Tuesday, September 22, 2009

NewGuy or...NewMan?

The other night, the young kids next door decided it was time to rehash all their roommate issues at 5 am. My first-floor bedroom window was open to let in the heavy late summer air so it was as if the two of them were standing at the foot of my bed arguing about who was going to be the one to move out.

Next to me, M- turned from his back to his front. He put the pillow over his head. He snorted. He grumbled. I rubbed his back, drifting in and out of my own dream state. I wished that a flaming meteorite would land on these kids and incinerate them both.

M- got up, climbed over me, shuffled into the living room. For a minute, I thought he was going to charge outside in his underwear and yell at the kids. But he came back with a glass of water, drank some, handed it to me, went back into the kitchen and came back.

The arguing continued and it was clear that our sleep was irrevocably broken. I could tell the sky was going to lighten soon. We'd both have to go to work. I tossed. M- tossed.

Then M- sat up, wrenched off the comforter and boomed out the window in his Chicago guy voice, 'Take it inside or we're calling the police!'

Silence. A screen door slammed. Silence.

'Thanks, sweetie,' I mumbled, patting his arm as he got back in bed. Grumbling, he pulled me close and said, 'Well, now I can't go back to sleep.' And we waited for 6.15 am (when he had to leave) and spent the dawn talking and complaining about how frakking rude 20-somethings are in this neighborhood.

At the door, he said he appreciated how I didn't get mad at him for yelling out the window.

'Why would I get mad at you for yelling at them? I call the cops on those damn kids all the time.'
'Just...thanks for letting me take care of that.'
'Uh, ok.'

I get the feeling that these things are important to him - taking care of things, being the Guy. Or is it being the Man? I don't know.

According to this Modern Love, M- looks like a Guy but acts like a Man. Or is it the other way around?
Because it's all over the place.

Modern Love - Forget the Men. Pick a Guy. - NYTimes.com


jp 吉平 said...

What it tells me is that he respects your turf... enough to put up with some noise until he couldn't stand it anymore, and then explode in anger even though he knew it would fire him up when he'd rather sleep. I'm not sure if that fits neatly in the guy/man dichotomy.

A few years ago, a ladyfriend asked me if I'd rather be a Nice Guy or a Good Man. I said "Good Man" without hesitation, and she was very surprised. Very. Surprised.

I told my pals about the conversation, and they all agreed with me: Good Man all the way.

Nice Guy? Gross.

Finally (re the article), I don't know if it's my upbringing or my generation or what, but to me, actions count more than words. And clothes count way way less. I don't put a lot of stock in backwards baseball caps vs. button up shirts.

liza said...

I have to say, I thought that Modern Love was bogus. It seemed like she was using Man to mean: Dude-Damaged- by-Patriarchy/Patriarchal Dude, and Guy to mean anyone else/dudes with Peter-Pan syndrome.

And yeah: the clothes as distinction doesn't really work: class, education, and hello: sexuality/gender presentation complicate this entirely. To say nothing of immigrants.

But mostly, I think this was him wanting to look after you, ie: handle the annoyance so you don't have to. Like bringing you water, or cleaning up. (I don't know: does he clean up?) Not necessarily look after you as in little lady needs the man to handle it.

M. LeBlanc said...

Loved the anecdote, but I see no man/guy/taking care of the little lady behavior here. My interpretation? There are a lot of people who get pissy if you confront others. They don't want a partner who's gonna yell out the window, they want to not make a scene, etc. He was grateful that you are not one of those people, and were just fine with him yelling out the window at some punk-ass kids in the middle of the night.

ding said...

Can I tell you how much I love the phrase 'punk-ass'? It makes me laugh.

Yeah, I don't think M- is controlling; I think that there is a deep and wide streak of 'I take care of things/people I care about.'

You'd think this streak of his would make the feminist in me rear back in horror but, instead, it taps deeply into my just as deep lazy streak.

'Oh, you want to carry all my bags? Ok. Oh, and the groceries? Fine. AND give me a ride home? Why, yes. That would be awesome.'

Anonymous said...

do we still wonder why M- has a fan club among your readership?

ding said...

i might need to make tshirts.