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“Roller Derby Has Made me Too Masculine for Men”

I have two Masters degrees, a great job as an inner city school librarian, I recently bought my own house, and I am becoming more and more successful in roller derby. My issue is that I have a seriously problematic dating life. Because of the aggression required to participate in roller derby, and my brash, independent personality, I have adopted a seriously masculine energy in my dating life. No matter whom I date, he ends up acting entirely emasculated. The men always end up behaving more, um, “romantically” (i.e. texting to say “I’m thinking of you,” dropping L-bombs, bringing me flowers when I’ve explicitly stated my dislike of that gesture, etc.) than I could ever find attractive.

I know other girls find that kind of stuff sweet, but it is entirely unattractive to me! From the athletic blue collar worker to the successful white collar types, I cannot find any man desirous of retaining his independence while dating me. How can I attract a man who desires equal respect? Someone who does not equate being walked all over with being a good partner? Is dating out for me until I can become a sports-hating, chick flick-loving, dependent woman? I am lonely but unwilling to mold myself into something I’m not to snag a partner. — Man Eater

Woah, sister, you need to step back and get a little perspective. It’s cool that you’re independent and that you kick ass at roller derby and don’t want a man to buy you flowers, but if in your world a man is weak or “emasculated” if he “drops the L-Bomb” or tells you he’s thinking of you, your problem isn’t in finding a man who “desires equal respect”; your problem is 100% your attitude. My feeling is that you work so hard at not appearing vulnerable, especially during roller derby which, let’s face it, can become all-encompassing to those who are involved with the sport, that you’re afraid to be vulnerable in your dating life. You see any act of romance as an assault on the wall you’ve built to protect yourself. But, romance is not an act of aggression. Love is not an act of aggression. And the aggression you embrace in your world of roller derby is not a synonym for strength. In order for you to move forward in life, you need to sort all that out and realize the difference. Sometimes, it takes much more strength to allow yourself to be vulnerable than it does to constantly be on the defense (or offense, for that matter).

You know how in the roller derby, big fat bruises are, like, badges of honor? You wear them with pride, posting photos of them on Facebook and showing them off to whoever will look? Well, think of your love life in the same way. Instead of feeling afraid of getting hurt or having your heart broken, see each bruise — each failed relationship or bad date — as a badge. Those “love badges” mean you are opening yourself up to finding happiness. They mean you’re putting your heart on the line. You’re risking pain — emotional pain — and defeat for the ultimate win: a true, long-lasting, fulfilling love.

Vulnerability is not a feminine trait. And strength most certainly is not just a masculine trait. You do yourself and your gender an enormous disservice when you designate emotions this way. Instead of cultivating “masculine energy” because you think it makes you seem stronger, you need to work on cultivating sexual energy that embraces strength. What do I mean by that? Well, I mean that you need to take off the helmet and knee pads at the end of the day and do something that helps you balance the aggression of roller derby with something that’s a little more … inviting to the opposite sex. I mean, harness all that aggression and turn it into something hot. Get in touch with your sensual side.

You don’t have to be a chick flick-loving Molly Homemaker to land a man. But you’ll definitely get a lot further in finding the kind of guy you want if you have something to offer beneath your tough exterior. You need to make some deviled eggs to sprinkle all your red hot pepper on, girl, so get cookin’.

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com and be sure to follow me on Twitter.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

avatar EricaSwagger February 28, 2012, 9:11 am

Love this advice, and I’m so glad Wendy mentioned that the LW was doing a disservice to her gender by being down on “feminine” stuff. Drives me nuts when people don’t realize that by being blatantly non-sexist (in the traditional man > woman sense) that they’re being equally sexist in the opposite direction.

There is nothing wrong with being “feminine” if feminine to you means cooking or liking flowers or accepting love from a man. That doesn’t mean you NEED love (heaven forbid anyone think you NEED anything, especially from a man!), it just means you’ve ACCEPTED love.

avatar Francine February 28, 2012, 9:41 am

I totally agree. I knew someone once who, when she found out she was expecting a girl, was never going to allow her to wear pink or frilly things so she could develop into her own person and not what society expects. I asked her how she’d feel if her daughter ended up preferring pink frilly things. She just looked at me like I had two heads, as if liking that kind of thing was completely inpossible.

FireStar FireStar February 28, 2012, 11:17 am

I knew someone like that too – they were intent on not assigning gender roles – so they gave their daughter trucks and cars to play with – no dolls – they knew the gig was up when the daughter wrapped the truck in a blanket, would cradle it and started calling it “truckey”. Being open and not limiting your child is one thing – forcing the pendulum back the other direction is just as harmful…and bound to backfire.

avatar EricaSwagger February 28, 2012, 11:24 am

Love this story. Amazing example of how children just know what gender they are as they grow. It’s how the world works. Parents who try to fight it are just kidding themselves.

JK JK February 28, 2012, 11:44 am

Like those people in Canada (I think?) That don´t want anyone to know what sex their kid is until it is I don´t remember how old. They named it Storm, I think.
I think the problem is when, like a friend of my husband, who freaks out if his 2y.o. son wants to play with a doll.
I let my daughters play with whatever toy they want to, my 4 yo went through a phase where she liked playing with trucks and cars, now she´s a real girly girl (everything pink, flowery, princessy, sparkly, etc etc)

avatar Flake February 28, 2012, 12:05 pm

Yes, there’s a couple in Canada, but there are a few in Europe as well… I think that they are just adding to confusion for their kids. Being a toddler is confusing as hell as it is. So when you remove one of the biggest ways for kids to identify themselves, I think it only adds to their general discomfort.

