What makes you a catch?
What makes ANY man lucky to be with you?
Can you think of, oh, say 5 reasons?
When I ask women do this exercise, they tend to answer with things like:
- I’m a loving person.
- I’m incredibly supportive.
- I cook a mean lasagna.
- I’m a good listener.
- I take really good care of people.
Then you ask MEN what makes them a catch.
They tend to answer with things like:
- I make good money.
- I’m stable.
- I own my own home.
- I’m intelligent.
- I’m good-looking.
Notice the difference?
Women tend to say that what makes them a catch is everything they DO for others.
Men tend to say that what makes them a catch is everything they ARE.
A man may think of himself as a catch even if he doesn’t know how to cook, isn’t very good at emotionally supporting you, and doesn’t contribute much around the house.
But if you have a great career where you make good money and you’re smart and attractive and own your own home, that’s not enough. He’s looking for a woman who will make his life better and easier.
Philosopher Kate Manne, in her brilliant (but fiendishly difficult to read) book Down Girl, suggests that there’s a reason for this.
We see men as human beings while we see women as human doings.
Ask Him These 2 Innocent Questions
Kate explains that our society tends to value men for who they ARE, whereas women’s value comes from what they DO for other people.
(She’s not saying this is how it SHOULD be. She’s just saying that this seems to describe how our society works.)
To find out if this is at work in your relationship, ask your guy this:
What makes me lucky to be with you?”
Then, after he’s extolled his many virtues, ask him this:
What makes you lucky to be with me?”
Does he describe your incredible traits as a person?
Or does he mostly describe everything you do for him?
Imbalance Spells Doom
This idea that you should be lucky to BE with him, while what makes him lucky is everything you DO for him, leads to imbalanced relationships…
Relationships where the weight of emotional responsibility skips his shoulders and lands on yours.
You’re running around devoting untold mental and emotional resources to making everything work and making everyone happy, while he’s sitting back, scrolling on his phone and doing the bare minimum.
He’s missing out on the satisfaction of taking care of the person he loves, while you’re feeling drained, burned out, and not taken care of.
It doesn’t work for EITHER of you.
Yet it feels so unnatural for us to expect him to do so we can just be.
Imagine sitting on the sofa with a cup of tea, laughing at something you’re watching on YouTube, while he tidies up the kitchen and makes lunch.
Wouldn’t that be AWESOME?
Now imagine that this is your LIFE, not just a special treat.
That’s the world men live in. And it’s time we joined in.
Women, It’s Time to BE
The first thing that needs to happen is that we women need to value who we ARE, not just what we DO.
Yes, what you do for others is wonderful, but that’s not where your value comes from.
You are valuable because of who you are as a person.
You have experienced so much. You’ve learned so much. You’ve become the woman you are today.
People are SO lucky to get to enjoy your company.
I know it can be hard to see that about yourself. You live with yourself every day. It’s hard to see what’s special!
But I promise it’s there. Your friends know what I’m talking about. 🙂
The greatest gift you can give a man is the gift of your company, not the gift of your service.
Let him BE with you. You don’t need to DO things for him.
A man who loves your company and doesn’t expect you to look after him is a man who knows how to love unconditionally.
He doesn’t want a human doing. He wants a human being.
He wants YOU.
Men, It’s Time to DO
Next, it’s time for men to step up.
Relationships are work. There’s emotional work and practical work.
How can that work be divided equitably, so that men and women both get a chance to contribute and a chance to breathe?
That’s not an easy ask.
Gemma Hartley writes about it beautifully in her book Fed Up: Emotional Labor, Women, and the Way Forward.
If you’re married to a wonderful man who still can’t quite get that dirty dishes in the sink need to be washed, or that using the last of the toilet paper is an invitation to get another roll, then I strongly urge you to get her book and read it cover to cover.
Meanwhile, if you’re dating someone but aren’t married yet, there’s something I urge you to try:
Whatever he puts into the relationship? Match that. Don’t go over it.
Then see how it feels to you.
If you’re with the wrong man, he’ll get irritable when you don’t do more than him.
He expects you to play your role as his girlfriend.
If you don’t cook any more than he cooks, he tries to shame you into “being more of a woman.”
In his mind, your value to him lies in the ways you’re supposed to help him
He’s the man; he gets to be. You’re the woman; you’re supposed to do-do-do.
Don’t fall for the shame game.
If he is a catch just as HE is, sitting on the sofa with a beer playing video games, then you are a catch exactly as YOU are, sitting on the sofa with your phone catching up with friends.
The right man values you for who you ARE. What you DO for him is just a nice bonus.
So the next time you find yourself trying to win a man over by showing him how much you can do for him and how much better you can make his life, stop!
Give him what matters. Give him your company.