He Said / She Said – The Male Ego

A few nights ago a favored reader of mine wrote “Dear Womenfolk, there is no such thing as ‘the fragile male ego’.”

Of course, I promptly burst out laughing…and a few other women joined in. I’m sorry, what now? There’s no what?!

Mr. Panama, being the straightforward guy that he is, wrote me an email to expand on his tweet. I decided to turn it into a “He Said/She Said” post (yes, I have his permission). It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these posts, so here’s how it goes: he says something; I say something about what he’s said. What he says is in regular text, my responses are in italics. Not that complicated, right? When you’ve read both sides, add your voice in the comments.

Let’s go…

He Said…

Before I wrote that tweet, you were honestly one of the first people to come to mind as someone who is most likely ‘doing it right’. The reason I believe men don’t have a fragile ego is because look at the world.

Uhmmmmm…what about it? (*snickers*)

If we did we wouldn’t be playing sports, writing books, directing movies, etc. all on a far greater scale than women.

Scale is a numbers thing. Just because more men are doing it, doesn’t necessarily mean they’re doing it well. Really, you’re going to use this argument? McEnroe doesn’t have a fragile ego? Google John McEnroe tantrum and see what comes up! Writing books? Every writer I have ever met has feared putting out work for fear of criticism. If directors didn’t have fragile egos, there would be no such thing as “final cut”.

How is this not fragile? Honey…oh honey please….

We get critique and internalize criticism all the time and are fine dealing with, at the very least the well adjusted males can.

Internalization of feelings is the exact opposite of well-adjusted. Internalization does NOT mean “strong and silent type”…it means “man on the verge of a nervous breakdown”…

I know you and your girlfriends have probably criticized men and they were taken a back by what you said. Probably reacted poorly to various extents. And this is why you think we have a fragile ego correct?


From personal experience, and from conversations with women it’s been things like knowing we have to diminish certain aspects of our personality because we know the man – ahem, fragile ego – in question feel “out shined”, “outsmarted” or “out-earned”  (direct quotes).

My personal example: I have a pretty extensive vocabulary (my boss calls me loquacious) and I have consciously used synonyms to the words I would normally use because certain egos “don’t like how smart (I) am” (this is a direct quote). I personally don’t bother with massaging anyone’s ego anymore…if you don’t understand what I’m saying, you might as well stop talking to me.

The problem is women don’t know how to criticize men when they are or could be romantically intertwined. The root of the problem stems from the fact that your gender largely likes to god up the men they are with.

What the fuck? Admiration, adoration, love, desire…these are the words I think of when I reflect on the men I’ve been “romantically entwined with. “God up?” Whoa whoa whoa…no. I have YET to put a man on a pedestal…hell I don’t even think I’ve even referred to a man a “sexual god”! I’m an atheist! How am I going to attribute god like qualities to the mere mortal that shares my bed?! How— no , ladies, you’re going to have to help me with this point in the comments. I can’t.

So when they finally do say something to us, regardless of how it’s said, it’s like being shell shocked because she has previously been making you believe how great you are. Of course people are going to react adversely if the only things you’ve been saying about them were how perfect they were.

Because I’ve never done this whole “god up” thing, I’m at a loss. I give everyone the straight goods. So if you’re doing great, I’m going to say you’re doing great. If you’re acting like a bloody idiot…I’m going to call you an idiot. I don’t care who you are. Trust me, even Mama HLBB has been called a bloody idiot when she’s acted like one.

I don’t understand how praise and criticism can be defined in such extremes. What about constructive criticism? Measured praise? Why is it that praise equals a pedestal?

It doesn’t help that the majority of these criticisms don’t come from a place where you’re trying to build them up. Instead it’s lashing out.

Really…? REALLY? I read this line three times before posting. Really? I think I need an example. Any fragile egos out there wanna give me one?

The reason you came to mind first is because I think of you to overall be an honest and forthright person enough that you don’t engage in this type of behavior. So guys are hopefully better equipped when the relationship with you continues or when they move on to the next one.

The first thing that came to mind when I read this was, “shit, every man who has ever been involved with me (on a serious level) I have made cry…” Heh. But seriously, the ego is what makes us all human. The ego is what seeks positive reinforcement. The ego seeks praise. The ego does not like criticism. The ego does not want to be told anything other than how great they are. (and yes, I bloody well have an ego…) 

For those who wear their egos on their sleeves, they have no choice but to render it fragile. The most fragile internalize it rather than question the source of the criticism and try to understand, counter or overcome it. A healthy ego would try to understand and decide if they want to overcome it, or defend it (to quote @maxfab, “I’m the star of my own show and my shit is at the top of the ratings”).

The fragile ego? Well, the fragile ego throws a tantrum and retreats to a corner.

That’s my take darlin’s…now it’s your turn. In a nod to my boy Hey Homee, I think I’ll post my own “song of the day” to go with this post:

(I had to, besides…I actually love this song)


6 thoughts on “He Said / She Said – The Male Ego

  1. I have a general rule about not getting too deep into conversations revolving sexual politics between men and women because women almost always have an averse reaction to criticism/attempts to start discussion about certain hypocrisies of the dating world. I don’t define praise and criticism to either extremes, that’s just how they’re generally exhibited though.

    Back when I was in school, I used to help fellow classmates all the time with their work and I never had a guy break out into a fit because I said something he wrote was sub-par or that he did a problem wrong.

    • Okay now the example you’ve given is in the eye of the beholder.

      “A hissy fit” it sounds like you’re attributing this kind of outburst to women only. I have seen my fair share of hissy fits thrown by grown-ass men. I ask you this: if you said to a guy that something he had written was sup par and then he never asked for your feedback, did you think that was because his writing improved based on that criticism OR because his bruised ego didn’t want to ask you again…?

      He just internalized the critique, yes?

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