Whilst trawling through the depths of the internet I came across an article on Thought Catalog – It’s called 51 Itty Bitty Ways He Shows He Loves You (Without Even Saying It) and it is (mostly) a pile of rubbish.
Let’s get out of the way some of the ones that were quite sweet, and applicable to any couple, regardless of (if any) gender assignations:
- When you feel a cold coming on, he’ll force you to take Vitamin C and zinc lozenges and make you drink tea and sip chicken soup.
- He emails you articles about TV shows you love, and sends you news stories that he thinks you’d be interested in.
- He tells his friends about the fun stuff you do together over the weekend.
And there we have it. I mean, a couple more of them might be okay, but the rest of it is entirely sexist mumbo jumbo – as Han Solo would say. I’m picking a few themes and some points for each because I cannot be bothered to go through all 51.
Let’s start with the generic gender roles:
- He willingly does the laundry. And even though he sucks at folding, he’ll make little (messed up) piles of your fresh clean clothes.
- He hates getting dressed up, but he does it for you.
- He tolerates your shared bathroom looking like a bomb went off of moisturizers, make-up, facial soap, hair brushes, contact lenses and perfumes.
Placing aside how these brand women so stereotypically as the domestic ones, they’re also degrading to men. Are men just overgrown children who don’t know how to do their own laundry? Or incapable of living with someone who has stuff that take up space? Or that none, not a single one, cares for their appearance or enjoys dressing up smart?
And let’s not forget objectification and antisocial behaviour:
- He texts you when you’re sitting 5 feet away from him to say, “Hey, Sexy.”
- You can put a dress, jewelry, heels, makeup and have your hair done for a night out, but you’ll get the most compliments out of him when wearing a Star Wars t-shirt.
If we’re 5 feet away from each other I hope we’re talking to each other our friends? Not on our phones. Because frankly that’s just rude.
There’s of course the reverse stereotype:
- When you start singing Adele songs in the car, he’ll chime in, even if he doesn’t know the words.
- If Love Actually, Mean Girls, Bridesmaids or any other awesome chick flicks are unexpectedly on TV, he understands that you will be glued there no matter how many times he’s seen them and he may even join you.
- He will never make fun of you for hoarding all of the Domino’s Cinnasticks with vanilla dipping sauce and leaving him nothing but half a stick that already has a bite in it.
Frankly, my boyfriend knows more radio friendly pop songs than I do and happily watched Love Actually with me around Christmas. Here again we see this ‘cool nerd girl’ stereotype. And what does it say about men? That they shouldn’t be annoyed if we eat all their food? They should. I would be and my boyfriend has been (particularly when I drank all the water at the cinema last night whilst watching Star Wars).
- He’s happiest when fulfilling his idea of the perfect night: taking you out for a fun dinner followed by a movie with popcorn.
I wouldn’t consider that a perfect night, and I’m pretty sure my boyfriend would find it enjoyable but not perfect. It might be fun once every couple of months, but there’s plenty of other perfect nights that don’t involve him paying for things – hiking together, cooking together, reading in bed together. The key thing that makes my relationship, and I imagine the relationships of many others, function is the togetherness. Not one of us doing dishes or laundry, or paying for things or holding doors, but doing all of these things together – because that’s life.
So many of these things that are supposed to illustrate love, and that in many ways do, are two ways – they are not tied to him or her. There’s a lot of ways you can show you love someone, and but lets not pin them all on outdated gender roles that mean men can only do some things and women can only do others.