Thoughts on Men (Blue Valentine)

I saw Blue Valentine and a lot of people have called the film amazing, depressing and real. After having seen the film, I have started to realise why especially men find it so depressing: as Ryan Gosling’s character Dean says, somehow “men are more romantic than women.” Forget bloody chick flicks and all that jazz: when it comes to the real world, it might be men who have a rose-tinted view of love and relationships.

The main trigger for this train of thought was the moment that Dean shouts: “Tell me how I should be. Tell me and I’ll do it”. I can almost guarantee you that every woman who has threatened to walk away from a relationship, which the man still wants to save, has heard this phrase. (That, and: “Fine! Leave!”).

Dean, in essence, is a good man: he holds down a job, loves his wife and daughter and that is enough for him. Cindy, Michelle Williams, is not happy anymore in her relationship and she initially tries to change what she perceives as the problem: her husband. Meanwhile Dean seems to be saying “But I’m doing the best I can.”

It must be hard for guys, women who practically state: “If that is the best you have, you can keep it.”  Not necessarily looking for a better offer either I think, just preferring to be alone than to deal with something that makes their lives difficult.

I don’t think guys get it, they see it as cowardice, giving-up. Most men are fixers but this seems unfair, what more can they do? The bitter men stop trying; will treat a woman badly because what is the point of making an effort if she leaves? What makes women think they are so much better? The good guys are left behind wounded and confused; what else could they have done? What more did she want?

Perhaps it is time to tell young boys what we’ve been telling young girls since the days of feminism: You don’t need another person to make you happy. Then in theory, both parties will stop putting the responsibility for their own happiness on the other. If we then also manage to stop throwing around generalisations along the lines of  ‘women are insufferable and men are incapable’, maybe our relationships will stand a chance.

Still, having said that, it would make a rubbish film. Of course.

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