Usually when I see something on the Internet that shocks me, I grumble then move on. There is far too much out there that’s bothersome in one way or another to worry over anything in particular. Except when I run across something that just makes my jaw drop. Like a meme I saw earlier this week that said the following;Guys need to be spoiled and told how handsome they are on a daily basis. How do you expect to be treated like a Queen if you treat him like a servant?
Where do I begin? Quite apart from the obvious passive-aggressive language, I keep wondering who wants to be treated like an (actual) queen. Or king for that matter. Are these things actual people expect out of relationships? I mean, I know I’m old. I haven’t dated since the early 1990’s, when I married a woman I couldn’t imagine wanting to be treated like a queen. Nor have I ever thought, “Geez, why isn’t she treating me like a king? Bring me my slippers!”
I do know, however, there are people, men and women both, who really do think this way. That women should be considered a “queen”. I’m never quite sure what this means, because traditionally queens are doted upon yet always at a remove from others. Does a man really want a woman who accepts being put on a pedestal, accepting whatever material offerings are made, but rarely connects with him?
And why would any man want to be treated like a king? Traditionally, kings are spoiled not by their wives, but their concubines and mistresses. I’m pretty sure that’s not what the meme refers to. So I guess I’m at a loss. Unless such a man really wants a subservient woman, I’m not sure how that works out.
The game, however, is given away in the whiny, passive-aggressive tone of the whole thing. “Why do women want to be treated well if they’re not willing to do what I want?” This meme isn’t about love or relationships. Not really. This isn’t about finding a real partner. This is about capitalist exchange. “You give me what I want, I’ll give you what you want.” There need be no emotional content here. It’s all about negotiating an exchange. With an implied threat that if the man’s needs aren’t met in a manner he expects, he will either withhold affection or, perhaps, worse.
The thing is, most people, most of the time, are quite happy being treated like a human being. Not someone’s idea of who he or she is or might be. Certainly not royalty! In relationships, we should shield ourselves from market forces that looks for any kind of exchange of goods and services. Intimacy is about openness, which means being oneself with another in a way that risks emotional pain, but also rewards with a shared togetherness tat is beyond the grotesquery of the market. Being a real person with another real person is far more difficult, challenging, and ultimately satisfying than being a “king” and “queen”.
Before anyone suggests that the meme exaggerates to make a point, I want to know what point that might be. Are men in relationships with women who care nothing for them? Then they’re not in a relationship, and should probably find the nearest exit. That women won’t return physical or emotional affection in a way men want? Then try talking about things. Don’t throw a tantrum because you’re not being treated the way you believe you deserve. Particularly if you’ve never made those expectations clear. And don’t go into a relationship believing you “deserve” anything from the other person beyond what they’re willing to offer. If you’re in it for the long haul, these things change over time, and deepening intimacy and emotional openness creates opportunities for all sorts of wonders.
What I’m saying is: Men, you don’t deserve anything from another person. Give without a thought to what you might get. This is how relationships work in the long haul. You’re not entitled to anything. And insisting that you treat her like a “queen” in order to be treated like a “king” might bring about an unpleasant surprise. Settle for being a person figuring things out together with another person and things might well work out in far more surprising ways than you could have imagined.