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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PREMISES

 

PRINCIPAL IDEAS

 

Some of the uncommon, controversial, or perhaps heretical notions which underlie and sometimes appear in my writings on this subject include the following:

1. Vast male unconsciousness. Primal maleness, as I have come to understand our genetic structuring and acquired modes of functioning in society, is still largely "in the dark," both in society and in average men on the streets. My speculated content of natural male unconsciousness--that which can be expected to appear when any man is analyzed or dares to face his "darker side," includes these commonly denied elements. If an average male "gets honest with himself," these are my predictions about what he will discover about "who I am":

a. Female idolatry; primal experience of god as goddess.

b. Incestuous desires--that is, sexuality in family settings.

c. Homosexual attractions; same-sex interests which originate pre-puberty.

d. Projections of male power; masculine generated powers recognized only as mirrored in females, as in, "turn on" abilities.

e. Extent of dominance/submission--abuse and worship, of women as a way of surviving and coping with denied powers of femininity.

f. Lost sense of true male selfing which inevitably occurs when men identify ourselves with social memes, either for "good" or "bad" images of ourselves.

g. Lost awareness of the "female shadow" in every male--that is, capacities emerging from an X chromosome in each of our cells, the "female part" of who all we males also are.

h. Lost capacity for self-caring, which is largely projected onto women, beginning with mother and continuing on to spouses and femininity in general.

2. Bad shake in society. With good pragmatic reasoning, natural maleness is primarily judged negatively in social circumstances. Only in war times, in the "jungle," and in carefully ruled athletics, do male genes get invited into human circumstances. This is in sharp contrast to social acceptance of female genetics, which is inherently supported by most social structures.

3. Power imbalance. Femininity, I conclude, is basically, inherently more power-packed than masculinity. This power imbalance, weighted in favor of primal femininity over genetic masculinity, begins with the biological fact of two powerful XX chromosomes in each cell, contrasted with only one X in males, plus a weaselly Y, and is further supported by social structures ("memes") which have existed from the beginning of recorded history-operative in religions, laws, mores, and group rules recognized in etiquette, "polite behavior," and other subtle guidelines for socially acceptable behavior.

4. Mother/son experience. All parent/child encounters are significant, as are sibling relationships--mother/son, father/daughter, brother/sister; but mother/son experience is, I conclude, vastly more determinative of childhood shaping and future behavior. It is, I believe, harder for a boy to reach relative maturity than for a girl, given the greater power of mother/son experience over father/daughter learning.

5. Incest taboo. The proverbial "incest taboo"--which I understand to be about conscious and overt sexuality in a family setting (where genes are shared), applies to all family members; but I think it is more consequential for males because of the differing nature of male and female sexuality.

6. Two major male modes of coping. Although feminine modes of survival and succeeding in family settings are quite diverse, common male modes are far more limited; in fact, they can be summarized in two main categories, with only slight variations on these major themes. Boys, to survive and cope, are largely limited to being "good" or "bad." The "good boy" mode (the one I took), involves "minding your mother," that is, accepting her memes and becoming compliant (at least outwardly) with them. This commonly leads to "loving your mother"--putting her on a pedestal, "behaving yourself," and constantly trying to "please women." The corollary mode of "being bad" is simply the opposite side of the same coin--acting rebellious rather than compliant, condemning rather than adoring, putting down on females rather than elevating them, and trying to displease (even unconsciously) rather than please.

7. Unrecognized spiritual abuse. Historical and still prevalent male physical abuse of females, as in, religion, the work place, home, and in bed, is finally coming to public recognition; still commonly hidden to social consciousness is all-too-common spiritual abuse of males by "well meaning" females. Physical abuse is certainly bad, but the consequences of spiritual abuse are often deeper, more far reaching, and worse in time. Cuts and bruises of the body tend to heal much faster than metaphored "cutting" and "battering" of the heart--including, female abuse of masculinity which is completely legal and even socially supported under the name of "love."

8. Religious and legal structures. On the surface, religious commandments and social laws are theoretically not gender-biased. In practice, and below the level of common social recognition, I think that popular religions and prevailing legal structures unwittingly undermine masculinity and support femininity--all this while appearing to do the opposite. I think that masculine unconsciousness (Number 1, above) is unwittingly projected into both religion and politics in subtle ways which may protect both ourselves and vulnerable females outwardly, but with potentially devastating inward consequences.

9. Male cockiness/compliance. Macho males and hen-pecked husbands, brutes and wimps, cloak, mostly to ourselves, unseen capacities for individual independence, sans salvation via femininity.

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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 potential for consciousness, and with it the possibility of becoming "selves" who 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 (e.g., 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 (e.g., if not this, then that) and rules of reason (e.g., 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, e.g., 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-mother-fying females; decoding shadows of one's birth mother, repressed from awareness and blindly projected onto other females; seeing, e.g., wife as woman without mirror of mother, as in, looking to her for "being taken care of," "permission-to-be," "understanding," 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, and relate to females with more understanding than genetics can give.

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, focus on appearances versus function, as in, bed making, closing drawers and cabinet doors, degrees of required cleanliness, getting "down and dirty," etc.

 

8. Learning to see house and home as ours versus yours. Ideally, perhaps, separate houses (as well as incomes) with periodic visiting between each might 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," "shop," and "hunting camp" 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 face and/or have 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, seemingly non-existent; but with closer attention, differences may become apparent. Finally, the oppositions I intend to note may 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 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 (erroneously 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 another person.

- 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 requiring reason or 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 a wife 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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TEN RULES

MY TOP TEN GUIDELINES

1. Accept the facts

See and accept gender facts and differences as clearly and fully as possible. See through and avoid popular illusions related to men and women.

