I love me a hard-working man…a manly man…a man that will climb out of the truck and whoop someone’s ass if necessary. And I’ve rarely passed a passel of blue jean-clad, hard-hat wearing, up at dawn, men that I didn’t feel the testosterone barrier suck me in. Something deep in my primitive brain says “that man can take care of me.” And that’s where it starts ladies…right then and there…the hair twirling, the exaggerated sway of the hips, the licking of lips, the slight glance and innocent smile as you daintily skirt the construction zone that you can’t possibly navigate without the help of a big, strong man. It’s a beautiful dance and one every southern girl worth her grits has mastered from an early age.
Whoa….yes, you could sop him up with a biscuit (the good ones your grandmother makes, not the canned ones) IN THAT MOMENT. Been there, done that…several times…and loved every single moment of those early days. And then the white collar/blue collar dance begins. Some people can meld their lives into a beautiful shade of pale blue…but for most it’s an oil and water solution that no amount of simmering heat can mix together seamlessly.
Now before you get all up in arms and assume I’m saying that all construction workers are dumb, I AM NOT! Far from it, skilled labor is an art that is quickly diminished in our society (that’s another post conversation) and a skill set few possess. What I am saying is that the well-educated female brain harks back to its primitive brain and makes decisions only on that. Which is fine for about 3 months and then you have to talk, go out in public, introduce him to your friends and family…all of which require long hours of talk….and you have 2 choices at this point: be who you are and risk it or start chipping away at yourself to make him appear “bigger and better” to you, to him, to them…
While I’m sure both men and women do this “downplay” of themselves, women surely hold the record. I’ve yet to meet a woman that hasn’t stepped back from who she really is to make her partner feel more secure. Maybe it’s the “I work so I can pay” or “I’m going to sell my house so we can start new in something we’ve both built” to a long myriad of excuses for the new partner that everyone knows IS less but you love anyway. At least temporarily.
But the grip of someone dragging you beneath what you’ve worked, sweated, and clawed so hard for will eventually wear you down. The “but he loves me” and “damn, he’s good in bed” only lasts through the glow of a honeymoon stage of the relationship before you inadvertently notice you’re slipping. If you’re lucky, you will have friends that will support your new love but also won’t allow you to sink below who you really are….it’s usually in this period that you realize your two worlds don’t mesh.
AS I post, a gaggle of hard hats and safety vests pull up to the restaurant and I begin to fluff my hair….purely instinct I’m convinced.