Intro to Red Flags: Belated Post for International National Men's Day (Part 1)

I was planning to post on November 19th to celebrate International Men's Day, but this election got me fucked up.  Anyways....

As I planned this post, I started to realize that I really have a lot to say on this topic.  So it's not all going to fit into a single post; I'll be doing a series of posts on various ways how I think society fails men.

One of my cousins recently broke up with his fiancee and this weekend and he's still working through it.  We got to talking this weekend, and we had a lengthy conversation which spanned his most dysfunctional relationships. He's been hit, called horrible names on a daily basis, and because he's an engineer (but not wealthy), too many women have tried to use him financially (his fiancee quit her job - without warning or consulting him - right before they were supposed to move in together.  For six months, my cousin supported her as she dragged her heels about getting a new job and furthering her education).

My cousin has had a woman break up with him on the morning of his birthday.  That same evening, when he was about to meet up with friends to celebrate - bringing his own special, favorite cake - she showed up to make sure he wasn't "going anywhere".  She threw his (very expensive) cake in the trash, starting knocking things off the counter, and physically tried to prevent him from leaving.

Another girlfriend once invited him to a wedding reception at a very expensive restaurant.  My cousin showed up in his aging Toyota to find himself among men in shiny Lamborghinis.  He parked on the highest floor where there were no other cars.  When he arrived inside, there was no wedding reception (of course).  His girlfriend was sitting alone at the bar, sipping wine.  She'd already ordered a full bottle, and got very angry when my cousin flat-out refused pay for it.

The horror stories continued for hours, but you get the gist.

I quickly pointed out to my cousin that he has a tendency to choose women who are abusive.  My cousin was baffled to that this wasn't just about women being "crazy"; it never occurred to him that he had an actual pattern of choosing the wrong women.  I explained to him my theory that unlike women, men aren't trained to notice red flags.

Red flags are not only indicators that a person might be dangerous to you, but also signs you and a not-so-dangerous person are not compatible, and thus not destined for a healthy and happy relationship.  See, "compatible", "healthy", and "happy" are basically dirty words in the modern world of romantic relationships because in every society, there are social agendas considered more important than the happiness and overall well-being of its citizens.  So even though humans are technically (and mostly legally) able to go forth and find love, depending on the society we live in, we're socialized from birth not to.

I'll expand upon this more in a later post.

My cousin protested that he did screen women for red flags.  He said that since high school, he went for "nice", "beautiful" girls who weren't "loud."  Contrary to popular sentiment, volume in a women isn't a red flag.  What my cousin recited are the tired, antiquated, and severely limited criteria many societies use to condition boys into believing that girls are supposed to be quiet, submissive, and conventionally attractive, and if a girl deviates from more than one of those three, she's unfit to pursue.

Suffice, to say we're not doing boys any favors by teaching them these criteria.  We're not teaching them to quickly recognize harmful behaviors, or pay attention to signs that they don't have a future with someone.  And we're not teaching them anything substantial about girls.

And when we don't teach boys about red flags, we're not teaching the most important rule: red flags are not meant to be ignored.  Never, not ever, not for any reason.

My cousin asked me about this.  He wanted to know why if women can recognize red flags, how come so many of us still end up in bad relationships.  I answered him honestly: many of us who can recognize red flags...choose to ignore them.  There are various (mostly obvious) reasons why we do this.  We will come up with all sorts of excuses, and we will try to downplay the warning signs that we saw early on so our friends and family will get off our backs.

My cousin then asked me, "Well then...can't some women just disguise their red flags?"

Again, I was completely honest: Yes.  Yes, we can.

Pop Quiz: What do you think my cousin's ex-fiancee was like for the many years he knew her before they even started dating?  Obvious Answer: She was nice.  She was conventionally beautiful (still is).  And she was never loud.

But as my cousin rehashed their long history, I could pinpoint numerous, glaring, neon red flags along the way that screamed, Do not date this woman.

When society gives men woefully inadequate criteria for selecting a female partner, of course women are going to use it to our advantage.  Why do you think so many grown women use high, sweet, girlish voices when talking to new people?  Why do you think we're so accommodating (read: "nice") to all the right people at all the right times?  Why do you think so many of us work so hard to get/remain skinny?

We know what you're taught to look for, so we know exactly how to blind you with it.

Some men realize this right off the bat, which is good, but then most choose to ignore it...which is a huge red flag.

To be continued.

Comments

  1. Wow. And I thought I had it bad with women. But you're right. Men do have that misogynistic image of women. And it's that image created by us that has gotten many men screwed, no pun intended sexual or otherwise.

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  2. "Why do you think so many grown women use high, sweet, girlish voices when talking to new people?
    The only women I know who talk like that really do have high pitch voices. NOW I have noticed women bat their eyes so much that they are about to become airborne or use excessive giggling. Or hair tossing. Or over exaggerated movements that say look at me!

    Why do you think we're so accommodating (read: "nice") to all the right people at all the right times?
    Because women are brainwashed into thinking if they don't act nice then they are automatically called a B. Women are told no man is going to want them if they aren't nice. Look at the rhyme, "girls are sugar and spice and everything NICE." It starts early.

    Why do you think so many of us work so hard to get/remain skinny?"
    Honestly I have always liked working out, but the majority of women do it because they are inundated with images of skinny women being the standard for happiness. They are told their life will be better if they are skinny. Men will want them if they are skinny. There are a lot of skinny SINGLE women walking around so that is not true.

    As for your cousin I don't feel sorry for him. As I was reading your post I already knew he went for a certain "type" of woman. I have some cousins who are the same way. If they think a girl/woman is hot they don't care if she just killed a thousand people. They will overlook it.

    When we all meet someone the physical part is what we notice first. The problem is today everyone is in such a hurry to get with someone; they don't bother to get to know someone to find out if they are crazy or not.

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  3. My cousin protested that he did screen for red flags.He said since high school,he went for " nice " " beautiful " girls who weren't " loud ".

    When I look at some of the standards that your cousin wanted in women.. especially the ones about being " beautiful " and not being " loud " I say this respectively, but no wonder why he got what he got.

    While there is nothing wrong with having standards,those standards should be about that women knowing how to be committed, being productive, being a good person and if they just happen to be beautiful, OK but two out of those three qualities that your cousin want in a woman don't equate for them being good women.

    Like you said, some guys know how screen women while some others..hmmm not so much.It had me to think about dating ads where a lot of that " screening " take place. In most of these ads,the men ask for a woman who was beautiful, knew how to cook,liked to travel and they'll also say she's got to have a great bod and a dynamic personality.

    If men and women had it their way,we would mold our potential soulmates into the most perfect people in the world but we can't in this imperfect world of ours.

    I'm a woman and similarly to your cousin ,I have standards.Though screening isn't a 100 percent guarantee of finding the right person, I would want to find guys who are mature,family oriented,respectful to people, productive and if I'm serious about them,I would hope they know what the word commitment is.Just being gorgeous and non loud alone will not create great relationships/marriages

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  4. Hmmm wow. I like the turn of this. I was like what was wrong with these women, but the truth is those people will continue to have the problems but what is it about them that draws your cousin in. I like the candid conversation because many people men in clouded believe men can't be played and they can. I can't wait for part 2.

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  5. Guys, I'm so sorry your comments went unpublished for so long. For some reason, Blogger isn't showing me an alert when are new comments.

    ReplyDelete

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