During the Labor Day weekend, I was the guest of a friend at a family picnic. While socializing and mingling, I joined a card game and an interesting discussion with a few middle-aged and older men. It was not the usual case of men arguing about the Super Bowl, the Playoffs, the World Series, or boasting of their sexual prowess. These men were sharing past experiences of dating, and the ambiguous line between respect and resentment they streamlined for single mothers. There were a couple of younger men listening with great interest and taking mental notes.
There was a consensus among the men that they were boosted to a higher level of good self-esteem when a woman that gave them special attention but that didn’t necessarily translate into more respect for her. The single thing that men respected or resented most about the single mothers that they dated was the manner in which she treated and raised her children. One of the men laughingly confessed that his goal was to see if he could become number one in the woman’s life even above her children, and this was accomplished by having the woman neglect her children for his sake.
However, this man also confessed that when he accomplished his goal and conquered the household, he also resented the woman and would mistreat her. He further stated that he had lived with more than six women, most with children, at different times and he had no respect for, in fact resented, the ones that allowed him, a guy just passing through, to whip their children.
One fellow said that he had been invited to a woman’s house for dinner with her and her children. Although he had been fooling around with her for a few weeks, most of his visits were after the children had gone to bed. This was his first dinner invitation, during which time he immediately noticed that he and the woman had pot roast, sweet potatoes, green beans, and cornbread on their plates while the two small children had Top Ramen Noodles and crackers. He said that the situation reminded him of how he resented his single mother because she would put her boyfriends before his sister and him in that same manner. Therefore, after he blessed the table, he pretended that he loved Top Ramen Noodles and asked the kids if they would share with him if he shared with them. According to the story, the kid’s faces brightened with enthusiasm as he divided each a portion of everything on his plate. Later he explained to the woman that she must never put him or any other man before her children.
Men are strange creatures. All of the men agreed that they try every scheme under the sun to compromise the woman whether her children are outside playing, or watching TV in the next room. When or if he accomplishes his boyish antics, he feels like a thief that has gotten away with the booty (meaning loot). In such cases, no respect is loss and no resentment gained. However, every man privy to the discussion agreed that all respect is loss when they accomplish an intimate act in the same room or on the same bed where a child is present, even if the child is supposed to be asleep. I walked away from that card game and discussion thinking, umm; it’s interesting what we warped men really think.
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