Ask A Very Smart Brotha: Am I Emasculating Men?
A couple years ago, I was riding in a cab with a couple of friends of mine who had started dating, maybe about six months ago. The man was a colleague of mine but it was clear that the woman he had been seeing was making more money than him at the time. So once we reach our destination, I see the woman rifle through her purse looking for cash to pay the fare. But instead of handing the money directly to the driver, she hands it to my friend and then he gives it to the driver.
Now, I didn’t say anything that day but it was something I never forgot. Years later they’re married and the other day I ran into him, my former colleague. Now that he’s married, and also making about as much as his wife is now, if not more, he feels like he’s some type of relationship expert. When I mentioned that day in the cab and how bizarre I found it, he said that the reason I’m still single is because I emasculate men. Basically, because I felt her gesture said more about his own insecurity and didn’t feel the need to coddle that, I’d never be able to relate to a man, particularly if he made less money than me.
What do you think about that? Should women have to bend over backwards to make men feel like men when they don’t fulfill the traditional roles in a relationship?
-Was She Doing Too Much?
Dear Was She Doing Too Much,
I don’t know how this happened — maybe there’s a full moon tonight or something — but you managed to be 100% right and 100% wrong at the same time. This is like finding a unicorn covered in gold at the end of a rainbow. I’m impressed and perplexed. Basically, I’m implexed.
Let’s start with how you’re right:
I too would have thought that the cab gesture was odd. Because, well, it was odd. I get his point about about being emasculated. While in DC a couple months ago, I overheard a woman tell her man something like “…well, you aint got no money anyway, so why are you talking?”
THAT is emasculating. Paying a man’s cab fare is not, and the lengths your friend and his then girlfriend went through to put on that act are just plain extra.
But — and this is where the wrong comes in — everyone has their own unique relationship dynamic. And while that was definitely odd, it seems to be working for them. As far as you’re concerned, why even bring that up? What did you intend to get out of reminding him of a time years ago when he didn’t have enough money to pay for cab fare? Now, I don’t agree with his unsolicited (and somewhat insulting) relationship advice, but what did you expect? You insulted him, and he responded in kind.
Regarding your question, there’s no “should” or “shouldn’t” involved when it comes to this topic. If you’re comfortable fulfilling certain roles that are traditionally held by men, fine. If you’re uncomfortable doing that, it’s fine too. All that matters is that you find someone you’re comfortable with. Basically, find a relationship that works for you, and don’t concern yourself about the ones you’re not in.