Relational

Patti, that matchmaker from Buffalo, was on Oprah, and said that you have to let men open the pickle jar, even if you can open the pickle jar. Men need to feel like men, was her point, even if you know better.

Oprah got all uppity about that, saying that the hard part for modern women is being competent and where you stop that, trying to make the argument for strong women.

I knew Patti missed the point when she made it. The issue isn’t that men need to feel like men for their own sake, but rather, if you want men to treat you like a woman, you have to treat them like a man. You ain’t treating them like men because they need it, you are doing it because you like the balance of relationship, and if you want him to lead when the two of you dance, you gotta be willing to follow.

Oprah had to announce that you teach people how to treat you, an old saw of hers.

True, but the issue is that people respond in relationship with you. Yeah, if you treat them like you are a potential employer, they will respond like a job seeker, even getting fed up. You treat them like a kid, they will see you as mom, if that’s good or bad.

I would say that the way you treat someone tells them how to treat you. If you flirt with them, treating them as if they are attractive, they will see you as attractive. If you grill them like you are cop, they will see you as a cop.

This isn’t about how men need to be treated, nor you teaching them something. It’s about them responding to the you that shows up, if that you is an incipient victim or a partner in fun, or whatever the hell you show up as.

There are limits to this, of course, because if a you they don’t like or understand shows up they will just fade off.

But damn, if you want a man in your life, not a co-worker or a servant, then you have to show up as a woman. You don’t want a man, well, show up as a businessperson or a powerfully independent person or whatever you want to be, but don’t whine if they relate to you as whatever you show up as.

Henpeck, fine, but then don’t complain he doesn’t feel empowered around you, or whatever else. If you want/need him to be strong, don’t treat him like he is weak. You get more of what you respond to, whatever that is.

Yeah, you know you can open the pickle jar, even if you ask him. But he can pick out his own tie, too, but you still want him to ask you your opinion, right?

If you want someone to play a special role in your life, then you have to give them what they need to play that role. It’s across the board; if you want them to be a mentor, then you better show up as a student, for example. Relationships are relationships, as ACIM reminds us.

But it’s not about giving men what they need. It’s about giving others what they need to be the person you need or want them to be.

It’s relational.