LIVING WITH WOMEN
 

INTRODUCTION


HARD FACTS TO SWALLOW


I have several uncommon insights which seem to me to be facts, which I find hard to swallow, yet useful, even essential in applying what I have learned so far.


Natural superiority of women


Genetically speaking, bearers of two huge X chromosomes are naturally superior to us with only one X and a "weaselly" Y in each of our 50 billion cells. When only biological, inherited capacities are considered, women begin and continue to exist with significant genetic advantages.


Social favor of feminine values


For good and pragmatic reasons society as now established is primarily structured on natural female values, such as, peaceful cooperation rather than warring competition and many spin-offs of each. This means in practice that while females may easily accept their natural selves and find affirmation in society, males exist without these social advantages. Psychological guilt is predictable for males who choose the accepted mode of repression-for-survival in society, and especially among women.


Genetic servant status of males


Insofar as primal genetics are concerned, maleness is mostly an anomaly--a quirk, if you please, of evolution in its blind quest for successful creaturely replication. Initially all embryos are basically female unless the presence of a Y chromosome kicks some of us over into the male category--with external rather than internal genitals, etc.

I conclude, in broadest perspective, that lesser endowed males have evolved primarily as servants of greater endowed females in our most primal agendas of self-replication. All social and personal values aside, men exist first to "service" in the animal sense of supplying sperm for initiating pregnancy, and then to serve females in the laborious and extended process of bearing and rearing offspring essential to the reproduction of us both.

The more popular and established ideas of genetic equality--men and women as equals, and/or other notions of males as superior (as in most religions and history as recorded by males) are, I reluctantly conclude, largely male illusions, not supported by facts and older, unrecorded history.


Personhood past primary genetics


But older evolution is topped off with younger genes which allow options of personhood beyond primal, pre-conscious directives. Although we are all blindly geared to survive and make babies--with differing-but-complementary roles for mutual success in this un-thinking process, later evolution has also gifted us with the potential for consciousness, and with it the possibility of becoming "selves" which are more than "animal" only.

Gender differences, with their contrasting roles in replication, are "hard-wired"--that is, ingrained in ancient genes operative and perfected long before the evolution of larger brains with expanded "thinking" capacities. But later-to-evolve and still "soft-wired" genes bring added options to us human beings.

We have little choice in basic gender orientations--that is, being male or female; but consciousness opens a door to far wider (and more challenging) options for also becoming "persons" past gender alone. "Personhood" or expanded "selfhood" is always rooted in biological gender; we cannot change facts about XX or XY chromosome differences. But through embraced consciousness we may become "more whole" as persons or selves beyond the directives of older genes alone.

Obviously we do not automatically become "persons" in this expanded sense of the term. Many never "get over" being "just a man" or "only a women"--that is, embrace consciousness and the challenges of selfhood beyond gender only. Still, as best I can tell, seeing and acknowledging this fact is critical in living well with our opposite genders in present society.


Power of emotional identification


Typically, females tend to identify themselves with their "emotional" capacities--that is, inherited, pre-conscious genetic directives rooted in more primal areas of the brain. But males, in contrast, more commonly identify ourselves with our "thinking" capacities emerging from later-to-evolve possibilities for consciousness, and learn early to repress awareness of older "feeling" abilities.

While these differing self-identifications are often pragmatic in established social roles (i.e., cooperating females and competing males), they contain an inherent disadvantage for males, especially in relationships with females--namely, in regard to power differentials. Although many of the so-called "advances" of civilization are based on our "thinking" capacities--that is, reason, logic, etc., powers inherent in "reasoning" are yet to evolve the forcefulness of those long established in "feelings."

Relevant here is the fact that women, self-identified with older "emotions," have more powers naturally available for use in relationships with men who are identified with our later-to-evolve "thinking" abilities. When "feelings" confront "reasons" in arenas of conflict, the former, as most males know well, predictably win every time.

Unless and until a male confronts and deals with this "hard" fact, he remains at another distinct disadvantage in all cross-gender relationships. Emotionally identified females, naturally free from the constraint of word definitions as well as the limitations of logic (i.e., if not this, then that) and rules of reason (i.e., one and one must make two), and moved by long evolved, pre-conscious forces (the literal meaning of e-motions) will predictably "always win" in any conflict with "thinking" identified males.


MALE CHALLENGES


Major male challenges predictably to be confronted in living well with females include the following:


1. Acknowledging the above noted facts of life.


2. Accepting secondary genetic status, without self-deprecation.


3. Seeing female advantages, i.e., genetic and social, without falling into pessimism (poor-little-me), wimpism, or chauvinism--that is, female "superiority" as only a genetic fact, without falling into male "inferiority" with any of its various cloaks.


3. Learning deference with integrity, that is, how to "give in without giving up"; overt submission without loss of face; how to say, "Yes" to her without "No" to oneself; how to win-by-losing (an art most females know well); how to bend without breaking; how to affirm female desires without getting pussy-whipped in the process; flexibility without wimpism.


