Sunday, 9 August 2009

Do men need to be praised?

One of those questions smacking on the stereotype we are from Mars, they are form Venus… Males and females are said to perceive everything in a different way, from hues and saturations of colours to remarks aimed at them. It might be a matter of cultural background, upbringing, self-esteem, ego, complexes, or just going over the top with praising…

Today, while having a rest after an arduous week and lying on my terrace with the headphones on my ears I listened to the notorious broadcast in Radio Pogoda. This time it wasn’t as stupid and intolerable as usually, today’s discussion was really up to the point, but the man portrayed by the journalists turned out to be a clumsy midget who wants the others, mostly his partner to boost his ego. How can you explain away the fact one of the journalists pays compliments to her husband for hammering one nail or driving a screw. Those simple activities take sometimes less than a minute and are one of those typical mundane household chores, so where’s the point in praising? Once I’ve read modern young women are angry with their husbands / partners who can mend the leaking tap and have to call a professional – is it an incentive – you’ll change that seal, what requires a lot of knowledge and dexterity and consumes your precious time and I’ll be grateful until the end of my days, I’ll tell all of my friends how wonderful my husband is – he fixed the tap, it doesn’t leak, can your old man do that?

For a past few months I’ve been pondering on the roles of people in the marriage, it finally sank in me that I should look at it not like on the bed of roses, still not like on an obligation (I’m still far away from tying the knot) but like on a situation in which two people have to depend on each other, put up with each other and divide or share some roles. And what comes up? One of my female friends admits she can’t cook at all and has problems even with boiling water in a kettle, another one says she throw dirty clothes on the floor and one day she gets herself together to switch on the washing machine. The third says she doesn’t wash up until the dishes can’t fit into the sink – so the big washing-up comes in regular intervals once in three days. I don’t opt for the obsolete family model where woman has to iron his husband’s shirts, wash his socks and cook and serve the dinner when the tired breadwinner comes home. But here we fall into another extreme – there was said to be a huge generation gap between the generations of my parents and my grandparents – they contested their way of life, defied their hierarchy of values, in many cases, it moved the society forward, but we seem to start paying the price – the new generation brought up already in independent Poland shapes into X-generation, the youngsters who aren’t taught they have any duties, they get everything for free, the get used to it (that’s the most appalling) and have still higher demands, but parents still indulge their whims. Yes, it gets my goat when my peer who stands for much lower personal quality than me drives to Warsaw with a better than my father’s car, when I still commute by bus, cause I was taught at home I shouldn’t use something I cannot afford to – in my view there are lots of errors parents make these days… Who’ll carry the can?

But as I can observe, men as a rule hold out for praising! I try to eschew it, but it’s the order of the day that we ask if the meal we’ve prepared is delicious. “Have I spiced it up correctly?”, “Doesn’t the wall look beautifully after painting?”, “It was my wonderful idea, wasn’t it?”, “Could anyone do it better than me?”.

As a teenager I couldn’t stand being praised, I felt uneasy, blushed, then I learned to cope with it. But maybe everyone needs appreciation, commendation, gratitude? But for what? For doing one’s duty? “So you returned home from hospital and the house was clean, fridge was stocked up and the clothes were washed and ironed?” – such question was asked yesterday by my mother’s friend, claiming her children and husband would neglect the house beyond recognition. Hey, praise not on me, I did my duty, shame on them!

BTW, yesterday I indulged in the national sport of Poles, practised on balconies, działki or in the gardens – making a barbecue. I can’t say I have a heart for cookery but grilling is what I adore. Unfortunately my photo-taking savvy is not already well developed so no one took up operating the camera and capturing me dealing with the sausages and turkey cutlets…

1 comment:

Michael Dembinski said...

Bartek - is it better to marry (and reproduce with) a neurosimilar partner - or to seek a wife that is quite dissimilar in interests? (Open question.)