Prologue - "Hate"is a strong word
10 Things I Hate About Men
By Chris Jordan
Prologue – “Hate” is a strong word
By Chris Jordan
So we start off at the beginning. A bit of an introduction as to what this book is all about. The title is slightly misleading. We will get into that in just a moment.
I am a man. Stating the obvious might be the last of an endearing quality I would like you to associate with when reading this book - so I’ll try to keep it to a minimum.
However, I am a man. I am a man that is writing a book on the men in this world. Men you spend your intimate time with, perhaps date, live with, but more so, plan to share your life with. That really includes anything - as life would like to throw you the curveball, from a ’couple of weeks to, as a storybook ending says, a happily ever after. Writing it from a man’s perspective is where the context of the truth in what this book is all about, finds itself resonating. I hope that it will resonate with so many men and women that read it.
Many others and I have sat down and brought you this conversation. Throughout the next couple of chapters – these stories extend past what we have to say, and lend this conversation to many others, both men and women, who talk about their experiences with their male significant other. This isn’t subject matter that I feel one person can be an authority on. So I have added dimensions to this topic, by adding people to it. Their voice, experience, opinion – their lives. It’s not a hard read, as we would expect that matters of the heart should never be – that is to say, hard.
Then why is it always so hard for so many of us?
We cover the concept of dating a man, being in a relationship with a man, wanting to and maybe then marrying a man, and then ultimately making sure who is the BEST man, who is the RIGHT man, for you.
Therefore, “hate” is a strong word. However, “hate” it is a real one.
And it is a word and emotion we feel when we are betrayed by the expectation of so many men who have let us down, broken our spirits, turned a life once familiar upside down, or made a reflection in the mirror we look at, seem everything it’s not.
But. “hate” is a strong word. So again, let’s not burn our bras and panties by the end of this journey, pour yourself a glass of wine or make some tea, and enjoy.
In addition, “10 things I dislike about men”, just doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as well, does it? Therefore, here we are.
I have dated a few men. I often try to decide whether that makes me less of an expert at making commentary on relationship advice, or not. However, I do get my answer when I think of the men I sit opposite from on a first date who say to me
“I have a lot of experience in this, I have been in so many relationships, and I am great at understanding the dynamic between myself and my significant other”
To which I find my answer to be (as I’m sure so would yours):
“Then where are anyone of them now?”
The claws are not out. Nevertheless, it makes sense right? I will say this however. I am very perceptive about people. I am 36 years old, I am (at the time of writing this book) single. I just came out of short, psychologically unhealthy relationship about 4 months back – but before that, close onto over a year and 2 months ago, was a in a relationship that taught me a great deal about what this whole mating game was really all about.
Sigh. So let’s talk briefly about “He who shall not be named” – from this particular relationship a little more.
Like when you go on a date, I get 5 minutes to talk about my “war story”, and then move on.
It was the first time that I fell in love. Moreover, it was organic, it was natural, and it was great. It was also, acidic. That word, and using it in the context of love, is something a lot of us can unfortunately relate to.
As I was in this relationship, I realized that I understood – very, very little. As most people would like to hope to achieve in retrospect to an acidic relationship that does come to an eventual end (as any bad relationship should), you will in fact, proverbially sit back, and come to realize a couple of things about your life at that very moment. All in retrospect right?
It’s all thanks to the breathing space we are awarded after any breakup, and that exhausting process of “reflecting”.
I don’t like - well I hate - the word “reflect”. Only because it sits alongside so many obvious, and simple terms that describe emotions in our life that become a cop-out. They are a cop-out from the standpoint that we can understand the concept of “reflecting” but we many of the times, can’t process how we should, or could actually do it. Moreover, the reason why I say I “hate” is that we have been conditioned in life to fall back to these ‘terms and conditions’ of living. As we should, as they at the base are correct for a healthy emotional and psychological state, but we are hardly ever raised or guided as to how important it is to us as individuals to do them correctly.
“Reflect”. “Grow”. “Love”. “Let Go”. “Accept”. “Embrace”. “Learn”.
The list really goes on.
So I want us to begin by really starting to be cognoscente of who we are, what we feel, what we do, what we say, what we want, and really, that part of the world around us, that is one hundred percent, important to us.
