Why is it that we all, always, look at our men with a rose-colored hue, albeit of a greater or lesser density? Is it that somewhere, in all of us, down in the deepest, least sensitive crevices of our souls, we have an incumbent belief, indelibly stamped, that our role is to change them… for the better of course.
When you think about it, it’s amazing that any woman would want to cohabitate with a man at all. Generally, men are messier, lazier, and less considerate. The only things they bring into a shared home are their X-Box, their old couch from college, and their dirty socks – oh, and their glorious presence, of course. But we’re willing to part with our hard-earned tranquility and order for the man we love. And we’re able to do this, in large part, due to one of the greatest differentiators between us and the animals: complete and utter denial.
Men have beer goggles; we have love goggles. We’re so enamored with the idea of amour, we are willing to overlook some glaring defaults in the programming, as it were. If your man forgets to do the dishes (everyday), well, he was busy. If he leaves his wet towel on the floor, it’s no big deal to pick it up for him, is it? If he goes out at all hours of the night and comes home blind drunk asking for a sandwich – well, going out with friends isn’t a crime now, is it? And ok, he’s never cooked you a meal, but you love cooking… and he did bring you Cheerios in bed that one time.
Oh yes, there is no end to the shit we will endure at the hands of our lovers. And despite all that Hallmark movie junk about the strength of women’s friendships, we will turn on a bitch quick if our friend dares to call out our boyfriend. Suddenly, the woman who knew you inside and out and was like a sister to you, well, who does she think she is? Your sister? She can’t talk about your man like that! What does she know? Admit it: we are fiercely loyal and territorial, and when a guy moves in with us, he becomes a part of our personal property. It’s an unforgivable affront if someone talks smack about our prop – I mean, boyfriend.
Now, we don’t just overlook a man’s faults because we are the kinder, more forgiving sex; we have an ulterior motive, of course. We think we can change them. Time and time again, we end up with dudes that are a “work in progress” because we see a “fixer-upper” that with a bit of fine-tuning and table manner lessons will become the polished, perfect man that we desire. (Men, take note: we are trying to change you. Always. If we say we love you just the way you are, we’re lying. What we mean is: we love you almost just the way you are, but you’d be even better if you would iron your shirts, change your taste in movies, pick up after yourself, and spend more time with our mothers).
We don’t sweat the small stuff, like the football posters he insisted on putting up in the TV room and the ragged sweatpants he actually wears out of the house, because we can, over time, cure him of these habits. Or so we think. What we inevitably learn after the first few attempts is that it’s surprisingly hard to rid an adult of a lifetime of personality traits and behaviors, and that if we do succeed in changing someone, it usually doesn’t turn out the way we want. People don’t like change at the best of times, and especially not when it’s against their will. Despite the fact that most men could use a bit of an overhaul, it’s not a nice feeling to be told you aren’t okay just the way you are. And you know it’s true, ladies. Deep down, we don’t really want a man so unsure of himself that he is willing to change who he is, anyway.
I’ll admit it; we are guiltier of this than men. When have you ever heard a guy say to his friend, “Lucy is a great chick, but she needs to learn how to dress. And the way she chews her food? I could kill her.” The key is, when you find someone who is truly right for you, the way they chew with their mouth open or insist on watching Manswers every Tuesday night won’t bother you, because you just love the person that they are, quirks and all. At least, that’s what we tell ourselves. Because unfortunately, there just aren’t enough Robert Pattinsons and Brad Pitts to go around.