Monday, 16 March 2015

Modern Man - from a ladies perspective.

So we all know what a minefield dating is these days - right?  Everyone online lies or at least exaggerates their good points, leaving the bad stuff out - that's advertising I suppose.  Guys send rude pictures, or ask you to send rude pictures.  They make outrageous requests before knowing your name.  They are only after one thing.  Online dating, though much more widely used these days, is getting a bad rep among us more discerning ladies looking for a genuine relationship.  It even appears to be changing the way we have relationships; where we used to have some dates, getting to know each other over time etc, it all seems to be about hook-ups lately.  Instant gratification. And I'm not sure that's a good thing even for the younger of us!

So are all men misogynists now?

When you listen to media and tales from friends of their misadventures, it would seem a large proportion of men have forgotten how to behave with a lady.  Or perhaps they are not being taught at all?  They say they love women, but what they love is for women to act the way they want and expect.  Is this the fault of women-kind?  As mothers not teaching our boys respect for women, or girlfriends putting up with bad behaviour.  Are we letting men get away with being bad?

Or does it run deeper?  Is this a natural reaction to women gaining more power in society and men, feeling threatened, needing to put us back in our place?

I am all for equality, but I do not wish to undermine the role of the male.  I like men and believe firmly that society needs both the sexes to function in a good and healthy way.  Lets face it though - the chaps have been running things (or thinking they have) for so long now that it must have come as a surprise to learn that us ladies are just as capable of thinking, managing, making, healing, theorising and even fighting.  Are the chaps with perhaps less insight finding this difficult to deal with and rebelling a little?

Actually I don't think it's just the guys who are struggling with the new balance of power.  I think a lot of ladies have taken it the wrong way too.  For example, while posing naked may seem empowering and means a pretty lady can earn a great load of cash, it's not really what gaining more power and equality for women was all about.  More like just playing into a dominant male societies hands.  The early suffragettes would be turning in their graves.  It's just my opinion, but I don't think this is putting equality for women to good use.

In fact the sexualisation of everything these days is a whole other post, but I wonder if it's secretly encouraged by governments to keep people occupied with more carnal thoughts rather than actually noticing the balls-up they are making of running the place?!  "Keep them busy with the latest celebrity sex tape so we can get on and sell off the NHS".  Am I cynical?  Maybe, but it's the way things are that have made me that way.

Society used to have firm rules which seemed to keep most people happy and polite.  With the braking down of those values it's almost as though anything goes, and people are unhappy and impolite as a result.  I'm not saying we shouldn't have progressed, but I do think we are in a state of flux at the moment - kind of in between change happening and people accepting it - and I sincerely hope that common decency will resume shortly and leave us all in a better world.

So chaps - it's not OK to send ladies photos of your tackle without permission.  It's not the norm for sex to all be about S&M - if you get off on hurting others, or being hurt by them there's something not quite right.  It's still polite to open a door for any fellow human being.  Women are not possessions, but have real feelings - as I think do you, underneath it all.  And it's really not OK to not listen when a lady says 'NO'.  Try not to bring trauma from your last relationship into a new one - we are no more all the same than you are.  Don't tell us you love us, then decide we just don't fit into your life.  (And these are just some problems from the western world - don't get me started on female genital mutilation, or subjugating women by dictating what they wear).  Women are sensitive, emotional beings by nature - that's not a bad thing - it allows us to love and nurture your children, even when they give us no sleep and wreck our bodies.

Please men - treat us with more respect.  We are not a mysterious alien race; we are just like you, with different bits.  Talk to us; care for us and nurture our sensitive nature - it might just care for you when you are old and infirm.  We may not be perfect either, but we want our daughters to grow up in a world where women are celebrated, not victimised and sexualised half the time, and ignored the other half.  Yes we are different and as a general rule there are things men are better at and things women are better at, but no one should claim that one is better than the other.  Our differences mean we can work perfectly as a team - as the natural order of things decrees.  Men, it does not immasculate you to be kind to women.  It may be my age, but I for one am not attracted to the kind of man who thinks it was ever OK to 'treat them mean'.  I don't like a bad boy, a cheater or a liar.  Give me a really modern man who isn't threatened by a strong woman, who has manners, who admits when he's wrong, and who is kind, fights injustice and stands up for women's rights and equality.

