I think I am actually speechless. Apparently the reason why men bolt is because

(94 Posts)
UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Sat 24-Nov-12 22:02:43

... They are not respected enough by their wives.

Tim Lott's column from the Guardian today:

"I'm going to stick my trembling head above the parapet this week and reveal what men secretly talk about when the women aren't around – at least the men I've known over the past 20 or so years. Contrary to myth, they hardly ever talk about sex. They almost never bitch about other men. They do talk about football, music, films, television and politics. They do value humour highly. They banter, josh and wind up. And sometimes they talk about their marriages.

Some men are happy in their marriages and don't have much to say. Others are reluctant to speak out. But many are frustrated. None of these men are cavemen. Most are fully signed up to feminism in one form or another. Yet the same issues crop up time and again.

Those dissatisfactions in full:

1) Credit. Husbands with children feel they don't get enough credit from their wives. This is especially true when the man is the main wage earner. Going to work every day and taking financial responsibility tends to be seen as a privilege, an "escape" from childcare. But like childcare itself, a nine-to-five job can be a privilege and a burden.

2) Respect. Husbands sometimes feel they don't get enough respect from their wives, who stereotype them as childish and failing to address their responsibilities properly. Men are infantilised. But perhaps men are just living up to expectations.

3) Priorities. Men are a low priority for their wives compared with work, children, friends etc. I once asked my wife to draw up a list of her life priorities. I think I scraped in at about fourth.

Please, sceptical women readers, whose lips I sense curling collectively, don't write in with comments such as "diddums" and "It's your turn to feel like that after six centuries". It's crass and dull. Children need fathers, as well as mothers, whom they can look up to.

Perhaps wives would also feel better if they respected their husbands more. I have mentioned before that I attended a marriage course last year. It taught a very shocking thing – that you should put your partner first. Not your children, or your work, or your friends. To a lot of women that is a cop-out, a throwback to the 1950s. But wouldn't they expect to be put first? Yet this expectation can be a one-way street. To many modern women, a man is seen as ultimately dispensable. Perhaps he is. But you can't expect any man to welcome the news.

It is easy to sideline these observations as whining. But perhaps that's just a way of not facing reality. Fifty years of feminism has meant that the grievances of the wife are sanctified in a way that the grievances of a husband are not. If a woman has a problem, it tends to be taken seriously. If a man has a problem, it tends to be waved away or patronised out of existence.

(Or so men tell me. So don't shoot the messenger. Anyway, this isn't a story about "women", but people in long-term relationships.)

To make sure that no one felt I was speaking out of turn, I emailed this article to half a dozen mates. No one did. The replies were not angry. They were moving and rather sad. Many men nowadays don't, on the whole, feel great about themselves. Men suffer from low self-esteem just as much as women do.

Wives can choose to listen or not. All I can note is that in all the relationships I've seen die over the past 10 years, it's always been the man who bolts. Perhaps it is that allegedly intractable male vice of irresponsibility.

Or perhaps there are valid reasons that the refractions of gender politics renders invisible – and the wilful blindness only becomes apparent when it's too late."

Hobbitation Mon 26-Nov-12 13:11:39

I think some of that rings true. The way I hear some women talk about their husbands, I think, really? hmm

Respect has to be mutual though and you have to value one another's roles in the relationship. I don't agree with "partner comes first" though, that's nonsense. You are a wife, not a mother to them. Kids come first because they are not adults. How many husbands would put their wives first over their kids? Not many, because they shouldn't either.

Bramshott Mon 26-Nov-12 13:20:42

God he's a whiny bugger isn't he.

That said, his first point is sensible and is one I often see made on here but very rarely in real life. Being the sole wage earner for a family is a hell of a big pressure.

mcmooncup Mon 26-Nov-12 13:23:31

Just on the first bit of his article about men not hanging around talking about sex.....

I am 'working at home' today and just went outside to do the bins and other such joys, and there were a group of workmen in next door's garden discussing one of their friends, who is a 'legend'. The reason he is a legend is because of the way he fucks women. He apparently uses a funnel so he can see his cum (?), he is on a mission to shag a dwarf because he thinks he will be able to use violence and she won't mind, he also has a really nice girlfriend who he fingered under the table when meeting her parents for the first time.

That was my first snapshot of a 'private' male conversation in a while. Doesn't ring true to the OP really, but there we go.

FunBagFreddie Mon 26-Nov-12 13:23:37

Isn't the whole issue of respecting your partner going to depend on whether you like them and if they are worthy of respect? In a healthy relationship respecting your partner is a given, surely? If you don't respect them, the two of you are either inherently incompatible, or there is something wrong in your relationship.

Ciske Mon 26-Nov-12 13:35:03

Any article that has a go at 'women' vs. 'men' is likely to be a phile of shit, regardless of who writes it. It plays on the stereotype of the nagging woman vs. the funny child-like man (just playing up to the standards set for him, unable to take responsiblity himself), and doesn't do much to progress any cause.

