Sunday, December 10, 2006

Getting it all wrong yet again

I used to think that my non-girlie tastes in everything should make me a more appealing proposition as a girlfriend than someone who, say, really liked Take That and Holby City and Sophie Kinsella(sp?) and chick flicks.

I like The Fall and Graham Greene. I have the pop-culture tastes of a swotty fifteen-year-old boy with no friends.

But I’ve very slowly come to realise that maybe this is not a good thing. Perhaps men like simpering bims? I mean women who are interested in different things to them?

Evidence 1.

A young couple (friends of friends of Bloke Flatmate) were staying here one weekend. They were just going to the local pub, but it was ages before the girl emerged. She was wearing a fashionable but unstartling selection of high street threads.
"It always takes her hours to get ready," her boyfriend explained as they waited. "One time we were going to Ikea, and she got changed FOUR times before we could leave!"
All this was said with a smile. They seemed very happy together.

Evidence 2

At work one day we were discussing My Super Ex-Girlfriend – which is apparently really, really dreadful, even within the chick-flick genre if you can bear to imagine.
Bright, funny bloke with impeccable music taste joined the conversation.
"Oh, I’m sure I’ll get dragged along, as I am to all the others," he said rolling his eyes in mock horror, but affectionately.

Why do otherwise intelligent men like women like that? Is it their caveman instinct? Does it make them feel protective? Or is it just that they like women to be different?


  • I might be an incredible cynic, oh OK, I am an incredible cynic, but I reckon this is the sort of thing men do in front of their girlfriends in order to ensure a shag later in the day/week/whatever.

    I bet you'd never see the same couples having conversations where they agree to disagree.

    Or, it could just be the blokes like romcoms too and have the excuse of gently blaming their girlfriends for the girly film choice.

    By Blogger Keyboard Addict, at 11:08 PM  

  • I think it's because women who are obviously stupid and shallow make men feel intelligent and thoughtful by comparison, and for men insecure men (the majority) this is a valuable, if not necessary, boost to their otherwise pathetic self-images.

    What it amounts to is this: men who like bimbo women aren't worth dating anyway, so let them have their bimbos. There ARE men out there who are smart, self-assured, and secure enough in their self-image and capabilities to date a smart, confident woman. They're hard to find, but they do exist and are worth holding out for.

    By Blogger Chaucer's Bitch, at 11:19 PM  

  • @chaucer's bitch et al: yes, there are men out there who desire smart, confident women, but we also want these women to be pretty. Note: I didn't say gorgeous.

    Let me ask you this, at the risk of enticing you to throw tomatoes at me (just please take them out of the cans first): are you slim and pretty? Or well-proportioned and curvy without too much meat to be considered fat?

    Now matter how confident and secure the man, it always boils down to that. I am also a shit for requiring that in my women. I have tried, oh how I have tried, to overcome that, but I simply cannot.

    After all that, I doubt this will mean anything to you, but I enjoy reading your blog and wish the best for you.

    By Blogger Franje, at 11:34 PM  

  • I think in the long run, most men tend to prefer a woman who isn't brought to tears by chick flicks. Or it's not a concern if the woman wants to watch them, but the guy appreciates that she doesn't need company while the movie plays.

    A bit of difference seems crucial to relationships, but too much wears thin rather quickly.

    Bottom line is, it just doesn't matter. You like what you like and you can't (nor should you) change that.

    By Blogger Melissa, at 12:23 AM  

  • What CB said.

    I guess if a bloke wants to date a bloke, he'd date a bloke. If that makes sense.

    Also what franje said. Unfortunately, men do want something that is pretty to them. Luckily that means different things for different people.

    Look at it this way. I like my blokes to be 'manly' and macho (ie put the freakin SNAGS on the BBQ and away from my bed). On the other hand, I like wearing dresses (although i wouldn't change 4 times for Ikea even if it is my 2nd home). But I wouldn't like a guy who likes wearing dresses..

    No sense today at all * goes off to bang her head against the wall *

    By Blogger Shiny Blue Black, at 4:52 AM  

  • Oh, new people - Hello and Welcome!

    Um, at the risk of sounding like even more of a twat than usual, um...

    I do actually wear makeup and heels and stuff (to work and out, not if I'm just shlepping round Asdas), I just don't feel the need to talk about it all day.

    And, er, I think it's fair to say that I'm not *completely* minging.

