Wednesday, November 11, 2009

If he "lets" me? Really?

Okay, I’ve been married for more than twenty-three years – to the same husband by the way – so I may not be the best source for stuff like this but I don’t understand why MSN keeps posting articles about men and how they think. Men aren’t that deep. They really aren’t. [Disclaimer: thoughts included in this post have not one thing to do with my remarkable, amazing, charming, talented, loving sons. They are three notable and worthy exceptions to the “men aren’t that complicated” rule. But they’re wonderfully – not exasperatingly – complex and interesting if you see my point.)

By the way, I don’t particularly think there’s anything wrong with being uncomplicated. I really don’t. In fact, I think I could live a happier life if I took a less intense, less convoluted approach to almost all things in life. But let’s check back in on those MSN home page headlines, shall we?

Yesterday, I read something about why men can’t commit. I tried to find it again and searched this phrase: “why men don’t commit.” In response, I received a list of 5,310,000 links. That’s more than five million places I could go to find out why men won’t commit. No one could possibly be that interested in why men can’t / won’t commit.

I’ll save you the time for God’s sake. Men won’t commit for the same reasons women won’t. Fear. Past mistakes in his painful relationships with women. Maybe he witnessed too many bitter breakups among his family and friends. Perhaps he wants to do something as simple as meet a lot of women and see who appears to be the best fit in all ways. Or maybe he wants to travel, and take a semi-annual golf outing to Scotland, or go on ski trips, or play in chess tournaments around the country or climb mountains, or follow Blink 182 around the world or bowl / play softball / go fishing every single weekend all weekend, or hang out at a bar, or read books or play music or paint or write or build furniture in his spare time, or spend his money on the largest collection of video games or porn on the planet without having to explain it to or hide it from his wife.

Please: I know. He can do every single one of these things while he’s married. Sure he can. Assuming his wife is equally enthralled with doing her own thing without him or she’s in a coma and never even misses him. But not one of the activities will feel the same as it did when he wasn’t married. It’s no one’s fault. It just is.

So while I couldn’t find the commitment-phobe MSN story, today – yes, one day later – they have a new one posted: If he lets you buys his undies, you’re The One. Excuse me – if he “lets” me? I’m kind of cranky about that verbiage. Is this some kind of girlish dating privilege I’ve forgotten about over the past twenty-three years? That makes me “The One?” The one who what? Buys underwear? What an honor.

And I have yet to meet an adult man – or even a boy – who calls his underwear his “undies.” That should be a deal breaker for any women. Rule: Run in the other direction if he talks about his undies, or anyone’s undies for that matter. (The underwear-purchasing article was based on a British study so maybe it’s a European thing, although I doubt it.)

Without giving this report too much credence, it would appear that men buy their own underwear only when they’re dating and looking for a partner. This seems to have something to do with good grooming and looking presentable. Once a man is settled into a relationship, the study reveals that he stops shopping and turns the task of girding his loins over to the woman in his life. (There is mention of a brief flurry of activity once again in the late thirties / early forties… presumably his marriage has broken up and he’s looking for love again.)

The article basically admits that men rely on their mothers to buy their underwear for about two decades or so. Later, they rely on their wives to perform the same task. It’s only when they’re “on their own,” those single years spent as a man who can’t seem to commit, that he finds the time to stock up on the Hanes or Fruit of the Looms.

Let’s face it. How complex is buying men’s underwear? Once you get the waist size right, the decision making is virtually over. Anyone could buy a guy his underwear. Mother Teresa could buy guy his underwear. It’s just that unspectacular and just that sensual.

This is just one more way men are … not complicated. If you’re a single woman who read the MSN homepage article with hope in her heart and a three-pack in her shopping cart, sorry sweetie, buying the boxers doesn’t make you “The One.” It makes you helpful. And if you do it too much, with too much joy, it makes you kind of pathetic. We’ve established that buying men’s underwear is not exactly a challenge, so if a woman is willing to pick some up once in a while at Target, why would a man would turn that down?

In fact, I think just the opposite of this “study” is true. When a woman ‘lets’ a man buy her underwear, he is definitely The One. It’s intimate. It’s personal. There are lots and lots and lots of choices to be made about this purchase. The female timeline on this activity is exactly the opposite of the male timeline. Women buy their own underwear from their teens into their twenties. We may turn that task over – at least partly – to our partners while we’re in our twenties. Then we move past that phase, and the lingerie becomes a blouse that becomes a sweater that becomes a lovely piece of jewelry. Victoria’s Secret turns into Target for us, too.

And for couples everywhere, if all else is well, that arrangement is okay with everyone.


Chris Casey said...

Renee, a quick point on the underwear thing. I let my wife convert me from wearing briefs to jockeys after we were married, and i never switched back. I really don't want to explain the reason, but i bet you can figure it out. I still enjoy your blog, and I wish you were in the Morning Call more often!

renee said...

Hi Chris -
Thanks for your note.

My guess about your conversion is "having kids" but I'll say no more about that.

And yes, the dear departed MC column. Nice to hear that I'm missed, at least a little. I may have some good news (and a new link) on that front shortly - stay tuned to the blog for an update!!

Thanks for your loyal readership!