What does it take to see a man’s feelings? They say that men don’t feel; that we are stoic, strong, and reserved; that we hide our own feelings so we can play games with the feelings of others.
If you want us to open up, you need to be stronger than we are.
The media says we do, it must be true. Cultural stereotypes say we do, it must be true. Some women think it’s true. Some men will try and convince you it’s true. Yet the truth is a fickle thing handed a mask and told to be what it is not.
It struggles to break free of the act it must play and is punished with shame when the mask is loosed. It is misunderstood and maligned in its natural form, yet praised and glorified when bent and twisted into something unrecognizable.
The truth is that we feel, we feel a lot, we feel the same things women feel and we feel them to the same intensity.
Yet our role is different, we are the protectors, the providers, and the pillars of strength. While we are put in these roles how can we be defenseless? How can we be the ones cared for? How can we be the sail that needs a tether in a storm?
We know we cannot fill two opposing roles so we remain strong, stoic, and reserved because that is all that is allowed us.
We are bound by our feelings to act, to solve, to resolve. This is what marks us as different from women, which is most often complained about is our tendency to fix, but these are our feelings shining through and you sometimes misunderstand us as much as we sometimes misunderstand you.
Our feelings are problems that need to be overcome and fixed.
This we have learned from our past, from our peers, from our parents, from the very culture we live and breathe. We learn that our actions are suspect and our decisions while the feeling is unwise, so we hide them from ourselves and the world around us.
Our bodies when young courses with testosterone making us more likely to aggress, take risks, take initiative, dominate, and become more anti-social. Our feelings, intertwined in this hormonal cocktail, we must learn to curtail, control, and focus.
These feelings ride side by side with testosterone and you can’t control one without controlling the other. A decade or more we spend achieving this balance between wisdom, feeling, and action yet, in the end, we still do not trust our feelings.
This is because after a decade or more us the loss of emotional regulation is loss of choice, loss of deliberate focused action, and loss of social standing.
Women want us to show our feelings yet sometimes misunderstand the perspective we have on feelings.
A woman likes romance, a feeling of excitement, mystery, and feeling special yet to us this requires action, something with a solution so we will buy her flowers, take her to a special restaurant, and make an effort to make her feel special.
We do not always understand that women do not necessarily want the actions; women want the showing, the looks, the attention, the allure that comes with a man focused solely on them.
In the end, women can feel as if their feelings are being bought and we can feel as if our efforts are for naught, neither understanding that each other’s feelings are mutual yet simply expressed differently.
When women show us their feelings, when they cry, or hurt, or are upset they want someone to join them in their discomfort, to understand what they feel, to empathize.