I have a strong temper. So does the Stig. But miraculously enough, we both have the magical ability to control our tempers, so either of us aren’t stuck explaining to our RA why the ceiling has collapsed and why there’s so much blood on the walls.
However, evidently Cosmo hasn’t heard of these rare men who can express themselves without throwing 7-year-old worthy tantrums.
We were blown away by the change in Bachelor Jake when he did an on-camera interview with his ex-fiancee, Vienna, not long ago. Between his constant cutting remarks and yelling for her to stop interrupting the guy who once wowed women with his gentle nature just seemed so…angry.
Wait, so a guy whose sole claim to fame is that he was on a “reality” TV show where women were vying for his affection/a diamond ring is actually a bit of an asshole? You don’t say! I don’t know if this is proof that men are getting angrier as much as it is that proof that men who agree to be on The Bachelor are douchecanoes.
Many of these guys aren’t necessarily angrier nowadays, they’re just a little, well, confused. “There’s a whole movement to encourage men to be more expressive, and most of them don’t really understand how to do that”, says Allen Berger, PhD…They’re comfortable when it comes to feeling in control or happy, he says, but they can’t really deal with confessing that they feel vulnerable or upset without getting the sense that their masculinity is being threatened.
“A lot of men also are feeling unsure about what their role should be in a relationship, says Along Gratch, PhD…Guys used to be the providers and protectors, but now, more women than men are graduating from college, which leads to women earning more, having more confidence, and demanding more from a boyfriend.
And THIS is why patriarchy is harmful to everyone. Maybe we need to have a deeper conversation about what how our traditional, heteronormative views on “masculinity”and roles in relationships are harming both women and men. Will we get this from the rest of the article, or see a change in how Cosmo treats men? Of course not! That would make sense, and we can’t have that, ladies!
I also have very little sympathy for guys who are like “What? I have to be more than just the man who pays the bills? I have to be supportive, and be a good communicator? HULK SMASH!!!1!!!”. Relationships, even casual ones, require a certain degree of investment from both partners. If you don’t want to communicate in a non-Bachelor-Jake way, don’t be in a relationship.
Anger is a secondary reaction to another emotion your guy doesn’t feel comfortable revealing, Gratch says. So when he gets pissed that you out late with your girls, he’s probably actually feeling hurt that you weren’t hanging out with him—not that he’ll admit that right away.
If he starts to lay into you when yu get home, say something like: “It hurts my feelings when you talk to me that way. Can you please tell me what’s really going on? By being a little vulnerable and expressing how you really feel (instead of getting ticked and yelling back), your guy’s likely to chill out and do the same. If he doesn’t, Berger recommends telling him to talk to you when he’s calmed down and then walking away, which will further stress that his initial reaction was unacceptable.
It is true that anger isn’t a true emotion (it’s a cover–thanks Dan Schultz*!), but it’s also true that a woman going out with her girlfriends doesn’t warrant her boyfriend throwing a shit-fit. I also resent. And sometimes showing vulnerability could be dangerous, particularly in unsafe relationships where domestic violence is present.
Verbal abuse is still abuse, and Cosmo did a great disservice for not evening mentioning domestic violence. Because while some men may simply have bad tempers, and not know how to express themselves, others may use abusive language and threats as a way to control their partner. By not talking about verbal abuse, and somehow implying that getting upset and yelling is what makes men angry, Cosmo puts a lot of women at risk, and, as usual, winds up giving shitty advice. I shouldn’t be shocked by this now, but I still am.
There are also a lot of men, like The Stig that recognize that they have bad tempers, so they learn to recognize when they’re angry, and simply stop talking and walk away, rather than behave like Bachelor Jake. Or Oklahoma State’s football coach, Mike Gundy:
And maybe I just happen to surround myself with the 1% of the population of men who don’t throw shit fits on a regular basis, but I think this article is pretty demeaning to men as a whole (hello again, references to the negative effects of patriarchy!). I have met some guys who are insensitive assholes, but I don’t think this is the norm, or part of some rising trend. Maybe if we start assuming that men can express themselves without feeling the need to be “masculine”, and therefore “shouty”, they will meet, and exceed those assumptions.
*Dan is a performing arts professor at Stephens College, and an all-around awesome dude.