Common to the notion of skepticism getting the better of chivalry, love has also been the subject to much pessimism these days. Through our primal instincts, we still love passionately, seek strongly, and hurt deeply. Yet, somewhere along the years, it seems pessimism has taken a controlling vote. The rising popularity of shows like Emotional Atyachaar, Splitsvilla domestically, and a plethora of shows abroad, is slightly an alarming trend for love. The rising trend of love marriages is definitely positive, but true love is more like an endangered species today. It’s not all negative though. With changing times and lifestyles, definitions and expectations of love have evolved too. How are they different for men as opposed to women?
Call the poets!
Conventionally, men in love have done great things. They write odes expressing their love, croon under moonlit balconies, walk for long on beaches streaked with the setting sun in wide smiles, and steal kisses in the rain. (Men spurned in love do better, but that’s for another post, maybe!) Over the ages, great works in art, literature, and in particular, poetry have seen a great lift from love.
I cannot speak for all men, but for the ones I know, love is about grand gestures and little thoughtful actions. Don’t believe me? Take a look at some epic proposal fails. (Ironically, there were no fails where a woman proposed and the man said no.)
Men in love
A man’s expectation from love is simpler, in my opinion, mainly because we are hardwired to look for simplicity. Systematic, structured areas like automobiles, route maps, have been men’s forte because they are structured, passed on, and simpler to work with. Women, on the other hand, handle complexity much better than men, which I opine makes them better at handling success/failure at love. One trend that I don’t seem to understand though, is their attraction to “bad boys”. The rogue image, immense room for improvement, and a smattering history of short relationships, seem to have some magnetic appeal.
Men express their love much more through actions. As often as movies have clichéd the fact that men do not say “I love you” often, it seems to be the truth. What is also true are their strong actions. In the initial stages of love, men go overboard with surprises, gifts, and grand plans. With time, and as both take the comfort of the relationship for granted, our actions become more subtle; standing up for his woman in an argument with parents, choosing to go along with her to an event that he has no interest in, following her religious customs if that makes her happy – these are smaller, but surer gestures of men in love. Post marriage, women wonder what happened to the swashbuckling Casanova (ahem) who swept them off their feet during courtship.
The bane of spontaneity
In the above failed proposals too, one can sense the disconnect. A pre-planned, public proposal requires tremendous courage, almost bordering on stupidity. This is also how we approach things with structure, even the seemingly spontaneous things that women are so good at.
We seem to be heading somewhere towards a middle ground though, with men hesitating before jumping into grand gestures, and women attempting to support these pangs of enthusiasm, with some of their own. Sometimes the couple does a role reversal, with the woman being the one with grandiose ideas and the man being the stabilizer. None of this is exact, but then again, when has anything with regard to humans and love ever been exact?