JK JK February 28, 2012, 12:11 pm

Not to mention setting them up for major social rejection when they start kindy.
I don´t get why people do this to their kids. Fame???

avatar Christy February 28, 2012, 12:29 pm

In this case it’s more that even if parents discourage any particular type of gender expression, kids will still pick up from those around them (other kids, other adults, and media) how people of their gender are supposed to act. So if every girl at preschool has a doll, your kid will want one, too. The trick is to open up the options, not try to get kids to be the opposite.

This applies to the LW, too. Our society forces gender to be a binary but you don’t have to think of yourself as either being masculine or feminine. Identify with the traits you have and figure out what traits you want in a partner. Just because someone wants to be romantic doesn’t mean they’re “emasculated”. If you don’t want flowers or to do “romantic” things, then find someone who doesn’t do them. But don’t have such a strong binary that any man who isn’t hopped up on steroids and fighting all the time isn’t man enough for you.

bagge72 bagge72 February 28, 2012, 11:35 am

I feel like the did the exact opposite of assigning gender roles, they just assigned their daughter the male gender! Wouldn’t they have to give the girl dolls, trucks, monsters, and a tea set to not assign anything? Or maybe find a gender-less toy?

Budj Budj February 28, 2012, 11:41 am

Androgenous barbie…dress her up in high heels and a purse or plate armor with a two handed sword so large it would physically be impossible for her to wield in real life… Is she a guy or girl? We’ll never know because they do not mold the genitalia shapes on those dolls anyways.

JK JK February 28, 2012, 11:46 am

Except for the huge boobs, of course.
And now Barbie comes with “underwear”, which is just the same skinnish coloured plastic, with the shape of panties where they would go.
God I hate Barbies. So of course my daughter LOVES them.

bagge72 bagge72 February 28, 2012, 11:51 am

I wish my sword was so large it would be impossible for my SO to wield… I mean it is so large that….

bagge72 bagge72 February 28, 2012, 11:55 am

Oh, and I would comment on the actual letter, but I’m just mad at the letter writer right now, and can’t think of anything nice to say, so I wont say it at all. I will be sitting at my desk with my arms crossed glaring at the screen… until lunch time in 5 minutes.

Caris Caris February 28, 2012, 7:30 pm

lol

FireStar FireStar February 28, 2012, 12:01 pm

Genderless toys? Try genderless kids…
http://moms.today.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/05/25/6715267-he-she-or-it-family-keeps-babys-gender-a-secret

I’m with you Bagge – give them a range of toys and they can play with what they want. My favourite toy was a metal Tonka yellow hatchback car that was unbreakable – that car went everywhere… but I also had a stuffed puppy I slept with every night.

Caris Caris February 28, 2012, 7:34 pm

O.o I thought the brother Jazz was a girl :S until I read the caption

avatar Amanda February 28, 2012, 9:16 am

“Vulnerability is not a feminine trait. And strength most certainly is not just a masculine trait. You do yourself and your gender an enormous disservice when you designate emotions this way.”

LW, you really need to listen to Wendy’s advice because your attitude is not conducive to you having any positive dating experiences. There are plenty of women who participate in roller derby that have successfully found partners (http://offbeatbride.com/2011/06/los-angeles-roller-derby-wedding & http://offbeatbride.com/2009/08/cocktails-rollergirl-wedding etc.), so clearly roller derby is not to blame for your attitude problem.

Will.i.am Will.i.am February 28, 2012, 9:52 am

Roller derby is pretty big in my area. Some of those women can be serious bruisers, but I can see them out during a girls night, and they can put the “valley” type girls to shame. Sexy dresses, high heels, makeup, the whole nine yards.

At 2pm she was checking women into the wall during competition, and by 9pm, she’s dolled up ready to go out on the town. You can be tough, but being able to show your open to love is very important too. As a male, I can hide my emotions, but for the right person; I can show all of my emotions.

Wendy is right, it’s time to open up and let men see the real you. It’s ok to not like flowers and what you may consider super romantic things, but when a guy witnesses this, he doesn’t feel that he can do anything for you that you can’t already do for yourself. That is when a man will usually feel greatly inadequate. When a man likes a woman, he wants to show her that he likes her. You aren’t letting them do that or aiding them in a way that is appropriate for you. If you can’t make a place for us in your life, 9/10 we will walk away…..

avatar EricaSwagger February 28, 2012, 10:24 am

YES. Sexist or not, men like to feel like they can provide for us; it’s just biology. When you deny him of that, he’s gonna feel like less of a man. Might not be right (disclaimer) but it’s generally the way it is.

avatar Addie Pray February 28, 2012, 9:53 am

Agreed, that was the best quote ever! Well, best line after “you win some, you dim sum.”

Kate B. Kate B February 28, 2012, 10:36 am

Absolutely! You’re not giving these poor guys any way of expressing themselves. So you don’t like flowers. OK. Tell him what you do like.

bagge72 bagge72 February 28, 2012, 11:40 am

and at least you didn’t butcher your favorite line ever ;o) amiright

“You Dim Sum, You Lose Sum”

avatar Addie Pray February 28, 2012, 12:07 pm

Your mom dims sum. …. Snap!

bagge72 bagge72 February 28, 2012, 2:13 pm

Ohh I’ve been served!

she really does, I caught her this weekend, and then we high fived!

Budj Budj February 28, 2012, 9:16 am

I really like Wendy’s advice.

