Masculinity and Women of Hard Headed Repute #zerotohero

The [lazy?] days of Summer and the Zero to Hero assignments seem to be whizzing by.

Time to don the cape, the super hero boots and the golden lasso and practice leaping off a few blog posts in a single bound.

Most of the assignments since I last checked in have involved blog tinkering including adding some widgets, Spring cleaning of the blog’s about page and side bar and honing commenting skills. However, there are a couple of assignments that require a blog post

Day 12:  write a post that builds on one of the comments you left yesterday. Don’t forget to link to the other blog!

Day 16: publish a post based on your own, personalized take on today’s Daily Prompt. The Prompt on the day being:

Do you have a reputation? What is it, and where did it come from? Is it accurate? What do you think about it?

In the interests of energy conservation, I am going to combine the two assignments in this one post.

On day 12, I commented on a wonderful post by BTG who blogs at musingsofanoldfart. The post entitled, I Am Looking for a Hard Headed Woman discussed the lyrics of the Cat Stevens’ song of the same name and gave BTG’s take on what a “hard headed woman” means to him, drawing particularly on two lines of the song:

  • one who will take me for myself
  • one who will make me do my best

and finally counting his blessings in having married a hard headed woman. It was a heartfelt post from a blogger who uses his vast knowledge of music and lyrics to shine a spotlight on the more meaningful events of a human life.

touch womanIt is extremely refreshing to see a male acknowledge his love and appreciation for a hard headed woman. I firmly believe that most men love a hard headed woman, but there is something in the ‘How Men Should Act Code” that prevents them from publicly making this admission. But have a think about it, how many families do you know where the wife/woman leads the way? She may not do it openly for a clever woman knows never to make her mate feel emasculated, but how many times is she truly the family brains trust? How many times is she the resilient one, how many times is she the one that pushes the family beyond its collective comfort zone and introduces it to novel experiences? How many times does she credit her mate with spearheading the charge?

So what does being heard headed woman mean to me?

A hard headed woman is one who is willing to make decisions – tough, easy, makes no difference, there is no inertia with a hard headed woman. She is one who is less worried about chipping a nail and more about rolling up her sleeves, one who owns the consequences of her actions and omissions, one who will defend her family no matter what, one who moves the family forward with due thought and care but who does not feel the need for ask for permission and one who knows where she is going.

She makes her mate feel central to her processes and tries to cloak her sterner stuff in feminine warmth and softness.

As the song says one who makes her mate do his best.

If I could choose to have a reputation it would be as a hard headed woman in the manner I have described. Have I achieved it? UnderestimatingThat’s impossible to answer as it is akin to asking someone to answer their own “Does my bum look big in this?” question. Just like it is difficult to see how one’s own backside looks, it is very difficult to judge one’s own reputation. To do so would necessitate holding up a mirror to one’s interactions with others and interpreting what is reflected back. A rather inaccurate process.

Thank you BTG for making the admission about hard headed women. It is hoped that more men take your lead and publicly confess to their secret appreciation for us. A hard headed woman is a perfect complement to a strong, soft hearted man. A note to you men, strong and soft heartedness are not mutually exclusive. In a woman’s eyes you can be both and perhaps the collective male psych will evolve one day to also reach that happy place.

For further reference, read The New Manhood by Steve Biddulph. Also, a must read for mothers with sons.

R is for Reality: When Realities Collide (#atozchallenge)

photo from flikr -
duncan's
phosostream

I have been married to the Italian Stallion for more than two decades. When we first met back in the dark ages we spent some time comparing our respective realities and decided that we were a pretty good fit. The big items were all processed and ticked (checked) and the courtship culminated in a marriage proposal….eventually…..after seven years and well, it was a leap year. We were married nine month’s later, went on our honeymoon and then we started to live together.

That’s when each of us REALLY got acquainted with the other’s reality.  The first decade of our marriage was about whose reality was better. Ah, young love…aint it grand? The next decade was about making our own new, bigger and better combined reality, something we have done with moderate success. The third decade is still a work in progress but involves consolidating and building on that combined reality and helping our children create their own.