Very annoying and disrespectful to both sides, IMO.

drjohnsonscat Tue 27-Nov-12 17:30:49

Thank god I found you lot. I have been mulling over this since Saturday and getting more and more annoyed.

(Some) men might be at a point where they are not sure what their role is hence "many men, nowadays don't, on the whole, feel great about themselves" but the answer is not to ask women to change (again, women having to be responsible for men's happiness). But to, you know, evolve a bit like women have had to. Women cannot expect to be kept any more - they have had to go out and find their own financial independence. That brought about many changes. That's what evolution is about. Men now find that their traditional breadwinner role is under threat but it gives them an opportunity to find a bigger role in their families and to become different sorts of men. Don't whine about it - embrace it. But don't expect credit for it - what sort of a ninny expects credit for looking after their own children? And sorry if that is infantilising but that was an infantile thought.

As for the burden of being the breadwinner, what a load of old rubbish. I am a single parent of two children, the main and only breadwinner and the main and only carer at home. It's called being a parent. And a grownup. Plus it's way easier to go out to work and earn a living than it is to stay at home and look after some messy, grumpy children who don't pay you, thank you or leave you alone to drink your coffee in peace.

And hilarious that he emailed his friends to see if they agreed. Guess what Tim. Your friends tend to think the same way as you. That's why they're your friends, not mine.

madwomanintheattic Tue 27-Nov-12 17:49:37

Oh, all those poor male breadwinners! And those wicked wicked wives that refuse point blank to work and let them have a go at 24/7 childcare! Not a day goes by when I have to pointedly ignore men begging to be allowed to look after their kids day in, day out.

Credit. Oh yes, the same men who give their wives credit for wiping up snot and shit all day. That sort of credit. Not the sort of credit that involves coming home, moaning about what a hard day it was at the office, and adopting that 'wtaf' expression when the steaming dinner isn't immediately produced from beneath the serving dome?

Christ, being an adult is a crap load of work, whether you get paid for it, or not.

Credit works both ways. Credit, my arse.

Infantilized? Not here, mate. You don't cop out of pulling your weight in this house just because you have a penis. Get the fuck up and deal with the baby and stop bleating. You created it, you have a responsibility in caring for it. I'm going out.

Priorities? It's a partnership, lovely. I suspect if you are having to go to a class to bleat that you aren't more important than a two year old with a disability, you aren't mature enough to be in an equal relationship.

Now piss off.

AbigailAdams Tue 27-Nov-12 19:07:44

Loving drjohnsonscat and madwoman's posts. Totally agree. Whiney nonsense. Probably reflecting his lack of respect for women back on to women.

LRDtheFeministDude Tue 27-Nov-12 20:57:31

Ohhh, god, yes. I read this out to DH yesterday because I was so speechless with irritation at it.

What a total cock.

I love how he found three areas where women got it 'wrong' and claimed these were reasons marriages fail.

Yeah, mate, right, I'm sure it was that, that and your oh-so-virile goatee beard and whiny tone. hmm

I love DH to bits but I would be quite creeped out if I were his top priority all the time, it's not healthy. Especially not if you have small children, surely? What sort of horrible person wants to take precedence over their own children?

LRDtheFeministDude Tue 27-Nov-12 20:58:59

Oh ... and you know what pissed me off the most? That bit where he says that men now feel just as bad about themselves as women.

Well, that's convinced me life's shit, then ... men feel equally bad as women, instead of their god-given right of feeling much less shit.

hmm angry

summerflower Tue 27-Nov-12 22:13:50

Do you know what the subtext of this article seems to be to me? Ladies, know thy place. Don't expect too much of your man or he will leave you. Pander to his ego or he will leave you. Put him first or he will find someone else to do so.

I've just deleted the rest of my reply, as I sound oh, so bitter, but this article honestly made me weep. So, here's the short version - fuck the fuck off. We've actually had more than 50 years of feminism - the New Woman of the 1890s were far more critical of the institution of marriage and the expectations of women within it than anyone in the last 50 years - and for the most part, much of their critique still stands.

LRDtheFeministDude Tue 27-Nov-12 22:16:24

You don't sound bitter. You sound like someone making the only rational response to this whiny creep.

Fortunately, there are plenty of men out there who aren't like him.

I did have to think a minute with his comment on '50 years of feminism'. Does he think it's called 'second wave' because it sounded better? confused

Darkesteyes Tue 27-Nov-12 22:24:22

Must be the week for this sort of shit. Grazia are at it too.
This is copied and pasted from their website as it is apparently in this weeks issue.

As Fifty Shades of Grey claims it’s first divorce-after a husband refused his wife’s wishes to spice up their sex life-is it any wonder so many of us are suffering performance pressure? Here, sex coach Eric Amaranth tells Grazia how he is paid to observe and then teach women how to be better lovers

summerflower Tue 27-Nov-12 22:25:58

Thank you, LRD. Your comment about second wave feminism made me laugh.

Bring on the fourth wave is all I can say.

joanofarchitrave Tue 27-Nov-12 22:32:22

I actually agree with putting your partner first, in a way. You should show respect to each other as partners, as that's how your children will learn about relationships. I also think it's quite practical (e.g. if the adults get their food first at the table, the children don't have to learn to wait to eat for ages with food in front of them).

