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Monday, January 5, 2009

To Be or to Have A Beautiful Sidekick

There are about three super nice guys that I have dated in my many years of singledom.

One of them, The Landlord, was not only very kind, attractive and functional but he also WANTED to be a provider. That was a new concept to me at the time and I wasn't sure I liked it. I didn't know WHY I didn't like it or that it made me feel uncomfortable. I am sure he would have had no problems with his girlfriend or wife working but he wanted to be sure that she wouldn't need to. 

I, of course, wanted to work so for me this wasn't some great boon. It made him a good person, yes, but it didn't hold a whole lot of value to me because I didn't want to be provided for.

This quickly became a moot point when I moved 2,000 miles away and refused to move back. He had a home and a business and roots back where I came from and wasn't interested in following me. 

We kept in touch for a while and at some point I asked him what he wanted in a partner mainly because I was confused as to why he was ever interested in me in the first place (I couldn't imagine why a quality guy would actually be interested in me). 

His response made me gag a little. "A beautiful sidekick" he said.

And he meant it. He meant it in the best of ways. He wanted to continue to live his life and he wanted a woman who wanted to live his life with him. He would love her and think she was beautiful (even if she was just average) and he would provide for her and show her a really good time. She would be blessed. She would be cherished. And she would NOT be me.

I've been observing other people's relationships for a heck of a long time now and it seems that, for the most part, many of the successful ones fall into this pattern:

One person is dominant (usually the man) and that person is the one who follows their dream, makes the money and calls the shots. The other person (usually the woman but not always) is living their dream by contributing to the dream of the dominant person. Here is an example.

A husband is a real estate broker and runs the business. The wife used to stay at home to care for the children (her dream but also his) and is now the office manager for the real estate office. 

A young man has a dream of opening a cutting edge restaurant. His girlfriend has extensive marketing experience and he convinces her to quit her real and do marketing for the restaurant.

The two above examples are totally awesome ways to live life. There is nothing wrong with them. Both people are using their skills towards a common dream. 

The problem for me is that I do not want to be a beautiful sidekick. I have my own dream which I can not put aside for the dream of another person. Like it or not, I am an ambitious and capable woman. I have struggled with this part of myself for a long time because there is a part of me that wishes I could have been satisfied staying back in my hometown and marrying some boy-next-door and having dinner every Saturday at my parent's house. 

Living a more conventional life just seems so much more simple. The truth is that I simply do not want that life. I thrive in the world that I live in which is one of change, exploration and constant challenge. I am an explorer, an entrepreneur and I am wildly ambitious. I want to be the star, not the assistant.

So. OK then. If I don't want to BE a sidekick, maybe I should HAVE one.


But I've also dated some very sweet guys who were not ambitious, were not adventurous, were not self-directed. They were pretty hot though, at least to me. They would qualify for the role of a "sexy sidekick" in my life right?

And they were hella boring. Sorry to put it that way but I do not think there is any nicer way to say it. Maybe they weren't boring but I was bored by them none-the-less. I didn't want to spend all my time with someone who just did whatever I did or whatever I wanted to do. I didn't want to be in charge of everything and calling all the shots. I don't want to be a provider for someone else no matter how attractive they are. 

So, when it comes down to it, I'd prefer a peer. The whole sidekick setup doesn't work for me. I'm not dissing it but I am rejecting it for myself. There are lots of A types out there who need a sidekick and there are lots of people out there who would LOVE to be provided for. 

I am not one of them. 

Does this doom me to being single forever? No. It merely reduces the pool of potential mates. This does not bother me anymore. I am not worried that I have set my standards too high and must now suffer alone for eternity. 

Heck no! First of all, I am not SUFFERING alone. Second of all, I have developed a deep faith that the right person is going to be so badassly perfect that he will be thrown into my path when I least expect it. 

If two people are going to share a very specific ambition (outside of raising a family) in which they both contribute equally as creators, instigators and providers there is no way they CAN'T find each other.

