A Faint Heart

A Faint heart never won fair lady’  William Shakespeare.

It’s easy to get confused when you have mental health problems anyway but human behaviour is a minefield.  When this is applicable to someone with social anxiety and concerns dating or friendships then it becomes even more so. Once again a post on gender differences on the anxiety forum has been deleted as it upsets people but does that mean anything awkward should be hidden under the table and not spoken about. I understand that throughout human history men and women have been treated and expected to act quite differently and that often men dominated women and treated them badly. However to pretend that everything is equal now just because it should be is quite ludicrous. Lots of things are worse for women,the majority as men being usually stronger and in positions of power have always exploited women and the harassment stories today prove that this is still common. However some things are worse for men, especially shy men.

Maybe the internet has changed things in recent years but I seriously doubt it. I recently heard a comment on TV that annoyed me. It was something like” How can you even think of dating a girl if you have no car to pick her up in.” This implies there are certain gender roles that are so clearly defined as to be humiliating if not taken seriously like driving and owning a car being a male essential. When I was younger it was just taken for granted that men for instance should always make the first move, approach a female he’s interested in and ask her out and even decide where to go.  Always offer to pay on any date even if the girl is in the same job on the same pay.  This seems to get many females on forums enraged as if its all old fashioned crap and doesn’t happen any more.Funny on dating TV shows then that the male pays almost every time due to gender roles and occasionally when they say they should go halves the woman seems outraged! So does equality only exist when its to the woman’s advantage like pay? I also saw some women getting angry that their boyfriend had never proposed. Oh yes because its  a man’s job!

Gender roles should be left in the past of course if you believe in total equality between the sexes. However I was slagged off at work for being too cowardly to approach girls because of my shyness.  I also heard some girls talking about me saying he won’t do anything meaning I would not chat their friend up so they should just ignore me as not even worth looking at from then on. After all they could not possibly chat me up or ask me out being females!  There are many more examples but you get the idea. I was expected to make the first move and I knew it simply for being male but as I was cripplingly shy could not and am still a virgin at nearly 323 years old.

Now a lot of this could be explained as just being what happened 20 years ago but seriously how much has changed in recent years?  Do women approach men and regularly ask them out now at work and in bars and clubs; have things changed that much after thousands of years of male dominance?  The problem is I still see comments on TV and movies all the time where boys and men are told to just man up and get the girl, ridiculed relentlessly if they are still a virgin past a certain age, treated as cowards for not having the guts to chase women. If you start looking on TV you could come across numerous references in just one week. Chat up lines are taken in context entirely from the males point of view as men need them to impress women but women let the man do all the work and just let him think of things to say.  Like they expect him to entertain her. Although I never had a female approach me in any positive way during 20 years at work it could be explained by my chronic anxiety and body language and lack of witty banter which put them off. However I have heard this from many men and lots openly say “it’s a man’s job to make the first move.” as if it’s the rules of being human and they mock anyone who can’t do this and forcing you to stay in isolation. If fact I read not long ago that in a modern American university 93% of young women admitted that they had never made the first move so it may be evolution at work just as so many male animals have to woo the female with certain rituals to prove he is worthy as  a mate.

Obviously many women with anxiety are still alone and have just as shit lives as men but all I can do is talk of my experiences taken from entirely male and anxiety ridden life. I still think our cultural expectations between males and females are quite distinct and the majority of women(those without anxiety) still expect a man to approach them first and if he doesn’t then assumes he is either not interested or not good enough anyway and they would not even dream of making the first move. When you feel hated for many, many years though it’s quite easy to be paranoid and see things from a distorted and angry point of view. However science accepts clear gender differences in just about every species of animal so why do so many people pretend that humans are the exception to the rule? Perhaps the truth hurts.


Author: klodo

I am male,English and have had social anxiety since I started school at 5 years of age. I like photography, walking, wildlife, history and moaning.........CONSTANTLY! Oh you must stop being so negative! Shut up! NOW WITH ADDED DEPRESSION!

4 thoughts on “A Faint Heart”

  1. From what I can tell all relationships that are formed on the basis of these traditional gender roles are doomed to remain trapped within those confines for their duration and, often enough, when things fall apart the justification is something along the lines of mr. man is an a-hole, always thinking of himself, or lady-girl is always waiting around and not taking charge or her own life. As a gal with anxiety I know I fall into the old rules as a nice justification for just waiting and seeing but I know, ultimately it only gets me into relationships where I am always expecting my partner to take the lead or otherwise can’t get out of the spiral trap of non assertiveness. So hurrah for you. And for me. And damn all that stupid nonsense.

  2. The weird thing is virtually all online contact I have had on anxiety forums or blogs is with females and most of them sound great people and so very similar to me even if it was when I was younger. Perhaps using the internet changes gender roles somewhat.

  3. I just wanted to say…I’m impressed that you’re willing to write your (private) thoughts here, b/c I’ve been “shy” and the last thing I would have done was present my thoughts to whomever happened.
    And the honor and respect that I feel for any person who’s kept chaste for their entire adult life, is hard for me to describe. I am (I know this may sound odd) envious. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Thanks although not being particularly religious being chaste has almost entirely been due to being too shy and having an abnormally low sex drive rather than anything virtuous like some people do and saving themselves for after marriage.

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