Sunday, September 30, 2007

Thoughts on Men – Part 2

Since I had lots of time to think about men and my issues surrounding them over the past eight years, I developed a theory. (No eye-rolling, please!) There are basically four types of men. Being a lover of architecture I classified them into building types.

First, there are hotels, some offering more amenities than others but all with revolving doors. The women check in and the women check out. Some stay a night, some a week, some longer, and some check in more than once – but they all eventually check out. Sometimes more than one room is occupied at a time. Hotels are generally smooth, seemingly happy people when you first meet them. They can be very attentive and a lot of fun – for brief periods. With hotels you have sex. No attachments, very little if any emotion – especially on their part. It’s just a physical act.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a hotel as long as you understand and acknowledge from the beginning that the door never stops revolving and you WILL be checking out. The problems begin when women refuse to deal with reality and think they can change a hotel that isn’t ready to cancel the rest of his reservations. If you don’t accept the fact that you aren’t the first one to check in and you won’t be the last, you’re just setting yourself up to be hurt.

Second, there are apartment buildings. They’re like hotels except they’re usually ambivalent in the beginning about whether they want to be in a real relationship. Again, at first they are seemingly happy people and they give the impression they’re interested in getting to know you better than a hotel would. But eventually the rent is due, the lease is up, and they move on.
Again, it’s really just sex. Good, bad or indifferent – it’s just a physical act. Because apartment buildings have some doubts about what they want, they can fool you into thinking you could have a committed relationship with them. You have to be really careful here because by the time you realize you’ve got an apartment building on your hands you could already be in over your head.

The third types are houses. They offer shelter, sex and all the basic comforts often including love and companionship. If they’re really nice houses, they may offer a more upscale lifestyle too. With houses you also have sex but there’s usually some emotional attachment involved. They tend to be longer term, caring relationships based on friendship. Many marriages occur in this category and many of these relationships last a long time. This is probably the most prevalent type.

Finally there are homes. They provide everything a house does, plus deep committed love and a best friend with whom you can share your life. With homes you make love. There’s an emotional and spiritual attachment that accompanies the physical act. Homes are the ones who walk down the street after years of marriage still holding hands and smiling at each other.

So, how do you know which type they are? I learned it really, really, really, really, really helps to talk to them – often several times in great depth – BEFORE you go to bed with them. If you get to know them and are around them enough, they will eventually reveal themselves. Other than that I haven’t found any magic formula for smoking them out. Men can be very sneaky – especially the hotels and apartment buildings.

I was usually attracted to the hotels. There was an apartment building or two but, with my abandonment issues, the closeness was always frightening. Whenever I encountered a potential house or home I ran like a rabbit for the nearest hole. This was probably because I was always a hotel or apartment building myself.

The truth is I’ve never been in love – not really “in” love. I loved people but never wholeheartedly. I certainly never cared enough to sacrifice my freedom for any of them. When I was still really naïve, I even talked about marriage a few times but was never able to make the leap. I always found a way to screw things up before it reached the point of having to make a real commitment. I became proficient at making men think it was their idea because part of the way I dealt with my issues was by not making anyone else feel bad - even if they were. I always assumed the blame. Sometimes it required being a total bitch to drive them away, but if that’s what it took, so be it.

Over time sex became strictly a physical release because I could never really connect on any other level with anyone. I had sex with more than a few men in my life, but I can honestly say that I have never made love. The lengths of my relationships were often based on how good the sex was. I stayed with one supercilious, self absorbed jerk for almost a year but he was great in bed. I kept thinking if the sex was good enough eventually everything else would fall into place. Even though I told myself and everyone else I really cared about him, in truth everything was dependent on the sex.

To be continued!


Church Lady said...

I love your analogy! I might add 'hospitals' to your list-those men who just want to fix you. I've never had a hospital relationship, but have friends who did.
I love the distintion between house and home. My marriage slid from being a home to being a house. It's been a house for 5 years or so, and I've been thinking about putting it up for sale. But recently, very recently, there may be a ray of light. I'm going to cling to that for a while, and try to make this a home again. I'd rather be by myself than in a relationship that's pretending to be intimate. If it weren't for the children, the house would've been sold a long time ago. But I'm beginning to feel glad I didn't.

I'm really glad you posted part 2!

Kim S. said...

I once dated a lean-to.... ;) Love your analogy.

Merry Jelinek said...

This analogy is priceless... let's not forget the fixer-uppers, which we lovingly dump all of our cash and hard work into renovating only to find that at any given time there will be a busted boiler or the roof will need replacing...

sigh... I'm currently in a house, once a home but now more of a house... if the for sale sign lands on the front lawn in the foreseeable future, I swear to you I will opt for the apartment... better yet, I'll be my own home because, quite frankly, if I have to spend my life fixing up things, they may as well be my own things rather than someone else's.

Sorry, a bit ranty today.

The Anti-Wife said...

I think we start every relationship believing we have a home, but time and circumstances can change everything. Also, children are wonderful, but they add another dimension and a new reality.

You might still have a home. It may not feel like it because you don't have the time to concentrate on it like you did when you first moved in. If you truly have a house now and it's not going to become a home again, you have some choices. You can accept it and be grateful for the friendship and shared responsibilities and experiences. You can decide it's just not enough and let it go. Or you can wait it out and hope that as your children grow up and you both mature, things might eventually change.

It's a tough call.

Ello said...

Great analogies! This is perfect article material for magazines. They would love this idea of naming types hotels, apartment building, houses and homes. I love it! If you aren't doing your memoir anymore, at least think about doing this as an article for a woman's magazine. It would be perfect.

The Anti-Wife said...

Thanks, Ello.

I would love to do magazine articles and believe they would suit my style and temperament best, but I don't know how and don't have time to explore it right now. I'm hoping to take some online classes this winter to learn the process.

Stephen Parrish said...

I agree with Ello. Certain periodicals would eat this up.

Not men's magazines, mind you . . .