You know that saying about men loving a damsel in distress, well I know it to be a hard learned fact. Just 5 days into being a Full-Time Blogger, I had a day filled with shopping both Primark and Ann Taylor for collaborations. I took a pilgrimage to Primark and Kings Plaza Mall in Brooklyn (collected two huge bags of clothes) and then headed back to 5th Ave to pick up a few more items (3 bags worth) from Ann Taylor. I was on a high. I can’t believe this is my life, I thought as I somehow managed to carry 5 huge bags filled clothes out of Ann Taylor and onto 5th Avenue. Walking blissfully, quite abruptly one of the straps on my Ann Taylor bags broke and out toppled my precious new winter white coat and various other items onto the sidewalk. I nearly fell, thanks to it screwing with the perfect harmony of weight I had distributed between all the bags and my arms. Before I could even reach to pick something up, I was surrounded by men! Yes, surrounded.
It was as if my distress sent out some high pitch whistle that only men could hear. An Asian man who appeared to be about my age materialized right in front of me and begin collecting my items. To my left emerged an older very well dressed black gentlemen who insisted on holding my other bags while everything got sorted. I’m pretty sure he asked me if I was OK about 10 times in a 2 minute time span. Then from behind a white man in a baseball cap collected my broken bag and off to the trash he took it. They all worked feverishly together to redistribute my goods between the 4 remaining bags I had left and then went off on their merry way. I felt as if I was watching the entire incident hovering above my body, looking down in disbelief. There’s really something innate about a woman needing help that triggers something deep in men. I’d never really seen it up close and personal until my distress on 5th Avenue.
I actually think that letting a man be a man is one of the things I’ve had to work on in my romantic relationships. For a time I was raised by a single mother. I learned very early in life the importance of being able to do things for myself. I’m I.N.D.E.P.E.N.D.E.N.T. to the core. I know in my heart of hearts that I can do anything by myself. But the older I get the more I realize that it’s ok to need people. It’s also ok to ask for and accept help. If we were meant to do everything ourselves, I think we’d all have our own little individual planets. It’s innate for men to want to help and to do things for women. That’s what they’re taught to do when growing up. They are taught to be providers and heroes and fixers of problems. Those deep seated beliefs and urges don’t just leave because women can do all that shit for themselves now.
As opposed to when women generally married for financial security and mostly stayed home. We all have our own set of issues and held beliefs that we bring into our romantic relationships. My father wasn’t around, my mom raised me as a single mother until my step father came along and that taught me to fend for myself and to learn how to survive without a man. My ex had a wonderful father who suddenly died, leaving his mother to fend for herself and her 3 children. That taught him to step up and be the man of the house, to be a provider and protector. You can probably guess the dynamics of our relationship and why it was probably doomed from the start. It doesn’t surprise me that his girlfriend before me was a single mother and his girlfriend after me was a mother of 3 fleeing an abusive relationship. It’s easy to fall into playing roles.
I think the first step is to identify what’s real and what’s false. For me that’s knowing that yes, I can do things for myself, but I like not having to do everything. If a man wants to install an AC unit for me or help me with my bags, I let him. I don’t stop him from doing what’s innate to him and I don’t yell and scream that I can do it myself. And I also say thank you. It makes life so much easier. Maybe I should go fall in the street more often, next time on Wall Street.