This mini series is based on some material I shared at Man Up, the Christ Church Hawthorn men’s brekky. Tamie came along to help us understand what makes a woman, and here are some thoughts on how we can respond as men.
Because we men are broken creatures, we carry deep insecurities. We are fearful. We are scared of being exposed. We desperately want to be reassured of our masculinity. And we do anything we can to prop up our identity. So, when it comes to women, we like to think that proper women are weak women — the ones who are quiet, who don’t challenge us, who so obviously need to be looked after or given advice or ordered around. If that’s who women are, we can more easily pretend that we’re real men.
At least that’s how it is for some of us. Different men express those same insecurities in different ways. Some of us instead shut down and internalise. Instead of constructing a macho facade, we just disengage. That might mean we’re profoundly shy — or it might mean that we’re mavericks who always go it alone. Either way, when it comes to women, we leave them to their own devices, or we give them their freedom, as long as we don’t have to be involved.
The thing is, women are the equal match and counterpart of men (as I’ve explored here before: 1, 2). And if there’s any truth in this, your woman won’t be a wimpy woman who you can keep down, and neither will she be a lone ranger who can plow on without you. If you’re a single guy looking for a girl, you need to look for your equal match and counterpart. They’re out there — I found mine.
If you’re actually looking for an equal match and counterpart, you’ll be looking for a woman who can do things you can’t. What if you found a woman who has more people smarts, or is more articulate, or is a better planner than you? That would be fantastic — she would be your ultimate counterpart!
Learning to team up with her will look different for you depending on what kind of guy you are (see also).
One of the greatest gender lies is that men are active and women are passive. If you’re that ‘man of action’, you’ll need to work hard at finding a woman who you can encourage to be active. The real issue here, though, is your own insecurity. If you have basic struggles with your own lack of security, you will always look for a woman who you can keep in her place.
But I suspect the more common problem for Australian guys is to disengage, taking a laissez-faire, hands-off approach. This leaves your woman in the driver’s seat while you just watch on. That’s slow death for her. If that’s you, you need to understand that partnership requires your initiative. You need to come out of yourself to empower her. Again, the real issue is your own insecurity. Until you’ve done some hard work on your own life, you will be looking for a woman with whom you can switch off.
The bottom line: wife hunting is not about finding the right wife. It’s about whether you can be the right man. You need to look for a woman who you can rise to the occasion for, a woman who you can live up to. At the end of the day, she is your equal match and counterpart — will you be hers?
Arthur Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.