The Myth of the 'Dynamic' Man
I bumped into a friend recently and we were doing that thing where you squeeze a lot of chat into a very short space of time. So partners, kids, life, divorces, separations, trials, work etc. We walked rapidly side by side and downloaded all our news. Then quickly we moved onto men- the men that we settle down with. And how you sometimes wonder whether you've got the right one or not (and how that thought can be deeply scary).
'I've always wondered what it would be like to be with a DYNAMIC man,' I said to my friend.
'I know what you mean. A man who races through the door and has a million plans. A man who is always scheming and planning. A really ambitious man.'
We started building on this theme of dynamic man.
'He would have a top knot and a beard.'
'Are you sure?'
'Wouldn't have to have them.'
'He'd be wealthy.'
'YES WEALTHY! He'd be WEALTHY.'
'So are we basically saying that DYNAMIC means WEALTHY?'
'Yes yes I guess we are. But it's not just that. It's you know...ideas, imagination, creativity, dynamic, you know DYNAMIC.'
'But wealthy men are often tossers,' I said (though to be fair I've never been out with any man who had money).
'Where does one go to find such a man?'
'I'm not sure. Are we saying that we don't want to work?'
'No we want to work but we also want someone DYNAMIC. Someone with a strong point of view on where they're going.'
We continued walking. We were in the centre of London so there were plenty of men around. Some wore suits. Others shouted into mobiles. Others had beards and tattoos. It was hard to tell who was wealthy and who wasn't. It was hard to spot the dynamic man amongst this crowd.
'Is he dynamic?' my friend asked pointing at a man tapping into his mobile with a screwed up face.
'Maybe?' I replied, 'He looks busy and stressed.'
'No that's not good.'
'So someone who is fast and talks and has lots of ideas but is also calm and not too stressed?'
'Yes that's right.'
The thing is that sometimes you have a partner and they're one way and now and then you think about them being another way. My partner is quiet. I've said this before and he won't mind me saying it again. I am the opposite. I sometimes find it frustrating that he doesn't want to talk ALL THE TIME. That he doesn't have that incessant chatty gene which I seem to have inherited from a family of people with big mouths. I feel like I'm not very dynamic and need more of it in my life right now. I think he probably wishes I was DYNAMIC WOMAN too (but maybe a quieter version).
'Yes he's just designed an app,' my friend suggests, 'And he's got his own start up designing apps.'
'Or are they all wankers those types?'
'No he has an app and he drives s classic car and he wears a top knot.'
'I'm not sure about the top knot thing,' I replied, 'I think it may have moved on now to something else.'
We arrived at our destination and our discussions moved onto other things. Sex. Lack of sex. Our parents and their expectations from life. How different we are now in terms of our expectations of from life (both positive and negative sides of this). The dynamic man discussion died down. We parted company flushed and with so much stuff and ideas and plans and paths to future greatness.
When I got home, I felt grumpy. I was coming down with a cold. I felt really tired. I had also built an image of this DYNAMIC MAN. He would welcome me home with sketches for our new seaside townhouse which he was designing with his new app. He would show me swatches of fabrics that he was using to design our new sofa. He would knock me up some of that ramen stuff and would then have an idea about a food business - a delivery company that made noodles and delivered them to your door.
Meanwhile my partner was playing with my daughter upstairs. He'd cooked me dinner and it smelt delicious. He was playing this game where it's basically the Olympics and my daughter leaps off the bed onto a bean bag and he gives her marks out of ten. The game goes on for a long, long time. It's fairly monotonous after the first fifteen minutes.
I went upstairs and watched them from the door. The thing is that our brains are hard-wired to want more, to want different, to wander about what we have right now. The challenge is to accept that there is no DYNAMIC MAN and there is no DYNAMIC WOMAN either.
If there is something that you lack inside then it's rarely good to seek it out in other people (and if you haven't launched that successful app yet then why the heck do you expect a partner who's done it?)
Everyone has their own foibles and annoying traits and there are men who will spend 45 minutes doing the same, tedious game over and over until their daughter tires. Men who will make a meal even though they've been cooking all day. There are men who are quiet but try really hard to talk when they don't feel like it.
The DYNAMIC MAN is a euphemism for 'the grass is greener'. He is also a stereotype of advertising campaigns and slick American boxsets. Everyone has an image of someone who is quite the opposite of what they have. Everyone wonders what life would be like if they had something else.
The trick is to realise that you're ultimately lucky with what you have. And the DYNAMIC man could turn out to be pretty damn annoying.