I like having perspective, as it awards me an opinion. Moreover, at this age, I like to think I have gained some wisdom moving through the ins and outs of what makes life tick and what makes it tock.
So this man. A man who meant a great deal to me, not only romantically or intimately, but what he meant to my life. That seems a bit dramatic, but as I mentioned before, it was the first time I fell in love with somebody, and he with I. Where I was in my life, was not something I gambled on. I had a successful career, am well-educated, and had accomplished a number of goals and milestones – personally, professionally and spiritually. Life was great.
In fact, if I had known of the unimaginable pain that was to be gained from the loss of falling in love for the first time I would have liked to have the choice to say “no”, and not have gone through it. In the sense that I would sit back and buy into the fact that my life was likened to the Disney fairy tales I grew up with, and that it was my reality – was huge. I was not confident growing up. I was not confident that I would find love as an adult. I’m not embarrassed to say this, we all have our insecurities, and this was a real for me. So I don’t trivialize it.
I’m not an imbecile. I didn’t have a horse drawn carriage and a knight in shining armour with woodland creatures as best friends in this relationship. My life with this man was one filled with love. I had tried to navigate through it with what every couple goes through - grace and folly. “Normal”? The best kind of relationship is a normal one.
I did fall in love with him, and he with I. This marked a milestone in my personal growth in life. It was a big deal. It just wasn’t the same for him. And that’s ok. “That’s life”, as they say.
Mistakes are made and lessons are learned. That kind of tough love that makes life so “liveable”. But I don’t want life to be “liveable” – not like that. That’s why I put this book together. A book about mistakes we make and how to fix them. Perhaps more so trying not to (ever) make them? This is all in reference from our point of view, to the men we sit across, share a dinner with, and then a life.
When I looked at this man, and he started to resemble many “types” of men – I started to get excited about where things were going in our relationship. At points, he even started to resemble me in many ways. Good things. The man that saves you when you were in trouble. The man who loves you for who you are first, and then loves the rest of you for you can become. The man that gets along with your friends and family. The man that hurts when you do. The man that hurts for you.
So many of these “types” of men.
But I was wrong. Well, I was right, but I was wrong – and while reading this book, you’ll see exactly what I mean when I say that as we move along chapter by chapter together.
So, what can we say about “types”?
“We all have a type”. More to the point, we have a number of types, sometimes they become checkboxes we like to “tick” as we make our pick of partner (again, in a good way).
Is he honest? Is he helpful? Selfless? Self-sufficient? Is he graceful? Consistent? Communicative? Tall? Dark? Handsome? Wants kids? Has kids? Believes in something?
Does he believe in you?
The list can go on. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that this is all a bad thing, but hear me out.
When we fall in love with someone, “checkboxes” are a subconscious process we like to put ourselves and our partners through. When this partner hurts us, during a relationship, or at its end, another list of checkboxes are highlighted with red alarms scattered all over the messy finish.
Who’s to blame? Me? Him? You? Karma? Logic? The world?
Then, it starts.
“Yes, but he was a liar (now, in retrospect)”
“Yes, but he was verbally abusive (now, in retrospect)”
“Yes, but he never wanted the same things I did (yes, now I see it in retrospect)”
Do you see where this is all going?
These “realizations” were always there, alongside the ‘checkboxes of greatness’ that made you weak at the knees every time you looked him. Suddenly, to be weak at the knees - means taking a blade to the back of that very area when you want an opponent to fall down to his or her knees, and not get up.
Was he really what he said, and more so, was he what you thought (he said) he was?
I asked myself:
“Was he a knight in shining armour? Did I see that horse for real? Is that what I was hurting more about, that I lost my knight or my partner?”
You may think that these things are simple to answer, but you and I will see together, that like most things in life, simple answers are not easy to come by.
Because perception breeds reality - and so the haziness begins.
In my first year at a large corporate company, my (then) boss said this to me:
Perception breeds reality.
He continued to say “Chris, play the game. Do it their way, or you will get nowhere or have no way at all.”
Now games in life are juvenile, but the majority of people in all contexts and capacities in your life will play them. And, unfortunately, the statement my boss made, is true. What you perceive IS your reality. I accepted this as being part of becoming an adult and in the corporate world, adopting this mindset did and does work. Tap in, play the game, tap out. Get into your car, leave it all behind, and pick it up the next day.
