Surprise (Or Not)! Men Are Spoiled!

Lately I’ve had reason to understand (via Six Tests to Determine If He’s Mr. Right and To Single Women: Men. Don’t. Change) that women find men as mysterious as I know men find women. That this is true comes as a bit of surprise to me. I always thought that trying to figure out a man was like trying to figure out a banana. (Wait. Yellow; delicious for awhile; ultimately becomes something slimy that causes people to trip and fall. So, that metaphor won’t do. No, it won’t. It won’t! Stop it!)

So. Men. Let’s think about them/us.

Okay, so here’s one thing about men that I think women sometimes fail to understand: Men are really, really spoiled.

Hey, it’s not like we like being spoiled. It’s actually quite awful, because so often it amounts to the truth that we’re almost congenitally incapable of being satisfied. We always want more, different, bigger, better. What is is never enough for us. You try having your cake and eating it all the time. It’s exhausting.

There are four Humongous Reasons that we manly types tend to be more spoiled than last month’s bananas: The world, hormones, parents, and women generally. Let’s look real quick at why/how each of those four conspires to make every man in the world feel that, when push comes to shove, he is the center of the known universe.

The World. As you may be aware, humans are the dominant species on our planet. (Yes, dolphins are swimming Einsteins and make perfectly adequate TV stars. But only humans can make pizza and operate blimps. So we win.) Males are the bigger and stronger of the two basic models in which humans come. Which means male humans live at the very tippy-tippy top of the food chain. We’re Number One! And we feel that being number one entitles us to … well, have whatever we want, whenever we want, however we want. It’s not a pretty thing — and it’s unlikely that for any given guy it’s even a conscious thing. But it’s there. Being a guy means inheriting the emotional legacy that comes with knowing that since time immemorial Your Specific Kind, through sheer physical prowess, has utterly dominated the only world humans have ever known. That means something to a guy. It means that, just by virtue of being a guy, he’s more entitled than the King of England. (Hey, hey! No queen jokes!)

Hormones. Scientists have long been aware of the fact that the introduction of testosterone into the bloodstream invariably transforms perfectly normal people into people who enjoy World Wide Wrestling and smashing cans on their foreheads. Sadly, scientists don’t know what to do about the effects of testosterone – and, being mostly men, don’t much care. We enjoy producing testosterone, is why. Testosterone is fun; it’ s fun having hair on your back and just knowing that you could have been a pro athlete. Testosterone is what allows a man to do important things, like stare at a car engine with a bunch of other men and pretend he knows a carburetor from a blender. Without testosterone, a man grunting appreciatively at a car engine would have to break right down and ask for a hug. What fun is that? (Besides, hugging wrinkles your clothes.) The ugly side of testosterone, though, is that it makes you physically and emotionally aggressive. And the whole point of being aggressive is that you want something — and you want whatever you want now. No matter how we manage to mitigate it through Proper Socialization Skills and Not Wanting To Get Arrested, at a basic, hormonal level men are driven to want, want, and want some more. And being driven by your wants is the very definition of spoiled.

Parents. I would be the last person on earth to suggest this, but I’ve heard it’s just possible that, in some very select instances, some mothers tend to spoil their sons (if for no other reason than that they love them and want them to have everything they want), and that some fathers also spoil their sons, because (being men) it’s difficult for us not to see our sons primarily as Mini-Me’s. But those could just be rumors. I could do the research to find out for sure, but I don’t want to because I’m hungry and want someone to feed me now. And besides, my thinking something is true is just the same as it being true. So there.

Women. Women do tend to spoil their men. Women by nature nurture; men by nature enjoy being nurtured (while, of course, pretending we don’t). Women are passive and receptive; men are Action Oriented and …. givers. The bottom line? A lot of women, for a lot of reasons, spoil their men. And all men know it. And they like it. And they want it to happen to them, too. Most can’t imagine why it wouldn’t.

Anyway, of course these are all gross (and even offensive, I know) simplifications of necessarily complex innerpersonal dynamics.

Still. It’s been my humble experience that some or even a lot of women just do not get men. And one of the things they don’t get about men is that men are deeply spoiled. Or, rather, women get that men are spoiled (it’s not like we ever try to hide it or anything, is it?) — they just don’t get why men are spoiled.

So that’s why: Our relationship to the world, our parents, and women generally — that, plus Hormones Gone Wild – tend to make we men feel, in our very bones, like … like there’s a reason that we and the King of the Beasts both have truly outstanding hair, and both enjoy having our meals brought to us by our women.

This is (still) a man’s world. And men know it. And it makes them feel that it should be a man’s world.

And that sense of entitlement can be the cause of a whooooooole lot of trouble. As you know. As we all know, whether we admit it or not.

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About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. John is a pastor ordained by The Progressive Christian Alliance. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. And don't forget to sign up for his mucho awesome monthly newsletter.

  • http://skerrib.blogspot.com Skerrib

    Fair enough, but how does a wife who genuinely loves her husband deal with the spoiled part it in a way that is still honoring and respectful of the man…THAT is the question.

