Friday, December 3, 2010

Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man - Day 3

Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man - Day 1

Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man - Day 2

Damn! Oh. Hot. Damn. You know that feeling when your heart skips a beat? You know that expression, "hitting the nail on the head"? Last night - or rather, this morning - at 1am, I put my book (Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man) down on my lap and just stared ahead for a few seconds. It was eerie, because it felt like the author (Steve Harvey) was talking to me. I could just picture him standing in front of me, looking me in the eye...maybe even wagging his finger in front of my face.

On p 187, four words jumped out the page at me and almost screamed:
Just be a lady.

To explain why my heart was racing by the mere mention of these words, I'll have to backtrack (a lot), so perhaps I should first round up what I "learned" from my new favourite man, Mr Harvey in his book which I now consider gospel.

If He's Meeting the Kids After You Decide He's "The One", It's Too Late

This chapter was slightly irrelevant for me as I'm without child(ren) but I still took something away from it as it zooms in on things to look out for in a man to know whether or not he will be a good father.

Some points include: 
You'll Know He'll Make a Good Father If... (p 174)

- He tells you he likes kids, and actually would like to have one someday.
- He has a good job and solid work history.
- He's kind to his mother & checks in with her often (mama's boys don't apply)
- His nieces and nephews spend considerable time with him.
- He keeps his house clean and knows how to cook a few decent meals.
- He's financially prepared to care for you and your children, or he has the desire to.
- He doesn't faint at the sight of diapers.

OK, now that I've got that chapter out of the way, let me move on to the one that almost rattled my liver.

Strong, Independent - 
And Lonely -

In this chapter, Harvey lets in that we (women) are the ultimate prize to them (men). In recent years, young girls are encouraged and trained to get stable jobs and to become independent women, regardless of the cost - even putting off serious relationships. At some point in my life, I was told, "Focus on your studies (high school/university) ....boys will come later." So what did I do? I threw my hands up in the hair just like Destiny Child told all Independent Women to do.

Throughout high school, I was boyfriend-less because I just wanted to pass matric and get an exemption.
Throughout university, I was boyfriend-less because I had a Bachelor of Journalism degree I was trying to obtain. Hours spent in lectures, the library or couped up in the editing suites of the TV studios in the Journ department didn't give me time to "go out and see what's out there". 

My three years spent in South Korea also didn't grace me the opportunity of meeting someone who would sweep me off my feet. Living abroad in a foreign country is all about survival. Survival of the fittest, if you like. Imagine when all you want to buy is dish washing liquid at a grocery store. You have no idea where to begin looking. Everything has Korean written on it, and how do you ask shop assistants to help you when the language barrier is so strong? (Grateful for my English-Korean dictionary on my phone!)

Anyway, I soon got the knack of the language and before I knew it, I was gallivanting all over Seoul - on my own, drawing large amounts of cash from the bank - on my own and even ordering pizza on the phone...for delivery - on my own! I used to use any days off to travel - internationally, if possible. All my travels (Singapore, Malaysia, China etc...) were done independently. In other words, I paid for my own flights, accommodation and other expenses. And. I went alone. Just me. Something I never thought I could ever do...and in actual fact, turned out loving exploring on my own!

So I had it pretty set, I thought. I was independent. Mummy and Daddy were seven timezones away and truth be told, there was little that they could do if I found myself in a pickle. Ok, if I really needed them desperately,  I know without a doubt that they would be on the next flight out to South Korea...but even that would take about two days for them to get there. 

I'm generally pretty healthy, but I got sick on a few occasions. To the point where I once called a friend and told her, "If you don't hear from me in a few days, please check up on me." I lived in an area where people didn't speak English, and it would take me nothing under 20 to 30 minutes (even up to over an hour) until I'm at a friends place. So my fear was always being alone in my apartment where something horrible would happen to me and no one would know - because I was so isolated.