Okay, so what happens after that?
You head on home, and if you have any sense in the world, you leave that mindset in the office. After this particular relationship with my partner, there was a point where I forgot this. I got home, and I had time on my hands. Time allotted due to a broken relationship. There are very common voids in your day that are left empty after a partner exits your life.
Therefore, I had time. And I used it, I went to the gym, spent it with family and friends, Slept more, ate more, cried more but I also thought more. And thinking is dangerous. Not over-thinking, but rather “stinking thinking” is dangerous. It brought forward the wrong perceptions in my reality, and they were not pretty.
Think. Exhale. In. Think. Exhale. Think. Out. Think. In. Think. Out. Think. Think. Think.
Day in, day out. Night in, Night out. Lights on, lights eventually go out.
My “aha” moment?
There it is. Perception. A new reality. The one reality I could live with, or bear to live with? What was it that I needed to understand to get closure not only with the relationship but really (what we all want) – which is closure on where we stand with ourselves at any one point in our lives. We suffer choices we don’t make wisely. We perceive men to be a certain way. I perceived this man to be someone he was not. Again, in retrospect.
When we are children, we watch Disney movies. They are fun, funny, teach us great lessons, filled with a childlike magic, and of course, have a happy ending.
My favourite was, and still is “The Little Mermaid” – the story of a headstrong lovesick 16-year-old mermaid who defies all for the love of a human Prince.
Now, who doesn’t want Prince Eric? Dark hair, heroic, smoldering eyes, he likes animals, he is kind, and he is a man who follows his heart? It’s ok to smile when you think about it (or him).
Ironically, in the film (and I am sorry to ruin it for you), Prince Eric doesn’t do much.
Bear with me. This is an example of how one perception exists to which I can easily draw a conclusion of reality to.
Here we go.
Prince is Eric is ready to do pretty much nothing at the end of the day. Why, if we just compare him to the heroine of the story – we make some notable analogies. Let’s look at Ariel. Now take the metaphors where applicable.
She gives up her world. Literally. She is a woman who is happy to lose her voice for the love of a man. She defies her father, King Triton of the Seven Oceans, for the love of a man.
But Ariel is a princess. A bonafide one. She has a kingdom already. She gives it up. And in the story, she gives up who she is, literally. In a scene where she trades being a mermaid to become human – Ariel loses her identity in her physical makeup, along with that which makes her…Her? A mermaid. All for the love of a man. A life without her closest friends, Flounder (a warm-hearted, well, flounder fish) and Sebastian (an overprotective crustacean) - Ariel sacrifices, for the love of a man.
Is this for "True love’s kiss" – or true love’s perception?
Prince Eric is a vision. One I can easily relate to myself and be taken with. He is tall, dark and handsome, and was he to exist in reality, be a beacon of happiness for what I would want in a man for the rest of my life. The one I’m ready to follow. The one I’m deserving of and should be able to have if I’m ready to pursue what I want, right?
Eric, might very well be the wrong man for Ariel. We don’t have the full story. In fact, the Hans Christian Anderson version is rather dark – but not to stray from the analogy, after the credits roll and we fade to black, we must ask,
“Does Eric measure up to the perception of Ariel’s impending reality?“
10 things, I hate about men.
We grow up with a dream. We shouldn’t throw away this dream - because it is out there. Look around you. Happy endings are everywhere. Not just in children's books.
It’s not even far from impossible to have “a happily ever after”. But stories and more stories from people I know, people I see, read about, hear about – people with stories of hurt and pain around men, are becoming many.
And the perceptions we have about these “good” men in our lives, is discouraging. These stories of pain are unnecessary, to be honest, and this book will help you make the unnecessary, necessary.
A lot of us like to emulate that Disney dream, and forget to roll past over the 90-minute film credits mark.
This book is about teaching us all how to keep the right dream alive, and how you can live the dream – properly.
10 men we identify. 10 stories. 10 lives. And many, many lessons.
We make sure who we see across from us is really who we see. Perception IS reality. And reality should be your perception.
Do we change that? Yes. Slightly. Reality can be better. Away from games, away from illusion, away from deception, and away from manipulation.
So let’s go through these men, and make sure that the man you meet is the real deal.