I wonder, however, whether what he thinks of as 'putting women first' would look like 'putting any nearby adults first because you can't be arsed to consider what children actually need' to me. i have seen a lot of that kind of behaviour.

And this: - 'Children need fathers, as well as mothers, whom they can look up to.'

I'd love him to explain to me why that requires WOMEN to do things differently. Newsflash to you, Tim: whatever parents say about each other (and I'd agree that infantilising or badmouthing your partner to your children is a spectacularly crap thing to do), children will notice how they actually behave. And that is what is likely to make them look up to their parents, or not.

HalloweenNameChange Tue 27-Nov-12 22:50:46

what a load of shit.

Seriously, do they teach this? That you should put the 'needs' of another fully functioning adult above those of children?

Exactly ataleoftwokitties this is why so many men can't hadnld their wives breast feeding..^but the boobies are for me!^ I am so fed up adults needing to be treated like children. that whole article made me want to shake the whiny little shit who wrote it.

HoleyGhost Tue 27-Nov-12 22:57:23

^ Christ, being an adult is a crap load of work, whether you get paid for it, or not.^

This. It comes as a shock how much work is needed. You can either whine about it or take responsibility.

ethelb Tue 27-Nov-12 23:08:40

I think he actually makes a few good poitns, but the whining is really off-putting.

I don't think its that shocking to suggest you shoudl be respected by your partner and given credit for your work and that sometimes you should put your partner's needs first (I think he means with the provison that no one else is actually suffering, they just aren't putting the children first).

But yes this bit "Wives can choose to listen or not. All I can note is that in all the relationships I've seen die over the past 10 years, it's always been the man who bolts." is just patronising and inaccurate. Wives leave their husbands in most cases.

I think respecting, appreciating and making time for your partner are all very good things in a relationship, essential even, but I struggle to believe that all these poor mistreated men are doing just that while their callous wives bitch about them to their friends. Or maybe feminism has elevated women to such heights we don't need mutually supportive partners any more, and it's about time we focussed on our neglected menfolk.

rosabud Wed 28-Nov-12 00:11:45

I have no idea if this bit is true or not:

All I can note is that in all the relationships I've seen die over the past 10 years, it's always been the man who bolts.

but IF it is true, he's hardly painting men in a great light, is he? "If the going gets a bit tough, if it doesn't go my way, well that's it I'm off with no thought for all my responsibilities or any hurt I may cause my children!"

And the word "bolt" has all sorts of suggestions, doesn't it? It's a rather powerful, action-packed, decisive, in charge sort of word. I suppose the phrase "it's always the man who slinks off" doesn't have quite the same ring to it.

drjohnsonscat Wed 28-Nov-12 10:26:38

yy rosabud. It undermined his whole argument really. We are responsible, hard working, dedicated fathers and husbands. But when things aren't going right we walk out.

Frankly this really is what singles out committed parents. Would you bolt from your children? Ever? No.

I accept that marriages do break down and often there is fault on both side - but it's weird to argue that men "bolting" is proof that they have it harder as opposed to proof that they are just not as committed. In fact studies show that men do better, mentally and physically, out of marriage, than women. So there isn't any evidence at all for his assertion that men bolt because they are not treated right.

It's far more likely that they bolt because somehow they are semi-detatched from their families and they just emotionally can when things get tough.

I'm a big fan of the Swedish model of parental leave sharing - I think it's a really good way for both parents to get equally embedded in their children's lives - the joy and the drudgery. And I have a theory that you value your children and your family life more when you have had to sacrifice something (a part of your career, your own sense of identity as a separate person, your physical intactness, whatever it may be) to keep it together. I think if men had more opportunity to engage with their families in this deep way, they would be less likely to bolt. But that means sleeves rolled up, doing everything. And not expecting thanks or credit but viewing it as part of your new identity as a parent. Like the rest of us do.

summerflower Wed 28-Nov-12 12:13:43

Horses bolt. Usually at speed, without consideration. Applied to men, it probably means they think the grass is greener on the other side and there is a new (undemanding) filly waiting, who won't nag them to do their bit. It's not an analogy which does anyone any favours.

Alameda Wed 28-Nov-12 14:49:06

it would be nice if men did actually bolt in real life, instead of outstaying their welcome and having to be dragged away by the police etc when the relationship is over

AThingInYourLife Wed 28-Nov-12 15:23:38

"Fifty years of feminism has meant that the grievances of the wife are sanctified in a way that the grievances of a husband are not."

grin

Yeah, bloody feminists! All about the grievances of wives.

I agree with "fuck the fuck off" as a response.

Although I don't agree with prioritising children above adults. All the members of my family are equally important. Including me.

ShamyFarrahCooper Wed 28-Nov-12 15:54:18

Fifty years of feminism has meant that the grievances of the wife are sanctified in a way that the grievances of a husband are not.

Yes really sounds like he is onboard with feminism with this line hmm

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