2. Seek personhood

Place and keep gender issues (all male/female drives and relationships) in proper perspective in relation to larger human concerns--that is, give most attention to personhood (90%?) and far less to male/female matters (10%). Instincts for self-survival and self-satisfactions are far stronger and more pervasive than lesser drives for self-replication (male/female business). Live your life accordingly.

3. Become yourself

Even while engaged in gender-related activities, both their challenges and delights, give most attention to fuller becoming of your unique male self, rather than to male/female relationships (e.g., friendships, marriage, affairs, etc.).

As a sign I once saw in a donut shop read: "As you wander on through life, bud/whatever be your goal/keep you eye upon the donut/and not upon the hole."

In practice this "donut" is: seek to become your larger self in-the-midst of relationships, but never through any of them. For example, never look to a woman to "make a man of you"--or even to give you permission to be your honest self. By all means, avoid the all-too-common male "holy grail" type quest of trying to find, or even hoping for, a woman to "make you happy."

4. Keep power balanced

Keep power balanced in every cross-gender relationship, especially those with legal contracts, such as, marriage, and/or with those for whom you care most. Carefully avoid both dominance or submission by either partner. Stated negatively, as did King Solomon who was said to have 700 wives and 300 concubines, "Give not your power to women." (Proverbs 31:3)

Also avoid the Samson lesson of submitting your signs of male power--in his case, long hair, to the symbolic scissors of modern-day Delilahs.

5. Cope with wiles

Learn to recognize and cope wisely with female wiles, especially when they are unconsciously wielded by a woman you care for, rather than being "done in" by any.



6. Accept projections

Accept female projections, including unconscious efforts to dominate, control, or possess you. Learn to cope carefully, rather than being moved from your "green spot" by them. For example, listen to bitching and nagging without becoming defensive or reactive. Almost never argue with a woman. You will predictably lose 99% of the time, later if not sooner.

7. Practice compromise

Develop skills and often practice artful compromises in which shared goals are advanced without loss of integrity or power by either person.

8. Be sexually responsible

Be responsible for your masculine sexuality and supportive of female passions which are more related to sensuality than to sexuality. Never give full control of your male passions either to one woman or to females in general.

Even though this latter stance is often socially approved and religiously affirmed, destructive consequences are predictable, both for yourself and for any extended positive relationship. For yourself, frustration, if not emasculation, is likely, along with loss of male powers inherent in activation of this aspect of yourself. For your partner, immediate benefits of possession and control of your sexuality will fade in time with the inevitable loss of a "good man" to stand with her on the path toward full personhood and a quality relationship.

9. Share responsibilities

Practice fairness in sharing responsibilities for common elements in a relationship, such as, house keeping, child care, food preparation, bill paying, "chores," etc. Carefully avoid using a mate as a slave, or becoming one yourself.

10. Dare to love

Whenever possible, in accord with degrees of success in becoming your individual self and finding courage to expand the circle of your care, move beyond using a woman for satisfying personal needs, desires, and dreams. Instead, dare to accept and affirm her as she presently is, and, as faith allows, free her to the fuller becoming of her larger self--that is, love her, as best you can.

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CONFRONTING ILLUSIONS

ENOUGHS

COMMON MALE ILLUSIONS
BETTER DIVORCED
THAN LIVED WITH:


That an honest woman
can ever get enough shoes
or a house clean
enough
or a man civilized
enough
or be pretty
enough
or secure
enough
or loved
enough
or for that matter
have enough in her vocabulary

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Facing facts inevitably involves confronting illusions which conceal them.

SUMMARY ADVICE

A. See three popular illusions:

1. Superior males/ inferior females

2. Gender equality

3. Woman as goddess

B. See three difficult realities:

1. Female superiority/male servant-hood

2. Female/male advantages

3. Female humanity

C. Get realistic perspectives:

1. Dis-illusion yourself

2. Accept hard realities

3. Practice applying new perspectives

EXPLANATIONS

1) Superior males/inferior females



The most familiar, if not consequential, of prevailing male illusions is a belief in male superiority and, consequently, female inferiority--at least in comparison with males. Popular religions, such as, Christianity and Islam, both idealize and support the practice of this belief. And, although the tide is shifting today as glass ceilings are gradually being broken by females, many typical John Does today still deeply believe in male superiority (as established in the Bible), even if their marriages (or bachelorhood) and work situations are failing to support this primal premise.

My first observation aimed at improved "living well with women" is that this belief, no matter how widespread and religiously supported, is in fact an illusion. I conclude that no man who continues in its belief will be able to maintain for long a positive relationship with a women, even if she too believes in female inferiority.

Consequently, my first advice (to myself) is: See through this yet popular view of males as superior and females as the "weaker sex." Not only must wiser males recognize and own their actual male limitations, as well as real female strengths, but also come to see the darker side of femininity, including: buried kill-abilities, as well as unconscious wiliness cloaked with innocent "love" but boiling down to managerial ownership of her man, literally.

We must also banish chauvinism, a phoney stance of self-righteousness, reflected in beliefs that men are better and smarter than females; an abuse of limited male powers (e.g., left brain thinking and bigger muscles) in outwardly dominating (lording it over) females who quietly manage and manipulate our fragile egos. We need to escape the ultimately destructive and futile nature of this ancient male attempt to cope with female powers by overt domination, and to avoid falling for the temptation to evade relational responsibility by being chauvinistic, as typically evidenced in macho male behavior.

2. Gender equality

Forget equality. Even though the notion of gender equality is an advance over egotistical male chauvinism, it yet holds dangerous illusions likely to undercut truly effective relationships. Facts are: men and women are hardly equal in any arena except inherent rights to be ourselves and equal necessity in conceiving babies. We are unequal in genetic directives, size, muscular strength, longevity, adaptability, relational abilities, mental capacities, social acceptability, personal interests, and much much more.

Ideas of equality easily seduce us away from clearly seeing actual differences and wisely coping with them in the best interests of us both as well as society at large.

