Does my boyfriend see my mothering tendencies as caring or controlling?
The most wonderful date that Colin and I ever went on was just two months after we started seeing each other. We sat in a plush red booth at The Carlyle hotel in Manhattan, listened to a jazz trio, talked, laughed, and sipped champagne. Afterward, we strolled down Madison Avenue arm in arm: he in a crisp jacket and tie, me in a little black dress and a pair of Gucci heels that I had gotten for free at a publicity event, but had never before had the occasion to wear.
Back at his apartment, I was impressed and delighted to see the dishes washed, the living room tidied up, everything in its place. I had long ago vowed not to date a man I'd have to take care of, or—to use a word that should never exist in a romantic relationship, but often does—a man I'd have to mother. I remembered vividly how, in the neighborhood where I grew up, some of the wives had doted creepily on their husbands. They would clean up after them, worry over their toothaches and weight gains and appointments. On the rare occasions when these women went out on their own, they'd even praise their husbands for "babysitting" the kids.
The whole dynamic terrified me. It seemed demeaning to both parties, and looked like a slippery slope to boot: perhaps these women had gladly babied their men when they were just dating. But now that they had actual children to take care of, was a man-boy husband really so appealing? Why Women Aren't Attracted To Their Sons
Looking around Colin's apartment that night, I told myself this was what it was all about. Here was the most fully evolved man I'd met so far: funny, well-read, brilliant with words, willing to engage me in feminist debates, and apparently pretty darn good at keeping house, too. At last, I'd found the perfect partner.
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