“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.


  1. EricaSwagger says:

    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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

      2. EricaSwagger says:

        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.

      3. 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)

      4. 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.

      5. 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???

      6. 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.

      7. 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?

      8. 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.

      9. 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.

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

      11. 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.

      12. lol

      13. Genderless toys? Try genderless kids…

        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.

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

  2. “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 & etc.), so clearly roller derby is not to blame for your attitude problem.

    1. Avatar photo Will.i.am says:

      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…..

      1. EricaSwagger says:

        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.

    2. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

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

      1. 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.

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

        “You Dim Sum, You Lose Sum”

      3. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Your mom dims sum. …. Snap!

      4. Ohh I’ve been served!

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

  3. 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.

    1. 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! 🙂

      1. 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.

      2. 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. 😉

      3. I feel like we had the same ex…

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

      5. 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.

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

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

      8. 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. 🙂

    2. 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.

      1. 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.

      2. 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.

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

      4. 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.

      5. 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.

      6. Avatar photo Will.i.am says:

        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.

      7. 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..

      8. Avatar photo Will.i.am says:

        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.

      9. 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.

      10. Avatar photo Will.i.am says:

        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!

      11. 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.

      12. 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.

      13. Painted_lady says:

        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!

  4. artsygirl says:

    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.

  5. “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.

    1. EricaSwagger says:

      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.

      1. 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.

      2. 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.

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

  6. 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.

  7. “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…

    1. 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.

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

      1. moonflowers says:

        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.

  8. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

    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?

  9. 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.

    1. 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?

  10. 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.

    1. 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.

  11. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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 🙂

      2. yeah my husband gets me chocolate more often too 🙂 not that i’ll ever complain about that!

  12. iseeshiny says:

    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?

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

      1. no dick pix, no service.

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

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

      4. iseeshiny says:

        Well if I’d known it was you

  13. silver_dragon_girl says:

    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.

    1. 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!

    2. “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.

    3. 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.

  14. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

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

    1. silver_dragon_girl says:

      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…

      1. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        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…

      2. Derby Girl says:

        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”. 🙂

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

      4. Online shopping and beer go along great!!! and no open container laws to deal with. 😉

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

    2. 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.

      1. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        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!

      2. 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 🙂

  15. 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.

    1. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

      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.

    2. 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.

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

      2. PDC = hotness.

      3. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        “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)

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

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

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

      7. 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…

      8. 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.

      9. 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.

      10. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        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.

      11. 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.

    3. 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.

      1. 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..

      2. 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.

      3. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        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!

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

    1. “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.

    2. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. It sounds to me like she had some sort of abuse in her childhood, or something weird must have happened to her, to think that someone saying they love you is someone who is weak and emasculated. I don’t know, I think this LW needs major therapy. All I was thinking when I read this, is like, what does she want them to punch her in the face? To stand her up for dates? To tell her she’s being a bitch? What does she consider strong and masculine? This is a very odd letter.

    1. moonflowers says:

      I agree. I’m an adult survivor of child abuse, and I’ve only recently started dating again. It has been hard, hard, hard for me to accept kind gestures from others because I’m afraid they’ll come with abuse attached. I freaked out when the guy I’m currently seeing and I went on a fantastic first date because I immediately became scared he’d abandon me.

      Somewhere in the LW’s past, she learned “feminine” = “frail.” Maybe her father was abusive towards her mother and she learned to identify with the stronger parent. Maybe she suffered abuse herself at the hands of men and learned to close them off. It takes a lot of courage and self-awareness to open yourself up to intimacy after traumatizing experiences like that. Therapy could help her learn to open up to others safely and overcome the fear.

  22. Can you send these guys my way? I have never ever thought a guy was wishy washy for giving me flowers, being romantic etc. In fact I thought it was really masculine- he was trying to woo me!

    I think you need an attitude check. In no way does a man giving you flowers, telling you he cares about you indicate that he is not masculine. However, if they let you walk all over them there is a problem with that – on your end and theirs.

  23. Avatar photo IDreamofElectricSheep says:

    Agree with Wendy’s great advice and the consensus of the forum to stop assigning some things as “feminine” versus “masculine”. Because by your definition, Martha Stewart would be feminine, but she would also be masculine since she’s very independent and aggressive (not to mention a criminal and potentially pyscho, just by virtue of her crazy eyes, as if she goes on soul-ripping ramages off-camera).