One thing I found confusing in the letter was the claim that she finds dudes “that let you walk all over them”unattractive…my next question would be….does that mean you walk all over them? Or does that mean you view romantic gestures as letting themselves be walked all over? The former makes me think you want a Klingon type relationship…which seems highly aggressive and conflict ridden…so I’m hoping you meant the latter.

avatar CG February 28, 2012, 9:43 am

Maybe she means that she dates guys who are kinda wishy-washy? I dated a guy like that once. I had to make every single decision about everything, from what we were having for dinner to what movie we watched to what activity we did, because he was always like, “Oh, I don’t care, what sounds good to you, whatever you want.” Not that I mind getting my way on everything, but that gets old fast! :)

Brad Brad February 28, 2012, 10:23 am

Next time you’re with a guy that keeps wanting you to chose what to do, tell him you’ve signed the two of you up for ballet lessons, or a crochet/nitting lessons. No offense intended to those who like it. Keep doing stuff like that and he’ll learn real quick that he’d better have an answer ready to that question if he doesn’t want to keep going to really girly stuff. You’ll probably have to break up anyway but at least this way you’ll probably get a good laugh before it’s over! lol.

avatar CG February 28, 2012, 10:45 am

Well, I actually think this particular ex wouldn’t have minded (or at least wouldn’t have complained too hardcore about) dance classes. But that’s a great idea and I will def keep it in mind for the future. ;)

MandaNoA MandaNoA February 28, 2012, 4:25 pm

I feel like we had the same ex…

Kate B. Kate B. February 28, 2012, 11:46 am

Hey! Don’t knock crocheting! Why, I spent just last night happily hooking away. Wait, that didn’t come out right…

avatar cporoski February 28, 2012, 12:26 pm

My sister took a knitting class and there were three guys in it. They were all in college to be dentists and were working on thier fine motor skills…and making scarves too.

Kate B. Kate B. February 28, 2012, 12:32 pm

Guys crochet too! In fact, there’s a guy out the calling himself the Crochet Dude.

Budj Budj February 28, 2012, 1:06 pm

My department manager crochets….very quickly I might add.

avatar Riefer February 29, 2012, 12:47 pm

I used to date a guy from Germany, and they had to take knitting in school. I guess it’s a holdover from wartimes, when knitting and darning were survival skills. If you could knit and darn your own socks, you were much better off. And not just socks… in WWI and WWII, men would wear knitted “Willie Warmers” to keep the chill off you-know-what. :)

avatar savannah February 28, 2012, 10:03 am

I think she’s talking about this part “retaining his independence while dating me. How can I attract a man who desires equal respect?” when she says walk all over. I think the LW sees her life and how independent as something that she really values and doesn’t want to have to throw it away for a relationship (not that I think thats reality) The respect part is a little ambiguous but I think she sees all of these romantic gestures as maybe embarrassing is the right word,for the person making them. Like she thinks reaching out and taking a chance i.e showing vulnerability, ‘weakness’ which does not appeal to her whatsoever and means to her that these guys don’t have respect for themselves. Reminds me when I hear men say they are turned off by women who seem desperate, and have no self respect.

Budj Budj February 28, 2012, 10:13 am

She may view it as embarrassing, true…I guess it depends on the guy’s she has been dating. I would find it hard to believe though that she would get multiple guys in a row that would lay themselves down at her feet after 2 dates…I know those men are out there, but those odds are low unless she is doing something to only attract those types of guys.

avatar savannah February 28, 2012, 10:51 am

I don’t think she’s doing anything to attract them, I think she is framing the guys she’s dating for us in that way. I also don’t think this is just after 2 dates-well she doesn’t specify but the actions she’s describing these men are taking really don’t seem to me like between 2nd and 3rd date gestures. They seem like they are gestures men might take after a slew of dates in which they are insecure or confused about they way the LW feels towards them. Probably because she’s not giving them much to work with.

Budj Budj February 28, 2012, 11:00 am

so you are saying she is the one making these men desperate rather than attracting desperate men?

avatar savannah February 28, 2012, 11:14 am

1. I don’t think those gestures are necessarily desperate, they might be clarifying instead.
2. Yeah, I mean the common denominator is her, not them. She probably attracts men who are turned on by her aggressiveness/appearance and then by her not acting in the way they are accustomed to, but perhaps still going out on dates with them, they are looking for some validation from her. It’s all a bit game-y but not that different from when people change communication patterns. If you’ve been going out with girls who are the main instigators of communication and all of sudden you’re with someone who doesn’t do that, I bet you (not you, but whoever) would start to feel insecure about how things are going.

Budj Budj February 28, 2012, 11:19 am

I don’t think they are desperate either. Should have clarified “she is making them do things she is perceiving as desperate” and I agree with your second point.

Will.i.am Will.i.am February 28, 2012, 11:37 am

If I don’t know where I fit in, due to previous experiences, I can tend to not act as rationally as I should. It’s definitely a bit of human nature playing in on this.

avatar Flake February 28, 2012, 10:21 am

You know what, you may be onto something… I also always hated those things, but because I found them insincere, as in a guy who tells me how much he loves me after knowing me for a month… So that could be it too..

Will.i.am Will.i.am February 28, 2012, 10:33 am

Some guys fall hard and fast, which can creep women out. Some women fall hard and fast, which can creep men out.

I’ve always felt L-O-V-E came out of my mouth the quickest when I felt I was dating someone that I hard never dated before. As in, she showed me things that I never thought of. Could be the case with roller derby. If the men she’s dated have never been exposed to roller derby; watching her do her thing can be a very big turn on for the men.

