With this new series, my intention is to help foster and nurture an open and profound bond between father and daughter, one that transcends the awkwardness of puberty. (I wrote about it in more detail here.)
And in that spirit, I’ve agreed that once a week I will answer – honestly – any question my husband puts to me.
…Except I’m finally turning the tables!
Way back in the beginning of the series I said hubby may hijack Ask Me Anything from time to time, and thus far he’s resisted! But this week I pinned him down with this question:
Me: I’m sometimes left baffled by the massive span of variation in men’s behaviour; from the quintessential gent to the male chauvinist pig – there’s truly a vast disparity. What’s that all about? Talk to me about guys and ego…
Hubby: I can sum it up for you in one quote [hubby loves a quote as much as I do]:
A man’s ego is both his greatest strength and his Achilles’ heel.
Pretty sure I made that up by the way, so make sure you credit me. [This was said to me not as part of the answer, but I thought I’d give you some insight into my hubby’s, ahem, ego.]
I’ll elaborate a bit, because I know you won’t accept that as the whole answer…
Men and Their Egos – Explained
From my vague understanding of Buddhism (read non-existent, but I’ll dredge up a half-remembered factoid in the interest of making me look more worldly to your audience), there’s a mental state best translated as ‘ego-lessness’. For me in my experience and generally the guys I see around me, life is basically the opposite. I’ll grant you I’m taking a fairly narrow sample size.
But I’d say pretty much 90% of anything any guy has ever done can be blamed on ego.
Road rage for example: ‘That car cut me up, ergo trying to dominate me; not having that, I’ll beep my horn!’ Or it goes the other way: ‘I got cut up again – why’s it always me?’
I think a lot of the time it’s the same with male body image, or career progression, or who’s got the better looking partner/ less horrendously-behaved child. On some primal level it’s either that voice saying ‘you got this – compete!’; or ‘make a joke and duck out, nurse the pain later’. Luckily I’m yet to lose on the hotter other half…
Gay/straight/colour/creed/whatever – men are (generally) just trying to blag their way through life without anyone discovering they have absolutely no idea what they’re doing. We’re just as scared and clueless at the core as you lady types – but far better at covering it up with bravado and bluster (even from ourselves unless we’re being truly honest).
It’s the thing that will push us to achieve and strive; even altruism can be laid at its feet: ‘I’m going to be the best at being nice’. We’ll protect it like the metaphorical mother bear defending her wounded cub, lashing out with ill-thought behaviour.
A chap’s ego is a far more delicate thing than a woman’s, and we’ll do our best to inflate it…even dropping misremembered quotes we know nothing about. Sorry Buddha.
[Ladies – I hope you’re feeling enlightened? (Didn’t he do well?!) Guys – do you concur with my hubby? Please let me know in the comments if you’d like to hear from him in the future!]
Like this? You can check out more of my hubby’s ponderings (and my attempts to answer them) here.