    If you want a partner who has an independent personality and listens to you, just put it that way, as in how can I find someone who: 1) really listens when I say that I would like x instead of flowers, 2) who has his own life and doesn’t need to meet up/text all the time, 3) demonstrates his love through actions rather than words, etc. etc. It will be easier to meet someone that way than to go around giving off some type of vibe with a “Why am I always the man in a relationship!!” attitude.

    And please, communicate! Let guys know that you don’t like xyz for certain reasons. I don’t like flowers, either, I would rather be given fried chicken or steamed crabs or sushi (okay, food). My husband, when we were dating, learned pretty quickly that if he liked to see me happy, all he had to do was feed me/take me to a restaurant. You would be amazed that people in general, not just guys you’re dating, understand that people have, um, preferences. So cut the guys you’re dating some slack, instead of writing them off because they do something you consider as “what the woman would do in a relationship”. Treat them as people or a friend, to who you would simply say, “You know, you don’t have to text me all the time if you don’t want to. I kind of like catching up over the phone/in person anyway.” or “Hey, my schedule gets really tight with roller derby, so I’m not always available on weekends.” or any other non-gender charged, friendly, comment or opening into a conversation.

    Good luck!

  24. Flanagan.er says:

    I’m going to go against the grain here, and sat I can kind of tell where the lw is coming from. I definitely think there’s some problematic statements in there, with regard to the demonization of femininity. This is actually one of my favorite quotes that I feel like really encapsulates that attitude “We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons… but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.”  ~Gloria Steinem.

    Having said all that, I agree completely with the way all my past relationships have gone. Being “in love” in the first couple weeks. Texting every hour of every day just to say hi, or keep in tough. When we’d spend the weekend together, every waking moment had to be spent actively paying attention to each other. Cuddling and talking about our feelings, and how pretty I am and how lucky he is and what do I see in him. None of which are things I necessarily have a blanket problem with, but the only mode these relationships existed in was “ooey gooey”. With my last boyfriend, I started faking being tired really early, so that we could go to bed, then I’d lie awake and wait for him to go to sleep, and then pull out my book and book light and read for a few hours. When I tried talking to him about my need to sometimes decompress on the weekends, he’d say ok, but after 15 minutes it was “I’m bored, are you done? Let’s cuddle, let’s have sex for the 3rd time today, let’s walk through the park and hold hands and discuss how much I love you”

    So in that sense, I totally get where the lw, is coming from, though I have no solution, since I’ve yet to have a relationship with a guy who wasn’t like that.

    1. Avatar photo Will.i.am says:

      That sounds like my last relationship. I faked homework assignments, just so I could stay home and play video games. She didn’t like that I played them, or really do anything outside of her. The worst year of my life, indeed.

    2. lets_be_honest says:

      “We’re becoming the men we wanted to marry” was a favorite of mine. I’m not sure that’s exactly what it said, but something like that.

    3. *shudder* I hear you. I’m sorry, but if you can’t let me be independent and you have no interests outside of our relationship, then we just aren’t going to last. Having a life is key to any relationship. I don’t want a relationship vacuum – they SUCK. (yes, pun was intended)

  25. I really hope i don’t get scolded for this, but seriously, this LW’s attitude really, really, really irks me. Sounds to me that you may not even like “men”…Men, a real man, will watch a chic flick with his lady, tell her that he misses her, and OMG, say I Love You first. Flowers…eh, that’s totally understandable but it’s like you’re just looking for reasons , like every reason, to have some kind of “upper hand” and make them out to be some kind of “pussy” (exscuse me) and you stand to be super woman.

    In the words of the old school Ice Cube

    “Check yourself before you wreck yourself”

    1. sparky629 says:

      +10 points for the Ice Cube reference. Lol. No I have to listen to ‘Today was a good day’ on the way home.

  26. lets_be_honest says:

    First things first. Are you even sure you are a woman? I mean, sports, really? Aggressive behavior? Doesn’t like flowers?!

    1. Avatar photo Michelle.Lea says:

      what kind of comment is that? I just feel like this entire thread is setting us back. Girls like sports. and yep, some are aggressive.

      and Flowers? meh. They’re ok, but you have to look at the gesture behind it. i like them now and then, but if my guy was regularly dropping $$$ on flowers for me, I’d have issues with that. totally not my thing.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        Really? Girls like sports?
        My comment was a joke. I can’t believe that wasn’t obvious.