    By Blogger Spinsterella, at 5:57 AM  

  • jeez, I didn't think anyone liked graham greene anymore. The Quiet American is an exception, cos it's 'political', 'prophetic' and been made into a movie. But the ministry of fear, and the heart of the matter? nooooo. It's a damn shame because they're fantastic novels. Maybe people find it hard to get past the catholic overtones? (also, he's 50 times better than pynchon)

    as for your question and examples, I dunno. Seems pretty anecdotal. So you've seen a couple of fit bright blokes dumbing down for some pretty women. Is this representative? I think the contrast just sticks in your mind. I've seen some perfectly attractive men who also have intelligent beautiful partners and they talk in paragraphs (me: grunts). But I don't draw any conclusions from this.

    There you go again with the men from mars thing...admit it, when you get tired of the comedians you turn to your much-thumbed through john gray.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:54 AM  

  • The two girls I've been most seriously involved with, both of whom I thought were amazing, are completely different. One, like me, loves spending ages in cd stores to discover obscure new bands, reads mainly east Asian literature and has been a member of the NFT for years (i.e. is almost insufferably pretentious, just like me). The other is the opposite: listens to disposable pop which she forgets about before moving on to the next thing, no longer reads much of anything and watches chick flicks and other bubblegum for the brain, though I did introduce her to the Big Lebowski and Office Space.

    I don't think it's too complicated - it's not really about what things people are interested in, it's whether your personalities fit with each other and whether there's a physical attraction. You might not be able to predict who it will be with, but that's pretty much all it is.

    By Anonymous riddledwiththepox, at 7:59 AM  

  • On a more serious note though, My Super Ex-Girlfriend does look really, really bad.

    By Anonymous Jimmy Page's Trousers, at 8:43 AM  

  • 1) Possibly the men in question love the women so much that they adore everything about them, even if it could be designated "girly" or "annoying". I wouldn't begrudge them that.

    2) "Enjoying" a chick flick or chick lit doesn't mean thinking it's Citizen Kane/Moby Dick. There's an academic study somewhere which showed how women readers "used" Mills & Boon etc in a particular way, to get particular results. I'm not articulating that well...
    I suppose that I'm trying to say that liking "girly" tat is no different to being amused by ironic 1970s stuff, or really awful novelty records or "so shit they're brilliant" kung-fu films. You can be intelligent and well aware that it's processed shite and still get something out of it.

    By Blogger Bowleserised, at 8:49 AM  

  • bowleserised - very true, I was thinking that myself when I described the second girl in my post - just because she enjoys crap films, and isn't much into music doesn't make her unintelligent. she's very, very intelligent, but she's just not much of a film or music person - her intelligence is expressed in other ways. book-wise some people work ludicrous hours and then just want to read something stupid before they go to sleep. fair enough. If I have a 12 hour work day, I definitely don't want to read Pynchon when I get home.

    By Anonymous riddledwiththepox, at 8:59 AM  

  • Aww Spinny I reckon that you're just drop dead gorgeous so no man could ever compete! If you haven't read it already, I strongly recommend http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dont-Listen-Women-Cant-Read/dp/0957810881/sr=8-3/qid=1165827980/ref=sr_1_3/026-3680933-6007643?ie=UTF8&s=books (sorry I still can't work out how to do links - help?) and it will explain exactly why men aren't as dopey as we think they are! :)

    By Blogger Jools, at 9:17 AM  

  • Aww Spinny I reckon that you're just drop dead gorgeous so no man could ever compete! If you haven't read it already, I strongly recommend http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dont-Listen-Women-Cant-Read/dp/0957810881/sr=8-3/qid=1165827980/ref=sr_1_3/026-3680933-6007643?ie=UTF8&s=books (sorry I still can't work out how to do links - help?) and it will explain exactly why men aren't as dopey as we think they are! :)

    By Blogger Jools, at 9:24 AM  

  • franje: slim and pretty? not remotely. i'm 5'11" and have bigger shoulders than most men i know (being a competitive rower). I've got hips the size of Newark, cellulite on my ass, and tiny-to-non-existant boobs. And acne.

    My rather muscular and masculine physique means that most men don't find me at all attractive (i think because they find it a threat to their own masculinity), but the very few who do are hyper-masculine and uber-fit. I'm ok with that. Essentially, it just takes a really manly-man to out-man me. Does that make sense?

