Dating · Traditional Values

The ‘Sensitive’ Guy We Thought We Wanted, But Actually Don’t

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He’s missing the man-bun and beaded bracelet here.

Lately I’ve had some time to watch movies in my free time and though my thoughts have been straying back and forth to this topic, I keep forgetting it, hours later.
It’s a movie trope/trend that’s been on the rise since the late 80s/early 90s, I think?

Cue in the sensitive, ‘feelings’ guy – the opposite reaction to the more traditional macho lead males in many movies.

I would say in the 50s and even earlier, basically at the beginning of the cinema age and film, we have had the traditional macho lead male. You see them through the decades. From James Bond, Ward Cleaver and Chuck Norris (the adventurous guys) to Moses of the Biblical movie kind. They’re the ‘huff and puff, I’ll save the day’ kinda guy with more actions and no words. Well, that’s the stereotype anyway. They were fighters, problem-solvers, tough and stoic. They have a romantic side too, though are hesitant to show it, unless there’s bravado.

Cue in your more modern, sensitive-feelings guy. He’s the guy who writes the lead woman poetry. Strums on his guitar. Listens to her emotional outbursts in several scenes and quick to cuddle. He shuns traditional work and is some sort of creative artist/painter/musician and is involved with some community/charity work that is overwhelmingly obvious. Think Lloyd Dober, Daniel Hillard and almost every romance lead Adam Sandler plays.
This sensitive-feelings guy started emerging, I believe, from the 90s and onward, popping up on the rom-coms alongside a lead female who’s shown to complain about the ‘unfeeling’, ‘brutish’ and ‘bully-like’ traditional macho guys. Now these traditional macho guys start getting portrayed as dumb, beefy jock guys while sensitive-feelings guy is shy, sweet and nerdy. The latter is obviously better.

Now many of you know, one of the things I hate to do is to tell creators what to create – that is basically a form of censorship and limits creativity. I am not saying that these writers should not write these characters, these are movies, pieces of fiction to be enjoyed.

It’s when life imitates art/fiction that it gets worrying.

Since then, a lot of women have started idolising and wishing for these sensitive-feelings guys in their real love life that you start seeing things go wrong. At first, ideally, it sounds great – a super sweet guy who writes you poems and letters, tells you all the intimately loving things you want to hear all the time. He’s all about showing emotions all the time and opening his heart. He’s creative. Artsy. He believes in a lot of great causes. He goes against the horrible so-called ‘mainstream’ of tough typical guys who will just abuse and push you around. He will worship you, you’re his Queen.

Until you realise sensitive-feelings guy can barely hold down a job, is so liable to emotional breakdowns because of his overly-sensitive feelings radar and when the going gets tough, expect him to skedaddle away because it’s too much. He definitely won’t provide for or protect you as a man, since he ‘respects you as an equal’ and will basically split everything.
Congratulations, you’re now basically dating a woman.

Yes yes, I understand this can be pushing the purest of the stereotype, though please inform me if there are a bunch of real guys out there who fit this type and are successful in looking after their relationships, their partners and family.

You have to have some toughness if you want to be a worthy man who can take on the responsibilities of real life, having a girlfriend/wife and family. These older traditional macho-types are also a pure stereotype and I’m not saying that one can only be a good guy by being quiet and marching your way through problems.

It’s a bit of both. There’s a time to be open about your emotions, to have a heart-to-heart and not be stoic and silent. Though sometimes, more often than not, it’s time to man up, toughen up and face a situation head on and think logically. Since the world isn’t a soft place, it’s a competitive place where you have to keep pushing through to succeed and men need to understand this if they want to be able achieve enough to look after their families and have the constitution for the problems of life while having these responsibilities. In turn, women can be the softness in the world for their men, where they can finally let their toughness (well, most of it) go and recharge.

Sensitive-feelings guys basically have all the traits a woman would wish for in a bestie, usually a female bestie, not the man who would be her partner in life, her protector and provider. It’s hard to respect and look up to a guy who acts more like a girlfriend, it’s a recipe for relationship disaster. It sounds dreamy in fiction, though not in real life.

Next time you hear a real-life woman complain about another ‘brutish’, ‘unfeeling’ guy and wanting the sweet guy, maybe tell her that.