      2. Avatar photo call-me-hobo says:

        I’m still waiting for a sarcasm font!

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        I guess its my fault for forgetting the “amiright?”

      4. well I got the sarcasm 🙂

      5. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        i thought it was obvious. but maybe it was obvious that i thought it was obvious?


      6. Avatar photo Michelle.Lea says:

        oh i get that it was a joke, but the overall tone of the comments is there too from my perspective. i’m just not on the majority side on this one at all.

      7. lets_be_honest says:

        Huh? You said “what kind of comment is that?” so I told you it was a joke and you are still disagreeing with it. I don’t understand what you’re trying to say or what you think the overall tone is.
        I think its safe to say just about everyone on here would think no woman fits solely into the girly category. Is that what you disagree with?

  27. I’m always suspect when people say they are “too [anything]” for someone else. Too manly; too smart; too intimidating; too successful… chances are – not so much. What people end up responding to is how YOU view yourself – not how they actually view you.

    LW – relax. Stop pigeon-holing yourself. You have far more facets to your character than Roller Derby Girl – and if you feel you don’t – then you have bigger problems than a guy texting you sweet messages.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      Love this. So spot on.

    2. you noticed that as well? I’ve got a buddy who likes to think that he’s too ‘real’ for women. But women just think that he’s offensive. And it is his self image. He’s actually pretty insecure and assumes that people are going judge him negatively.

      The LW does seem to be posing a bit. I wouldn’t be surprised if the character she’s portraying attracts guys how like dominant women. If she’s adopted a ‘seriously masculine energy’, then she probably not going to attract seriously masculine guys. Masculine men who line masculine traits are into other guys!

  28. Avatar photo Michelle.Lea says:

    you dont have to like romance to have a relationship. Not all of are wired that way. I’m getting used to it and appreciate it now, but there was a time i was majorly weirded out by romantic gestures.

    LW does seem to have a bit of an attitude, but maybe she’s just dating the wrong kind of guys for her. I know i have a pretty strong personality myself, and I’m lucky to have a mate that matches it. I can very quickly run over anyone that cant stand up for themselves, and match my confidence. While I have adjusted to like some ‘girly’ things, I am not overly girly myself most times. And that’s just the way I am.

    It seems like we’re all attacking her for having views that are unconventional about feminine behaviour. I honestly think she should just keep looking until she finds a partner that she can respect and ‘click’ with. Maybe that means reviewing her behaviour and communication with dates, or asking questions a bit differently. But I have to say I’m against anyone changing themselves to find a mate.

    1. Romantic gestures weird me out, sometimes, too, and I think it’s because of self-esteem stuff. I think deep down I don’t feel like I deserve them…that I’m really not pretty or anything, so why he is doing/saying this.

      The guy I’m currently seeing (really early days) compliments me regularly and I have no idea what to do with it. I definitely don’t believe him, haha.

      Anyway, LW, could the problem be that the romantic gestures weird you out because you don’t think you’re worthy of them? Just one more thing to consider.

    2. i don’t think her behavior is the issue here i think it’s her attitude. she listed things she didn’t want, but then the only thing she was able to say she wanted was someone who was independent and demanded the same respect back. someone can’t be both independent and desiring of respect while showing someone they are in a relationship with that they care for them?

      i don’t think she needs to change, but i think she does need to figure out what it is she wants so that she can ask for it in a better way. just saying, i don’t like flowers or when you text me, isn’t enough. you need to say i really prefer that you do x or that we don’t use texting as our primary form of communication. and i think like Wendy said, the LW is associating things like showing affection for your so as girly. It isn’t feminine or girly to allow your so to show their love for you, nor is accepting it.

  29. My husband rides a Shadow, is a beer drinking, smoking, poker playing, call of duty obsessed, military cop so he’s about as manly as they come. I mean, if he started wearing plaid and hacking trees witfan axe the testosterone overload would be the end of the universe.

    I am a macabre funeral director who loves mud, interesting medical conditions, tarantulas, horror flicks, and enjoy being disgusting creatures for Halloween. I’m not a prissy girl by any means, yet I have this amazing man! How? Its called affection.

    I call him (we are long distance at the moment) to wake him up for PT just to say I love him to start the day. He texts and gives me a call before bed to ask how I am and give me a pick me up if I need it. And, of course, we flirt constantly. Affection has no gender, and you need to open up. Right now you’re that obnoxious jerk that everyone barely tolerates as she growls, ” WHY DOESNT ANYONE LOVE ME FOR ME?!” well here’s your answer, ” you are an obnoxious twit, and no one wants to love that. Get off your high horse and enjoy the feel of mud between your toes!”

