Men have always been expected to be strong and staid. Men were expected to be reserved and contemplative when calm, yet strong and capable when pushed too far. Then came the late ’60s and second-wave feminism. With women gaining equality in the workplace, the bedroom and society in general, gender borders began to erode at an alarming rate. Men were now expected to wear their emotions on their sleeves — or so was the stated opinion of women.
While women may say they want raw emotion, the truth, as is the case in so many circumstances, is that they don’t really know what they want. Believe us, no woman really wants to see you cry. Today, navigating which emotions men are supposed to express when can be rather confusing. The Emo-meter rating, measured on a scale of 0 (for never) to 5 (for frequent), lets men know when, if ever, they should really emote around women. Learn to control your emotions with the dating tips below.
While there is nothing to fear but fear itself, showing any amount of fear around women will prove disastrous unless you can really control your emotions. For all their claims about sensitive men, women still want to feel protected. Women still want you to kill those spiders and protect them on darkened streets, and your girlfriend doesn’t want you to cower behind her while she squishes the evil bug. Showing fear in a girly, unnecessary way is unacceptable, while referencing a personal fear that you’ve managed to overcome shows robust courage and self-control.
Emo-meter rating: 1
Women will state over and over again that they hate it when their men are jealous. While this is her official line, try letting her go out with her male friends without so much as an ounce of jealousy. When she gets back from this platonic meeting, you’ll be getting the cold shoulder. Even if you’re confident in yourself and know that this other guy isn’t a threat, she expects you to exert at least a little consternation over this type of meeting. So, while you need to control your emotions, she also wants to know you still cherish her and can control your jealousy. There’s no quicker way to do that than to show a little concern that you may in fact lose her.
Emo-meter rating: 2
There are few emotions more tied up with passion than anger. As such, women will want you, from time to time, to get angry. Lack of anger and lack of passion tell women that you are apathetic about certain aspects of your life. No matter what those aspects are, she’ll make the leap that you are apathetic toward your relationship, which is not the kind of control you want to have over your emotions. Of course, the anger expressed, even though it is vital to the health of the relationship, will need to be directed outward and never at her. Make sure that the target actually deserves the wrath, as unleashing anger on a cashier who shortchanged you comes off as petty and just isn’t the right way to control your emotions.
Affection is a context-specific tightrope men must walk. Using affection, an almost universally positive emotion, equally in all circumstances will net any man an irritated woman. Women want you to be affectionate, but as much as they love affection, they tend to prefer you play down the public displays of affection (PDAs). PDAs have a tendency to undermine a woman’s feeling of independence, so try not to step on her toes and control your emotions. Holding hands in public, a light kiss or walking arm in arm are all perfect public expressions of affection. Save the true affection for when you’re behind a veil of privacy.
Emo-meter rating: 2 in public, 4 in private.
Feeling sad is a very vulnerable emotional state to be in, for anyone. Traditionally, men haven’t really expressed sadness outside the context of moderate to heavy drinking. Tears weren’t allowed to come out, but liquor went in — and it was never done in front of a woman. That was the understanding a man had with this most troubling emotion. Today, women want to know that a man feels sad on occasion. If he doesn’t, women may begin to question his connection with reality, which can be quite depressing. Modern men need to learn to control their emotions and show that they are sad every once in a while, and do so in the company of women. Choose the time and place wisely as the expression of sadness should only be shown under the gravest of circumstances. The death of a loved one, for example, would be appropriate — the love scene in Titanic would not.
Emo-meter rating: 1
Contrary to popular belief, men have always had emotions, and these emotions have always been expressed. The company and context of such expression has changed, as in the past this largely took place behind closed doors and was, by and large, a solitary experience. Today, the expression has changed to accommodate what women think they want when it comes to the way men feel. This by no means gives us license to go overboard in expressing our emotions, however; as men, we must remember to exercise control in emotional circumstances in order to save ourselves from being labelled weak or unmanly.
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