I’m not saying go for the bad boy, especially not for the sweet loser either, go for Mr. Responsible-and-Resilient.

6 thoughts on “The ‘Sensitive’ Guy We Thought We Wanted, But Actually Don’t

  1. Amen to this. I think I wrote about this subject some times ago. I actually think these touchy-feely guys lack testosterone. Not good.

    I have always liked action movies better than romantic comedies all my friends wanted to watch. I action movies, you could actually see MEN you could drool after… In romantic comedies I could find no romance at all. Think about Hugh Grant in Notting Hill. There was no romance for me, because I found his character disgusting, not appealing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just seeing these guys on TV make me cringe. Creatively, anyone can make any character, it’s when people start imitating it, that it becomes a concern. I watch some of these movies, though I enjoy them as a fictional context.

      In reality, it is horrible to see, since I’ve had friends go through this – expecting it would be all like in the movies. Then they start crying and wondering why he won’t make a stand or help them out during a hard time. I like the older movies, more stoic men are my type (not completely, just a lot more stoic than the ones in modern movies, of course). They know when to fight and look after their family (especially women in their lives), when to be honourable and that’s the crux of masculinity, really.

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  2. Good topic, Alex.

    Balance is ideal. A man must be strong enough to be in tune with his feelings and to be able to support her when she has feelings as well.

    As you said, there is a risk that comes with being with the sensitive, feelings guys, which are as you stated, him being unstable and emotionally weak.These men can be sensitive but they must also be strong and able to get the things done that need to be done.

    There is also a risk that comes with being with the strong, protector and provider type as well. There’s nothing wrong with a man who is a protector and provider, but there is if he’s also controlling, selfish, or narcissistic. Let’s face it, a lot of women wind up with these guys too. There are a lot of men who are wolves in sheep’s clothing.

    I’ve seen it happen too many times where a woman I know goes looking for the strong, alpha male who is a protector and provider, but she’s unaware of his controlling and selfish tendencies, at first. Next thing I know, she has no money, no car, no resources, no self esteem, no freedom, so she has to enlist in an army to help get her out of her toxic relationship.

    She gave to much power and liberty to the wrong man, and it leads to an emotionally abusive situation, which I have touched on in my latest blog post.

    This is why it’s so important for women to be highly skilled in judging a man’s character, and taking the appropriate amount of time to vet and qualify him. She can have her protector/provider so as long as he’s humble, noble, ad truly has HER best interests at heart, and not just is own.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Ash!

      You definitely used two great words to describe the sensitive guy – unstable and weak. I would have to somewhat disagree with you on the protector/provider part – men like this are more typical from my cultural background (in Asia, not in Australia) and while some are controlling, I would say their weaknesses are their pride and not knowing when to ask for help. They also lack empathy at times. I understand it differs in other contexts, though, like with your friend.

      Vetting is a must, to know whether he really does care for her and truly value her as a woman and for who she is.

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  3. Great points Alex
    I remember reading something Milo Yiannopoulos touched on a few years back regarding the relationship between hormonal birth control and female sexual preference. The essence of his article was that there have been studies linking hormonal birth control usage with women picking male mates who were more like them (sensitive, weaker, non-confrontational, etc.)
    I wonder, since you’ve pointed out that the favored “sensitive guy” has really started popping up in the 90’s, if hormonal BC is a big reason behind this shift from macho heartthrobs since then. I can’t think of a recent movie or show where the manly man is smart and capable, someone to look up to and receive guidance from. Most dads in the media are portrayed as dumb or clueless while the wives run the family and act as the end-all-be-all of family decisions. Its ridiculous.
    I can’t help but think messing with our hormones is having a wider effect on society as a whole.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is so true! I remember now and I even mentioned this to him in person.
      That leaves us in a bit of a dilemma though, scientifically and healthcare wise, what can women rely on to not get pregnant? Maybe every woman needs to, if possible, assess the effect of BC on her and take measures.
      It’s hard to find the traditional macho types nowadays – I mean you see them in say, superhero movies but they ruin it my making him actually a sensitive guy but with muscles. A great father figure who is a wise leader and responsible is so so rare.

      Like

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