In response


Hearken back to Monday’s post.  What was meant to be a shoulder shrug, a lark, a lighthearted jab at my pal Andy, actually sparked quite the response.  While I got a lot of “You go, girl!” comments from women, I have been much more impacted by what I have heard from the men – whether in comment, email, or response via their own blog post.  And while there is no way that I will be able to say everything that there is to say today (yeah, or ever), here is what has been rattling around in my brain this week.

If there is anything that I want to be, it is humble – humble, and teachable.  So THANK YOU to the brave dudes (especially Joey – the catalyst for many of these thoughts today) who had the guts – spine – balls – to challenge my thinking.

Which brings me to my first point: it was wrong of me to emasculate men – denying them of the very thing that makes them male (um… balls… sheesh, I can’t wait to see what keywords bring people to this post) – for not being able to communicate in the way that most women would like them to.  I am not a man-hater – I LOVE men! – and in no way desire to make eunuchs out of a bunch of surely well-meaning guys.  I’m sorry for sounding – snip, snip – harsh and judgmental.

Here’s the deal: in an ideal world, men would communicate clearly.  In an ideal world, women would communicate clearly.  In an ideal world, both sexes would have eyes to see and ears to hear the other person loud and clear.

That is obviously not the world that we live in – due to culture and socialization and upbringing and experiences.  So things get a little bit muddy, a little bit complicated, and sometimes, a little bit… hostile.  Men aren’t up front with their feelings.  Women send mixed signals – a “come hither” straight into a stiff arm.  One person doesn’t know who he is, the other doesn’t know what she wants – or vice versa.  Television only adds to the confusion, portraying men as bumbling idiots, and women as capable-yet-snarky ice queens (think “Everybody Loves Raymond,” or “Home Improvement”).

Who are we?  Who should we be?  Men and women alike are confuzzled.

I so wish that was a real word.

When it comes to love, we’ve all been hurt.  We’ve all been disappointed.  We’ve all got skeletons in the closet, and wounds that haven’t quite healed.  And for as much as we want them, it’s easy to make the opposite sex into the “enemy.”  I have my own stories – things that have happened that have made me a bit gun-shy when it comes to putting myself out there – and when I think of these disgraces, even years later, I still want to bury my head in the sand.

I think it’s safe to say that on a very fundamental level, women want to feel “worth it” to a guy – worth the risk, worth whatever it takes.  But hello – this is 2009.  A man can’t exactly prove his devotion by riding into battle with her hanky in his pocket.  So some of us feel like the least he could do is say, “Hey, you seem great.  I’d love to take you out sometime?”

Then again, the feminist movement sort of threw a wrench in that plan.  We women-folk sure asserted our independence, didn’t we?  Dang it.  We’ve stabbed ourselves in the back.  But that’s another post entirely…

Bottom line: I am backing off from the stance I took on Monday, however playfully I meant it when I first wrote it.  I don’t expect for a guy to take the reins, run the show, ask me out, sweep me off my feet, order me the lamb chop at some swanky restaurant while I sit mute and adoring.  Can you imagine?  Me?  Being conquered?  I do hope for a partnership, with honest and frank communication, equal parts respect and affection – and prior to a relationship, I think that means that both parties are going to need to communicate our interest in whatever way makes sense.

Sigh.  This just zapped every ounce of brain power I possess.

We all just want to matter to someone.

I wish it was easy.  And I hope that one day, it will be.



  1. Greta on March 13, 2009 at 8:31 AM


    My guy friends have told me that they’ve never felt more disinclined to pursue a girl than when they feel they’re being criticized. So, the emasculation apology is, I guess, due.

    And yet…

    What you said in your first post, I have found– generally– to be true. Too many times I have tried to explain away guys’ inaction as “he’s busy,” “he’s shy,” “I haven’t been giving the right signals,”– when really, if they WERE interested, those excuses wouldn’t hold up. Because guys HAVE called when they’ve been busy– IF they’ve been interested. They HAVE called when they’ve been shy– IF the shy guy was into me. They HAVE called, even in the face of my blatant disinterest and “No thank you” messages. Because, apparently, the risk was worth it.

