Over the weekend I caught a glimpse of what pressure can feel like from a man’s perspective. As someone who tries as hard as possible to be in tune with the female species (especially when it comes to matters of the heart), it was a temporary (but much needed) reality check.
I have moved through much of my adult life thinking that I was at some sort of disadvantage without a hanging appendage (and when I say it like that, eww, LOL). That the pressures put on me outweighed any external stresses my male counterparts could ever experience in regards to marriage, kids, career, etc.
Boy, was I ever wrong.
On Sunday, Bryan and I attended a birthday party for his two-year-old niece. Once the cake had been eaten and presents unwrapped, we made a discreet exit when a family friend stopped us.
“Charlotte, when are you guys going to get married already??” I blushed. Bryan was just out of earshot and I always feel so put on the spot when people say things like this. I know she is sweet as can be and has good intentions, but there’s never an appropriate response to that question, is there?
“Well, it would be weird if I popped the question to myself, so you can ask him!” Deflection. Works every time.
“Watch this,” she said.
Oh, dear God.
And so it was that she cornered him into answering a question in front of his family that I’m sure he’d prefer to keep private. He shrugged and laughed it off, but I could tell he was uncomfortable.
After the incident, I thought about what that might feel like from a male POV. I know that he thinks about the heavy stuff as much as I do because we are both very open and honest with each other about babies, a potential wedding, and living arrangements. One thing we don’t share in common is that he’s experienced a lifetime of asking girls out on dates and having the pressure of being the “provider” (thankfully he lives with a girl who could care less about stainless steel or picket fences. And one who is proud to earn her own living, double snap and thankyouverymuch).
Obviously I’m not going to use this space to talk about his feelings, but I would love to hear from other men (and women, of course!) about the conception that women are the only ones who feel the heat when it comes to life-changing decisions. And also, is there a solution to make it all go away?