3. Woman as goddess

Although illusions #1 and #2 are usually conscious, #3 is commonly unseen. Because this third illusion is typically unconscious, recognizing its reality and scope is relatively impossible--except to the degree of a man's unrepression. The more repressed one is, the less visible this belief. But, paradoxically, the less aware a male is, the more likely he is to blindly participate in this ancient idolatry. With increasing self-awareness, males typically may begin to see our involvement in this commonly repressed illusion--that is, living as though woman truly has goddess-like powers.

BACKGROUND

All babies begin life with a mother who, for all practical purposes, exists as a functional goddess with a relatively impotent infant. Insofar as operative powers are concerned, a mother is, from an infant's perspective, essentially omnipotent--that is, she not only creates life but in early days she (or any surrogate mother) holds power of life and death with her baby, in that she controls the food supply, protection, and sustaining nurture.

Although the theory of "womb memory" is yet unproven, I suspect these first nine months of internal creation, in which all elements of embryo survival are mediated from a Creatrix later to be called "Mother," are in some way imbedded in the beginnings of bodily, if not mental, awareness. Perhaps we all bear remnants of primal knowledge about early existence when She, like a real Goddess, was, as though by magic, bringing the gift of life itself.

But womb memories or not, when mind is first enlarging outside of uterus in the earliest days and weeks of life, long before conscious thinking and hence language is possible, the universal, existential situation could be accurately be described in terms of "infant" and "goddess"--that is, a relatively impotent one in the care of a relatively omnipotent She.

I speculate that in some as-yet-un-pinpointed-way, long before language makes conscious memory possible, all infants retain an "imprint" of existence in the presence of a functional, if not named as such, Goddess. By the time consciousness has evolved enough to allow learning language and thus attaching symbols to perceptions (2-3 years?), such primal "imprinting" may be lost to emerging "thinking for one's self."

Even so, I speculate, somehow we all hold deep images of beginning times when, had language then been possible, we might have called our primary care giver "Goddess" long before we later called her "Mother."

Relevant here, however, is perception of power, not simply language to name it. I theorize that every child experiences what must indeed seem like magical powers inherent in our goddess-like mothers long before we have words to symbolize the experience. Then, as consciousness expands along with our own emerging powers, including self-perception, we begin to see "mother" more realistically in the light of what we can do ourselves.

But, and this is my point here: Even though we "forget" in the sense of not having retrievable memory and names, such as, Goddess, for this One who first wields immense, magic-like powers over our very existence, I speculate that dawning perceptions of Her as such somehow remain in dark shadows of emerging consciousness.

I further speculate that these pre-conscious "memories" or "impressions" of all infants are stronger in males than in females because whereas girls may soon begin to identify their emerging sense-of-self with their mothers' femininity and thus share her feminine powers, boys are socially moved in opposite directions (beginning with blue rather than pink--and all attached associations), that is, to, in effect, dis-identify self (as male) from mother (as female).

Girls, in effect, soon begin to join ranks with their mother in shared genetic as well as social connections, while at the same time boys are guided away from feminine associations. Also, as soon as genetic masculine traits begin to become more evident (e.g., interest in guns versus dolls, etc.), mothers commonly begin to attempt control over such "anti-social" inclinations, while at the same time favorably supporting girls' "interest in babies," etc. These differences become even more pronounced as boys begin to evidence signs of masculine rather than feminine sexuality.

In summary, as girl babies are being guided and supported by their mothers into mysterious realms of femininity, with which they also identify themselves, boy babies are gradually being curtailed in embracing traits associated with genetic masculinity by mothers who yet hold extensive powers over our daily existence.

Obviously, fathers are tangentially available in most homes for boy guidance and identification; but in early life, when power images are being formed, "mother" typically remains the most immediately powerful figure ("Go ask your mother"). She can naturally nurture and guide girls-like-her into their larger shared feminine world, but, comparatively speaking, boys have far less support in masculine guidance.

Consequently, insofar as gender powers are concerned, boys are not only typically less supported in embracing genetic propensities and associated powers by close-at-hand "male models," they are commonly under the influence and stronger direction of mothers with more legitimate concerns about "making us behave" so as to fit into family and social structures than with becoming natural boys.

Point here: Whereas girls may move with relative ease from early living with an external

Goddess into more realistic relationships with her as mother and woman, boys during that same period of early development may easily continue to maintain, even to exaggerate, our sense of magical female powers, as we face her continued control over daily well-being.

Pre-conscious times of seemingly magical powers (e.g., to hold in arms and make fear go away, and later to kiss bo-bos and reduce pain, etc.) are phased into extended periods when she continues to exercise near complete control both of emerging masculinity as well as "permission" to "go out and play" or otherwise be a boy's emerging male self.

Whether or not my speculative analysis of how goddess-images first become "imprinted" on an infant's mind, later to become more exaggerated in boys than in girls, is correct, there is abundant evidence that males are far more likely to repress magical-images-of-mother and later resurrect and project them onto other females bearing signs of her likeness, than are females to do the same.

HISTORY

Before I leave speculating to focus more directly on evident consequences, I theorize that world history, beginning before recorded times, is also a reflection of these same family situations--that is, that in earliest, pre-recorded human history times, when matriarchies apparently prevailed, only pointed toward in existing mythology, all males, boys and adults, lived openly with, in effect, female "goddesses" who they outwardly served and, in effect, "worshiped."

But as times changed and males somehow got the upper hand over "reigning" females, patriarchies came to dominate matriarchies, that is, "kings" came to replace "queens" in existing social structures. Then--I continue to speculate, male religions evolved in which earlier female goddesses were replaced by male gods, in keeping with emerging male dominance over females in daily living.

Christian roots, for example, begin here with Genesis accounts of God as male and men (Adam) coming before and being the source of women (Eve from Adam's rib), over whom they, being first and "better," appropriately "reigned" in accord with "God's will."