Watching a woman kick my ass in video games or riding a motorcycle hard and fast is going to be a big turn on for me, since those two things are generally dominated by testosterone. I may be grasping for crawdads here, but it’s something to think about.

avatar Flake February 28, 2012, 10:39 am

Yeah, but that is the problem.. I think that there is a big difference between loving a person, and loving a particular thing about that person. In your example, if a guy told me he loves me after seeing me ride a motorcycle, I would be freaked out a little. But if he said that he loves how i ride that motorcycle, that is completely different thing, and that is flattering.

Will.i.am Will.i.am February 28, 2012, 10:51 am

Sorry. I was leaning more towards, I love the way you ride the motorcycle. Also, the same goes for the video game reference. I don’t love someone who just plays video games and can ride a bike.

I can remember playing wii in my first relationship, and when I would give it my all in bowling and tennis, and she would still beat me, it was time to go have naughty time!

Budj Budj February 28, 2012, 10:39 am

I think you are mostly right. Could be that these guys are moving too fast for her and that is the issue…..I know I get turned off by too many signs of romance and affection if it happens too soon…and I concur about a woman being good at stereotypical dude stuff being an attractive quality.

avatar Francine February 28, 2012, 11:42 am

OMG yes! I like to get flowers once in awhile but when it comes off as some grand gesture or an opportunity to show what a great guy he is I’m totally turned off.

avatar Painted_lady February 28, 2012, 2:13 pm

I know!!! I have this ex who used to bring me flowers all the time. Like, at least once a month. That part was great, but the not-so-great part was they were almost always lilies. I don’t like lilies and had told him so; I don’t think they’re especially pretty, they smell gross to me, and they also make me sneeze constantly. I finally said something – he might have asked why I stashed them someplace where I couldn’t breathe them in, maybe – and he got all hurt and said that they were *his* favorite flower. I was so floored – it wasn’t that he didn’t know what my preferences were. He didn’t care!

avatar artsygirl February 28, 2012, 9:20 am

Considering how many letters we see which come from panicked people trying to figure out if their romantic partner are into them – it is kinda weird to have someone be angry that their BFs are texting them and showing affection through actions and gestures.

LW – follow Wendy’s advice. Also, maybe you should look into expanding your dating pool by trying new activities. For example, you could sign up for a rock climbing class in which you could meet someone who is more physically inclined like you. If you do physical activities together it might let you connect on another level outside of the romantic.

avatar Francine February 28, 2012, 9:33 am

“Is dating out for me until I can become a sports-hating, chick flick-loving, dependent woman? I am lonely but unwilling to mold myself into something I’m not to snag a partner. — Man Eater”

Are you serious????? You honestly don’t know any independent, sports loving women who don’t care for chick flicks that have snagged partners? Trust me, that is not what’s causing your problem. My suggestion would be to look a little deeper within yourself for the answer to your problem.

avatar EricaSwagger February 28, 2012, 10:12 am

OMG I know, that sentence totally ticked me off but I didn’t comment on it because I couldn’t think of anything constructive to say. Apparently… you’re not allowed to like sports AND flowers. YOU MUST PICK ONE. Jeez.

Brad Brad February 28, 2012, 10:26 am

Wrong. This is actually a trick question. The correct response is to like neither as a women. But cheer up you’ll have another try on the Final Exam.

avatar Vathena February 28, 2012, 11:36 am

This sentence annoyed me because I know plenty of women who don’t like sports OR chick flicks, but somehow have managed to secure degrees, mortgages, and kick-ass careers ALL WITHOUT THE HELP OF A MAN! Blimey.

avatar Ladybug February 28, 2012, 12:43 pm

Excellecnt point, and can I just say that I love you for using “blimey” and making me want to go back to London?

avatar camille905 February 28, 2012, 9:37 am

I don’t agree that it’s the roller derby. It sounds to me like you’re being more yourself because you feel more comfortable with yourself from playing roller derby. You don’t have to change yourself to find a great guy but you may have to look longer. I play roller derby too and while I admit I have met my fair share of men who are intimidated by me, my fiancee is totally proud of the fact that I can kick someone’s ass- even though he is totally willing and able to do so.

avatar Flake February 28, 2012, 9:47 am

“Aggression is not a synonym for strength” – that is so true. Wendy’s advice is very good.

And man, do you sound aggressive and pissed off.. And why? Because some guys are trying to show you affection? And Budj is right, for someone to be walked all over, someone else needs to do the walking. How about you relax a little, understand that not every single thing in your life is a roller derby competition, and stop pushing every single guy out of your way as soon as he comes close to you.

By the way, I hate chick flicks, absolutely love hockey and soccer (playing and watching), and am pretty independent. And that doesn’t stop me from appreciating little love gestures from my SO every now and then…

avatar Francine February 28, 2012, 9:56 am

She really needs to take your advice about not everything in life being a roller derby competition because it sounds like she has let her derby personna totally spill over into her personal life. Taking bits of what you’ve aquired in derby and applying to your outside life is fine but being Man Eater on the dating circuit is going too far.

avatar Flake February 28, 2012, 12:10 pm

And now that I think about, aggression, pretty often, is usually used to cover fear….

avatar moonflowers February 29, 2012, 11:50 am

Only those people who feel they are most squishy inside need a hard shell on the outside to protect those squishy innards. Speaking from personal experience here …

I read something recently – to appeal to men, a woman needs to have some softness (kindness, gentleness) on the outside while being tough (resilient, forgiving, willing to be vulnerable) on the inside. As opposed to what is all too easy to do – to be soft on the inside, terrified of rejection or intimacy, and to cover that up with bluster and aggression on the outside. Lots of men use that technique to hide their feelings, and it’s what many women complain about – that their men can’t open up and show their real feelings inside.

