To The Men Who Say I’m ‘Asking Too Much’ — Here Is What I Actually Want

Redd Angelo
Redd Angelo

I’m not asking you to be perfect, I’m asking you to be brave. You don’t have to be my boyfriend or offer me a relationship, but you do need to tell me the truth of the matter, that you never will be, plainly, and explicitly, because that is what a man of integrity and maturity does. We can spend time together, have wild sex, re-watch Old School and recite all of Will Farrel’s lines, and then you can take the time to text me back, to be straight-forward, and to hear what I’m saying when I express fear or anxiety. If you do want to be with me, tell me that, directly and matter-of-factly.

I’m not asking you to marry me. I’m not asking you to watch consecutive seasons of GIRLS with me, or to be something you’re not, I’m asking you to challenge yourself as a man and as person, to lean into the discomfort of facing your socialization that has taught you to reject vulnerability and softness and to crack open that door to let light shine in on how you feel, or don’t feel about me, about life, about your inner-world, about anything, really.

I’m asking you to be authentic and genuine. A lot of men present remarkably well, then fail to deliver when the situation gets difficult, when I challenge you to be accountable for who you are, when shit gets real. It’s easy to use charm and charisma to impress and woo me, and in fact, it feels fucking good to be showered with attention…but this often turns out to be ego and validation, rather than actual depth and self-actualization, which lend themselves to true connection. It becomes deceitful (and alternately you become a fuckboy) when the knowledge of what seduces me is understood, then skillfully perverted and applied as a means of attaining my affection and attention, not my personhood in its entirety. It’s all smoke and mirrors. Sometimes you become overwhelmed, surprised, or panicked by how effective your allurement actually was, and you abandon or ignore me rather than take ownership of how you mislead me.

I’m not asking you to disclose your childhood traumas and most private inner-thoughts. I’m asking you to be honest about where you’re at. I’m asking you to admit your uncertainty concerning how to navigate the tangle of feelings whose development you’ve helped facilitate and the willingness to tell me if you’re not as invested, confused, all in, or if you’re holding back. You may not lie necessarily, (or you might if you’re a douche, and again – a fuckboy) but your withholding that information from me is still dishonest – it’s a lie of omission, born from your inability to be brave enough to withstand my vulnerability, reaction, and pain resulting from you breaking it off. It’s okay that you wanted to leave, it’s not okay that you chose to do it that way, by forcing my hand, and for leaving me to end it by default. It’s not fair that I had to torturously tease out a vague, pathetic partial truth from you in order to have some semblance of closure; I still don’t know that I have a coherent answer.

I’m asking you to take accountability and responsibility for your part in our interactions. I’m asking you to face the music and to resist the temptation to completely avoid the situation you have helped to create. Let’s get real bros, are you actually surprised that I’m falling in love when you’ve listened to me share my inner thoughts, taken me to comedy shows where your hand never leaves my lower back, played me Norwegian Wood on your Gibson, and sent random texts about how cool my “awesome personality” is or how rad my ability to, “geek out on GOT” with you was?

It’s not cool to label me as, “the crazy girl” and tell your friends that I was “too needy” or “trying to trap you.” Especially when you cut me off without an explanation and stopped texting me as often, becoming distant and abruptly closed-off It’s not fair to blame me for feeling hurt and confused by your inability to assert your feelings and be upfront with me. Don’t leave me in the dark to be humiliated by your abandonment, to carelessly throw my dignity away over you because I can’t understand why you disappeared so casually. It’s not okay to have sex with me continuously then not have the balls to tell me it’s over to my face and allow me the space to try and understand, to ask questions, to process it with you.

I’m asking you to respect me, to cherish me, to humanize me enough to see me in my entire personhood. Not as a fun or freaky piece of ass, or as an intellectual business asset, or as an emotional crutch or ego boost after your break-up who you don’t owe a second glance or conclusive resolution or phone conversation. To the men in my life, I admire you, need you, look up to you. I will forever be a fierce feminist, and I will always try to bridge the gap between us and I hope that you can do the same. TC mark

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