Quite a lot of men seem to be a bit scared of me. Not in an “oh my God she’s got a machete” kind of way, but more along the lines of “oh my – this woman has her life in hand and I’m intimidated by her independence”.

So when a friend asked me recently: “Why are you still single?”, I heard myself giving an honest answer…

Because most of the men I meet are so weak and meek and basically just children.

Out loud, it sounded a dreadful thing to have said. But sadly it’s true. I find that a lot of single men in their 30s and 40s, or perhaps just the types of men who are attracted to me, are not particularly strong of character. They are happy to be told what to do, where to be, how to dress, what to eat, who to like…

On paper, that sounds like a dream boyfriend, right? One who won’t make huge demands, or argue, or force his opinions down your throat. Here’s the thing (and brace yourself – what I’m about to say is not likely to be popular, or politically-correct): I can’t respect a man who always lets me tell him what to do. And without respect, I reckon the chances of happily-ever-after are pretty slim.

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Also, I don’t really want to be forever responsible for booking restaurants, buying insurance, or remembering we need milk. In a relationship (in which I’m assuming two people are involved – but, dear reader, whatever you do behind the concealment of your damask curtains is fine by me) I’m happy to do half the grown-up stuff – I’m just not happy to be in charge of all adult responsibilities.

My mum tells me I need to “settle”. She tells me that all men are children (I’m not entirely sure she’s told my dad) and that I must compromise, accept that I will have to do the thinking, the organising, the earning, the making sure the house doesn’t burn to the ground: the being in charge. The man in her scenario will presumably watch TV, play sports, get drunk with his friends; each of us playing to our strengths in this imaginary relationship that will never, ever happen.

I blame my inner cave-girl. The club-wielding, cave-dwelling, tiger skin-wearing throwback part of me that thinks if a man can’t say what he thinks, or make his own decisions, then he’s never going to save me from a rampaging bear. Lets face it; if he’s scared to say:

No darling – I don’t want to see that movie / adopt that chinchilla / wear that Superman onesie

he’s also pretty unlikely to be your protector, to defend your honour, or rescue you from a burning building.

In addition, if he’s happy for me to make all his decisions, does that make me his girlfriend? Or his mother? 

Maybe I’m misjudging these easy-going chaps and actually they are so self-confident that they don’t need to exert any control over their own lives? But I’m guessing not, and it certainly doesn’t feel that way when you’re telling him what time you’ve booked dinner for, and that he’ll need to be fully-dressed when the taxi arrives.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not anti-feminist, and I don’t think that a woman’s place is in the subservience of her man. I am, like lots of women I know, very strong, capable and independent and there are a limited number of men who are unafraid and independent enough to earn my respect and adoration as a potential partner. There are even fewer who meet that description, and who could also tolerate being in in a confined space, never mind a relationship, with someone who is just as unafraid and independent.

Maybe it’s the outcome of liberated 60s and 70s mothers, who raised a generation of sons to be in touch with their feminine side. Maybe society today is so terrified of political-correctness, that some men feel afraid to express their will / masculinity / call-it-what-you-like for fear of feminist attack. Maybe I’m just a bloody handful and I’ll die alone. Maybe I’ve watched too many black and white movies, and have an archaic view of masculinity.

Or maybe I’m terrified of being the one left to fight off an axe-wielding murderer, whilst my fella hides behind me whispering “Go on honey – hit him again”. Who knows?

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