for some time now. I think we are ready to move on to the next step. We have to do it.
-Humm, honey, I don’t know, this is an important step and I think it depends on a lot of things (...), a moment when he gets lost in the multitude of arguments, explanations, examples and parables invoked by her. Either that her mother taught her something else, either that her friends told her that's not good, either that the stars do not line up correctly.
And we already feel, along with the poor refused, how his whole enthusiasm abandons his breath, while his thoughts run chaotically to a cold beer with his buddies.
Most of the time, if it's white for him, it's black for her. Or red or pink. If it's too hot for him, the wind blows too hard for her. Moreover, it is also cloudy or even starts to rain. If it's too much for him, for her it’s never enough. If for him it “must” then for her it “depends”...
How to reconcile all these differences? Or it’s not even necessary bothering with them?
Some claim that it is precisely the differences and contradictions in question that make up the charm of the couple relationships. Her teasing when she asks her partner for a more frequent and more intense “I love you” or the cute quarrels when he explodes, being called “clodhopper” because he forgot to take out the trash, somehow add salt and pepper in a relationship.
The above scenario is perfectly valid, but the reversal is not impossible either. There are always exceptions to the rule. For example, ladies who enormously enjoy freedom and power (those who stay on top, as one might say) and gentlemen who feel very well when they are kept on a leash (those with cojones deficit, in free translation).
The rule says that most often it happens the opposite. Mainly because a basic conception for the education of men, beside the idea of being charismatic and conquerors or at least tending to it, refers to the position of power. How many of us have not seen leaders henpecked at home and totally authoritarian at work, just in their exaggerated effort to validate the pale remaining trace of their manhood? Or is it exactly the opposite? At home they let themselves henpecked in order to balance the cerebral pressure they sometimes cannot handle anymore when they are sunk (seemingly confident) into the directorial chair?
Most people believe that a real man never shows his weaknesses (if he has any!).
What he has in mind is what he does; the principle “have to” is not at all unknown to him: I have to prove I'm strong, I have to show I'm not afraid, I have to get what I want.
The man bears an important burden, that of rising up to the expectations of others and he is not allowed to be sick of this height. He is never allowed to give up, because he will be considered a coward; he is not allowed to complain, because he will be seen as a “pussy” and he is not allowed to be too delicate, because he will be treated like a wussy.
Ladies and girls, however, although they also have their standards of behavior prescribed by society, they enjoy greater indulgence than men. In their case always everything... it depends: they want to be soft and delicate like a flower, very well, everyone appreciates their femininity and helplessness; they want to be successful in their career, independent and in control of their lives, even better, everyone admires their tenacity! It depends on what they want and what life offers them.
Therefore, the imperative have to, specific to the destiny of males, does not seem to characterize also the fate of women. A certain fact is that the differences between them and the opposite sex (or, more precisely, the different expectations we have from women and men) are not confined to bed and house, but they monopolize EVERYTHING: verbal and non-verbal language, clothing, predilection for certain professions, hobbies and even the behavior when waiting in line at the supermarkets.
But it is not only the environment that makes us different, our native traits also make us not to be interchangeable. Anyway, however you put it, no matter how many unisex clothes will be found on the stalls, how many metrosexual models will be present on the famous catwalks of the world or how many women will occupy high leadership positions, nobody will eliminate totally and permanently what differentiates us. And we have to admit it: we complete ourselves sometimes playing honestly or less honest these gender roles in our favor, either at work or in love.
A shorter skirt worn at work and suddenly the boss becomes very indulgent, a compliment whispered by a male voice and that’s it, the forewoman becomes a kitty. Each of us has the ability to use, from the vast arsenal we are endowed with, the right weapon at the right time.
In love we rely even more on these advantages conferred by gender roles.
The men run away from the gastronomic tasks, motivating that it is not their job to stay quietly in the kitchen, while the women sigh relieved that it is not their duty (yet) to pay the bill at the restaurant.
However, these advantages are accompanied by a number of disadvantages. What stands on our side today, may stand against us tomorrow. It is good to know which aspects of these roles really define our personality and which of these, if we manifest them externally, will harm our own ego or others’.
In other words, we HAVE TO be authentic, a fact that does not DEPEND on which side of the fence we stand.