Beverley Merriman

Managing modern-day mayhem

We all agree that things were much simpler back in the day — when men worked and women raised kids. Was it right? No. Was it fair? Absolutely not! Was it simpler to manage relationships and to know what to expect? Yes. Now we are compelled to deal with the after-effects of that line of thinking and try to gel that with today’s generation that is the by-product of 40 years of increased women’s rights. One would think that we would have sorted out the rights, expectations, roles and responsibilities by now!

We now all have equal rights, yet many of us have no understanding of roles and responsibilities. Do you understand what your role is? Do you honestly? Are your expectations of each gender’s responsibilities realistic and valid?

So while women are frantically panicking about who asks who out, who pays, do we go Dutch and who makes the moves in a relationship — and men are sitting there dazed, trying to piece together the mixed signals on what the average woman wants — life must go on, right?

I would say that traditional values have always been around and will probably make a huge comeback eventually.

Even though women are empowered, they still want men, the traditionally and genetically stronger gender, to take the initiative and the lead in a relationship. Attention is paid to the way he asks her out, the way he picks her up for a date, the way he opens the car door and his assertiveness or lack thereof. His words and his actions should be congruent and his air assertive, but not crude and overly aggressive. The style where masculinity remains sorely lacking will remain unappealing — it’s called sexual selection, folks. Subconsciously we still pick the strongest genes for reproduction.

While the current man may sit there wondering why, in a society of equal rights, he has to make the first move and why he should pay, I agree he has the right to question and object. Many women are spoilt and want their bread buttered on all sides. They demand the independence, but not equal responsibility in weight, and their expectations are often unbalanced and out of sync. They demand, demand, demand … and offer very little in return. Those who are not man-eaters and can fight a pack of lions on their own are probably playing games to see where they can get the best deal (the handsome man, with lots of cash that will make life as comfortable as possible).

At the end of the day, you need to find what works for you. However, this makes you accountable for your choice. So, if you choose the type that wears pink shirts and puts your cooking to shame, someone who is sensitive and supportive of your goals and dreams, ladies, then do not complain that he is not assertive enough. You knew what you were getting! Don’t, for one moment, think you are going to make him more of a man with your new-found super powers.

Gents, if she is spoilt now, believe me, she’s not likely to change. The cuteness will wear off and you will be the sod having to maintain the lazy witch or tame the feisty man-eater. Don’t be deceived by coy behaviour and superficial beauty. Dig a little deeper, will you!

Common-sense pointers for smooth relationships, applicable for both boys and girls:

  • Respect each other’s intelligence.
  • Value each other’s opinion even when you disagree.
  • Apologise when you have made a mistake.
  • If you invite me out, you pay. When I invite you, I’ll pay. We’ll agree beforehand when to go Dutch.
  • Do not tell me you care for me; show it — even in this age, actions speak louder than words.

Wouldn’t it be great if genders can embrace the freedom to be the best that they can be? Work together as a team — not against each other. Individuals should take responsibility and be accountable for their actions (or lack of actions). The secret, no doubt, lies in the almost impossible task of finding someone with the same level of commitment as yours … and that is rarely found.

  • http://constantflux.co.za/ Gustav Bertram

    Aren’t you over thinking things? Gender roles, expectations, neo-traditional value systems. So scientific. So complicated. Where’s the passion?

    Also, the entire system breaks down if you or they are gay, lesbian, bi or transsexual.

    Why not just try to understand someone for who they really are? If you go into the thing with preconceptions, you’ll end up not knowing the real person.

  • Alisdair Budd

    I wonder how the human race managed to survive without today’s modern day guidance from so called realtionship experts and counsellors?

    they just probably ignored the flim flam and got on with making babies.

  • Kit

    Even though women are empowered, they still want men, the traditionally and genetically stronger gender, to take the initiative and the lead in a relationship.

    You really, really need a ‘some’ or ‘most’ or other appropriate disclaimer in there. Truthfully, not all women want these things. Perhaps most South African women do. Most women also want big weddings and jewellery and a couple of kids…not all.

    I feel lucky though reading this one. Our relationship isn’t perfect by any means but we don’t have clearly defined ‘gender roles’ (are we supposed to?), we share things according to what we like to do or are better at or what we can tolerate doing better than the other (viz. doing the PTA thing vs fixing stuff, laundry vs finances – just as an example, one of those is the ‘wrong way’ round).

    Luckily though there is neither salmon nor pink in this house. This would complicate matters and make me uncomfortable, doubtless. I’ll admit to leaning fairly far away from the metrosexual partner side. Davy Beckham does nothing for me. But then neither does his skinny wife.

  • Scarface

    Ever heard of John Gray, Beverley? I have given many of his books away till now but never read one actually!

    I enjoy the blog, at least it’s got nothing to do with showerheads (yet)!

    Ta

  • James Tobias

    I was looking forward to your next blog to see how you would carry on winding the boys up.
    Must say this comes across as peurile as Dr Phil.

    A whisper in your shell-like. This is nothing new or modern, it has been going on since Adam and Eve.