avatar Addie Pray February 28, 2012, 9:52 am

Excellent advice, Wendy! But, it kind of feels like you have some personal experience with roller derby… I think you should tell us how/where/when?

avatar ChemE February 28, 2012, 9:55 am

I hate to jump on the bandwagon here, but Wendy and the other commentators are right, you have an attitude problem. As I was reading your letter I was sort of reminded of my husband – he said I love you first, but I never once thought he was “emasculated” because if it.
And regarding the flowers, I would actually like for my husband to bring me flowers, flowers every now and then would make me happy and show in another way he cares.
Ok, you don’t like flowers, fine, the guys isn’t listening. But what about a man telling you how he feels is bad? I mean would you rather guess at how he feels? I don’t know, if feelings are too weird for you to hear, maybe a relationship isn’t what you want. Just keep it casual and make it clear to them you aren’t there for feelings and relationship stuff, because it obviously makes you uncomfortable.

avatar SweetPea February 28, 2012, 4:53 pm

I agree- it doesn’t seem like she wants a RELATIONSHIP.
Because, most healthy relationships include the “love” word. And acknowledging every now and then that you miss their partner when they are gone. Most healthy relationships are… well, loving.
Maybe start looking for a friend with benefits?

avatar Jubietta February 28, 2012, 10:27 am

I wonder if the LW is picking her dates or if they are picking her. I get that she’s “on stage” when she competes and that there are probably lots of men paying attention to her, a bit of stardom if you will, and her position might attract the attention of one “type” of guy more often than a general cross-section of humanity. And, maybe that “type” of guy is attracted to her and initiates dating rather than the LW going on the hunt and picking her own prospects.

My thought would be, like artsygirl suggested above, start fishing in a different sea. If you wouldn’t date people whose social life revolves around alcohol, spending time in bars getting hit-on by drunks would be an unproductive idea. And I wouldn’t suggest leaving Derby, just know that someone asking you for a date doesn’t mean you’re obliged to date them.

I know it sounds corny, and I wonder if this situation might be a good one for writing a list/journal entry on what it is the LW wants from a partner. I’m not thinking so much in a wish-upon-a-star sense, but in a clarification of needs and increased awareness sense. If she’s thoughtful about what she wants it will help weed away the traits of the characters who don’t fit the bill and help to focus her “fishing” to the areas where those traits are most likely to be found. Also, it might put a more positive outlook on these ideas she’s wrestling with, and kick some of the negativity to the curb so it can’t hurt her or the people she interacts with.

Lastly, I agree that it’s going to take a lot of looking to find someone whose values/beliefs line up with hers because it appears she values non-traditional roles for herself; a partner for her will likely have to be open and willing to reassess their view on such things or already hold similar beliefs. I think looking at men who are close to other Derbiers (or powerful women athletes) might be a starting point, they’ve already accepted those strengths in a woman they care about and, hopefully, have worked out some of the issues that the LW sees as having emasculated her previous dates.

avatar Flake February 28, 2012, 10:34 am

I think that her ego may not be leaving a lot of room in the relationship for the type of man she seems to want… That’s what I don’t understand.. I think she is saying that she want a traditionally “strong, silent and take charge” type. And I think when the men she dates are doing those “romantic” things for her, they THINK that they ARE taking charge of the relationship. I may be wrong, but to me it sounds like she wants a guy to just come, grab her and carry her to his cave.

avatar jlyfsh February 28, 2012, 10:33 am

I agree with Wendy here as well. Your description of what you don’t want in a relationship/what you don’t want your SO to do for you left me wondering what you DO want. It also left me wondering how often the people you’re dating do these things. Are they texting you a few times a week saying, I’m thinking of you and sending flowers once a month, or are you dating men who send you a text an hour and flowers after every date? Do you want the people you’re dating to never do those things? Or just less often? I guess I have a hard time imagining dating someone and never ever having them tell you that they love you or doing things like giving you flowers or sending you a text that they’re thinking of you. I get that some guys can go overboard and it can be too much, but I’m confused from your letter whether that is true of the guys you’re dating or not.

avatar jlyfsh February 28, 2012, 10:44 am

also getting flowers once a month is a lot, i didn’t think that through when i used that as an example :) i think i’ve received flowers maybe 6 times in the 3 and a half years i’ve been with my husband, haha.

JK JK February 28, 2012, 11:51 am

I´ve got you beat, in 9 1/2 years I´ve probably gotten flowers like 5 times (if I´m lucky). Chocolate is another story :)

avatar jlyfsh February 28, 2012, 3:05 pm

yeah my husband gets me chocolate more often too :) not that i’ll ever complain about that!

avatar iseeshiny February 28, 2012, 10:36 am

Do you view a lack of affection as masculinity? I get it, clinginess is annoying, but men don’t become clingy because they find a woman aggressive. They get clingy for the same reasons women do: because they like you but don’t think you’re as interested in them as they are in you, so they try to hold on too tight. Or they have a dependent personality and that’s just how they are. Either way it’s nothing to do with gender. If you want a man who will ignore you, not tell you he loves you, never think to bring you flowers, go the whole day without thinking of you… may I suggest craigslist nsa hookups?

Brad Brad February 28, 2012, 11:23 am

*gasp* I thought that ad I looked at and totally responded to last night sounded familiar!!! Why you no respond backy?

Budj Budj February 28, 2012, 11:28 am

no dick pix, no service.

avatar Eljay February 28, 2012, 12:44 pm

Hahaha…Brad, you are on fire today, my friend. Crackin me up.