 

But again, even if this brief analysis of gender in world history is incorrect, present social conditions, including popular religions, can reasonably be explained accordingly. I postulate, for example, that just as males have historically suppressed goddess images literally (e.g., Apollo over Gaia, etc., in mythology and in Greece) in favor of self-established gods, so boys today in effect repeat world history as we repress early goddess-images (seen in response to magic-like mothers) in favor of attempted male independence in adult life (often with support of popular male religions).

Now back to the present subject. I have digressed to consider a speculative explanation for typical present day male/female situations with far more tangible evidence, namely, many observable relationships, such as, affairs and monogamous marriages, in which repressed males blindly look to lovers and/or spouses for magical rewards--like individual wholeness and personal happiness.

I conclude that these all-too-familiar fantasy-like relationships are rooted in boys' early repressions of goddess-like images of birth mothers (when such views were relatively realistic) but then denied while growing up and leaving home, only later to be blindly resurrected and, in effect, projected onto other females unwittingly chosen to represent her in adult life.

Often, as is equally common both in male-dominated religions, such as, Christianity and Islam, and local male/female relationships, "macho" type males cloak these deeper projections (along with hidden expectations) with attempted dominance over lovers and/or wives, as in trying to be "Lord and Master" or "King of the Castle," etc.

PRESENT SITUATION

I have noted this phenomenon as the third common male illusion and considered it last because it is also the least readily observable in typical male awareness today. Whereas ideas of male superiority (illusion #1) are relatively abundant, even in popular religions as well as existing social structures, and notions of gender equality (illusion #2) are only slightly less common, that goddess images still existing in the deeper minds of males (illusion #3) is yet commonly repressed.

Although less repressed males may see evidences of the phenomenon in their own relationships, even if they reject my graphic terminology ("goddess images"), more typical John Does, yet caught up in living out childhood patterns, are likely to take this notion as pure bunk.

Even so, in support of my purposes in these observations on "living well with women," I suggest that a measure of curiosity, before immediately dismissing this last observation, may be in order. Stated positively: I conclude that a man's success in truly living well with any woman, let alone many in society, will be dependent on his recognition of this illusion, plus learning to cope wisely with its ramifications in present relationships.

B. See three difficult realities:

1. Female superiority/male servant-hood

The illusion of gender equality is a nice idea, and certainly a step above older errors like male superiority, but yet a long way from the often cloaked but observable (at least to me) fact of female superiority.

Female superiority, as I mean here, is not about betterness, greater moral worth, or higher status in the eyes of gods. Nor is it meant to imply that man is inferior to woman in any judgmental sense. Rather I refer to greater genetic capacities, social advantages, and personal wisdom, especially about gender and relationships in the world.

As Harry Belefonte sang, The woman is smarter, the woman is smarter; she's smarter than the man in every way--not only in head sense but also in creaturely capacities.

A man needs, I think, to recognize this primary difference, including his gender and social limitations, so as to make wiser use of limited advantages in achieving best possible living conditions under existing social circumstances (including our natural servant role in genetic replication). Although unsubstantiated cockiness backed by illusions of male superiority or obsequious submission may each temporarily bring certain male rewards among superior females, basically, for realistic, long term well being, careful use of available-but-limited male advantages is a wiser option.

 

2. Female/male advantages

Accept limitations and advantages.

Learn to compensate for the first and mediate the second.

Typical male limitations include:

a.) Left brain, logical thinking versus right brain wholistic thinking and access to genetic wisdom (intuition, ESP, etc.).

b.) Negative social acceptability of natural traits versus positive for females. Males are typically curtailed, if not disciplined for "being ourselves," while females are rewarded for similar self expressions.

c.) Power losses due to emotional repressions.

d.) Power disadvantages due to projections onto females, e.g., looking to women for emotional acceptance, sexual permission, personal wholeness, happiness and earthly salvation.

e.) Verbal disadvantages include limitations of the best of logical thinking when confronted with the least of emotional forces, such as, female tears and self-sentimentality.

f.) Vulnerability to a host of female wiles.

If a man does not see and accept that he is predictably vulnerable to being "done in" by these and other limitations, as well as over-kill by inattention to female advantages, he lives, I conclude, in constant spiritual danger.

 

In regard to # 2 (Gender equality), men might wisely recognize the width of the gender gap.

Males and females share two basic similarities: urges to survive as individuals and to replicate ourselves (our personal genes). After that, the gap between genders in most all arenas of daily life widens into essentially opposite camps--that is, diametrically different traits.

Specific areas of difference commonly include the following, plus many more:

MEN                             WOMEN

Competitive                 Cooperative

War makers                 Peace makers

Hunters                         Gatherers

Thrill seekers             Safety seekers

Sexual                     Sensual

Left brained             Right brained

Focused thinking         Wholistic thinking

Cool headed             Warm hearted

Reason oriented         Feeling oriented

3. Female Humanity

A. Get women in a realistic perspective.

Learn to see women as they are, rather than with jaundiced eyes. Take off your rose colored glasses. Examine yourself for sub-conscious projections you may have made onto females in general (reflective of un-faced repressions of your own). Most men I have known seem to have misguided ways of viewing women in general, and especially those they care more for or are personally involved with. Typically, I think, these erroneous images are easily learned with one's first mother and from prevailing social mis-messages.

A proper male agenda is learning to see even our favorite woman as "just a woman"--that is, as a human being like all the rest of us, rather than secretly adoring her as though she were a goddess. Perhaps catching on to the irony of an observation by Mark Twain: "A woman is just a woman, but a good cigar is a smoke," may shed light on this commonly dark arena in male/female relationships--if we can do so without falling into the opposite error of blindly degrading and/or refusing to see their real powers, or into despair or disillusionment over the insight.

Ideally, a wiser man sees what a woman can and can't do/be in reality, beyond his private beliefs, hopes, and unrealistic expectations of her--either exaggerated up or down, positively or negatively.