    But not for me; I never deal with anything like this. Those poor saps and their interpersonal woes…

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Yeah, yeah! Whew. Thanks to your Alert Commenting, I went back and added to the end of the post what I'd originally forgotten: "Next time: What a woman can DO about the fact that her man is spoiled." THANKS!!

  • http://skerrib.blogspot.com Skerrib

    Eastern time zone + RSS feeds = neurotic-blog-checking-enabled

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    How totally funny. Well, it sure works for me. I love it that you RSS my blog. I mean…obviously.

  • Arnette

    In your banana analogy, you left out the "Green and Totally Useless" stage where it would be best to wait until they were "Yellow and Delicious". Of course we women don't wait and a lot of us miss the Y & D stage and slip right into slimy! That was bad, huh?

    Bitter? NAH! Not me!

    Seriously…we spoil you in hopes that one day we, too, will get spoiled. Unfortunately my day has not yet arrived.

  • Angela

    Well, John, I've gotta disagree with you on this one.

    Okay, if you're talking the male dominant, "your role, my role" psyche of many Christian men and their women, I guess I can see that, yes, men are spoiled by the women who allow that.

    However, I am a Christian working woman married to a Christian working man. We share responsibilities, and no, my husband is not spoiled. We both work outside the home. When we are home, he does the yard work; I wash the car (he enjoys the out-of-doors; I enjoy a clean car). He does the cooking; I wash the dishes (he enjoys cooking, which I hate; I like to see things cleaned up). He does the grocery shopping; I clean the house (because he cooks, it's important for him to know what's in the pantry).

    We each have different interests and abilities. It's a partnership.

  • http://www.sheppardministries.com Greta Sheppard

    Loved the banana metaphor! Spoken only like a man could speak it! As the old adage goes: “It takes one to know one”. If a woman wrote those words a century or two ago she would have been hung upside down in the market square as a lesson to other women to not speak against the heirarchy of the dominant male. You are so good, John! So real! So upfront! My head is buzzing on how to balance your words on men with something on we women….’ cause we, for sure, could not operate without our emotions! You think you guys have on up on us when it comes to hormones? Well, sometimes we don’t even understand ourselves, especially when we are into pms-ing. (You single guys won’t understand what pms-ing is all about.)

    At any rate, John, I am sure all the ladies are relieved at last to hear a man confess that men are spoiled! And somehow we ladies manage to cater to it….except when we’re pms-ing!

    Greta

  • http://www.sheppardministries.com Greta Sheppard

    Loved the banana metaphor! Spoken only like a man could speak it! As the old adage goes: “It takes one to know one”. If a woman wrote those words a century or two ago she would have been hung upside down in the market square as a lesson to other women to not speak against the heirarchy of the dominant male. You are so good, John! So real! So upfront! My head is buzzing on how to balance your words on men with something on we women….’ cause we, for sure, could not operate without our emotions! You think you guys have on up on us when it comes to hormones? Well, sometimes we don’t even understand ourselves, especially when we are into pms-ing. (You single guys won’t understand what pms-ing is all about.)

    At any rate, John, I am sure all the ladies are relieved at last to hear a man confess that men are spoiled! And somehow we ladies manage to cater to it….except when we’re pms-ing!

    Greta

  • Billy B

    Can’t speak for all men, but being single, male and many years past a mother’s apron spoiled is not near the top of my list of things to work on. But, tomorrow if someone wants to bring me another slice of pie while I sit on the couch, I won’t complain :-)

  • kellsta

    I think Arnette has got it, we spoil in hopes of being spoiled, I mean it comes down to treating other’s as you wish to be treated, if we all did that, it surely would be a different food chain I think. :)

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    That “green and totally useless” bit was FUNNY. I do with I’d thought of it! Too good.

    But, yeah, if women want to spoil us men because they believe that one day we men will, in turn, spoil them, then … then I, for one, absolutely support them continuing to believe that.

  • http://www.becomeasurrogatemom.com Vijay A

    Nice post. I agree with the writer.

  • debz

    I agree with Angela… almost. i still think men are spoilt. I have a similar relationship to what she described (as similar as it can get when ur not yet married) and he’s spoilt (I know it) and I’m spoilt too :) We’re both just spoilt by each other!

  • http://maymee.multiply.com MM

    I’ve always known men are spoiled. It’s just that most of them don’t want to admit it and if they do, they won’t admit that they are THAT spoiled. Just a bit. :D

  • http://witorwisdom.wordpress.com/ washedandforgiven

    MM… I admit I’m spoiled! yes… I’m THAT spoiled. I have a mother who lets me get away with all sorts of laziness, a couple of grandparents who do anything I want (almost), a “sister” who also lets me get away with all sorts of laziness, and (at the risk of incriminating myself to any of my friends who might read this) a girl who treats me like a kind-hearted king, when I’m really nothing more than a lazy slob who blogs and plays computer games too much. Yeah, I’m THAT spoiled.

    However, women are spoiled too. You need to do a post about that, John. EQUAL RIGHTS FOR WOMEN!!!