And if my life is not going to be made so much more awesome by the random/unexpected arrival of Mr. Badassely Perfect, well, heck, I can just continue doing what I am doing surrounded by my (married and single) network of family, friends and community.

DC Comics has this thing called The Justice League. Its Superman and Batman and Wonder Woman and some of the other DC characters. They all come together to fight crime. They are all still superheros on equal footing.

That is the life I am looking for. 

Maybe I should post that on craigslist: Wonder Woman seeks Superman. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh-ha. Hell NO. Because that my dear friends is desperate dating!


(no)sexandthecity said...

I want both. I want the guy who will love and cherish me and take care of me AND sees me as his equal. But I know what you're saying about the dominant/passive dynamic, I just wonder - does it HAVE to be this way? One gives, the other takes? One bends over backwards doing everything to take care of his/her partner, while that person just takes advantage of it? RARELY have I seen a relationship that appears equal.

EQUAL does not mean each person gives the same thing, it means BOTH people contribute to the relationship and get something back out of it, neither sacrificing their essential selves in the process.

"I want a man that stands beside me
Not in front of or behind me
Give me two arms that want to hold me, not own me
And I'll give all the love in my heart"

I've been with Mr. I-own-you, and all I have to say is f**k that.

But HIS last words to me were telling me to "go be a lesbian man-hating femi-Nazi."

If I do not buy into my status as a second-class citizen, if I do not shrink down into less so that I will not threaten someone's ego, if I do not accept whatever someone decides to give while having no wants or needs of my own...I'll have to just give it up and become a lesbian? uhh..ok dude. best of luck to whatever woman lacks enough respect in herself to wind up with you.

"Never ask anyone to apologize for who they are." But I was supposed to apologize for my self-sufficiency, great job, be sorry for having my own opinions and beliefs which meant - GASP! - I didn't just agree with everything he said and wanted.

(btw, ALWAYS keep your girlfriends closeby to provide the reality check needed to recover from misogynistic bastards like that)

Despite a 4.3 GPA in high school, I never even wanted to go to college. I wanted to get married and have a family, and stayed 7 years with the wrong person unfailingly committed to making that happen. My life today if I would have proceeded with THAT stupidity would be taking care of whatever kids I had plus a man who was not a grown-up himself, plus working full time while he continued to sit on his ass playing video games and buying toys...for himself. And I have plenty of friends who married THAT guy who feel like they have another kid instead of a partner in life. What I never comprehend is, what do THEY get out of it? Just a roommate to split the bills with?

A lot of my smart, funny, beautiful professional girlfriends who could be or do anything they wanted...would give up their jobs in a heartbeat if they could just be moms. Some days I DO just want that provider...but not if it means that all my desires in life become secondary to a man's.

Will a man respect a woman who ends up with no "self" but instead turns into a reflection of everything he wanted her to be?


Lauri said...

Very interesting post. And, I believe I am of the EXACT same thinking as you in this regard.

I once read some excerpts from the book of some "dating guru" who claims that one person MUST be the "leader" for any relationship (10 minutes or 10 years) to work and that the leader person should be the male as it is more in their nature and it can through things off if the female is the leader. The leader "controls" the relationship.

This disturbs me quite a bit. Like you I am EXTREMELY uncomfortable when a man wants to "provide" for me, and I refuse to give up any parts of my life for someone else. But on the other hand, I've had boyfriends who basically need a mother to take care of them and don't really have much of their own stuff going on. That doesn't really appeal either. Either way doesn't really appeal to me in terms of physical relationship aspects either.

Is it so hard to just have a buddy?

The Singlutionary said...

Lauri, I totally get you! I agree that in parts of a relationship one person might be the leader but I think the role, for me at least, needs to be able to shift with both being competent people and both in the practice of leading and following.

Because I am so independent and capable, I've had a lot of freeloader men in my life too. It seems that this whole equality thing is really hard to find. Either I am myself and the guy is a loser or I let the man be the leader and feel like I am not being true to myself.

So yeah. It is hard to find a buddy but I don't know why!