Brad Brad February 28, 2012, 12:55 pm

Heh thanks. Have to find ways of amusing myself in between closing out these oh-so-exciting and couldn’t-possibly-be-boring contracts!

avatar iseeshiny February 28, 2012, 12:50 pm

Well if I’d known it was you

avatar silver_dragon_girl February 28, 2012, 10:38 am

If you want a guy who never texts just to say he’s thinking about you, drops the L-bomb, brings you flowers, or does anything similar to those “emasculated” things….well, I think the DW community could collectively set you up with about a hundred ex-boyfriends.

I agree with Wendy and the overall consensus. The problem here is your attitude. You’ve got this idea that any guy who shows affection or is openly emotional is “emasculated,” and you don’t like that. Well, to me, the epitome of masculinity is a man who is secure enough to do those things without worrying that he’ll seem “girly.” But if you don’t like that type of guy, then, hey, you don’t. You might need to expand your dating pool.

Just remember, obviously these guys like you just the way you are. So there’s no need to change anything about yourself- you’re attracting plenty of men, it sounds like. Just because you haven’t found the right one yet doesn’t mean you need to change anything. Except maybe your attitude.

avatar Zepp February 28, 2012, 11:26 am

If you want a guy who never texts just to say he’s thinking about you, drops the L-bomb, brings you flowers, or does anything similar to those “emasculated” things….well, I think the DW community could collectively set you up with about a hundred ex-boyfriends.

LOL exactly…. I don’t think men like this are too hard to find, don’t worry LW!

avatar slamy February 28, 2012, 11:28 am

“If you want a guy who never texts just to say he’s thinking about you, drops the L-bomb, brings you flowers, or does anything similar to those “emasculated” things….well, I think the DW community could collectively set you up with about a hundred ex-boyfriends.”

Yup, take mine!! He won’t be nice to you EVER.

Leroy Leroy February 28, 2012, 12:40 pm

She does seem to be conflating ‘masculine’ w/ asshole. Maybe she just likes assholes?

But the LW may also be running into the fact that masculine guys don’t typically go for masculine women. It’s the more effeminate men who like masculine women. At least that’s what I’ve observed.

avatar GatorGirl February 28, 2012, 10:39 am

Um, I love sports and chick flicks and being a strong independent woman! Whats wrong with loving football and bunt cakes??

avatar silver_dragon_girl February 28, 2012, 10:44 am

I am equally happy spending Sunday afternoons watching football or shopping. Well, football requires a beer. Shopping would, too, if it weren’t for those darn open container laws.

But seriously, yeah, you don’t have to like “pick a stereotype” to scrunch yourself into…you don’t have to be EITHER a “tomboy” OR a “girly girl.” You can just, you know, like what you like…

avatar GatorGirl February 28, 2012, 10:57 am

haha. Beer and shopping; my dream Sunday afternoon! Only in non-NFL months of course!

Maybe that’s the next great idea…a department store with an open bar…

avatar Derby Girl February 28, 2012, 3:48 pm

There is a clothing store with a bar where I live (Cleveland, OH). I drive by it downtown sometimes. I can’t remember the name, but the sign underneath says “Clothing and Cocktails”. :)

avatar Anna February 29, 2012, 5:11 am

OMG! Where in Cleveland?! What is it called? I live in the Cleveland area and that sounds like Heaven!

Just Max Just Max February 28, 2012, 12:32 pm

Online shopping and beer go along great!!! and no open container laws to deal with. ;-)

bagge72 bagge72 February 28, 2012, 2:17 pm

Haha sounds like my christmas, birthday, and anniversay shopping…

avatar Morgan February 28, 2012, 12:35 pm

Seriously. My ideal weekend includes brunch drinks, chick flicks and, shopping on Saturday, and then tailgating on Sunday before the game. In fact, I met my boyfriend when I was very loudly trash talking about fantasy football, and it made quite the impression.

I second what silver_dragon_girl said, in that you can just like what you like. And if you and a guy end up not having compatible interests, its not because you don’t fit some stereotype, its just because, you know, you weren’t compatible.

avatar GatorGirl February 28, 2012, 1:18 pm

My BF and I first connected over football too. And we are staples at the local sports bar on NFL Sundays. I can get just as rowdy as the dudes and honestly am more knowlesgable than a lot of them. I also craft, bake, shop, get manicures and watch Glee religiously. I love my crazy mix of interests. It keeps things interesting!

avatar Morgan February 28, 2012, 2:13 pm

Exactly. He brags to his friends all the time that I know more about football than he does (this isn’t true exactly, he used to play football, but while he obviously knows more about playing the actual game, I follow things like players, standings, and rule changes more than he does).

And obviously the best part of the week leading up to the big game is getting a manicure in your team’s colors :)

Kate B. Kate B February 28, 2012, 10:45 am

This whole thing reminds me of the man-opening-doors debate. It really gets me when some women get all upset when a man opens a door for them. They think it means that he thinks they’re weak, frail little creatures. I think of it as a gesture of respect. I always smile and thank them when they do it. I don’t feel dimished at all. I am also independent (headstrong, stubborn, whatever other word you want to use) and I like to do everything myself if I can. Then I dislocated my shoulder and had trouble putting on my coat. My friend Mike saw me struggling and came over and put my coat on me without asking. He told me that the fact I needed help did not lessen me in his eyes one bit. And, by the way, I hate chick flicks, love riding motorcycles and am a crack shot with a pistol. But I still like it when men open doors for me.

avatar GatorGirl February 28, 2012, 11:00 am

I don’t get that “issue” at all. My BF opens car doors (in addition to normal doors) for me and I love it! It’s a little way he shows he loves me.

avatar savannah February 28, 2012, 11:03 am

I thought about the men opening door thing just like you until recently. My ex used to do it all the time. At first it was nice and I liked it but then it because really tedious and annoying. He would make a big show about it every time and look around to make sure other people knew he was doing for it for, like even swinging his other hand out towards the door like ‘here, you can now safely go this way, I’ve saved you from the dreaded opening-the-door’. He would never let me open the door for anything, even if he was behind me and would get upset if I didn’t wait for him to do it. We also lived in a big city and it eventually got to the point where I said ‘stop doing that, you’re making the 15 people behind us wait for something that just pisses me off’. Clearly I’m a little sensitive about this and in general it is a nice things to do, if a random guy on the street did this it would be great. If your boyfriend does it every time, it starts to feel oppressive.