  • Hjordes

    Arnette says: "Seriously…we spoil you in hopes that one day we, too, will get spoiled. Unfortunately my day has not yet arrived."

    Here is a woman who knows women. What a hearbreaking statement.

    My fiance spoiled me with love for two years. The day after we were married he came out carrying his huge laundry basket and tried to hand it to me with the statement, "We're married now."

    Talk about cutting to the chase! He was so serious and it was so…Ug! Me, Man!… that I couldn't stop laughing. That issue was solved then and there, but without a sense of humor these past 20 years would have been (mostly) a burden instead of (mostly) a joy.

  • http://blog.360.yahoo.com/skerrib Kerri B.

    Hee hee…laundry…the Great Laundry Mutiny of 2002 is legendary in my house.

    I hear what Angela's saying…but I think couples can be equal-types and still have a husband with spoiled tendencies. But as I said before I wouldn't know about such things. You poor, poor people with your imperfect lives and relational issues…

    No but seriously…it's not that my husband minds splitting the duties. In theory. Actually, he does a pretty fantastic job in practice, too…it's just that his default is the 'king of the house' persona, so sometimes he needs a gentle reminder. Or a kick in the pants; either way.

  • wilma

    whew! Stir the pot and pass the gravy.

  • Nick

    I must admit..Momma spolied me growing up…Couldn't get away from that cooking…:-)…But you know what..?…Because of how Momma spoiled me, she also taught me how to spoil women in a Godly fashion..:-)..Thanks MOM !

  • Amy_DaughterOfTheKin

    I really really really need to know where the balance of being respectful to my husband, loving on him with his love language (acts of service) but not going too far with it? I give and I give and I get overwhelmed. I can usually go to God for more energy to keep giving, however when my husband comes to me and says basically, "the job your doing is still not good enough", I break down. I don't know how to explain to him his sense of entitlement is really getting in the way of our marriage. He was the baby with 2 big sisters and a mom who SPOILED him rotten. Now, he expects the same from me. I want to treat him like the king, and I know that in the past when I'm able to do that I'm treated like the queen in return. However, his expectations are so unreasonable that I'm not physically, emotionally or spiritually able to always rise to that level. I really really need the next article John!!!

  • http://skerrib.blogspot.com Skerrib

    Amy, kick him in the butt!

    No, not really. I’m waiting for the next article too, ’cause I’m curious to see John’s thoughts on the matter. But in the meantime I’ve read a lot of “Boundaries in Marriage” by Cloud & Townsend (who we already know are pretty much my favorite authors). There IS a balance, and you CAN be supportive and respectful of your husband without running yourself into the ground. It has changed my marriage…when I serve my husband, I can do it with a happy heart, which no matter what anyone says, husbands can detect and it IS important. And sometimes I tell him ‘no,’ very lovingly and respectfully. And sometimes he’s OK with it, and sometimes he’s not…but like I said it means that when I say “yes” I can mean it and say it gladly.

    This is on good days, when I do it ‘right’…of course there are the other days when I screw it all up…but that’s par for the course, too.

  • Pingback: Why I Prefer Not to Give Advice to Women with Jerk Husbands « Suddenly Christian

  • Joy

    Hi John!

    has you ever come across a 1983 book, 'what do women want?' – some parts are definitely out of date now, but it points out something akin to what you're saying (I think!)…

    They claim (the writers) that men generally grow up having their needs met (they assume a functioning family with present mothers, nb.date of writing)… they don't have to ASK for help or food or sympathy – they get it automatically, so expect it (cf your idea of 'entitlement').

    The writers claim that women grow up being taught that to be loved and get their needs met, they need to be nice and meet everyone else's needs. This mostly 'backfires' as men are happy to receive all that good stuff and it perpetuates the idea that it's 'right' that their needs are met constantly. If a woman asks for her needs to be met she is being 'needy' 'demanding' 'nagging'… Men generally don't even have to ask.

    Your comment-er above (Annette) was actually spot-on with the feelings of many women – they give often what they would like to receive – so watch out men for women who are thoughtful, put your needs first, get you little gifts, are gentle and loving… chances are that's exactly what they'd like from their partners. The way women give is often a kind of 'sign' as to what they'd like to receive.

  • Part_of_ the_univers

    I appreciate this post, but offering insight only goes so far. I'm surprised you don't use your great insight further to help the people caught in this bind of ineffably entitled/consistently frustrated.

    I'd be careful to condone this mentality too much. Someone mentioned that we women tend to spoil our guys in the hopes of reciprocal action, which never manifests. You are all for women believing in this – essentially false – belief. Promote self-deception for your own gain, eh? Not very pretty.

    So, some men are spoiled. So what? We're all human, and we all have needs. It makes you a better human to get outside of your own selfish wants and give to someone else, make them happy for a moment or two. I actually think it's up to the more enlightened men to set an example for the ones who revel in their entitlement a bit too much. That's a huge step towards improving the relationships that are clearly out-of-balance.


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