“I think I’m single because men find me intimidating..” I’m pretty sure there are more than a few women who secretly or openly believe this. It’s one of the things that women say that most men roll their eyes at and put down to misplaced arrogance. “Men find me intimidating”, is seen as code for “Obviously, I’m so extraordinarily fabulous that men see me and instantly believe that I’m out of their league, so they don’t approach me/pursue a relationship with me for fear of being shot down”. Therefore making you a stuck up little so and so who deludedly thinks she is Michelle Obama, Naomi Campbell and Mother Theresa all rolled into one.
There isn’t really a male equivalent to that statement. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a man insinuate that the reason that they’re single is because women are intimidated by their brains/beauty/charm/quick wit. Which is not surprising and probably not because men are particularly more humble than women by any stretch of the imagination. I think it’s simply because the way we value men and women is different and the way we’re socialised in our relationships with the opposite sex means that only women are left worried about whether their self deemed ‘brilliance’ in whatever capacity, will ward off potential mates.
Yes, it could be easily used as a cop out for women who don’t want to reflect on their flaws and admit the real why men don’t seem to be approaching them….is well, them. Maybe the men you think are intimidated by you just think you’re a little bit crazy. Maybe the combination of the crazy weave and the crazy look in your eyes is making them run for the hills. Or maybe you smell funny. Or maybe your personality is what stinks. Or maybe you have an unconventional form of physical beauty. Folks always say, it’s not you, it’s me…but maybe it is you. Yup, it’s YOU.
I can’t deny that there are probably quite a few women who are hiding their blue cheese smelling toenails, attitude problems and quickly fading hairlines behind the facade of ‘intimidation’, but I do think there is some truth to the idea that some men are intimidated by women who are successful, unusually beautiful or talented.
I was speaking to a guy a couple of months ago, and he pointedly told me “Shade, no man really cares that much about your degree….I mean, an intelligent man wants someone he can have intelligent conversation with, but your degree or career aren’t as important to him as his are to you”. I would be lying if I said that that doesn’t irritate me, but I’d also be lying if I said that, erm..I don’t really believe him. I think some men do care. For the wrong reasons. There are some men who may value my degree and take it as a sign that I’m intelligent, hardworking and resourceful – and that’s very heartwarming. In fact, I’m sure that those men are fed up of the stereotype that men are superficial creatures who care more about big breasts than big brains, and are probably already rolling their eyes. Unfortunately, I have the sneaking suspicion that there are enough men who find the fact that I’m a doctor a bit of a turn off.
“That’s ridiculous!” you say – “why would anyone be turned off by the fact that you can take blood from people and diagnose gallstones in a jiffy – surely that’s a good thing?” Well, it is in my eyes, but I’ve had more than one man tell me that he would be uncomfortable with the idea of his wife/long term partner earning more than him. That he would feel emasculated by not being the main bread winner. These are men who are in careers that would probably earn less than a doctor in the long run – so I took it to mean (maybe somewhat narcissistically) that they’d be uncomfortable being in a relationship with someone like me.
We can’t deny that despite the leaps and bounds made in recent years towards a more fair and equal society, we still value men and women in completely different ways. Women who hold high power positions still have to walk the fine line between being ‘feminine’ and strong at the same time. No one wants to be seen as a ‘ball breaker’, one of those women in a trouser suit who marches into the board room, snarls at her male colleagues and then eats them for breakfast. We must compete to be seen to be as good as men, but yet maintain enough genteel docility so that potential partners don’t run away.
It’s not only careers. Women who have personality traits that are seen as ‘manly’ – such as leadership, being very extroverted, good public speakers, strongly opinionated, can find themselves worrying that they might need to ‘tone it down’ in order to be more attractive.
I don’t think it’s a problem that men and women have different priorities when looking for a mate – I think it’s great that we’re different and that we compliment each other. I do think it’s problematic though, if in 2014, we still have lingering ideas about women having to be their partners cheerleaders, but men not having to do the same. If men are still stuck on having to be ‘more successful’ than their partner in order to be the head of the household. From a Christian perspective, if you being the ‘head’ is dependent on you earning more money, or being more educated, then I think you might have got the wrong idea about what leadership is. In fact, the best leaders aren’t always the best players – they pick the best people to be on their team though.
What do you guys think? Are some women intimidating? Or is it something mythical women have made up to make themselves feel better about the fact that they are aloooonee?