Women get a bad rap for trying to “change” the man in their life – mold him into something he’s not, or was never meant to be. Sneak attack him into her own version of perfect – a celebrity, maybe, or the ex-boyfriend she’s still hung up on.
But news flash, there aren’t many of us out there who want to dress you like a One Direction boy bander. And if we’re not over our ex, that’s an issue that will probably rear its ugly head soon enough. And I suppose I’d hope that you wouldn’t be going after a girl like that (i.e., an immature 15-year old or stuck-at-15-year-old) in the first place, anyway.
If we want you to “change” at all, it’s both 1) with good intentions and 2) for the better.
Because I’ve never heard a girlfriend tell me about a new man in her life, “He’s great, but I wish he was more anti-Semitic.”
As for clothes, any advice we offer or suggestions we make really do come from a good place. Scout’s honor. Especially when a man’s personal style isn’t all that well-developed, a woman may jump in and offer advice because she feels she can make herself useful. If I’m starting a weight training program and you have been hitting the gym since high school, wouldn’t it make sense for me to ask you for help? And if I wasn’t even thinking about starting an exercise program, but you loved me and thought it would improve my overall health, and self-esteem, wouldn’t you recommend it?
So let’s say your girlfriend, or your wife – a woman you love, a woman who adores you, who wants the best for you, who has probably seen you at both your best and at your worst - says “Honey, I was thinking, why don’t we go suit shopping for you before Mike and Sara’s wedding next month?”
Is your response, “LEAVE ME BE, DEVIL WOMAN! This is the way God made me – in a Falcons jersey and cargo shorts I just smeared with Doritos dust!”
No, right? Probably not. Or at least, I hope not.
Because here’s the thing. It’s not really that women want you to change (not the good ones anyway); they just want to help you be the best possible version of yourself.
At least, that’s what I do every day on Style Girlfriend. I’m not trying to get any guy to conform to my specific ideal of style. Of course, there are stand-by’s you know I love, like a chukka boot, or a suit with brown shoes, but everything I talk about here is meant to help you develop your own personal style out there in the real world. I hope you feel encouraged to go out and try more after reading SG – that’s it. Just try.
The effort you put into discovering what you like and what you don’t, and seeing the reactions you get when you start to grow your personal style, should (hopefully) be enough of a confidence boost for you to continue the education on your own. I’m not trying to change you; you’ve already started that process just by showing up here ready to learn and engage in conversation. And I love hearing you share your successes and figure out your failures.
It’s sort of like how when we come home from the office and talk to you about a problem we’re having with a co-worker. You jump into action mode, right? Why don’t you take that person out for coffee and discuss the issue in neutral territory? Could you talk to your supervisor? Is there a chance you could ask to be moved to another project? Are you trying to “change” us? No, you want to help. You mean well.
So if we drop by your office and notice everyone’s in business casual, and you’re in casual casual, we might point that out (nicely) over dinner. And suggesting you swap jeans for khakis a couple days a week could help your career in the long run.
I suppose I just take exception to the notion that any woman who wants to help is trying to “change you” and steal your manhood – a sea of Delilah’s just looking for our Samson.
Because if we love you – really love you – we just want the rest of the world to see what we see: how awesome you are, how handsome you look when you get all spiffed up. And we want to help you understand why it matters.