Thursday, 5 February 2009

Great Expectations

Once upon a time, in ye olde days, people got married for convenience, for political or financial reasons and because they had to. Love wasn't really the priority requirement for a successful union and you could consider it a good match if you found yourself sharing a bed with someone you quite liked and who didn't wallop you insensible when they were drunk.

Nowadays things are very different. People expect to marry for love. Not only that, people expect to stay in love, effortlessly, to have their emotional and physical needs met, to share the housework, to have 2.4 children, to have holidays, a good car and to have an orgasm a day, at least.

I'm not saying it's a bad thing to aim higher than the ambitions of our ancestors but I do feel the pendulum has swung a little too far the other way. The bombardment of relationship and lifestyle propoganda in magazines, on TV, in films and on blogs has led to ever greater expectations which, crucially, differ substantially between the sexes.

Men can read the plethora of sex blogs out there and come to the conclusion that women are indeed just as capable of enjoying meaningless sex as they are. They can now expect not just a blow job at the end of the evening, but a really good blow job, and all strings free! Hurrah!

Women meanwhile do expect men to realise that they too enjoy sex as a recreational pastime but they also expect him to call afterwards and to not already be shacked up with someone else.

I wander my way through various blogs and I see more than one female blogger referring to her latest paramour as "Mr Wonderful" and extolling their virtues in all things from fine dining to fisting. Oh me, oh my. Oh dear. Oh bollocks. Give it a couple of months and a few disappointments and he'll be Mr Shithead, Mr Wankypants, Mr Fucked Off Elsewhere.

The thing is, there is no such person as Mr or Mrs Wonderful. It is an unrealistic expectation. There is only Mr or Mrs Doing Their Best. It won't always be good enough, but that's to be expected.


Ro said...

One of the phrases that caught my eye in this piece was "expect to stay in love, effortlessly". I don't think it's really possible to retain that initial surge of emotions but I think it's possible to stay happy together on and on and on ... but not effortlessly.

I've ranted on about Cinderella Syndrome before, the preconception that you have the fairytale wedding and then it's "happy ever after" as if the one is meant inevitably to follow the other. The reality is that it takes work - from both partners.

On the sexual preconceptions, I was intrigued at a talk given by author-on-all-things-sexual, Emily Dubberley. She said one of the biggest sexual problems facing men these days wasn't that they had excessive expectations but that they felt they had to deliver such a high performance to keep women happy!

I'm not commenting on her view, merely reporting it!

Riff Dog said...

But isn't it nice to smell the roses while they're in bloom, rather than sneer at how they'll be black and dead in a few weeks?

So what difference does it make if in a couple months, Mr Wonderful becomes Mr Shithead? Isn't it enough to enjoy that right now, he is Mr Wonderful?

It isn't like the blogger in question is going to marry the guy and grow old with him. So if, right now, the sex is great and the fine dining is great, then indeed, he is Mr. Wonderful.

Roses eventually die. Lovers eventually get lazy or leave. But for today, I'll smell my roses and I'll fuck the hell out of my lover.

Luka said...

Ro - I agree, it is nigh on impossible to remain in love effortlessly. Any long term relationship - lover, friend, business partner - requires work to keep things going.

Interesting. I can imagine that expectation does exist and does raise concerns (even if not raising anything else!)

Riff - I understand your point of view - it is a variation on there being no Mr Right, just Mr Right Now. My argument is that it is perfectly possible to smell the roses and still see the greenfly.

Do not misunderstand me. I am not "sneering" at the euphoric heady rush of first infatuation, I am merely pointing out that unrealistically high expectations lead to a great deal more heartache than accepting that people are not perfect in the first place.

Old and past it said...

"People expect to marry for love. Not only that, people expect to stay in love, effortlessly, to have their emotional and physical needs met, to share the housework, to have 2.4 children, to have holidays, a good car and to have an orgasm a day, at least."

A good car counts for a lot, and it is by far the easiest of this list to achieve. It may not save your marriage, but at least you can make your escape in it ;-)

Riff Dog said...

No, that's not my point of view at all.

My view is that there often is a Mr Right. And running away from Mr. Right Now, just because he seems too good to be true, is silly.

In fact, it may turn out that Mr. Right Now is also Mr. Right! Why not? What rule is there that says a guy who's great in the sack (right now) can't also be a great husband 20 years from now?

Don't get me wrong, I agree with you overall point, as expressed in your first three paragraphs. Many people have insane views of what life owes them. But your last four paragraphs don't support that point. They're just more or less random jabs and vague condemnations of sex bloggers.

What bothered me, and prompted me to comment, was that you poo-poo Mr Wonderful, saying in a couple months he'll be Mr. Shithead. Yes, it's totally possible that he will.

But so what? Are you saying women should all avoid Mr. Wonderfuls because they're too good to be true? Or too good for them?

Or are you saying they should refrain from calling a boyfriend "Mr. Wonderful" because that's too much praise for him? After all, ladies, he's gonna fuck up later!!! (Wagging finger) Oooooo, you just wait and see!!!

Luka said...

Old and Past It - yes, you're right. I could have also added a dog to that list, along with the 2.4 children, which again is easier to achieve and much more likely to give endless unconditional love.

Riff Dog - oh, my bad. I interpreted your assertion that while Mr or Mrs Wonderful may eventually leave but for today you'll smell your roses and fuck the hell out of your lover as the virtual equivalent of the "Mr Right Now" viewpoint.

You seem to have misunderstood the point I am making. I am not saying "Mr Wonderful"s should be avoided or that no one should use the term on a boyfriend (that last claim was just bizarre!) I thought I had been clear that I was addressing both sexes, as unrealistic expectations are not gender specific.

What I am saying is that we need to keep a sense of perspective. Both Mr Wonderful and Mr Shithead are extremes which only exist when the bar is set too high. That is the crux of my post - that there *is* no perfect lover, there is only Mr or Mrs Doing Their Best.

When you accept that people are fallible and that even Mr or Mrs Wonderfuls can forget anniversaries, drink too much or lose their temper then you're far *less* likely to label them Mr or Mrs Shithead or Mr or Mrs Wankpants when they turn out to be mere mortals after all.

*Thats* the point I am making.

female libido supplement said...

For me there's only ms playful, sometimes I wishes a nice woman with low demands, but its a bit hard to search where to find one, enough for that maybe I need to lay them all down and figure it out for myself.

Luka said...

Female Libido Supplement - I'm not sure where you'd find many nice women with low demands. Even the nicest woman will want chocolate, an orgasm and the washing up taking care of from time to time.