Sunday, June 20, 2010

Let's Hear It for the Boy

"Guys are idiots." How many times have I heard this in my single adult life? How many times have I said it myself (or some variation of it)? Plenty. I've heard it from friends, family, and church leaders. Why do we say this? Why has this become an immediate response when speaking about dating? This is something that has been on my mind, and I'm going to write my thoughts about it, so I hope you don't mind getting a glimpse into my psyche as I elaborate on this. And I think I should state for the record right now: I'm not going to be bashing men, so for any guys who read my posts, continue. I hope you're all right with what I say.

A friend led me to another blog where a girl had written about dating and relationships, and I had mixed feelings about what she wrote. I agreed with some things she said, but I couldn't agree with her when she mentioned this seemingly strange habit that even church leaders have of telling us that guys are idiots. I agree that they say so in order to appease us girls who are barely ever asked on dates, to reassure us that it's not our fault, because of course we girls are simply fabulous. But she further interprets the statement as their way of saying, "You'd better accept it, because you're going to have to settle for one of these idiots." Maybe that's an oversimplification of what she said, but that was the impression I got from what I read.

I don't agree with this portion of her analysis. This is the impression I get when I hear from leaders that guys are idiots: "Lots of guys are idiots, but you don't have to settle for their little-boy antics, because one day a non-idiot will shape up and you will find happiness together." I have never gotten the impression that I have to settle for the idiots who don't even try to date or for the idiots who don't give a girl a second glance just because she happens to be 5'11". Because not all guys will do that. I know this.

I was talking to a couple of guys in my ward this week and the topic naturally strayed to dating and relationships, and one of them said the line about guys and idiocy. He asked me if I concurred. I almost said yes, mainly out of habit, but I stopped to consider before I answered. I don't actually concur, and I said so. I said that if I really believed that all guys are idiots, I would despair completely of ever getting married and I wouldn't even be friends with guys. Why would I willingly associate with people I thought were dumb? With that said, I don't despair of ever getting married, even if occasionally my impatience and lack of knowledge about when it may happen manifest themselves more often than they should in my behavior and conversation. I'm not going to be hypocritical and deny that I've ever said that guys are dumb, because I have said it on more than one occasion; however, I think I need to be more careful about the generalizations I make, because I just don't believe that all guys are idiots.

I believe that all of us are capable of being great, and this in no way excludes guys. I know so many who are simply wonderful, strong, and caring men, within my family, my circle of friends, and among the strangers with whom I come into contact throughout the course of my day. I can't think guys are idiots when I hear from a friend about how she went on a good date with a guy who obviously was trying to make it fun for her, when I talk to my parents and my mother tells me about my dad helping her out in the yard all day, when I go to the temple and see an aged couple, the husband looking at his wife with complete adoration. It gives me hope that it is possible that I will have that some day, too.

This is a favorite quotation from one of my favorite books, and it pretty well describes my thoughts about men. "A man is to me a higher and a completer being than a gentleman.... I take it that 'gentleman' is a term that only describes a person in his relation to others; but when we speak of him as 'a man', we consider him not merely with regard to his fellow-men, but in relation to himself, -to life - to time - to eternity." Maybe we all have different definitions of what "a man" is, but I believe that a man is a "high and complete" being, and is fully capable of being a non-idiot, a being worthy of us girls who are pretty wonderful ourselves. Perhaps more of them need to live up to this expectation, but I know plenty who already do.

Maybe it's appropriate that I write about this on Father's Day, considering one of the biggest non-idiot men I know is my father. He's always been a good example to me, and I really appreciate the time he's taken to be there for me as I've gone through life. I recall both tender moments and snide remarks with him with the same degree of fondness, ironically enough. But I've never doubted my father's love for my mother, for his children, for the Lord. I've never doubted his status as a "true man". Thanks, Dad, for being a good example of what a man can and should be.

Guys, take heart; you're not all idiots. Girls, take heart; not all guys are idiots. We don't need to wait around for the other sex to shape up to make ourselves better right now (this goes both ways), but we don't need to give in to the bitter rhetoric that we're never going to find someone. Because, one day, I know, some non-idiot will come along for me. I can only hope that I will have improved myself enough and worked hard to live up to the name of "woman" as I've waited for my "true man".


"The easiest kind of relationship for me is with ten thousand people. The hardest is with one." -Joan Baez


Sylvia said...

Well said. You truly are a gem. :)

Glenbob said...


What a nice post. I like it. I know that I, myself have said that guys are dumb quite a bit, but I think it means something closer to "unobservant at times," "ignorant to the effects our actions have" etc. rather than a static condition.
I really like the way you give us a chance.
What you said about being a real man reminded me of 1 Cor 16:13 "What ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong."
Thank you!

The Colemans said...

I think it depends on your definition of idiocy. Some might consider Noah's goofy nature to be idiotic, when really he's just being funny. I love my non-idiot husband. :) Well said Megan. I actually think you wrote this perfectly. I've tried very hard not to degrade the opposite sex because I think it degrades ourselves.

Jay said...

I have a million thoughts on this that I will never be able to put together in a few short paragraphs, but thanks for the post.

Personally, I am offended to hear people glibly throw around stereotypes of women or men. It maybe speaks highly of the people I spend time with that I don't hear much degrading talk about women these days, but masculinity is downplayed, caricatured, and ridiculed all the time: in the media, in talks and lesson at church ... everywhere.

It's frustrating how acceptable these messages are in society, and how well many men have been trained to expect little of themselves as a result.

Teresa W said...

Hey Megan! Just found your blog and I love it!
I'm glad to hear someone come out and say this because I have felt like this for so long! We (females) run into a couple idiots along our path through life and then we generalize that all guys must be that way. But they're not! A true "man" is incredible and found all over the place! Thanks for pointing this out!

Pearlie Meg said...

Can I get a what-what?