    As for wanting things that are pretty, you should read First Nations on the subject:
    post titled "I Want Answers," Friday Dec 8.

    By Blogger Chaucer's Bitch, at 10:41 AM  

  • well, I think of it this way - imagine you wanted to take a small cute child to the cinema, and this child demanded to see Die Hard 15 - that would worry you, it would seem wrong and unnatural. You'd be much happier to take it to the latest Winnie the Poo Disney spin-off.
    Maybe it's a similar thing with women, men assume it's more "natural" for women to want to watch sappy crap/take ages to get dressed/be "ditzy".
    Erm. hope that made sense.

    By Blogger Loganoc, at 11:00 AM  

  • Hi, I am a gay girl (or a lady gay, as i prefer) both my partner and I are very feminine,under 100 pounds, long hair and better than average looking... (Okay this isn't going to leadto a porn site - damn the objectification and fetishisation of lesbianism) This isn't a male/female divide: she still wants me to be femme, jokes about my intelligence and, affectionately makes mildly chauvinistic comments. I think this is as she doesn't want to date a surrogate guy, and as loganoc said, it's what society expects. If we wanted to date guys we would.

    By Anonymous Lady Gaye, at 11:48 AM  

  • lady gaye: do you and your partner live anywhere near a rowing club? at under 100 lbs, you should both be coxwains...

    By Blogger Chaucer's Bitch, at 12:31 PM  

  • My father used to delight in telling me that I would never have a longterm relationship because I didn't "act" at being a woman in the company of men. All the giggliness, fluffiness, hair twirling, pretending to care about nothing but handbags and make up, only liking films designed to appeal to someone with an IQ of 90 - it's all just an act.

    If you have to wait until you're forty, fifty to find someone who actually accepts you as you are, then it's worth the wait. If you can't find them then you're better off being single, believe me.

    By Blogger Betty, at 12:46 PM  

  • There are other ways of being "girly".

    By Blogger Billy, at 12:52 PM  

  • Relationshipping is like going to an amusement park. It's just as much about the GOING as it is about the roller coasters.
    I fugure people want the new and different. To the point where the percieved difference between hanging with girl friend and girlfriend is like the difference between hanging with a hometowner and a an immigrant, when it's really just a differenct of boundaries.
    Yeah, a guy will play World of Warcraft with his sweatheart but probably not John Madden Football.

    By Blogger Nigel Patel, at 2:08 PM  

  • CB: it's pathetic. I'm 27 and have the physique of an anorexic teenager. I always wanted the broad shoulders and large hips of an hour glass figure, but, alas, it never happened. We're Sunday League footballers (soccer) not rowers or cockswains, but will bear it in mind for out of season - God,women's football...

    Spinsterella: It's just finding the shoe that fits. These guys sound like they are with somebody a bit generic. Whereas (from personal experience) I don't think you fall in love with a stereotype. But any guy who gets to know you (and not the image you maybe portray) will see you as the wheat from the chaff, or the diamond in the midst of shiny glass.

    Or whatever.

    By Anonymous Lady Gaye, at 2:24 PM  

  • Young couples …
    Sickening, aren't they?

    I'd go get my gun except I'd rather see them live, so they can suffer the consequences.

    Er … I'm not sounding a tad bitter here, am I?

    By Blogger dive, at 2:42 PM  

  • Don't know. I DO know that J does like it that I don't have to spend hours applying my eyeliner before I can leave the house. I also think he likes it when I do occasionally feel like making an effort to look really nice.

    The ones who do like vapid girly-girls aren't worth your time.

    By Anonymous Two Sirius, at 3:52 PM  

  • I think some women pretend to like crap because it makes them look 'girlie' and they think that will be attractive to the opposite sex. Don't pretend, it's not worth it. The good men won't care.

    By Blogger realdoc, at 5:17 PM  

  • Oh, I feel enlightened and very cheerful.

    Any if anyone wants to pop over to CB's blog they'll see a photo of a young woman in a red dress who does not look like anything like her description of herself here.

    By Blogger Spinsterella, at 7:04 PM  

  • heh. thanks, spin, but the camera lies. that dress was chosen specifically to make my boobs appear bigger and my ass look smaller. and i photoshopped the acne. god bless the digital age. :-D

    By Blogger Chaucer's Bitch, at 7:33 PM  

  • Hello, I've never commented here before either, but enjoy the blog.

