"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