Realistic views of woman, past typically jaundiced male eyes in either direction, include these: a mother for mutual children (during child-bearing years); a companion in daily life; a sometimes sexual partner; a co-worker for sharing responsibilities for successful life in society.

On the negative side, even the best of female partners may be a financial liability (e.g., "high maintenance" women); limited in sharing sexual interests; carry unacknowledged emotional baggage, often hidden and commonly unrecognized during courtship or early years of a relationship.

B. See, accept, and embrace differences.

 

Recognize, accept, and learn to cope wisely; rather than:

1) Trying not to see, while falling into illusions of equality or male superiority (with favorable judgments that male ways are real, right, and good, while female ways are "all in their heads," wrong, and bad).

2) Rebelling against female values, trying to avoid confronting them, and refusing to acknowledge their legitimacy in the overall living.

3) Trying to change women who reveal, exercise and embody female values--that is, siding with the professor in My Fair Lady, who lamented, "Why can't a woman be more like a man?," and then trying to make one so.

"Recognize" = Consciously look for gender differences, rather than avoiding these realities and necessarily reacting blindly when confronted with them. Every boy learns certain ways of coping with females early in life, beginning with his mother. But unless he consciously examines these patterns later, ingrained habits simply become reactive thereafter, whether or not they are effective with others not like his mother.

"Accept" = Stop judging what you see and allow observed differences to exist openly and respectfully in awareness. Acknowledge that, though different--and often even opposite from yours, both sets of traits and values are real, useful in certain circumstances, and that's okay.

"Cope wisely" = Inevitably men confront female differences in any cross-gender relationship. About this you have no choice. However, whether you cope blindly, based on nursery-learned habits, or learn to "use your head" and "act smart" rather than "be dumb," you do have a choice. Opt for taking it.

"wisely" = Begins with recognizing and using your lesser numbered natural advantages to their best advantage, rather than being blind-sided by female advantages.

MALE/FEMALE ADVANTAGES

MALE                                                 FEMALE

-- Size and physical strength         -- Genetic capabilities (XX strengths)

-- Focused thinking                      -- Emotional strength

-- Prioritizing abilities                    -- Intuitive capacities

                                                        -- Pussy power

                                                        -- Adaptability

                                                        -- Power of submission

                                                        -- Word freedom

                                                        -- Don't have to win

                                                        -- Comprehensive thinking

                                                        -- Mystery tolerance

                                                        -- Social support

                                                        -- Longevity (can wait)

                                                        -- Goddess Mirror

 

DOUBLE X'S VERSUS WEASELLY Y BIOLOGICAL ADVANTAGES

Biological differences rooted in chromosomes underlie other more obvious psychological and social advantages.

Evolved roles in genetic replication, namely, males as sperm-suppliers and females as baby-makers, probably account for other major biological advantages for women. Obviously both gender roles are essential for self replication, but supplying a necessary sperm to impregnate an ovum is a relatively small offering in comparison with immense responsibilities for creating a baby and raising a child to adulthood. A father-to-be's five minutes of fun is certainly minor in comparison to a mother's 9 months of creation, labored delivery, and up to 18 plus years of nurturing their shared offspring.

Certainly, better fathers continue to participate in child rearing and "providing for the family," but all too often, major if not all responsibilities for guiding children to adulthood fall into female hands.

From an overall biological perspective, where genetic replication is the primary goal, males have evolved and continue to exist primarily as "servants" or suppliers of female needs as essential in baby-making and child-rearing. Just as animals, such as, bulls, "service" cows in initiating pregnancy, so human males, "service" females by supplying sperm to start the long process of self and species survival.

Thereafter, male involvement in family life--that is, social structures existing primarily for creating and nurturing the growth of future gene-bearers, remains primarily "serving" other female and family needs, such as, providing security, supplies, and limited help in raising children.

Even when we egotistically like to see ourselves as "Lord and Master" or "Head of Household," on analysis our functional male role is more clearly seen as "serving" responsibilities which remain primarily in female hands.

Additional female biological advantages enhanced by psychological and social elements include: adaptability, tolerance for pain, sensitivity, and longevity. On average, females prove themselves to be more adaptable to assorted circumstances and changes related to most social situations apart from physical survival in the jungle.

Perhaps as evolved in service of enduring pangs of childbirth, females, in spite of psychological appearances to the contrary, also have greater tolerance for physical pain than

typical males who try to "act tough." Also, as is obviously useful in the many challenges of child-rearing, females are typically more sensitive to immediate surrounding than are males who tend to be more focused on distant goals than on what is before our eyes.

Finally, statistics easily confirm that females on average live longer than males. After divorce or death of spouse, for example, husbands rarely survive as long (or well) as wives.

In summary: for these and other reasons, females with two X chromosomes in every cell are in fact better equipped and therefore more capable creatures than are males with only one X and a weaselly Y chromosome in our own 50 billion cells. Unfortunately the adjective superior has, over the course of time, acquired a baggage of positive judgments, while comparable inferior is typically seen as "bad." Therefore, using these terms in regard to gender differences easily results in familiar misunderstandings.

Were it not so, apart from judging either as better or worse than the other, we might correctly think of females as "superior creatures" with massively greater biological responsibilities in comparison with "inferior males" evolved primarily to serve them in our shared biological goals of genetic replication.

Now back to female advantages. Typical, unconscious male projections of early repressed goddess images form the basis for this last major female advantage over those of males. Commonly, the assumed male mode of acquiring these illusionary powers is the same as first learned with the original goddess. Most often this is through the medium of pleasing--that is, trying to secure female favors by doing that she desires, with the secret agenda of therefore acquiring her services--as may have first worked with one's mother.

Whether or not a female consciously recognizes these typical projections as such, she can hardly avoid trafficking in them--that is, taking advantage of powers unwittingly granted to her via the path of male projection. And since grown boys are rarely aware of what we do in this regard, the extent of this female advantage is multiplied.

