Despite efforts by some elements of society to convince us that women and men are basically similar – and any apparent differences are due to the ruthless domination of the patriarchal society – it is abundantly clear that guys and gals are from two different planets. (Just ask John Gray, who made a fortune from his wildly popular Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus books and seminars.) While I do support many of the initiatives of feminism over the past decades, and I get a kick of the rash of recent films depicting busty women acting like men by kicking butt, toting automatic weapons, and blowing things up, I want you to know that the minds of men do not work like yours. Not even close.
In his book, Understanding Guys, A Guide for Teenage Girls, author Michael Gurian explains that men – especially teens – are truly dominated by testosterone, the hormone of aggression. Females, in contrast, experience high levels of the bonding hormones, estrogen and progesterone. Guys, in general, exhibit significant differences from gals, including the urge for quick release of tension, repression of feelings, dominating behaviors, outbursts of aggression, delayed emotional reactions, immediate problem solving, and many fewer words. Gurian also notes significant differences in the workings of the male and female brains, including greater overall activity in the female brain, and he helps us understand how the survival behaviors of cave men and women are translated into modern living.
As the old saying goes, “women want relationships; men want sex.” This information tempts us to conclude there are only two kinds of guys: those who are hot to snatch your bootie, and those who are not. And the majority of guys are in the first bucket. While I won’t bicker with that viewpoint, it is too crass and simplistic, even for me. Surely, there are many types of guys on a planet of four billion men. I bet you can’t remember any more than five, so I’ve narrowed it down a bit for you. I’ll be impressed if you can remember these five. To get down to five, we have to restrict our focus to ways guys relate to women. In other words, from the perspective of how they think about and relate to women, we can classify men into five categories. As you will see, there are a few sub classifications within the basic five. Yes, of course, I am oversimplifying the topic. I’m a guy, remember? If you disagree with me, fine. On the other hand, knowing these five types of guys can save you a lot of time, effort, and heartbreak.
The Basic Five Guys
As I see it, there are five basic types of guys. Bear this in mind and you’ll be able to see through the smoke screens and navigate the subtleties, if there are any. The five types of guys (based on how they relate to women) we are going to explore are
- The Guy’s Guy
- Mr. Shy
- The Ladies Man
- The Truly Good Guy
Today, we will talk about Narcissus.
Did you learn about Narcissus in Greek Mythology class? He was a strikingly beautiful young man who fell helplessly in love with his own reflection in a stream. He loved no one but himself. (As the story goes, he fell into the stream and drowned.) For our purposes, think of this first type of guy as “Mr. It’s-All-About-Me.” Simply put, he is self-absorbed, and you’ll have trouble believing just how much. While this might sound like a complete turn-off, Narcissus has many attractive qualities. He is driven. He wants to be somebody. He wants power and recognition. He is polished and articulate. He looks good. He works hard to earn the appreciation and envy of others. He appears to have his life together, and he seems like a good “catch.”
He sees you as a reflection of his special wonderfulness. He wants you on his arm because you make him look good; you add to his attractiveness. He will be gracious and charming to you, because he sees himself as a gracious and charming guy. He wants you to love him because it proves (once again, for all to see) he is lovable, even irresistible. Surprisingly, this type of relationship can last a long time, especially if you are good at making him the center of attention.
Some folks will tell you this type of man is very insecure, and therefore he is fixated on making himself successful enough to be lovable. He is driven by a harsh and relentless internal Judge. They say he pretends to be better than everyone else to make up for his deep feelings of inferiority. I suppose this is true in many cases, but not all. I firmly believe that a fair number of self-absorbed guys really do think they are better than everyone else. Each has convinced himself that his view of the world is the correct one, and the way he lives is always the right way. He is very sure of his perspective, even to the point of being a self-righteous bigot.
It is easy enough to tell the difference between these two guys – the secure and the insecure. Watch how they respond to criticism. The insecure Narcissus will be defensive and resistant. He will bristle and might argue or attack. The Narcissus who does not entertain any self-doubts will merely raise an eyebrow and shrug off any unkind remarks, believing that the attacker is a sadly misinformed loser.
In both cases, the main point to accept about Narcissus is his heart is already taken. His loving gaze is turned inward. If you support his relentless need and efforts to glorify his “self,” you can win his lifelong loyalty. Yet, at the end of the day, it will never be about you. It will always be about Narcissus. In the parlance of literature, some women are happy to play the “foil” to their man’s leading role, and thus a Narcissus appears perfect for them. In their latter days, after many years with Narcissus, such a woman might feel a vague sense of emptiness, as she realizes her man never did develop any emotional intimacy with her. We can only hope they raised a family together, and the children give her the reciprocal love connection she needed – or she had a clandestine but fulfilling long term relationship with her fitness trainer or pool man.
I should mention a variation of Narcissus, which lacks most of the admirable traits of the fellow we just discussed. He is charming and attractive, maybe, but this guy is a freeloader, a Sponge. He is self-absorbed, but he is not driven to achieve anything of merit. He simply wants you to take care of him, while he self-actualizes and does whatever he pleases. Once such a guy latches onto you, he can be difficult to shake loose. How can you tell if a Sponge is trying to attach to you? Easy, if you find yourself paying on your dates to the places and activities he likes, watch out! If he asks to park on your couch for a few days because he has nowhere else to go, show him the door – regardless of the story he tells you. If his male friends won’t take him in, there must be a good reason. If he says he needs time to “find” himself, help him find the door out of your life.
There is another variation of Narcissus, which is the most dangerous of all the types of guys. Let’s call him the Dominator. He is very attentive to you, especially in the beginning. He might lavish attention and gifts on you. But he gets more and more controlling as time goes on. He wants to decide how you dress, what you order in a restaurant, when you visit your friends, who your friends should be, and on and on. He says he just wants the best for you. He might tell you how important you are to him and how much he loves you, but you will feel suffocated. This guy can become abusive. He can wear down your self confidence to the point where you start believing his destructive lies.
My sincere advice is to get away from the Dominator as early and quickly as possible, even if you have to lie and tell him you have a highly contagious venereal disease and you don’t want to give it to him. If things start to get out of hand, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1.800.787.3224 or check out their website http://www.thehotline.org/.
As you can surmise, all types of Narcissus are my least favorite guys for you, despite the security and status they can provide. You’ll know you are hooked up with Narcissus if you find yourself saying, “He’s nearly perfect in every way, but I just don’t have a feeling of connection with him.” It is difficult to give up on Narcissus, because the future could be so bright, if only…