There was even a time when I was suspected of having contracted the H1N1 virus. I was in quarantine (at home), dragged myself out of bed, down the stairs, out my apartment, down the street to buy energy drinks and bread...which I'd force down my throat. I was so weak that I couldn't hold back the tears and would cry myself to sleep. Hearing my mother's voice made it worst. I just needed to be nursed. Not by myself.

Back in university, I started having panic attacks. The first one was serious and I had to come home for about a month. After treatment and medication, I went back to my life as a university student where these panic attacks would creep up on me - sometimes when I was with friends, and sometimes when I was alone in my res room. I had no one to hold my hand and tell me that everything was going to be OK. That's all I really needed to hear. I used to picture my psychiatrists face - with his glasses perched on his nose telling me: "Remember, you're not going to die from a panic attack."

So with all these things that I endured over the years, I think I grew some pretty tough skin. Call me a tough cookie, if you like?! I adopted an attitude (which I now realize was so unhealthy) of "I don't need anyone. I can do anything. On. My. Own."

On p182, Harvey says:

...if you've got your own money, your own car, your own house, a Brinks alarm system, a pistol, and a guard dog, and you're practically shouting from the rooftops that you don't need a man to provide for you or protect you, then we will see no need to keep coming around. What in the world do you need us for if you have all of that?

...if the man who is pursuing your affection is never allowed by you to exhibit his ability to provide or protect, then how can he possibly see himself professing his love for a woman who has never allowed him to feel like a man?

The things you've acquired and gained financially and educationally can never be bigger than the relationship with the man.His DNA will not allow for that. Translation: we appreciate it when women treat us like men, when you let us know that you need us. The need to feel needed is way bigger to us than we've let on; we have to feel needed by you in order to fulfill our destiny as a man.

(Up to this point of this blog post, it's taken me a day or two to get back to it)

I seem to be so conscious of everything I do now, because every move I make or thing I utter, I keep hearing Steve Harvey telling me, Just be a lady. Don't get me wrong, I may look all female, but since Thursday night I have had the startling reality that my actions have probably made people (boys, guys, men) around me think that I'm as tough as a guy.

Let's take a trip back to 2008/2009 when I was living in South Korea. A new teacher started at my school and we soon became friends. His name was Lee. We went out a few times for dinner and drinks and he introduced me to his friends (all guys). One particular evening, Lee left earlier than his other friends and before we all decided to go home, I stayed and went to a bar with two other guys. The two guys ordered a round of beer and when it arrived, all three bottles were placed in the center of the table. In deep conversation, without thinking, I reached for a bottle as the same time as the guy next to me and just popped the lid open. Just like that. He sat back and said, "Oh - I was going top open that for you."

I could have melted with embarrassment. I apologized and said that I did it without thinking. I promised that he could open the next round for me.

Thinking back, Lee never really treated me much like a lady when we used to go out. There were a couple of times where he would enter a bar before me and the door would actually close on my face. One particular day we were sitting in the teachers room and if I'm not mistaken, I had just applied hand lotion and couldn't open something. Lee was sitting next to me, so I asked him to please help me.

Before he took it from me, with big eyes, he asked me: "Oh, NOW you are woman?" Everything seems crystal clear now. All my actions made the guys around me think and feel like I was a tough cookie. I can't blame them though, because that's the image I was putting out to them, right? So it's my fault.

I seldom ask for help - even when moving and lifting heavy objects, I can do it - because I've had to do it alone for as long as I can remember.

In recent times, even if I'm out (for example at a club) with a guy - who's like a brother figure, I'd want to buy them a drink. It's just who I am and I guess it's a bad habit I have to kick soon.

Sigh... well, there's a lot more I have to write about this topic, but for now I think it's suffice to say that I may have just found the cause of my singledom for all these years :-)

1 comment:

Kent Page said...

Reading about this book is really interesting... Harvey is actually spot on... but I believe theres more to relationships than just mastering the art of being a damsel in perpetual distress... I actually have pretty strong opinions about relationships myself that I've gained over the years...