GODDESS MIRROR

This is probably the least conscious and most powerful of all female advantages, both with women who possess it and men who are blindly moved by it. In reality, women in effect inherit this advantage along with their female bodies and female traits which cannot but in some ways mirror or be reminiscent of a boy's mother.

Typically, something must happen in every boy's beginning (as best I can tell) at the time when mental development is first allowing the formation of images representative of outward experience. In these early months and years, "mother" both embodies and mediates most external forces impacting a boy's existence, namely, the source of food, comfort, protection, and love, along with permission to openly activate inherited instincts. Or not to.

In this position and role "mother," as she will later be called after language becomes possible, is, in practice, like an omnipotent being into whose hands (and arms) lie the essential forces of life and death insofar as a relatively impotent boy is concerned.

As his mental capacities develop, allowing for forming images (some studies indicate even in the first few days of life outside the womb), he perhaps first images ("learns to recognize") the physical face of this wonderful provider of milk and comfort. But soon he must begin to also form images of the unseen powers she wields over him, as in her presence and/or absence, plus the giving or withholding of her milk and other services.

Although we as yet have no way of knowing just what these first images of power may be like, I speculate that they may best be summarized as what might later be called a goddess--that is, a seemingly all powerful creature who not only mediates bodily comfort and discomfort, but also personal happiness or its opposite.

Names, of course, are irrelevant to this perhaps universal small boy experience. Call the image what you will; but the phenomenon itself becomes crucially important in a boy's days and years beyond the nursery and presence of this functional collection of forces I choose to call goddess.

At first, before a boy's capacity for individuality (including language and naming) develops, a goddess image (or whatever else the phenomenon may be called) is experientially accurate. From the perspective of a boy child's relative impotence She, even unnamed, is truly goddess-like insofar as her powers impinge on his daily existence.

This, we might say, is reality for every small boy. Of course, a father figure and other impersonal forces, such as, light and dark, heat and cold, are tangentially present; but in the beginning a boy's primary encounters with external power come with and through his Creatrix who continues to mediate most personal as well as impersonal forces effecting his life.

But what happens next, as mental development brings expanded possibilities for consciousness, is the crucial determining factor which will later become the basis for this female advantage being noted here. Ideally, as personal capacities for self-tending naturally evolve, along with consciousness itself, early goddess images will rapidly be down-graded as self-images naturally expand. The stronger (more personally capable) a boy becomes, the weaker (less powerful) his mother is correctly seen to be. Previously accurate images of omnipotent goddess-hood rapidly change to less powerful images of limited personhood, as a boy's own powers develop.

But I say ideally, because a different scenario seems to almost universally occur in boys' pilgrimages from infancy to manhood. Instead of allowing consciousness, and its assorted images to evolve in accord with actual changes in mother/son relationships, somehow a stoppage seems to occur. Consciousness is, in effect, turned in on itself instead of continuing in a linear, ever-expanding process.

Rather than openly and honestly facing gradual shrinking of mother-powers (goddess images) in accord with increasing son-powers, it seems that expanding natural consciousness somehow gets frozen at the goddess image level. In psychological terms, boys opt for repression over expression as a favored mode of coping with mother-power in post-nursery days.

Rather than consciously acknowledging our own expanding powers and self-responsibilities, and hence the diminishing of mother's (as the previously accurate goddess images phase into an illusion as such), sons commonly repress such knowledge out of conscious awareness in favor of keeping goddess images alive-but-"forgotten."

But the second part of inward repression is outward projection. Goddess images repressed from a boy's conscious mind do not in reality "go away"; instead, they reappear "out there," most commonly mirrored in other females who bear similarities to our actual mothers (e.g., bodies with breasts, etc.). But just as repression is an unconscious move, that is, done "without thinking," so projection occurs unawarely.

"Blindly," we might say, boys unconsciously resurrect goddess images formed in early days (when they were realistic) and unwittingly project them onto females in later days. Were this a mental matter only, perhaps danger would be less; but along with resurrected goddess images, grown boys typically resurrect as present expectations the same forces we originally either experienced (or wanted to) with our first goddess.

`Blindly then, without realizing we do so, we come to expect these latter day "mirrors" to function like the first goddess--that is, to "take care of us," "provide for our needs (e.g., emotional and sexual, if not physical)," "understand us," "give us permission to go out and play (be ourselves)," and even "to make us happy."

 

In almost all of these easily observable differences, females hold the edge in advantages, both privately and in society.

MALE ADVANTAGES

Paradoxically, two long term male limitations turn out to be a short term advantages, namely, left brain thinking and emotional repression.

Left brain type thinking reflects in better focus-ability, as in, aiming at game in hunter/gatherer eras of evolution, and greater skills in prioritizing accepted values. Emotional repression allows for greater ease in remaining attentive to conscious considerations without distractions which emotions may bring (e.g., killing game for food without "getting emotional" about "poor little Bambi," etc.)

In the larger picture, female whole-brain thinking (right as well as left hemisphere) allows for wider perceptions and hence greater awareness of immediate details, plus the input of emotional (right brain) wisdom (instinctive and sub-consciously acquired knowledge). This greater wealth of data allows for wider considerations in decision making, but has the disadvantage of consequently making it harder to decide quickly (as males are more apt at doing). Females, then are more skilled at making better long range decisions, but often have difficulty in making up their minds immediately.

Relevant here is the male edge in being able to focus more clearly on an immediate goal (e.g., aiming at "game" and/or winning) with less emotional distractions, and hence be better able to prioritize personal values.

"Prioritizing" means making value judgments quickly without being distracted by non-related or possibly irrelevant data, such as, distant facts and/or feelings. In this arena, males typically have immediate advantages over many females. For example, in purchasing shoes, males may go quickly to the kind we want, try on for fit and comfort, check the price, and, if affordable, make a quick decision to buy. Females, with their considerations due to whole brain thinking plus emotional awareness, may have a much harder time deciding.

