The Patch

April 1, 2007

Sunday 1st April-The Rise of the Emo Man

Filed under: Miscellany — denesha @ 9:32 am

Meet my friend, Gurpreet. On the outside, he looks like a bear or manly, man thing type person. Beneath the bear like exterior, he is deceptively womanly; for example, he got choked up at the end of Friends, watches Sex and the City (but he did need me to explain what a ‘diaphragm’ was), straightens his hair and knows the contents of my entire wardrobe. How can he not be gay? But he isn’t. He really isn’t. He is a combination of an emo boy and a homosexual man. He’s an ‘Emo Man’.

Apparently, women want boys to be like this. Female orientated TV shows perpetuate the myth that we want to change the entire male species into loving, commitment coping and emotionally open, husbands. In Sex and the City, Mr Big was the archetypal horrid ‘man’. He was emotionally retarded, commitment phobic and heartbreakingly arrogant. However, in the final episode, he ‘changed’. He was now emotionally open enough to fight for Carrie and their relationship. He became known as more than ‘Mr Big’. He became, ‘John’, her boyfriend. With that name, the sins associated with the manly ‘Big’ were washed away. We forgave his previous shortcomings because he had changed. Carrie got what she wanted. But is this what all women really want?

There is nothing wrong with an ‘Emo Man’. It has its perks. Gurpreet listens to our wardrobe dilemmas in the middle of H&M, gossips with the girls and works out in the gym with the boys. At the same time, he offers a straight man’s opinion on all of it, which is very useful. Yet, other ‘Emo Men’ can take their label to an extreme and become too emotionally available; too open and too much like a girl-friend to be taken seriously, romantically. In modern society, women have learnt to be independent, strong and in control of their own lives. Education and financial independence have released us from the grips of the male species, putting us on an equal footing. This equality meant that women have also become a little less emotionally ‘girly’ and a little more like men in their approach to relationships. Commitment is balked at by most of my female friends and marriage has become a threat spewed out by Asian parents in case you fail your A Level exams or celebrate your 30th birthday, single. This male-like approach to relationships that most women appear to be adopting is important when exploring whether modern women want their new ‘Emo Men’. Roles have significantly reversed in society, and maybe, women have become too much like men to appreciate the emotionally mature emo generation, and this disdain for seemingly ‘girly’ men, could result in heartache or rejection.

However, maybe, some women do really want this, especially if the alternative is the ‘typical man.’ For example, emotionally retarded men who accidentally stamp on girl’s feelings in their quest to sow their seed are hardly an acceptable alternative. Yet, there is something alluring about these men. Their detached approach to love, life and indeed, women, is what keeps us interested. These enigmas are vital in ensuring interest and as much as I hate to admit it, keep our romantic lives interesting.

Nonetheless, these men are not healthy for the sanity of most women. As much as we want to get through to these emotional enigmas, at some point, someone or something must change. Usually, this change comes in the form of a break up, because try as you may, these men won’t change. Mr Big was an exception. Chick lit/TV/film has had many exceptions to the ‘men won’t change’ rule. Mr Darcy was aloof, unfriendly and snobbish, yet Elizabeth Bennett managed to get through to him. Yet, how often has this happened in reality? After all, Halle Berry, one of the most beautiful women in the world was unable to change her serial cheater ex husband Eric Benet.

In conclusion, as a society, we need to stop wanting to change the opposite sex. We should accept our partners for all their virtues, faults and habits. This constant need to change others to suit our personal tastes is cruel. It implies that you don’t accept the person; you chose to be with and in which case, why are you even with them in the first place? We cannot chop and choose desirable qualities and expect to get away with it because we are women. Men, who reject ‘ladette’ culture as uncouth and ‘slutty’, yet would prefer their girlfriends to have the same ‘devil may care’ promiscuous attitude, would be lambasted for their views, as should women who mock ‘emo men’, only to complain about their cruel boyfriends. We should all just give up trying to change people, and accept others for who they are, rather than who they could be. I’m sure we’ll all be a lot happier.


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