My significant other loves me so much. I know because he says it to me every morning, just like that, with the emphasis on the "so." Also because we fall asleep holding hands like otters, kiss first thing when we wake up every morning, and when I'm out of the house for more than a few hours, I start getting "I miss you, come home" texts. Plus after 8 years, he still gets up and meets me at the door, with a towel if it's been raining.
I tell you all this not to brag (much), but to illustrate a point that seems to make a lot of sense: The person who chooses to spend his life hanging out with you generally likes hanging out with you.
Yet the societal stereotype persists that girls spend our lives chasing after a partner, while men spend their lives trying to escape theirs.
"In a large-scale survey and interviews, reported in the American Sociological Review in 2006, the sociologist Peggy Giordano and her colleagues found teenage boys to be just as emotionally invested in their romantic relationships as girls."
WUZZA-WHA? Teenage boys like their girlfriends? Granted, adolescent males are more creature than human, with their stinking, oily pores and their willingness to yell stuff at fat people. But is it really surprising or new that they feel the basic human emotion of love?
Sort of. And here's why: There are only three kinds of men you are allowed to be according to popular media.
1.single, trying to get laid
2. in a relationship, trying to get your girlfriend to do things she doesn't want to do sexually, trying to lie to her/cheat on her whenever you can, trying to avoid marriage
3. married, hating your wife
Even that last one is underepresented -- in a lot of media aimed toward men, the audience is assumed to be single and perpetually seeking sex from as many new and different partners as possible. And, in the off-time, looking at photo after photo of generic, flat-abbed starlets in creative states of undress.
Here are 90 percent of the pitches I received as editor of a men's website:
How to Get Your Girlfriend to X: Have a Threesome, Do Anal, Have an Open Relationship, Watch Porn
How to Pick Up A Woman: On the Subway, At Work, On Valentine's Day, When You're Dating her Friend
HOW TO GET LAID (in all various forms and functions)
How to Do the Best Possible Job When You're Getting Laid
Rules for One-night Stands
How to Cheat Without Getting Caught
X Annoying Things Women Do
And all the other reading needs of your typical urban, sex-crazed slightly misogynistic perpetual bachelor. (Meanwhile, men as described in women's media are like these fluffy, soft-edged half-women with molded-over Barbie doll genitals who wouldn't even recognize those douchebags.)
The kind of guy represented in some men's media exists, of course. He's just not the only kind of guy who exists. Some guys aren't interested in casual sex with a lot of different people. Some guys are in committed relationships. Some guys are looking for one. Some guys fall for every woman they meet and get depressed when it doesn't work out. A lot of guys are married. Some of them have kids.
And most of those guys, I truly believe, actually like their wives and girlfriends.
Both men's and women's media, as well as a lot of pop culture, deals in broad cliches, which over time get so expanded and extrapolated upon until they lose whatever kernel of truth originally created them. At some point, we don't even think about why that sitcom guy has to roll his eyes every time wife speaks, we just know that's the rule.
But if everybody really hated their significant others as much as popular culture tells us they do, coupledom would die out. And as far as I can tell, romantic relationships are still a vital, affirming part of life for both genders.
So I think it's time we chilled on the whole "Girls like feelings, boys like sticking their penises in things" binary. Not just because it's untrue, but because it's BORING. The messy sexy ugly funny truth of male-female relationships is a million times more interesting.
And dudes, if you don't like your girlfriend, if you spend a goodly portion of your time thinking about how to deceive and manipulate her and avoid long-term commitment, then I don't care what anybody says: That's a bad relationship and you should get the hell out.
I know some places where you can get great tips on picking up women.