First they must shop around to consider all available shoes, since "there may be a better pair at another store." They must also consider style, home wardrobe (matching colors with clothing), etc., etc. After trying on several pairs they must think about which they "like the best." Actual afford-ability (monetary value) may be relatively ignored, especially if the shoes are "on sale."

Male prioritizing abilities and female limitations in making quick decisions become far more significant in many immediate relational arenas, such as, budgeting money, house cleaning and decorating, child management, and especially in choices related to male/female encounters (what is said and done with each other).

PROPER PERSPECTIVE

Probably the most significant element in living well with a woman-or women in general,

is gaining a proper perspective on femininity itself, as related to masculinity. How we view women, including both consciously and unconsciously-that is, our attitude toward femininity, will inevitably color, if not determine, every aspect of personal relating, all the way from initial encounters to bedroom intimacies.

One of the most common errors I note in erroneous perspectives, both in myself and other men, is repressed idolatry, cloaked with chauvinism and/or adoration. Infantile viewing of mother as goddess, as indeed she is as creator and monarch reigning over early infancy, is all too often repressed in awareness, only to be resurrected in unconscious idolatry. What begins as reality in every boy's experience, easily phases into an unrecognized illusion as personal capacities rapidly expand following exodus from the womb.

Then, blinded to what is happening inside ourselves, we growing boys easily develop unrealistic attitudes toward females which we unwittingly continue to exercise as we move toward marriage and/or other intimate relationships with women.

********

 

DISILLUSIONMENT

 

Disillusionment feels bad; so naturally we tend to avoid the process of letting go of illusions, especially those commonly accepted by society and friends. But if you think about it-that is, add "thinking" to "feeling," wouldn't it be more sensible to face reality with its potentially greater rewards than to seek happiness among things un-real?

In either case, my observation is that marriage, perhaps more so than any other aspect of modern life, is surrounded and supported by a wealth of illusions. Even though they may be deeply appealing and strongly tempting to buy into and blindly continue to live with ("Better to keep the ills you have, than fly to those you know not of"), I have found that marriage rooted in these popular illusions, though initially wonderful, is predictably destined to fail in time. In spite of best efforts to the contrary, disillusionment is apt to force itself into the realities of every marriage, beginning soon after the honeymoon (if not before).

My premise is that it's better to "head them off at the pass," to "beat impending reality to the punch"-that is, to risk confronting illusions before "reality rears" its proverbially "ugly head," and disillusionment is forced upon us.

Reason supports the idea that daring to face illusions and consciously participate in the process of letting them go, in favor of identifying with reality, is wiser than trying to blindly maintain them. At least I have found this to be so.

I conclude, therefore, that in order to "be happy though married," disillusionment, no matter how disturbing it may seem at the time, is an essential pre-requisite to finding real happiness within this age-old institution. I go so far as to predict that no marriage can be successful in time beyond the extent that we dare face and survive the challenging process of personal disillusionment. Husbands who blindly insist on maintaining popular illusions unwittingly set the opposite stage for "being miserable while married."

My goal for myself is to look as clearly as I can at "facts of life" about marriage, that is, to "look the gift horse in the mouth," to ferret out illusions I have unconsciously embraced, and risk the threats of disillusionment.

Illusions I have seen so far include these:

- Marriage is magical.

Many of the fairy tales of my childhood ended with the statement: "They got married and lived happily ever afterward," implying that marriage can magically make one happy, not only now, but forever.

This, I observe, is perhaps the grandest of all illusions about marriage. If you have swallowed this one, regurgitate it; marriage is definitely not magical. No other successful human relationship-so far as I can tell, is more demanding, takes more real work, than male/female union in monogamy.

- Woman can save.

Close behind the illusion of magical marriage is that of goddess woman. Even if the institution itself is not seen as powerful enough to "make you happy"-that is, automatically bring personal fulfillment, perhaps the woman you fell in love with can, once you say, "I do" and make her your own (you her own?).

While this popular illusion is intact, probably no man ever consciously sees his wife as "a goddess"-one literally empowered to make him whole and happy. But in practice, probably no other male illusion is more alive and well than this dark notion of woman as earthly goddess, much like a heavenly God.

No marriage can, I hold, be truly successful beyond the degree that a man lets go of this near universal illusion, and comes to see his wife as "just a woman"-that is, another human being with no more power to "save him," than can he her.

Which leads to a third, often even deeper illusion:

- A man can make a woman happy.

The flip side of Illusion #2 is that one man can ever be enough to make a woman happy-at least for long, that is, that a man can be good enough, compliant enough, wealthy enough, please enough, behave and be clean enough, etc., etc., to keep her "in love" with him as she may have seemed to be before the ceremony.

- Love is enough.

Love, obviously, is wonderful. Beginning with the early magic of romance, the kind of love we commonly fall into, and continuing on to even grander wonders of "mature love"-including friendly love, benevolent love, and motherly love, along the way. Still, in reality, all love is finally limited in inherent capacity to save another person, for example, to heal mental illness or to make a depressed person happy.

No matter how much, how completely, how faithfully, how thoroughly, how devotedly, a man loves a women (or vice versa) his love can never finally be enough to erase the primal fact that, as my father often reminded me, "every tub's got to set on its own bottom."

In practice, one spin-off of this illusion is the reverse counterpart of the female illusion that a woman can marry a man as he is and change him to better suit her desires afterward. The male illusion is that a man can marry a woman and she will remain the same as before he married her, that is, as loving, attentive, responsive, etc., not to mention as young.