    This post reminded me of a snippet of conversation I overheard recently, on the last day of the year that it was possible to sit outside with a drink. A couple (bloke in his 40s, can generally be spotted at art / music events, younger woman) came and sat at the next table, both pretty drunk and loud, and the key phrase was (from her to him): 'Don't you DARE tell me that "Bambi" is sentimentalised!'

    Which seemed to sum up something. The way men play devil's advocate with women they're after, so as to show that they're not. And vice versa - did the woman really like 'Bambi' that much, or was she being deliberately un-slavish as a way of sucking up? If that IS what was going on (it was), is there really anything wrong with being a bit contrary when flirting?


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:47 PM  

  • I should probably confess now that I saw Legally Blonde a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it (I did have a hangover).

    I read Heat et al (in the Supermarket, I don't actually buy them).

    And i'm quite partial to a bit of lad-lit.

    So I should jsut shut the fuck up really.

    By Blogger Spinsterella, at 8:51 AM  

  • Some men really do like this dreadful girly girly girl thing. It's a mystery to me, just like the women who go stupid over men who sit with their legs wide apart on public so everyone can see how big their cock is and who hold belching competitions. I quite like that some men are like this however; it proves a quite reliable and almost instantaneous filter for those who are worth your time and those who are not.

    By Blogger Jack, at 7:43 PM  

  • Any relationship requires a bit of compromise. Small Boo takes ages to get ready, which annoys me, but I let it go, because she loathes chick lit (prefers Paul Auster and Dr Who, which is fine by me). She does like shopping, but she's just as likely to be found in the Apple Shop as in a shoe place. If she went the full girly Kinsella monty, I wouldn't have gone near her with a pink bargepole from Claire's Accessories, but a few lapses in taste are OK (and I'm sure I've made plenty of them).

    By Blogger Tim Footman, at 3:14 AM  

  • I don't know why strong intelligent etc women are not allowed to like chick flicks. The genre is pretty broad, oops, after all. I went to see Memoirs of a Geisha (tiresome) because my date, a strong, intelligent whatsit, preferred it. And I saw Lost in Translation (chick flick, people) with another date and we both enjoyed it.

    Some women just are more girly, and it seems to have nothing to do with their intelligence, strength or confidence. I think it's all in the genes.

    My current ladyfriend likes the same stuff I do, by and large: and that includes action movies ...

    By Blogger DavetheF, at 9:40 PM  

  • Lost in Translation is not a chick flick - well, not entirely. It's part chick flick, part rumination on the male menopause, and part piss-take of stupid Americans. And I got back from Tokyo on Tuesday night and can also confirm that it's damn close to a documentary.

    By Blogger Tim Footman, at 10:04 AM  

  • Lost in Translation isn't a flick at all; it's a damn fine feature-length shoegazy pop video.

    By Blogger patroclus, at 2:24 PM  

  • I am a strong woman, and one who is typically hated by other woman as I am analytical, serious, accomplished, high achieving, etc. (ie, a man mentally, in other words.)Men love me as I am attractive and don't play the stupid, manipulative games other women play. I am real and down to earth. I am honest, generous, compassionate, helpful, well educated. I also have style and flair.

    I have been called every name in the book from lesbian,bitch, etc. by your "average" male/female.

    While I get hit on quite frequently (by virtue of the fact that I am attractive and for idiot guys, that quality is alone to justify a hitting on.), I rarely accept the dates. I am very discriminating.

    Do you know whom I have ended up dating? A high powered architect. A CEO. Prominent attorneys, etc. These are the men who find me attractive, charming, intelligent, etc.and who value me for me.

    I also work on my spiritual aspects so that my character is refined and that I am a person of value and with values. These qualities also appeal to men with standards. Since I won't "put out," the average man has no use for me.

    While I am attractive, I am hardly a girlie girl. I am also modest.

    Some professional women do seem undatable. They push their careers and become very ego centric. I don't like most career women myself. All they care about is me, me, me. Plus many are unbalanced, overly emotional, troubled, and just an emotional chaotic mess. They become shrewish, etc. Idiot guys would rather be with a bimbo than that and smart guys would choose a woman with grace, poise, warmth, and class over a demanding harpie.

    Bottom line is...water seeks its own level. Be a quality person and you will attract the same

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:33 AM  

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