compromise, settling and Fixer-Upper Syndrome

originally written October 24, 2012

I was driving over to my brother’s house Monday morning to babysit my niece and nephew and I stumbled across one of the ” a guy and a girl” morning shows that currently proliferate corporate radio, but i digress.

Anyway, DJ guy poses the question to the female listeners – something along the lines of “did your man mature fashionably or did you have to step in and dress him”  – or something even less eloquent.  DJ woman tells about how her husband used to be a terrible dresser – citing a ratty college sweatshirt (for a school he never attended) that she eventually made him get rid of.  DJ Woman talks of this as if this is some landmark victory in the battle of the sexes.

Having been marries and also in previous relationships, I know that this kind of thing goes on.  What is it about  women that they feel that they need to take a “Mr. Maybe” – a man who may be not-quite-perfect in their eyes – and turn him in to what they want him to be?  perhaps these same women were discouraged from taking vocational classes in high school and really just want “fixer-upper” projects.  I honestly feel that if a male called into this radio show and said that he tried to get his wife to dress more provocatively, he would be demonized as a sexist, a chauvinist, and seen as trying to crush his wife sense of individuality.

A great example of the fixer-upper syndrome is the “bad boy”.  it has been said time and again, by thinkers far more intelligent and eloquent than I, women who are attracted to “bad boys” are so because they (the women)  wants to be THE ONE.  I mean THE ONE as  in the one women who will show him the error of his ways and inspire him to change.   In this scenario, the reforming bad boy will be indebted to woman for everything he  has now become.    Thankfully, it seems that as women mature, they come to realize that they Bad Boy Crusade is a futile one. This is around the same time that the less-than-beautiful-people and the nerds have the last laugh.

But does the fixer-upper syndrome every really die?  It would seem, from listening to DJ girl, that the battles simply take on a smaller scale.  Some would argue that the Fixer Upper Syndrome is simply a case of a woman trying to make her man live up to his full potential.  Maybe this is true to some degree; but it seems to me that too many people are willing to settle for “Mr/ Ms Maybe”  instead of  “Mr/Ms. Right”.  Is the relationship landscape so bad for women out there that they’re willing to settle for less than what they want – or worse, what they truly deserve?

Of course, there are those  who will chalk all this up to the ramblings of a soon-to-be-divorced man who’s still a little hurt and a lot angry.  By no means is this post meant to be thought of as “women bashing”; men do the same things. The terrible secret is that most of us are so afraid of being alone that we resign ourselves to compromise; sacrificing what we want for what we think we can get.

I’m done settling for anything less than exactly what I want.  Sure, there are things I’m willing to compromise on – personality quirks that I can live with

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