in the company of men (some men)*

I was thinking about the time a male friend, who is my age (mid thirties), and I had a bit of a spat in the driveway outside his lush hillside home. When I refused to buy into his argument and turned to go inside the house, I heard him say scornfully, “Yeah, that’s it, go hang with the twenty year olds.”

I thought: Dude, I’m not the one who’s dating them.

Not that there aren’t some mature early twentysomethings out there capable of dating anybody — just that his comment revealed more about men like him than any group of women. To wit: women that young are like children, and quality interaction happens between myself and fellow successful male peers. And yet that pool of “children” is where these same men go again and again to fish out the new girlfriend. Thus: my girlfriend is a child, but that’s okay, because quality interaction happens elsewhere.

Which is fine, if that’s what the guy wants and the girl accepts that dynamic, which can benefit her in many ways — until, perhaps, she realizes she’s not supposed to “grow up” because the nature of the relationship changes. If a child can and even should be controlled, an adult with an adult’s demands requires a different response altogether. But I’m thinking of how depressed and apathetic Katie Holmes has looked in so many photographs of her, how when a reporter asked her husband to describe the little things about her that he claimed to adore….he couldn’t think of anything. He sputtered something about cupcakes. Whether or not that marriage is the sham many think it is, I bet Katie in return could list ten or twenty “little things” about Tom, and it’s hard not to draw at least some connection between her apparent unhappiness and his lack of genuine knowledge — and curiosity — about his mate that the ‘cupcakes’ question might suggest.

Tom Cruise, of course, is an extraordinarily busy and attractive* man, as is my male friend from above paragraph. Both can barely find the time to choose among the women available to them — and there are so many women. Which presents a sad paradox for those, like Katie, who fall among the chosen: how it can be some of the very men regarded as society’s most desirable who –when you move inside that weird zone of intimacy, where no one knows what happens except the two people who share it — prove least able to fill the woman’s relationship needs past the rush of a theatrical courtship. Needs like that have little to do with the purpose such women serve in their lives. Quality interaction happens elsewhere.

* Just to say, I love men, including these busy men described above (excepting Tom Cruise, even though The Color of Money is an awesome awesome movie and I almost found him sexy in Interview with the Vampire. And yet I do not love Tom Cruise). I’m just speaking from my role as observer.

**Okay, I never really thought so, being more of a Keanu Reeves girl myself, but I am aware that there are those who disagree.

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