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A Sensitive Matter

By Blackie Collins on Apr 5th 2011 6:00AM

Filed under: Relationships 



Women claim they want a nice guy who’s in touch with his emotions, is sensitive to issues and worldly causes and is wonderful in every way. He loves puppies and isn’t afraid of shedding a few tears. You can take him home to your parents, showing him off like a shiny silver dollar. 

Honestly, though, who the heck wants a sensitive guy? Nobody, that’s who. At least that’s what I first thought. I’ll admit, when I first sat down to write about sensitive men and how much they stink, I immediately thought of a funny, tongue-in-cheek piece about, well, how sensitive men stink. However, a friend asked me a question about the topic, and it got me thinking beyond the surface. How was I defining the word “sensitive”?

I thought, sensitive is sensitive! How could it mean anything other than what sensitive means? And then I thought about it; how men and women differ in their relationships, both how they get into them and out of them, and especially how they conduct themselves while in them. Sensitive doesn’t just mean he cried profusely when you watched ‘Titanic’ on TBS last weekend. It’s so much more complex.

Men who are in touch with their feminine side seemingly have the long end of the stick because they are far more successful in relationships. They communicate well, convey emotion as needed, are sensitive to their woman’s needs and have the qualities of Cliff Huxtable. Women never have to nag sensitive men because they just know exactly what to do to make her happy.

Most sensitive men are nice guys as well. You rarely meet a jerk who happens to be emotionally in tune with a woman’s needs. Although there are quite a large number of jerks with major emotional issues, they’re still jerks, so they barely count. In the end, you wind up with a nice guy who feels you and has feelings all at the same time. Congrats.

Yet there is a reason women constantly go after emotionally unavailable men. The insensitive bastards who give us a challenge and, whether we consciously realize it or not, give us the chance to take care of him — something women love to do. It’s what makes women, women: our innate need to nurture and take care of someone or something. It’s the maternal instinct and it’s just as big a part of us as estrogen is.

So for much of the journey through dating life, men lose points for being too nice or overly sensitive. It’s where the “nice guys finish last” saying comes from. All the sweetie pies are put on the back burners of life, while women continually bang their heads up against insensitive assholes until they have a massive headache. or get sick and tired of chasing and changing men who don’t want either.

Men who are too in touch with their feminine side somehow lose the very essence of what makes a man, a man: his masculinity. I’ve always stated my discomfort with men who cry. I know it’s wrong. I know I should show more leniency. After all, I’ve shed a tear or two in front of my man, but it’s one of those double standards that just is. There can only be but so much estrogen in a relationship, and if he’s bringing more to the table than the chick, we have a slight problem here. The next thing you know, his “you emasculate me” argument is more common than her “you don’t tell me how you feel” argument, and she’s sick of wearing the pants and he’s wishing she’d let him be a man, man.

In society, women are allowed to be sensitive. We cry, scream, throw temper tantrums, get our feelings hurt, get all lovey-dovey — all of it. We are taught early on that it’s okay to cry, emote, live with our feelings on our sleeves. We are bred to be available, but it’s reserved for us, so when/if we meet a man doing the same thing, we assume he either plays for the other team or eventually get sick of his antics — the way men probably get sick of women’s. And then we move on and start all over with someone else. Sure, we have baggage, but it doesn’t stop us from jumping into another relationship, most times making the same mistakes we made before. We don’t care! We love! It’s what women do best! So, we get a pass.

Men, sadly, do not. Men aren’t taught to weep and wail. They are taught to be tough, to “man” up and protect the females in their lives. They are far less giving with their love and affections. It’s put on reserve until they are totally ready to give it. The lady has to be pretty special to allow him to open up and bring down all those walls he was taught to build up. When they finally fall, it’s similar to silly putty.

The emotionally attached man is the man who isn’t going anywhere. He’s in it for the long haul, loyal until the end. If, by chance, his heart should be broken, he will never really get over it. This is where all those sensitive feelings get him in trouble yet again. See, men only melt for one or two chicks, tops. Yes, he will probably love again, get married, seem completely happy, but he’ll never truly get over Joanie, his high-school sweetheart who dumped him two weeks before spring break and went to Cabo with his best friend. Fast forward through every relationship he’s had since and the residual damage isn’t just there, it’s chillin’ beneath the surface, blocking him from loving that much ever again.

So, the debate continues: Who’s more sensitive and who’s allowed to be? Well, it’s clear that women get the sensitive pass. People expect women to be emotional beings. Men show any signs of sensitivity and his boys are cracking on him and his girlfriend is leaving him for Biff who pumps iron and crushes beer cans on his head for sport.

This is perhaps why men love women who are more in touch with their masculine side. The ones who are aloof and don’t care as much. They’re independent, surviving just fine should he decide to hang with his friends one night. It is why many women try to turn down their emotions, pretending to be unscathed or bothered, instead electing to keep the seas calm versus flipping out, which will make him run.

The reality is that it isn’t so much about how sensitive a man or woman gets to be or doesn’t get to be, it’s about whether or not they are sensitive to issues that deserve large amounts of energy or emotion. Everything is about finding balance. But sorry, guys, you still only get to really cry on two occasions in life, so make ’em count.

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