Let me give you a pictorial sense of our reality on a few of the more significant marital issues:

Pets

His Reality                                                                                                 My Reality

Our Reality 

Holidays

His Reality                                                                                                My Reality

Our Reality

Romance

His Reality                                                                                                      My Reality

Our Reality

Housekeeping

His Reality                                                                                                 My Reality

Our Reality

What happens when realities collide? Apart from the smoke and ash that eventually settles, it’s not really the black hole that one would think. Life is certainly not dull and we all bring our prespectives to the household.

And now, taking my tongue right out of my cheek, I am hoping to make this the best decade yet with the Italian Stallion and to continue to carve out our new reality in middle age. 

F is for Fantasy Spouse: 5 Fictional Characters I Would Wed (#atozchallenge)

I have been married to Mr Curtain Raiser (aka the Italian Stallion) for more than two decades. What he doesn’t know is that sometimes he has had competition in the form of fictional characters. I’m sure we have all been there – fallen in “love” with a character we have found in a novel or a movie and feeling bereft and heartbroken when the book or film ends.

Here is my list of the 5 fiction characters I would wed (in no particular order):

  1. Fitzwilliam Darcy from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen  – you’ve got to love a man who outwardly is cold and aloof and vastly superior but is a marshmallow inside. I have a soft spot for proud men who after scratching the surface reveal a great deal of humanity. Having status and money and a nice piece of real estate in Pemberly doesn’t hurt either and neither does looking good in breeches or smouldering whilst soaking wet in a lake. My quintessential Mr Darcy has to be Colin Firth in the BBC production.
  2. Wulfric Bedwyn, Duke of Bewcastle in Slightly Dangerous by Mary  Balogh – Wulfric is a highly respected wealthy duke with the ability of silencing a room with a look or two softly whispered words, his presence is that commanding. He is one of 6 children and the oldest and has been raised in appropriate isolated ducal fashion. A man who puts duty and propriety above all, he is totally befuddled by Christine Derrick, a commoner with an enchanting and defiant spirit. Deep inside Wulfric is still that lonely child raised to carry out duty and keep the family wealth and blood lines going.  His awkwardness in social situations, loyalty to his family and the war within between duty and love make him strong, yet vulnerable – a heady combination.
  3. William Darcy (played by Martin Henderson) in Bride and Prejudice  hmmm, there seems to be a pattern emerging here, now that I write these down, however I assure you the similarities with entry no. 1 are surface only. Take one American from a dysfunctional, wealthy family and drop him into the colour and spectacle of India, with Amritsar and Goa as backdrops, add cheesy Bollywood song and dance routines and a former Indian Miss World, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, and you have the makings of a classic.  This William Darcy is so lovable not only because of his eyes (how good are they?), but because he is absolutely lost trying to navigate Indian custom and tradition and he doesn’t stand a chance against the female character’s mother. Also you have to admire the will power of any man who can wait to kiss his bride until after the wedding.
  4. Leopold (played by Hugh Jackman) in Kate and Leopold – there’s just one word to say here and that’s “gentleman”. Leopold takes his 1870 gentlemanly ways and manners and transports them to modern-day New York to romance Kate, played by Meg Ryan. What makes Leopold so great is that he knows how to woo a lady, 1870′s style – with a slow burn. His 1870′s speech and sense of style just makes you long for a quieter, gentler time, when marriages were made to last. And well, the character is played by Hugh Jackman – enough said.
  5. Edward Lewis (played by Richard Geer) in Pretty Woman   - a man with a killer wardrobe who takes over companies and makes gazillions but has to pay for a call girl for companionship - what’s not to love?   No walking barefoot on the grass or driving his own car for this man, he has to be shown how to get a life and kudos for him, he listens! A man who can get rid of his long-standing, sleazy lawyer because the lawyer has maligned the woman he has known for a mere four days is pure class. Add a fear of heights, a fear of committment and a proposal after an aha moment and you are on your way. And with dialogue like this, throw away the pre-nup:

she: “you’re late”

he: “you’re stunning”

she: “you’re forgiven”.

I have always wondered what happened to these characters after the last page or frame of film. Several follow ups to Pride and Prejudice are in my reading pile and I’m sure I will get around to them eventually.

As for Mr Italian Stallion, his position is safe – there have been no lake-swimming dukes commuting by elephant who have overcome their fear of heights to climb up the fire stairs to propose to me…. yet.

Who is on your list?