Superman Syndrome

Big boys don’t cry — if you want a job done right you have to do it yourself — survival of the fittest — the boy with the most toys wins — a real man solves his own problems and behind every good man is a good woman. Young boys are told a lot of things growing up. Stereotypes are created at a whim to please society and the world around us.

“Superman Syndrome” is the fallacy that a man ain’t worth two cents if he’s not a good provider and problem solver. Ever hear the expression, “I wonder who wears the pants in that family?” It stems from ignorance bred by the idea that a real man is head of his family and makes all the final decisions. And it’s that ignorance that turns young boys into men who think every time their family, their wife has a problem he’s expected to be Superman and solve the problem.

Real men solve problems, that’s what we’re told our entire lives. That’s why I think men get confused when our mates tell us about their day and the Superman in us doesn’t look to listen but listens to fix, to solve, to save. Most men don’t understand that women don’t need saving any more. I don’t know if they ever did. Women just want to be heard. Not solved or fixed, just heard, understood. Nothing has meaning till we give it meaning. A problem is not a problem till we label it one.

I don’t know what women do when they sit around and share ideas and talk. But I do know what men do when they group together. They tell war stories. Battles won, problems solved, questions answered. We puff ourselves up, I think not so much out of ego but maybe to help each other in garnering a little more confidence to take on another day.

You see, deep down we know we aren’t Supermen and we can’t solve all the problems, but that doesn’t stop us from dreaming. Maybe this article is more for men to stop labeling every thing out of a woman’s mouth as a problem and stop trying to fix it, or maybe it’s for women to understand that when we don’t have something to fix we feel useless. I don’t know how to make men better listeners but if I could make one request, maybe once in a while when you do have a problem to solve, even though you can probably solve it yourself, you can be Lois Lane and let us be Superman. Because even if we can’t save the world, we still want to be heroes.

by Fred Cuellar the Diamond Guy®