  • Richard

    Life has become full of complexities. The working life creating most of it where we are supposed to be everything you can possibly imagine to remain at the top of your game.

    I think the challenge has become to interface your proffessional life with your personal life. Unfortunately the latter suffers of a result. There are countless examples of such. No, I am not missing the point here. To enable a healthy relationship with a partner requires effort. I personally have battled with this before and could only sustain that for brief periods. Hence I am now a happily divorced single father.

    The notion of a balanced relationship remains a mystery and I fear that it will. There are to many rules. As a writer points out, passion is no longer the driving force in a relationship, and to be honest, it never was in mine and I also cannot recall a single instance where it had, and succeeded.

    As you pointed out in a previously written blog the answer lies not in making other people happy, but it is a selfish quest in making yourself happy and as a result your partner should be happier as well. It should go both ways though. Happiness breeds happiness, or so it is thought…. It never worked for me in a relationship, but as a single dad it works because there is nobody to keep happy anymore.

    I AM FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://www.feistyfemale.com Bev Merriman

    Gustav – Eye toggie! Now who is making it complicated? In case you haven’t notice the glaringly obvious tongue-in-cheek genre, breathe and have a good laugh. Maybe add a cup of coffee and a chocolate muffin for extra measure.

    Alisdair – Mmm… I haven’t thought of that. That might be a problem. Maybe we should get them to pause, reflect and then multiply?

  • http://www.feistyfemale.com Bev Merriman

    Kit – Yes, in retrospect I guess my FeistyFemale blog disclaimer would have been more appropriate!

    For the record. I come from a family where there were no clear gender roles. My mom worked at one stage, and my father being much older, was retired. He ended up doing the laundry and the cooking!

    My parents are the most ecstatically happy couple I know – Why? Because they work as a team! They are constantly working together, sharing, and helping each other and not working as opposing forces. I do know that there is no set recipe for relationships.

    Sadly the average person in society seems to need some guidance…

    PS. Davy Beckham and his skinny wife isn’t my cup of tea either! Yet people strive to be just like that – “Huisgenoot paartjies” with their matching outfits!

    Scarface – Aah! Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus…I think I might be from a different planet! Glad you enjoy the blog. Feel free to pop topics into my email inbox. I have a feeling these posts are going to be hard to beat.

    * She scribbles down note not to mention shower heads…

  • http://constantflux.co.za/ Gustav Bertram

    I’m an uncomplicated soul. I sometimes take things too literally.

  • Brandon

    Damn, I’m wearing a pink shirt today!

    Does that mean that I can’t be assertive today?
    Oh well, I’ll go an cry in the corner.

    I’ll wear a blue shirt tomorrow, come back to this post and assert my view more strongly.

    Hahaha..thanx for the fun read.
    To everyone else out there, stop taking life so seriously, it’ll eat you alive if you do.

  • DavidT

    As a man, I venture the following observation, knowing full well the flood of vitriol that will inevitably wash over me. All of the Women I have known know exactly what they want… until they achieve it.

    Their ability to attain goals is, more often than not, far superior to their male counterparts, owing to the fact that they simply do not quit. Having reached that goal, however, they often turn their back on it completely.

    An all-too-common example would be that of the working Woman that strives for a successful career and makes her way up the corporate ladder in her 20’s only to hit 30 and realize that the opportunity to raise a family is slipping by. The male mind is never burdened with this quandry and he tends to focus on his career from day one.

    Her priorities then change (naturally) and she ends up offering half of her attention to her career and the other half to her family.

    In this day and age, I believe any woman can be as successful as she chooses in the professional world, and just as successful raising a family. Men simply can not. I do, however think that it is becoming increasingly more difficult to do both with complete effectiveness. At some point, a choice has to be made.

    The true discrimination of Women is the expectation that is placed on them as professionals, coupled with the lack of respect for a Woman that has chosen to ‘work’ for her family, rather than her company.

    This discrimination, unfortunately, is alive and well today, and often perpetuated by the very same women that the liberation movement emancipated.

  • jaycee

    Bev, this relationship thing has been sticky hot spot since the dawn of mankind when men became dissatisfied with doing their own thing and women appeared as the answer to all his genetic drives. BUT, it came at a helluva cost to both man and women. You are in marketing and you know there is no such thing as a free lunch. No, the man must pay dearly for his lunch because the woman soon found it easier to advertise than to deliver the actual goods. So the man must go that extra mile to get to the goods that make him feel he is worth something in creation. And this is where the woman cashes in: And make no mistake she takes advantage to the full. But being the answer to all the man wants she has to become part of this union that also takes its toll on her in that she sacrifices her “freedom”. How can such an impossible situation be sustainable? The answer: They call it love, comradeship or whatever which provides the glue that holds them together, a gift of the gods. It is like a door in a house: it gets slammed and kicked, handled softly etc., but the glue makes it stay in one piece.
    So the bottom line is: What is this strange thing called love? I don’t know, but it is certainly not the rubbish coming out of Hollywood or the images from the pages of a dirty magazine. Can somebody help here, please?

