Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Perceptions

So, firstly, I'm not even going to bother apologising, to anyone who might still be reading, for my lack of writing...lol, I may never get back to writing regularly here, but I'll at least write when I get around to motivating myself. I'm not the most skilled at keeping myself on track ;)

I've just returned from a visit to America to see my friends and family and in between all the reunions and visits, I had some time to think.

I've been told, several times, that I am a bit of a contradiction. Male dominant friends have said that in person, I'm intimidating...and even aggressive. That at first impression, I'm totally different in person than I am in writing...that in person, I am the picture of modern independence.

Physically, I hope I come across as elegant and feminine...I wear dresses that aren't too short, never trousers, I have long hair, I make a conscious effort toward my appearance and I'm small, physically. But that's only half the picture...personality is a vital and huge part of the impression we make on others.

I am extremely outgoing, talkative and opinionated, that I know! And I think that often, to meet me, you wouldn't guess that I believe so strongly in traditional gender roles...that I perceive myself as extremely feminine, that I want the man I'm with to quietly and subtly overpower me.

That to meet me on the street, despite the fact that I'm always wearing a dress rather than trousers, I come across as someone who might be offended by a gentleman who holds a door open for me or who tells me where we're going for dinner, rather than asking me.

It's the sad reality of modern society that I've been independent for so long that I just do things for myself without a second thought. But I also find myself more and more aware of that aspect of me as time goes on and I find that I am overjoyed to be in the presence of a man who can make me feel feminine. And I find that I have massive respect for a man who acts gentlemanly and dominant around me...because to me, he is dominant enough that my independence and confidence don't intimidate him. I need a man who has an even stronger personality than my own strong personality.

Whilst on my visit to America, I was walking up to a shop, but was still well back from arriving to the door when a man who was exiting stopped to hold the door for me. I began to run slightly, calling out a surprised thank you as I got closer...it's one of those small gestures that we feminine ladies absolutely love. He earned extra brownie points for insisting that I take my time and stop running, for acknowledging my thank you in a way that suggested that he wouldn't dream of *not* holding the door for me.

I love when a man helps me with my coat or my chair...the chair is always a bit of a skill and not one I've ever quite mastered! But I do love the gesture.

When I've been on dates, I don't *mind* choosing the restaurant...lol, I do love food and I love perusing restaurants. And often, due to the distance, I have to be the one to choose, as my date simply won't know the area.

But, I do really love when my date has chosen the location of our date completely on his own, it feels like he's made an effort to take care of me in a small way...it is, again, one of those take-charge small gentlemanly gestures that lets me step back and be feminine. The ball is not in my court and it feels lovely.

But, in this increasing self-awareness, I try to force myself to pay more attention to my own actions. I am always saddened (and a little embarrassed at myself) when I open my own doors whilst in the presence of a man, never giving him the opportunity to do it for me...I have been embarrassed at myself, on more than one occasion, for not realising that my date wanted to help me with my chair at dinner.

I've often wondered, after a date, if I overpowered the conversation. Did I interrupt him? Did I change the subject from one he had chosen? I'm ridiculously hard on myself, I always have been, but still...perhaps I'm my own worst enemy.

I most definitely view myself as feminine, I most definitely *want* the man in my company to lead the way...I'm just not sure the man always see that.

And I'm left to wonder...am I just overanalysing my own behaviour? Or does the man notice these things too? Does he decide, after some time with me, that I'm too aggressive, too independent?

The dance of dominance and submission, of course, is that the man needs to feel that his leadership is needed. He wants to know that he is protecting the woman he's with...and the woman needs to feel protected. But what happens if the man perceives that the woman doesn't even seem to need protection?

I once believed that all women should be submissive to all men...but that requires that all men are dominant and that all women are submissive. And I've realised, over time, that in the too modern and imperfect society we live in, that just can't happen. Dominant men will only nurture and protect women who seem to want and need that nurturing and protection...but submissive women will only submit to a man they perceive as nurturing and protective. It's the chicken and egg dilemma.

I'm too confident in myself to simply submit to a man because he's a man, I am drawn to submit when I feel led...I can only submit and be truly feminine around men who seem confident and dominant in a gentlemanly and protective way. But what if my own behaviour prevents him from doing that?

So, I wonder - do I need to retrain myself to let go and be my true feminine self? When I feel that the man I'm with is dominant, yet I get the impression that he doesn't see me as submissive, how can I make a more conscious effort to show him?

I don't know what the answer is...for now, I have to be independent because I'm single, it's natural that my gut reaction is to do things for myself. But, as I long for the day when a man will take me in hand and do all of these things for me, I wonder...am I letting him try?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have exactly the sort of "traditional" marriage to which you aspire and I've discussed this sort of thing a lot with my husband, for whom my femininity is a crucial. So hopefully I can give a little advice.

It's understandable that you need to be self reliant when you are single, being capable and self motivated is attractive in anyone and is certainly not un-feminine. The fact that you make the effort to look elegant and feminine will get the message across and when you meet the right man I'm sure he will be happy to take over these responsibilities.

I think its also fine to have your own views and opinions (as long as you don't put them across too stridently) as the intelligence evident in your thoughts here will be a big pull to the kind of man you want and can respect. Being active is also fine as long as you avoid obviously masculine pursuits (forget kick boxing and football !)

The two biggest things for my husband were dress / appearance and sexuality. Its not an issue now (as I do it automatically) but when we first got engaged, he made it very clear that I should not wear masculine clothes (trousers were totally banned) and my hair should be a feminine length. As you know how you dress does effect how you act and feel, so you can understand why its so important.

Sexuality is more complex but how you behave is absolutely critical. Basically that means being a "good girl". Nothing is less feminine and more of a turn off than to be "easy" or sexually forward. Make him wait ! and when you do "let him" make sure he knows is very privileged so that although he is now in charge he treats you with reverence. I made my husband wait until we were engaged and he still says (only half jokingly) that I should have waited for the wedding - be warned ! Sarah

Anonymous said...

I agree. It is importance to dress and look in a way which makes you feel feminine, and makes it clear thats what you want to be. Pretty, elegant, not too loud and certainly not revealing or obvious.