    Perhaps it was too much to say that if a guy is interested but DOESN’T call (for whatever reason), then he’s not and never will be worth your time.

    Still… it seems like when they ARE… they DO. Right?

  2. Angie on March 13, 2009 at 8:59 AM


  3. Crystal on March 13, 2009 at 10:03 AM

    This reminds me of some lyrics by The Refreshments (one of AZ’s finest, in my opinion!)
    “Cause I never been wanted like I want to be wanted by you.
    Like I want to be wanted by you.”

  4. Dani on March 13, 2009 at 10:37 AM

    I think meeting in the middle is critical in any relationship – parents, roommates, best-gal-pals and fellas. So that’s a good thing to keep in mind, of course.

    But generally speaking, (I said GENERALLY) what women love about men is their strength and leadership. Generally speaking, (again, GENERALLY) what men love about women is their ability to be nurturing and loving.

    The sad thing is that we’ve allowed our screwed-up culture to talk us out of those God-given roles. Well-meaning girls end up apologizing for wanting a man to stand up and take the lead, and men get cowed into submission by shrill-voiced, unhappy, critical girls, who don’t embrace the call to love and respect the men in their lives.

    I appreciate where this post it coming from. I know that you are writing it out of a spirit of wanting men to feel like you’re not jumping down their throats for not laying down a red carpet for your delicate, slippered feet. HOWEVER, I don’t think it’s wrong to want to be honored by a man who as the balls to risk rejection, or to long to be the kind of loving, creative, gentle, strong, capable, incredible woman who could capture just such a man’s heart.

    Keep seeking, Annie-girl. It’s out there.

  5. Nicolas Frisby on March 13, 2009 at 11:03 AM

    Maybe it’s just because I’m from Lawrence, but, out of a line-up, I would have predicted this sentence over any from Monday’s post to cause the most trouble.

    “We women-folk sure asserted our independence, didn’t we? Dang it. We’ve stabbed ourselves in the back.”

    I saw you with a shovel and a worried face like “how do I stop this thing?” when I read that one.

  6. Nicolas Frisby on March 13, 2009 at 11:19 AM

    Also, I have to agree with Joel: regardless of your parts, reach for what you seek.

    On the other hand, another excuse for guys: “Men are visual.” (I heard that phrase on a recent radio program.) We tend to think with our eyes and are often criticized for it. Sometimes, I feel guilty for “seeing” a friend of mine as an attractive and beautiful woman. Makes me remember I’m an emotional animal every now and again.

    My point: For me, the Platonic relationship can feel precious and like it shouldn’t be messed with.

  7. Marijke on March 13, 2009 at 12:35 PM

    “We all just want to matter to someone.” I really like that.

    And, I think I tend to agree with Greta.

  8. Annie on March 13, 2009 at 5:28 PM

    I like these thoughts, and I wish it were easy too. :)

  9. Andrea on March 14, 2009 at 5:22 PM

    Hey Annie,
    This is unrelated to your posted, but I wanted to let you know I’m honored that your honored. Hope you enjoy my blog as much as I love yours. You have such a beautiful way with words.

  10. Paul's dad on March 14, 2009 at 7:39 PM

    Ever hear the old saw: Boy meet girl. Boy chases girl unitl girl catches boy. It makes the world go round.

  11. Deborah Barnett on March 15, 2009 at 5:20 PM

    Aaaaand… this is yet another reason I adore you. Annie.

    My favorite thought…

    “A man can’t exactly prove his devotion by riding into battle with her hanky in his pocket.”

    Why does just the very thought of that make me swoon?

    ps… The fact that I said “swoon” may be the answer.

  12. Erica on March 16, 2009 at 7:16 AM

    Hey Annie – thanks for the comment over at my blog! We need to officially say hello to one another Wednesday night haha – funny how I feel like I know you from reading your blog but I don’t know that we’ve ever actually talked at EN!

  13. Luke on March 16, 2009 at 8:33 PM

    “If there is anything that I want to be, it is humble – humble, and teachable.”

    That’s the part I dig the most. And the honest dialogue you’ve generated is witness to the fact that you’ve succeeded. Don’t stop writing stuff like this Annie.

  14. krysten on March 22, 2009 at 5:29 AM

    It won’t.