Punchy AdviceArchives

July 26, 1995

"Offended" writes in:
Kelsey, I'm shocked! I absolutely hate it when men say women are responsible for making sure they get their act together. And now you're saying it! When are men going to finally accept responsibility for what they do?

I've been married for eight years to an absolutely incredible man who I am crazy about, but he still can't utter those three little words with any regularity. And this is supposed to be my fault?

Honestly, the idea is offensive. And sexist.

Kelsey Kelsey answers:
I agree that men must take responsibility for their own actions. But women have the power to guide men in the right direction. A lot of women don't seem to realize this, and spend their lives in unhappiness.

In my (limited) experience, a lot of men I've been with have really wanted to love and be loved. But they didn't know how, and generally felt it was part of their job to protect me, as a woman, from their great inner turmoil.

They weren't bad guys. They just needed someone to clue them in. Cluing someone in is not the same as taking responsibility. You can't expect someone to take responsibility for something unless they're educated about it.

Just by coincidence, I was at the bookstore today and a book jumped out at me called The Men We Never Knew by Daphne Rose Kingma. She writes: "...there is one premise in this book: ... Men don't know what they are missing and women have to show them." She says that we women, after fighting so hard for our place in the world, are fed up, and we don't want to take on yet another job. But, she says, it is we women who are naturally more adept at the language of emotion, interpersonal communication and the power of intuition. How better for a man to get in touch with his feminine than by learning from women?

So what do we do with men? What I think is: we have to encourage them to be more in touch with their feminine, without berating their masculinity. Encourage them to feel and express their emotions, and love them for who they are. And not be shocked or hurt or let down if — once they finally do express their feelings — their feelings are not what we wanted to hear.

I'd still like to hear from you women (and men!) out there. What's been your experience about men learning to be romantic?

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