Though I was never an avid viewer of How I Met Your Mother, I remember one line in an early episode where the alarmingly forward Ted Mosby says, “You know what? I’m done being single, I’m not good at it. Look, obviously you can’t tell a woman you just met that you love her, but it sucks that you can’t. I’ll tell you something though, if a woman, not you, just some hypothetical woman, were to bear with me through all this, I think I’d make a damn good husband, because that’s the stuff I’d be good at. Stuff like making her laugh and being a good father and walking her five hypothetical dogs. Being a good kisser…”
I’m struck by how many of us “millennials” lack the ability to show anywhere near the honesty and vulnerability Mr. Mosby showed with such ease every week on my TV screen. Don’t get me wrong, I’m in no way pegging him as “the perfect man”, I don’t think such a thing exists, but I do admire the way he knew what he wanted and went after it, making the same mistakes along the way we’d expect from a 20-something.
Having been single in both New York City and Washington, D.C., I have hands-on experience with men and women who don’t seem to possess the capacity to be honest and vulnerable. For the purpose of this piece I’ll stick to men, cause that’s where my case studies lie.
I won’t bore you with adolescent tales or the struggles of dating wannabe artists in Brooklyn and guys whose real girlfriend was actually their Congressman. Nor will I pretend that a major inhibitor of appropriate human emotion isn’t our dependance on smart phones and personal-but-not-personal apps. But here I am at 28-years-old and the #1 reason for failed relationships has been men not being in any way clear about what they want and what they need.
There have been filmmakers, writers, lawyers, architects, musicians, politicians and the ones whose occupations escape me at the moment. Sometimes reasons for heartbreak were brutal, like being cheated on. Some of these avoided topics were completely reasonable, such not being in a place to date, or feeling overwhelmed at work, or not being over an ex, or moving, or having financial problems, etc. Instead of sitting me down (in person, that’s important) these perfectly nice men would disappear into the ether – not to be seen or heard from again.
I’m not going to go into a diatribe on disappearing acts, cause no one’s got time for that, but it seems to me that a lot of the insecurities women feel are connected to a man’s fear of honesty and vulnerability – traits that women feel are the sexiest of all the traits.
Take a note from Mosby – if you are in a place to meet “the girl” and you’re dating someone who clearly isn’t, tell her that. If you’re going through a transition at work and feel too overwhelmed to make plans with friends, let alone coordinate a dating schedule, say so. The sooner you do that the sooner you won’t be tagged on sites just like these as “that dick.”