Budj Budj February 28, 2012, 11:06 am

haha “PDC” – public displays of chivalry…I can understand why that would get annoying.

Kate B. Kate B. February 28, 2012, 12:48 pm

PDC = hotness.

avatar GatorGirl February 28, 2012, 11:14 am

“If your boyfriend does it every time, it starts to feel oppressive.”

I completely disagree…it sounds like your BF was a real show off with the door opening…when it’s done nicely and with out the purpose of other people praising; holding the door open consistently can be a really nice gesture. Even if it is done consistently for many years. (4+ years of car and regular door opening and I’m still smiling)

avatar savannah February 28, 2012, 11:18 am

I’m talking about EVERY TIME, as if the door handle was gonna burn off your womanly hand. It’s controlling in that context.

avatar Zepp February 28, 2012, 11:23 am

i can see that, like he’s “letting” you out of the car.

Brad Brad February 28, 2012, 11:27 am

Letting her out of anywhere but the bedroom or kitchen is a privilege. Ought to be more greatful…

avatar Flake February 28, 2012, 11:27 am

I think that the way you perceive it matters as well… You say it yourself that you liked that in the beginning, and I think later, in combination with everything else, it became controlling. But the gesture itself is not controlling, in my opinion…

avatar savannah February 28, 2012, 11:49 am

agreed, like I said above random acts of kindness totally appreciate. When it becomes a rule that I get in trouble with for not following, thats when it become problematic.

Kate B. Kate B. February 28, 2012, 11:53 am

Yeah, I think it annoyed you because he was doing it for the wrong reason. He was doing it for HIM, not for YOU. It’s like all those PC words we’re supposed to use? You can use the right word, but if you do it in the wrong way, it’s still an insult.

avatar GatorGirl February 28, 2012, 11:48 am

Yeah, it get what you’re saying…BUT even when it is done all the time for you it can be a nice thing. It just sounds like your ex was an ass about it.

avatar y00j February 28, 2012, 6:35 pm

I agree about the oppressive door holding — I take a functional approach to door opening. If you get to the door first, thank you for opening the door. I really appreciate it. If I get there first, I will open it for myself, and here ya go, I’ll open it for you too.

What I can’t stand: if I get to the door first and he expects me to wait for him to open it. Sorry buddy, I’ll just get it this time and open it. No sense in waiting around twidding my thumbs so you can use this awkward 4 seconds to be chivalrous. I know you’d slay dragons for me so it’s okay — I won’t think less of you.

Same policy for strangers. I work at a high-rise office building. I open doors for men and women if I happen to reach the door first. If a guy gets thrown off by it, I just nod my head and grin. Bygones.

avatar Zepp February 28, 2012, 11:25 am

i actually didnt realize this was a gender thing, this holding doors open for people thing. I hold doors open for people all the time… is it rude if I do it for men? Like older men? Do they think I’m emasculating them? Its just if I’m closer I open it and let them go first.

avatar Flake February 28, 2012, 11:30 am

Yeah, I hate it when I am right behind a person and he/she just lets the door slam on me… I think that it is just common courtesy to be aware of people around you, and not let them walk into a door..

Budj Budj February 28, 2012, 11:31 am

My policy at work or in public by myself is…if they are close enough to me that the door won’t slowly swing shut before they reach the door I hold the door open…for both sexes…

On a fancy date I would open it for my date, but casual hang out or whatever with a gf I will just hold the door open as I walk in if I get there first…all about the context of the situation.

avatar GatorGirl February 28, 2012, 11:45 am

No. No one (ok almost no one) would ever say it is rude to hold a door for someone. Generally speaking, from my understanding, it is proper for men to open the door for ladies…but anyone can hold the door for anyone. I’d actually say it was rude to let a door slam in someones face!

avatar yep February 28, 2012, 10:50 am

It really annoys me when women put other women down for being ‘feminine’. Step back and think of what you’re putting down. It takes courage to be vulnerable. And one someone shouts that they hate all things girly, I just assume it’s a defense mechanism.

Anyway, LW, if you read this, I would just tell you that you need to relax and reevaluate your attitude because even a strong independant man who would be a challenge for you wouldn’t stay with someone who wouldn’t appreciate sweet gestures or reciprocate feelings.

avatar Lindsay February 28, 2012, 10:59 am

Roller derby doesn’t cause you to hate men or dating. I know plenty of people who are involved in it, and they are all the same people as when they started. I find it surprising that you say you want to find someone because I don’t know what’s left of dating after you strip away all those things you’ve listed, like affection, love and compassion. Not to mention that everything you’ve mentioned is basically a two-way street in dating, like saying “I love you” and and telling the person you’re thinking about them. And for the record, I used to not like flowers, and believe me, men are all too happy not to bring them to you if they think you don’t like them.