    1. Meh, a Shadow is a little bike! My boyfriend rides a VTX1800. That’s manlier. 😉

  30. LW, while I think you need to listen to Wendy, I also think that you need to re-evaluate a few things. Such as: your definition of being walked on/over.

    Saying “I love you” first, buying tokens of affection, and generally being nice isn’t allowing someone to walk over them. In a healthy relationship, it’s called “courtship”. In the case of the L-word, maybe he knows what he wants and isn’t afraid to say it.

    If you don’t like flowers, say so. Accept them at first for what they are – tokens of affection, but be clear that you don’t really like the convention. Goddess knows I don’t. My SO doesn’t like buying them, but he did once. Early in our relationship. At that point, I did tell him that I appreciated the gesture, but that it wasn’t necessary because I wasn’t a fan of cut flowers. Since then, he’s bought me potted plants. Someone who truly cares for you will take your preferences into consideration. And yes, he said the L-word first. And yes, I freaked out because I wasn’t really ready for it.

    I’m not the “girly” type of female. I drive a big suburban that I work on myself, I can field strip my guns and clean them myself, I make my own ammunition, hunt, build things, etc. I don’t do chick flicks, I don’t do a lot of the “normal” girl stuff. I don’t eat chocolate, don’t like wearing jewelry, I can’t operate a curling iron and really don’t understand the intricacies of make-up, etc. I have been known to intimidate a LOT of guys. Sometimes it’s intentional, sometimes it’s not.
    Having said that – I have managed to have successful(ish) relationships. I can attract decent guys should I choose to. It’s about respect. You have to have respect for them as human beings, which, I didn’t really get in your letter. You seemed condescending. Like their gestures were not only insulting, but pitiful. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but it almost seemed like you looked down on the tokens of affection with contempt. As if the tokens were a symbol of traditional femininity, which you were trying to shed by being in the roller derby. Perhaps the flaw isn’t in the men you are dating, but within your own psyche?

  31. To me the issues sounds more like you aren’t open to a relationship at this point and time. Holding back on your feelings is one thing, and being private or not saying “I love you” every time you hang up the phone is another–but you ned to be able to be open to a relationship in order to have one. I think you just haven’t found the guy for you yet.

    But, when you do, he WILL want to love you and express his love and let you know that he is thinking of you. You totally complicate and confuse the issue with your language, though, and that is where you are going wrong. You are just as guilty of labeling others as you seem to be of labeling yourself. Just be yourself and relax on thinking these men are “emasculated” for expressing their feelings.

    Open up to the possibilities of life rather than being attached to these silly notions.

  32. Natasia Rose says:

    There are so many insensitive jerks out there who dont give girls flowers or say “I love you”, I cannot believe this woman is having such a hard time finding one!

    1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

      Haha, good point. LW, I can introduce you to every single one of my guy friends, I don’t mind. They fit the bill.

    2. I hear ya. There are a bunch of ’em up here.

  33. I must admit, I’ve thought these very things about guys – “too wishy washy,” “OMG he did NOT just txt that he’s thinking about/missing me!” “Why does he keep buying me things, it’s too much too soon.” Then I realized that I wasn’t at all into these guys, none of them. So their repeated attempts at wooing me fell on deaf ears. I didn’t want THEM, therefore, I didn’t want their advances. Once I realized that *I* was the problem, I knew that I had to communicate this to them much earlier than I had been. No more continuing to date someone I KNOW has no chance of a full on relationship, just because I want to give them a chance. If I don’t feel it within the first couple dates, I move on. Because if this were a guy I was totally into, really looking forward to where it was leading and could see myself dating for the long haul, I would giggle like a schoolgirl when I get those gifts/texts/advances.

    I say all this to say that, maybe you know deep down that you aren’t really into these guys, but for whatever reason don’t communicate that to them, then get offended/turned-off/annoyed that they can’t figure out how to please you – because they CAN’T! Just take a step back, ask yourself if this is a person you can see yourself getting to know better, giving a chance, opening your heart to…and if the answer is no, then move on.

