“A man should get in touch with his emotions and express them more.”
While far less frequent, that mantra is still being spoken, particularly by men and women over 40. Such a sentiment is a throwback to a time when men where supposed to be sensitive, new age guys (SNAGS). I felt the SNAG calling and successfully managed myself into the FriendZone over and over from late high school and into college by being a SNAG. Being a SNAG went part and parcel with my mother’s wretched advice of “be nice, be yourself.“
During a sprint of first dates some months ago, I was struck by this common complaint from the women: “All the guys I’ve had first dates with bitch and moan about their ex-wives”. I found this quite troublesome. Such complaining is very off-putting to women and it’s very common advice for guys not to do this when on early dates. Why was this still going on with men? There answer is simple: They were told to through that old social expectation of men being in touch with their feelings.
Bitterness about an ex-wife is a valid emotion. Growing up with the social expectation to express emotions, a man showing such bitterness is simply doing what he was (is?) encouraged to do. Sadly, these poor schmucks didn’t get the memo that showing emotion to a potentially new woman in his life is all about the timing. Too soon, and the woman gets freaked. Too late, and it’s break up and/or divorce town.
Having emotions is an essential part of our humanity. How those emotions are expressed breaks down along gender lines. Women are allowed to express all emotions relatively early in the dating scenario. Men are allowed to express only certain emotions relatively early in the dating scenario. Here’s my sage advice to men – you are only allowed to express restrained joy and happiness when you start dating a dame. If any of you guys are bitching and moaning about ex-wives/girlfriends on early dates, I’ll send over my ugly dog to bite you viciously right on your buttocks.
Here is some astoundingly sage advice from Susan Walsh over at Hooking Up Smart:
Witnessing signs of a person’s humanity should be a prerequisite for exclusivity.
Gentlemen, this is gold. Just don’t overdo it and be alert to the timing issue.