LIVING WITH WOMEN
 



A POLITE WOMAN


A polite woman

with tastes and couthness

plus dark urges for cleanliness and order

not to mention concern for appearances, clothing styles,

matching colors, plus what others may think, and

the possibility of company coming

should never have to live with a man

who has none of the above,

and all too often could care less


Or is it vice versa?


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PREFACE


Bottom line on top: This collection of speculations is primarily for/about/to me.


But after 38 years as a professional preacher, the "to others" mode of thinking/speaking/writing comes easily and almost naturally for me. Consequently, apparently "objective" or "to you" statements which follow can more properly be seen as "projected subjectivity"–that is, actually "to me" as though to any reader.

My suggestions, sometimes written as "rules," should first of all be understood as "rules-of-thumb"–that is, general recommendations, not infallible commandments. Secondly, they reflect some of the things I have gradually learned, mostly the hard way, about how my life and female relationships are better when I can sometimes follow them myself.

So, reader be reminded: all relationships, like us who are in them, are unique; hence, what works in one relationship may be dysfunctional in another. These observations and guidelines have proven helpful for me, but may not fit or work for others. So, read each with several grains of salt; pick and choose, using your own better judgment; and finally discard any notion which doesn't make sense to you (which sounds "preacherly" to me, since one would do that anyway!)


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BACKGROUND


Much earlier I grew up with a mother and 3 sisters, during which time (and later) I fell in love with and received a liberal education from a forgotten number of girl friends, to be followed by a marriage to one of them who mothered our 4 daughters, and 30 more years of continuing education, to be followed by another marriage (now 27 years and counting), including 2 step-daughters.

Between times I spent 1000's of hours in counseling with scores of females, some for over 20 continuous years, and accumulated 9 grand-daughters who have, while delighting my later years, greatly expanded my education in female functioning before typical repressions set in. And, as I suppose to be fairly common with males in general, I have also attended graduate school in Sophia's Wisdom with other excellent female teachers who, for reasons of discretion, shall remain unnamed (but not forgotten).

All this to say that if reason had anything to do with it, I should have earned an advanced degree in something other than Psychology and Counseling, say, Female Knowledge. But, truth be known (as so rarely it is), I now confess that the main thing I have learned is how little I yet know about the dark mysteries of femininity.

Looking for company in my relative ignorance, I can well identify with Freud's (and mankind's?) proverbial question,"What does a woman really want?," as well as Professor Higgins' pondering (in My Fair Lady), "Why can't a woman be more like a man?"

Although I still don't know the answers to these common male questions, I have, as is essential for survival midst a wealth of female ways and wiles (many of which are apparently unconscious), et al, learned a few guidelines for improved coping along the way. Also, in typical male fashion, I may be putting my foot in my mouth as I attempt here to spell out in words some of the things I have learned so far.


So, to clear my record before I begin, I note these limiting parameters:


-- I write mainly for myself as a way of trying to clarify dark knowledge acquired in my private School Of Hard Knocks--that is, to become more conscious about information which has appeared along my circuitous path toward now. I am, that is, still trying to know what I know but often live-as-though I don't.


-- I finally realized after years of preaching "in general" that all practical knowledge is personal--that is, what is true and relevant for one person may be untrue, even destructive, for another who has grown up in different circumstances, e.g., had a mother not like mine, plus other types of female encounters. Consequently, I realize that what I have learned may or may not correlate with what other males either already know--or need to in order to escalate happiness while living with women.


-- After many years as a professional minister (and learning something about what the apostle Paul might have meant in his biblical quote about the "foolishness of preaching"), I still find that the old saw yet cuts cleanly, namely, "Old habits are hard to break." Which translates here into the observation that even though I know I am writing for myself, I yet find myself thinking in a preacher's mode--that is, authoritatively, as though I actually know what I am talking about.

So, if a reader also picks up on my ancient habit--either to "take my advice" (or rebel against it), I hope I may be forgiven for occasionally sounding omniscient. Actually, I know I may be wrong and that none of what I say may be right for any other male still trying to learn how to live well with women.


-- Finally, trying to spell out my dark knowledge has already helped me see myself more clearly, including some of the coping mechanisms I assume I probably began to learn first with my mother, only to be blindly repeated with females who have followed her in my merry-go-round turns of life so far. Hopefully I will now be better able to translate this "head knowledge" into silent actions in daily living--and even to learn more by tomorrow.

My wish for any male reader is that my confessions here might be a useful mirror for reflecting his own experience, perhaps paving the way in our shared pilgrimage of learning to live well with women......


Bruce Evans,

September, 2010


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