If any such men exist, and are single - please do get in touch ;)

Friday, 6 March 2015

Yes I know it's been over 9 years years but ...

I haven't written for quite some time here as I wasn't really sure what direction to take.  I've brought things up to date with my story and there are only so many times you will want to hear about something that happened quite a long time ago.  So - I am thinking perhaps that observations on life from my widowed point of view might work, and keeping in touch with the idea that life continues after loss, but that the loss never really leaves us completely.

In the last 12 months I have been settling down again into singledom (and by that I mean I've been single for the last year).  My last relationship only lasted 10 months, but was one I had thought would last a lot longer.  I had started to believe I'd found something real.  So, it's taken me a while to adjust.  I'm not saying I have stopped living, on the contrary, I've been pretty busy, but things have somewhat been overshadowed by the loss of that relationship.  And the trouble with having suffered a major loss, such as being widowed, is that each and every subsequent loss takes you back to those emotions you thought you had long since left in the past.  And this is perhaps something others don't understand.

I'd like to think I have reached a point now where, while I would be more than happy to meet someone, it doesn't consume me as a quest.  I don't do dating sites any more and I'm not the sort to be 'out on the pull'.  I have lots to fit into my time what with the swim training, writing course, work, daughter, house to clean, mouths to feed etc etc etc.  I'm not moping around or anything (well most of the time).  But when people think that you are now fine and unaffected by the grief of the past, they are wrong.  It can rear up it's head at any time - often with no or little warning.  You could be cooking dinner or hoovering, just going about your day when you suddenly feel overwhelmed by the realisation that your partner is gone forever.  Some things are more emotive than others - music, films or dramas.  But other times you might be merely chopping carrots or washing the dishes.

I think the reason behind the little things mattering so much is that those are the real building blocks of our lives.  We are often told - it's the little things that count, so when you don't have your partner to share them with any more it really matters.  Life's simple pleasures are best shared is perhaps another cliche, but true and you especially realise this when you don't have someone special to share them with.

I read a lot of comments from my friends in WAY ( about insensitivity's from others towards them.  Comments made in passing, not thought through, which touch a nerve or seem uncaring.  People who think the widowed person is OK now, have 'got over it' or just perhaps people are too plain caught up in their own issues to see anothers pain.  Perhaps having been widowed makes us more sensitive to these things - but really I don't think any of us really see what goes on beneath a persons facade.  We learn young to build walls to protect our vulnerability.  Children can say the most hurtful things after all, and so they learn to build up thick skins so as to not let things affect them so much - or at least so the hurt doesn't show.  My daughter is going through this process and constantly talks about all the little dramas that go on among friends.  Grief can bring those walls crashing down and it can take a lot of time to build them up again - and I think that many widowed people perhaps can't build a solid wall, but only one with gaps that can let in some of the hurt.  Not the most original metaphor, but hopefully it explains how it can feel.

The other thing is that the emotions can be so variable.  Day to day, even hour to hour a mood can change beyond all recognition.  Sometimes they burst out, overflowing in a tirade of words or a gush of tears.  We all need this outlet - widowed or not - I think.  Coping with modern life - which has become so much more complicated than it needs to be - seems to put quite a strain on a persons emotions.  And as we are all different, we all cope in different ways.

We all have our cross to bear (oh look, more cliche!) and perhaps we would all benefit from just slowing down a little, having a thought for someone else's feelings and what they are having to deal with.  I know I benefit from this.  We are very good at seeing how another persons life is better or easier than ours, but maybe we don't look so much at how they struggle too.  Often you don't need to look far beneath the facade to see a turbulence underneath.  WAY use the example of a swan.  A serene bird, so regal, who glides across the water seemingly effortlessly.  But take a look under the water and you will see two powerful legs, paddling away furiously to keep up the facade of perfection above the water.

I think what I'm trying to say is, life can't be really tough, but there are usually glimmers of hope at least, and when we compare ourselves to others it can be in a positive or negative way.  So rather than say "Look at how much they have, I wish I had all that", perhaps we need to look deeper and say "Look how hard their life is, I'm glad for what I have." 

As an example, I went to see The Theory of Everything last night - and came away feeling thankful for my health.  It was very grounding to watch someone struggle so much against the odds and despite everything, come out winning.  There is no time limit on grief, but there's so much good we can do in spite of the burdens we bear.  Finding a purpose could be the salvation of many, perhaps.