    1. This is a really good comment and I was kind of thinking about this. I think those gestures are definitley better received when the receiving party is “feeling” the relationship…but I guess the guy will never know that if you keep hanging out regardless of the full “spark” as the LW seems to have been doing. Don’t want gestures? Sever ties ASAP when you aren’t feeling it.

      1. Thanks Budj. I wasted a lot of time (and confused quite a few guys!) before I figured this out. After 20 years of marriage, dating for the first time in my life really sucks.

  34. Awesome advice Wendy, I was thinking the same thing, that she was lumping things into these categories of black and white, masculine and feminine. My bf is as blue collar and on the surface uber masculine, who often texts me that he’s thinking of me or that he misses me, I don’t for a SECOND consider that to be too “feminine” of him to do, I love that he’s “man enough” to do that! I remmeber once upon a time making these kind of distinctions of what I wanted and expected of my man, and getting disappointed, until I realized *I* was the problem, and made the changes necessary for myself that made it possible for me to get the right guy in my life. I hope the LW comes to that same epiphany with this advice.

  35. Painted_lady says:

    LW, I’ve been there. I really have. First off, it sounds like your slew of admirers out there are all moving way, way too fast. That’s so off-putting and it’s so lonely because, hey, who wouldn’t want a devoted guy, right? So how dare you be so ungrateful that this man who clearly doesn’t know who you are or what you want send you gifts and texts you have no interest in receiving? It’s like, yeah, great, except it’s sort of like the letters you get from the electric company: “We want you to know that we value you as a customer.” They send that to everyone. Getting that letter doesn’t make me feel special; getting flowers I don’t want from a man who doesn’t seem to want to know me in any challenging way doesn’t do much more for me either. Be careful, though: maybe you’re exuding an especially kick-ass-take-names vibe that broadcasts that every man who wants to be with you better hop to. Maybe you’re not putting so much of yourself out there that the men who want to know you still have a chance. Maybe your attitude is scaring away all but the most masochistic, self-deprecating men. You’re probably totally badass, and as a fellow badass woman, I want to congratulate you and also warn you that your tone is off-putting even to an ally such as myself.

    Second thing I wanted to address is that whole gender role thing and how you don’t want someone who lets you mow them down. I totally get that – I’m very opinionated and bossy, and while I love that about myself in certain ways, I sometimes don’t know when to park it. And I surround myself with people who know how and when to tell me I’ve crossed a line. As far as dating goes, you’ve got to be patient and look for someone who can subvert the traditional gender roles. Traditionally masculine guys are intimidated by you; the guys who are more passive don’t turn you on at all. After years of striking out on the romance front for those exact reasons, I fell for my now-boyfriend who is strong enough in his sense of self to tell me to knock it off if I’m being too pushy and also secure enough in himself to let me take charge in some areas. He’s also good at reminding me I don’t have to fight life so hard, and he’s one of the very few people I can let myself be vulnerable around. After so many years of fighting to prove I’m the strong one, it’s a relief. So allow yourself to be open to people, at least a bit. Last night after a grueling rehearsal where I had to be the adult in the room for 16 actors and 5 staff members – including but not limited to one actor getting kicked in the face HARD – he let me cry on his shoulder for half an hour. Being vulnerable and being weak are not the same thing, so get the derby-size chip off your shoulder, be aware of what you do want and not just how people can fall short of it, and know that although finding that may take time, it’s out there. Good luck!

  36. This one is interesting to me actually too, because sometimes I wonder if maybe im too guy-ish for guys! I love makeup and heels and dresses but im even more comfortable on the couch in sweats watching baseball or football, eating wings and a slice of pizza lol. I also enjoy shooting with my dad every so often and played sports almost my entire life and have some little “guyish” tendencies so to speak. I think some guys don’t see me as a potential “girl” just a friend!

    1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

      First off, any girl that says she is more comfortable in makeup, heels, and dresses over sweats on the couch is (a) a liar or/and (b) so weird that we can’t be friends.

      Second, girls + sports = sexy! Hello, Mia Hamm – my idol growing up – and Hope Solo to name a few. Hope is so sexy, I couldn’t take my eyes off her during the games this summer. And I’m straight.

      1. Avatar photo Will.i.am says:

        A woman that loves to sit on the couch in sweats is my kind of girl. First thing I do is put on sweatpants when I get home. Dress shirts and slacks everyday for 10 hours is tiring in itself. I want to be comfortable when I get home.