4. De-motherifying females; decoding shadows of one's birth mother projected onto other females; seeing, i.e., wife as woman without mirror of mother, as in, looking to her for "understanding," "being taken care of," self-affirmation (especially of masculinity), and/or other magical powers which once seemed to exist in the nursery goddess.


5. Chosen romance beyond biological dictations--that is, how to see with mind eyes instead of gene eyes only.


6. Facing "Viagra" temptations and dangers--that is, remaining genetically motivated rather than becoming dependent on modern medicine for success in sexual encounters.


7. Seeing and respecting value differences without self-depreciation; getting over paranoia in gender relationships--that is, "taking personally" things which females "just do naturally"--for example, appearances versus function, as in bed making, closing drawers and cabinets, degrees of cleanliness, getting "down and dirty," etc.


8. Learning to see home as ours versus yours. Ideally, perhaps, separate houses (as well as incomes) with periodic visiting between each would ease challenges inherent in "living together." But since this is rarely possible or feasible, males who grew up with mothers, as we all do more or less, regularly face the temptation to simply see "home" as woman's domain, with perhaps "yard" and "chores" as man's only personal space.


9. Avoiding dangerous defenses more likely to backfire than succeed in the long run--such as, physical dominance (chauvinism) and/or personal abuse; emotional withdrawal; or personal deprecation.



PREDICTABLE CHALLENGES IN LIVING WITH WOMEN


These are some of the challenges I have faced and/or seen in others who attempt to live well with women, as in, successful marriages. Each noted adventure involves two parts: 1) A To Do, and 2) A Not To Do, a positive move or stance, with a negative alternative. The pattern is:

"Do.....this," without "Doing......that."

At first glance the lines between each opposing pair may be invisible or seemingly non-existent; but with closer attention, differences become apparent. Finally, the oppositions I intend to note become distinct, even with existential chasms between them. Some involve plays on similar words or colloquial expressions intended to point toward vastly different personal experiences.

This list of challenges is given as I think of each, that is, in no particular order of significance. At any given time any one may be the immediately most relevant as a relationship unfolds in time. Also, as will be obvious, several may overlap in actual practice, as similar challenges come in single events.

I have faced most of these challenges with varying degrees of success, usually on the low side at the time. Even so, in my mind's eye, when I am most conscious and alert, I see each as extremely significant for us who try to live well with women.


– Acknowledging real gender differences without judging one as better than the other.


– Accepting such differences without avoiding, trying to change, or to erase them.


– Giving in without giving up.


– Servicing without becoming a servant.


– Acknowledging female superiority without becoming inferior ourselves.


– Recognizing personal attacks without taking them personally or counter-attacking.


– Confronting female abuse, physical and/or emotional, without becoming a victim.


– Seeing selfingness without judging selfishness.


– Confronting female wiles without resentment and/or being manipulated by them.


– Deceiving when appropriate without becoming dishonest.


– Embracing male sexuality without becoming Chauvinistic or unfaithful.


– Accepting negative projections, as in, blame, without taking them on.


– Striving to please without becoming a wimp.


– Playing fun games without getting serious about playing.


–Seeing mothering without resurrecting motherly idolatry.


– Accepting care without becoming dependent on being cared for.


– Learning to distinguish woman-as-wife without making her a mother-in-disguise.


– Keeping a woman as wife without dark images of one's mother.


– Elevating a wife with appreciation without falling into adoration of her.


– Putting a wife up, even on a pedestal, without worshiping at her throne.


– Honoring a woman as a person without idolizing her as a goddess.


– Coping with cleanliness expectations without rebellion or unreasonable compliance.


– Being good, e.g., helpful around the house, without expecting compliments.


– Sharing chores without looking for rewards.


– Hearing criticism or compliments without falling for either, that is, being put down or set up.


– Seeing what you see without requiring female confirmation.


– Affirming personal cognition without expecting re-cognition.


– Playing "Do You See What I See" without seriously expecting shared vision.


– Falling out of love without falling into regret, resentment, or leaving.


– Trading moonlight and roses for daylight and dishes without bitterness.


– Romancing by choice without dark, psychological motivations.


– Accepting misunderstanding without having to explain oneself.


– Abandoning the quest for unqualified acceptance (called love) without hating or leaving one who cannot give it.


– Recognizing that no real woman can understand a man without being one, without blaming her for it.


– Balancing power without lording-it-over or caving-in.


– Learning to lead without lording, to take initiatives without becoming Chauvinistic.


– Going first often without expecting support.


– Maintaining inter-dependence without independence, dependence, or co-dependency.


– Being with without leaning on, standing over, or getting under.


– Living closely without getting into.


– Learning togetherness without self loss.


– Enjoying companionship without getting lost when she is gone.


– Accepting a woman as she is without understanding her.


– Learning to cope well without understanding what is happening, that is, to live well with woman-as-she-reveals herself without trying to change her.


– Affirming a woman without catering to dependency.


– Allowing leaning and giving needed support without erasing separate existence.


– Being sometimes sexual without becoming sexually dependent or "putting all one's sexual eggs" in any one female basket, that is, giving her control for masculine sexuality.


– Seeing limitations and current degrees of female repression without playing Don Quixote or only relating to an ideal image.


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