Anyway, like others have said, maybe look for a guy who’s involved in something you find macho enough, like some kind of sport or whatever. But you’re going to have to fix your attitude, because I don’t anyone is going to want to be berated all the time for caring about you.

Brad Brad February 28, 2012, 11:02 am

Dear LW, if you’re truly seeing high quality men then you’re going to need to learn to chill out some and reframe your expectations. I get the impression that you’re expectations for how guys should act around you early on are a little out of whack. Have you considered that something your doing/saying/communicating (be it verbal or non-verbal) is contributing to the guys you keep dating to act in an emasculating way? Cause that’s the impression I’m getting if they’re all turning into doormats (unless you just REALLY fail at picking them). Maybe your attitude/personality is intimidating them and they don’t want to rock-the-boat so early on and so they differ to you on stuff to try and make you happy. Maybe your independence is getting confused/misscommunicated as indifference or uninterest and is thus making them try harder to please you/make you happy?

The thing that stood out most to me was you also said you don’t like fluffy romantic gestures like receiving flowers or cutsey texts, but have you communicated early on specifically what kinds of romantic gestures you DO like? If you can’t immediately answer that question then I’d suggest you do a little soul searching and figure out what guys can actively do to help you like them more. And hint, not doing something DOES NOT count. Because if they’re all doing it then I can’t help but think it’s because they feel at a loss for what to do with you. Those cutsey little gestures like sending ‘I’m thinking of you’ texts are things that most women really like, and things he’s learned to do over the years to keep whatever woman in his life happy. And if all of those things result in him getting some sort of negative attention/consequence from you they’re bound to be really confused as for what to do. Keep in mind, he didn’t read a manual on how to please you or make you fall in love with him prior to dating you. That’s something that has to be learned as you date and something you have to explicitly communicate. And if you have any thoughts about “well they should blah blah blah…” then you need to STOP that at once! The word should often leads to suffering and you need to learn to banish it from your thoughts. They only recently met you after all so NO they shouldn’t unless you’ve specifically said not to AND offered something else to do in it’s place, so cut them some slack. So if you’re discounting them early on for doing stuff that the average woman loves then you’re not really giving them a fair shot in my opinion and you’re problem isn’t going to go away.

And if you’re doing online dating then you need to add a line in your profile about how you’re a super competitive person and you need a guy to be as well and that you have a naturally independent and dominating personality so he’s got to be able to call you on your shit and be a leader or else it won’t work. Might help cut down on the wishy-washy or more apethetic types from messaging you.

One last suggestion that will maybe cut down on how long you date guys that aren’t a match for you would be to have the first few dates be competitive activities. You’ll want to be careful not to over do it mind you because the point of a date is fun and chemistry building afterall, but if you meet up for a competitive date it should clue you in as to how competitive of a person they are. Maybe make the first date a bowling night and if he doesn’t beat you then he can’t kiss you or something like that. His reaction to that challenge could say a lot about him.

Good luck.

avatar Anna February 28, 2012, 11:07 am

Wow…I’m not sure I’ve ever read such a sexist letter from a woman. It sounds like you may not be looking for a relationship at all if you don’t like romance. It sounds like what you are looking for is a friend with benefits, and that should be easy to find if you are looking in the right places.

Look, I hear you about not being a frail female stereotype. Many of my hobbies and interests are considered to be “guy stuff.” I love watching and playing lacrosse, four wheeling, and shooting my guns. One of my favorite TV shows right now is The Walking Dead and I will guzzle beer and chomp on chicken wings with the best of them. I also love to cook, bake, write, and watch girly stuff like The Notebook and Twilight. Additionally, I like to dress up in nice clothes do my hair and makeup. I don’t fit into any one category or stereotype, I am just me. I don’t require or expect my boyfriend to buy me roses and chocolates on Valentines day, but I sure did appreciate it when he did. He doesn’t have to text me that he misses me when I’m at work all night but I love it when he does. It’s impossible to receive love if you are actively trying to keep it out, and it seems like you are. Open yourself up, only then will love find you.

avatar MissDre February 28, 2012, 11:42 am

“It’s impossible to receive love if you are actively trying to keep it out, and it seems like you are. Open yourself up, only then will love find you.”

I love this. Perfect explanation, I think.

avatar Rei February 28, 2012, 1:23 pm

You said pretty much what I was going to say. It really sounds like the LW doesn’t want a relationship at all, which would be fine if it wasn’t for all the wrong reasons.
Also, I’m having trouble how someone who is an active player in something so pro-women can be so anti-women? It’s like to her, she must be the manliest of men, and the men she dates must be the manliest of men, and anything associated with femininity is gross. And I say, LW really needs to reevaluate their whole view on gender before she starts dating again.

leilani leilani February 28, 2012, 11:15 am

I find it weird that you associate romantic gestures with being feminine or emasculated. To me, those gestures are pretty traditionally masculine. So I think you’re a little hung up on the gender roles thing when this isn’t an issue of that. Its okay if hyper-romantic things make you queasy, and trust me, there are PLENTY of guys that feel the same. I think you should just make it clear from the beginning that you emotionally like to take things slow, and flowers and chocolates are not the kind of thing that win you over. Guys who are on the same page as you (i.e., right for you) will probably not have too much trouble with that. However, if they do something that you find to be a little much for you, you need to recognize that being emotionally open or affectionate is not a sign of weakness, its just a way of expressing feelings that you happen to be uncomfortable with. This does not make them weak little girly men undeserving of your respect. This makes them people with different ideas on how to make someone feel loved. If you don’t want that, though, that’s fine. Just because you haven’t met someone get that doesn’t generally share your lovin’ style doesn’t mean they aren’t out there or that you need to morph into someone else.