        I don’t mind dressing up when I go out, but when I’m home, I want to be comfortable. I’d sit around butt naked if I didn’t have to worry about being decent if someone comes to the door.

    2. Honey, you aren’t too guyish. Trust me. I make ammo in my living room while watching sci-fi movies (and I am a complete nerd), and guys are perfectly fine with it. A little intimidated that when something breaks I whip out my toolbox and fix it myself, sometimes; but if a guy can’t handle a woman being independent then he isn’t worth dating. Period.

  37. Turtledove says:

    You know, I’m something of a kick-ass, take names sort of girl myself. I’m definitely the sort who knows what she wants when she wants it and I’ll have it with a side of mashed potatoes thank-you-very-much. But I think you do yourself a disservice if you decide that’s all you are. One of the things you have to be careful of is that you aren’t always wanting your own way in a relationship. Well, you may want your own way in all things, but if you insist on always getting it, then most of the men you attract will be the sort of wishy-washy pushovers that you find to be such a turn-off. Most relationships are based on mutual respect, and if you never let a man make decisions or you never give way then you are telegraphing that you don’t respect him. If he respects himself, then he’s not going to stick around for that.

    Giving way means sometimes letting your date pick the restaurant or activity, being open about your feelings and being open to his feelings, considering your partner’s needs alongside your own. It’s not the same thing as giving over, which is to say it’s about making room for him in your life not giving up your life for him. I feel like you’re wanting a man who will give you equal respect, but you won’t do him the same service.

    If a man likes you, then he’s going to want to fold you into his life– it doesn’t mean that he NEEDS you and that he can’t make it on his own, but he’s going to want to spend time with you and give you tokens of his affection. He’s going to want to express his feelings and be vulnerable with you. Those aren’t signs of weakness, those are signs of the strength of his character that he can give you that even though you may reject him, hurt him, or laugh at him for them. If you feel that to show any emotion other than strength is to be weak, then you are missing out on the strength and beauty of an equal relationship. But the trick to it is that you have to meet a man halfway and allow yourself to be vulnerable and accepting.

    Otherwise, marry a Krogan… or a Klingon.

    1. I wish I could like this 100x.

    2. I love you so hard for that last line.

  38. Derby Girl says:

    Is this letter a joke?

    I play roller derby. I have a wonderful boyfriend.

    If you think men being kind to you or showing affection makes them somehow dependant and weak and not good enough for you, then I think the single men of the world should say GOOD RIDDANCE to you. Your nasty, shallow attitude is repellent and no good-hearted man’s kindess should be wasted on you. There is NO REASON you can’t be a strong, independent woman and have a loving, mutually respectful relationship with a strong, independent man. How do you intend to even know you are dating someone if they are not allowed to express any love or affection for you? Maybe you should get a f*ck buddy and spare innocent men your narcissistic, judgemental attitude. You strike me as a woman-hating female chauvanist who thinks this attitude makes her cool and tough. In reality, it makes you appear shallow and insecure.

    Yeah, I know this is harsh, but I HATE when women think putting down “female” things and all other women makes them cool, like they’re the awesome “one-of-the-guys” exception to the rule that “female = lame/pathetic/weak/inferior/etc”. They may think it earns them more respect from men than other women get, but it also ensures that they will get less respect than they give other men. If female = inferior, then you’re just the queen of the losers.

    Be tough, strong, independent, brash, loud, athletic, brave, aggressive, bold, and confident. But don’t be a d*ck.

    1. Theenemyofmyenemyisagrilledcheesesandwich says:

      “If female = inferior, then you’re just the queen of the losers.” Thank you for this!

    2. lets_be_honest says:

      You and this are awesome

  39. Instapundit gives his advice:

    1. so she IS looking for a Klingon type relationship.

  40. In what universe is roller derby masculine? I get that it’s an aggressive sport but I’ve never heard of or seen dudes participate (other than as a coach or announcer or something along those lines). Don’t get me wrong, I think roller derby is super cool, but masculinity is the last thing I associate with it (first things would be broken limbs and red lipstick).

  41. Dat_Truth_Hurts says:

    She sounds like she just isn’t attractive enough to snag a guy who acts like a man, and gets the beta male types.

  42. Hope you’ve had the chance to read through the thread, LW, because it might be profitable for you, assuming you can drop your guard long enough to see other opinions.

    My question would be, what are you so afraid of? What happened to cause that fear? If you said you had no fear, then you are FULL of it. It’s not a bad thing, as long as you recognize it. Sometimes it takes some time, and you strike me as being young, so maybe listen to people with more miles on them.

