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.