  • Sipho Hlongwane

    Truer words I have not read in Thought Leader for a while!

  • Rory Short

    @Bev right on. Relationships whether hetero, same sex, etc, etc, are at base a matter of treating one and other with respect and then, together, working out who does what, where and when within the variety of different constraints and opportunities that we are all faced with, some of which are biologically determined like having babies and breast feeding for example. But even given the biological constraints there is a huge potential for variety within any relationship and fhus it is incumbent on the participants in each relationship to work these out for themselves.

  • Jack Salas

    Beverly- you do not mention the binding love in families.Not only that between the parents but also the strong bonds in functional families where every member shows affection for and is altruistically disposed to help the others.Obviously you have yourself experienced this.
    Jack

  • Berno van Heerden

    As I read through these comments I pick up a certain air of discontent. A lot of readers have an issue with the issues being addressed, the fact of the matter is that people generally want to disregard the problem because it is easier living in denial than it is to change your perspective on life and come to an accord with the facts of life.Success in love, relationships and work all boil down to the key element of self control and perception of the modern lifestyle we all live. The majority of generations have a tendency to “always be right”, this is the problem facing younger generations!!! There is no constant! There is no change! This is the one place where change is needed! Sitting back and expecting the world to fix your problems will only lead to a next generation sitting around, turning into self obsessed idiots who couldn’t give a damn about there future. Woman need to start respecting man and allowing them to be men, whilst men need to acknowledge there role and rise to the occasion. Both have equal rights but an arrangement is needed so that there is a clear line of acceptable standards for both parties.

  • http://www.myspace.com/verloregedagtes Berno van Heerden

    Hi there readers. I am a different generation than most readers or subscribers here. I am an Y generation man and this is how i perceive things:

    I am disgusted with most men in the world today as they are not men! They have forgotten that women need to be treated with care and respect, this does not make you and inadeqeut man or lesser male, on the contrary, its proof of your manhood! If you can be a man whilst being sensitive but not dependent than you need not be worried about this post.Women on the other hand are also a huge let down as they have turn into career obsessed egomaniacs who are out to dominate but yet won’t accept any man who doesn’t take control, the sad part about this is that the men who take control are never worth it and are to overpowering or shallow to be a decent role models for younger men. this leads to women staying single and giving the nice guys such a hard time that they don’t even try to commit and eventually end up just as bad as the bad guys! As I read through these comments I pick up a certain air of discontent. A lot of readers have an issue with the issues being addressed, the fact of the matter is that people generally want to disregard the problem because it is easier living in denial than it is to change your perspective on life and come to an accord with the facts of life.Success in love, relationships and work all boil down to the key element of self control and perception of the modern lifestyle we all live. The majority of generations have a tendency to “always be right”, this is the problem facing younger generations!!! There is no constant! There is no change! This is the one place where change is needed! Sitting back and expecting the world to fix your problems will only lead to a next generation sitting around, turning into self obsessed idiots who couldn’t give a damn about there future. Woman need to start respecting man and allowing them to be men, whilst men need to acknowledge there role and rise to the occasion. Both have equal rights but an arrangement is needed so that there is a clear line of acceptable standards for both parties.

  • James Tobias

    Y generation??

    Ohhhh? I get it.

    A generation that goes on & on & on & on…… and leaves other generations to ask WHY oh WHY dont they shut-up.

    Let’s not even mention the false starts or is it senelity?

  • http://www.maiselsgroup.com Maud Letzler

    What a load of nonsense! Why should there be any games? Just be honest with each other. I also find the implication that women want men with lots of money offensive. I make more money than most men, and don’t need a man’s money to make me feel secure. Rather a funny, clever guy, who looks after himself, both emotionally and physically, I’ll sort myself out. And what’s this nonsense about who’s to pay? You ask you pay! If you want kids, have them. As a mother of two I can tell u kids are far more resilient than you think. They can, with the right guidance survive most things. And to say that women who want kids don’t take care of their careers, now that is offensive if nothing else! I was back at work after 6 weeks, expressing milk at two hour intervals so that my kids could have breast milk, studied and still went out for a party. If you look after yourself you will have happy well adjusted children. If you compromise on your own happiness, you end up taking out the frustration on both your children and your partner.

    Above all…always be a 100% honest.

  • Pingback: Thought Leader - Managing modern day mayhem | FeistyFemale()

  • Abe

    I would like to agree with you Bev, trully women have taken advantage of their well deserved rights. They almost forgot that they are not the only ones with rights. This whole issue of rights have destroyed a lot of relationships and marriage has taken a fair share of beating. It remains to be seen when this whole debacle will end. You say that women worry about who to pay? Obviously they know men will, no question. Trully women are on a roller coaster ride, and they are having it all. Well, who would blame them. I sure would be doing the same thing given the same opportunity!!

  • Easy to say than done. Of all the ladies I went out with no one was willing to pay for diner.Thus the way it is ladies blame men and men blame ladies. At the end of the day as long as we woke up alive, thus what is important.