    Humans are too complicated to be either weak OR strong. We are rather strong in some things, and weak in others. Figuring out how that puzzle fits together is the journey of a life.

    What you have shown the guys you have dated is a profound lack of respect. They have tried to make their own feelings known to you and you have told them that you don’t need that. As if their feelings are worth nothing. Yet, you demand that they bow to your wishes as surely as if you wanted them to bring a dozen roses every day.

    People have wishes and expectations, and learning how two complex people can fit together is ALSO the journey of this life. The step to begin it start with the realization that it isn’t all about you. If you really wish to be left alone, I’d say that you are on the correct track for that, but at least have the conviction to say that. Have friends only, don’t go out on dates, and don’t look for relationships.

    You say that you want one, but your actions are not consistent with that. So make up your mind what you want in fact. If you think you want a strong independent man to partner with you, then think about what THAT guy might want, what he might be attracted to… and also think about what you want from him. When you find one, realize that you may have to lead each other a bit, to discover each other.

    To find a way to do this, is not only to grow up a bit, it is to become truly strong.

  43. ChurchSox says:

    Great advice about “masculine energy.” A man who acts like Man Eater is seen by other men as a bit off kilter. Believe me, we’re not impressed by swaggering, tattooed, steroid-addled cage fighters. That’s one reason military people have always encouraged an interest in literature and the arts. (Fort Hood and Parris Island, for example, both have arts and crafts centers and education centers with liberal arts courses. West Point recommends four years of composition and literature before you show up.) These guys know the value of throwing in a little yin to leaven all that yang. They know that a dash of poet polishes the warrior; it doesn’t make him soft.

  44. LOL I told my partner in no uncertain terms that he was never to buy me flowers, stuffed toys or knick knacks. *shudder*. When he makes me coffee and buys me Lush bath bombs, however, I’m totally swooning. That’s what I’m talking about – caffeine and bubble baths. Hell yes. And our idea of a romantic night in will be more likely to involve yelling at our computers together over some odd computer game than anything else. That’s what I like – and everyone likes different stuff.

    You get to define what sexy is for you. And if you tell a guy that flowers aren’t your thing and he goes ahead and buys them… guess it highlights a communication problem and might save you a lot of trouble in the long run. Some guys think that when you say “I don’t want flowers” it’s secret woman-code for “I really do want flowers and this is a test”. They’re kinda funny like that. So reassure him, give him a few hints, and just keep talking.

    It can help to suggest an alternative to the behaviour you find icky – you’ve listed a few things that you don’t like, but what *do* you like instead? And defining what “equal respect” might look like to you could help too. What would be happening in a relationship where there was equal respect? 🙂

    Good luck! And I’m totally with you on the flowers thing. I mean, they DIE as soon as you get them (eek how depressing) and at the end of a week you get a stinking slimy vase to wash up. Not cool! 😉 x

  45. Carnage Asada says:

    I love this. “Vulnerability is not a feminine trait.” “Strength is not a masculine trait.” Gender roles are a thing of the past, or haven’t you noticed? I am a male who plays roller derby, my girlfriend is 5’11”, beautiful, and is a BOSS at roller derby. She is tough as nails, but sweet and loving too. She just recently fractured her arm, and has been in lots of pain and discomfort. I have changed bandages, opened jars and bottles, and tried to get her out of the house lest she stay miserable inside. Neither of us ever consider what adjectives will define our roles. We do what needs to be done, regardless of how it appears to each other. That is the key to a relationship – not your ego, just what can, should, and needs to be done. This is why a person would think a man isn’t “manly” because he doesn’t fix cars, or a person would think a woman is “manly” because she does. Those roles never worked.

  46. speaking as someone who has dated a roller derby player (Didn’t find out till a few months into the relationship, and it had no impact on the relationship). A obviously built up masculine exterior is a clear indicator of a person generally scared of something, and that person is usually just being fake anyhow (male or female). Being in roller derby and generally living an alternative lifestyle doesn’t make you superior to anyone, and if you can’t find someone the answer is really fuckin’ obvious and simple: you are the problem. There are tons of men into that lifestyle, and for the most part they’re not feminine by any means. You might just be looking in the wrong places at the wrong people, or it could be serious issues with you and your psyche… Only you know, and I’m sure you thought about it a few times writing this o.O

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