SLIPPERY SLOPES

Slippery emotional slopes in a successful marriage include:

1. Letting go of illusions without falling into disillusionment.

Perhaps the most common illusion about marriage is implied in the familiar fairy tale phrase, "getting married and living happily ever after." The illusion is the unstated implication that "marriage will make you happy," or that simply by entering this institution, "getting married," happiness can be expected to automatically follow. Even when the notion of inherent happiness is dropped, married folk often continue to believe that "it" can bring happiness "if we are willing to work at it."

I call this an illusion because the nature of human happiness, that is, living well and satisfied in the here and now, is much more profound and personally challenging than any external institution, marriage included, can possibly provide. In spite of widespread beliefs in this assumption, I conclude that neither marriage, or "working at it," or even having a "perfect spouse" can, in the final analysis, bring personal happiness.

Of course, recognizing these magical notions is relatively easy to do in the predictable changes occurring between the "moonlight and roses" of a honeymoon and proverbial "daylight and dishes" following soon afterward. Spouses who are honest with themselves may soon realize that "its just not working out like I hoped."

But the challenge I note here is less about confronting this predictable fact, which may even force itself on one as "reality creeps in," than about how one responds to the realization. Many, apparently, are able to delay such a confrontation, even for years after the ceremony; but eventually, barring considerable personal repression, the limitations of this popular magical belief predictably reveal themselves.

Then, with equal predictability, painful disillusionment is apt to follow. Who can measure the inherent hurt of such an enormous broken dream?

Probably some measure of such emotional trauma is inevitable with facing any illusion; but the challenge I explore here is: what next? Once such disillusionment has come, what is one to do with/in marriage itself?

Common, all-too-familiar reactions include:

1) Remaining, even "wallowing in" the emotionally destructive waters of any broken dream, e.g., "for sake of the children," etc. The deep bitterness of spouses who opt for this solution is often easy to see by others, if not themselves.

2) Blaming a spouse for "making me unhappy," that is, for being the cause of the dream failing. Even when notions of magical marriage remain intact, one may easily imagine the source of personal unhappiness to lie in a less-than-perfect spouse. "He/she is making me unhappy."

3) When so, looking for another partner, that is, someone else with better qualifications, becomes a quasi-sensible justification from turning away from an unsatisfactory marriage. These avoidances typically occur in assorted affairs, either emotional and/or sexual in nature.

4) Finally, divorce, legally "getting out of" a marriage which failed to live up to magical expectations, becomes another familiar choice.

I can easily enumerate these 4 options because I have tried them all over the course of time. In hindsight I can now acknowledge the limitations of each, and look more clearly at what I visualize as a wiser response (versus reaction) to confronting illusions of any marriage "making me happy."

The "slippery slope" I recognize is letting go of this familiar illusion without falling into, or at least remaining in, the "slough of despond" of extended disillusionment. When I am able to recognize my dark devotions and participation in illusions of such a magical relationship, I face the challenges of moving from temporary disappointment into wider realms of personal unrepression.

Instead of continuing to look "out there," as in marriage, for someone, e.g., a perfect person, to "make me happy," or blaming anyone else when I feel unhappy, I may, when I dare, turn instead to further self-examination in quest of unrecognized aspects of myself only seen in what bothers me in others. Then, when faith is sufficient, I may risk re-embracing previously repressed capacities of my own, long denied in quest of self-affirmation from others, most notably, a spouse.

Then, to whatever degree I am successful in such self-becoming, I find myself graced with happiness inherent in "being oneself," and the wonderful possibility of loving others "as they are," once freed from hidden expectations-that is, illusions of finding happiness outside myself.

Avoiding this slippery slope is, I conclude, well worth facing the challenges inherent in doing so.

********

 

MALE OPTIONS

Choices for a man's actions in marriage are limited to the extent of his personal repressions. The more repressed one is, the fewer options he has. He will, to the degree of his repressions, mainly be limited to reactive patterns, probably first learned with his mother and destined to be repeated with other females, unless or until he succeeds in un-repressing awareness of early experience and re-learning more appropriate ways of living in present circumstances.

However, with increased personal honesty, overall options for action may also expand. When so, chosen ways of responding based on reasoning at the time become open. Five major choices include these:

-- Submit. When differences of opinion occur, "give in" to a woman. Try to please her first. Speak/act in accord with her desires. Try to comply with her wishes whenever possible. For example, say, even non-verbally: "Yes, dear; whatever you say." Or, act as though "Your slightest wish is my greatest command."

-- Co-operate. Treating your relationship as a union of two with equal rights, neither one or the other partner being over or under. When you come to places of difference (as you inevitably will), try to compromise whenever you find yourself at odds with each other.

-- Resist. Rebel against giving in. Stand up to a woman; rather than trying to please, be, in effect, displeasing. For instance, do the opposite of what she wants. Practice active or passive resistance to each of a woman's revealed desires. Even if you eventually give in, resist as long as possible.

-- Dominate. Exert your will and strength in overt efforts to suppress her, to place and keep yourself and your desires over her--that is, the proverbial "little woman in her place." This is the opposite of #1, submitting. Instead of giving in to her, lord it over her. Be active in aggressive efforts to put her down and yourself up in the relationship. Assert your rights, as you understand them, e.g., in sexual permissions.

-- Try to change her. Instead of accepting who she reveals herself as being, engage in an overall process of trying to change her into forms more desirable to you. For example, try to be reasonable with her about other ways of functioning. Try to explain and convince her that she needs to change "for her own good," if not to please you. Argue with her, trying to prove your points related to changing her behavior or ways of relating to you.

-- Leave. In effect, "run away from home," emotionally if not physically. Create spiritual space between you and a woman. Instead of "letting her get close to you," keep her at arm's length--emotionally speaking. Cope with "heel dust,"--that is, create a protective smoke screen as you "run away" from intimacy. At more difficult junctures, leave the scene, either temporarily or permanently.

-- Love. This last major mode of relating is obviously the most difficult of all, and only becomes an option as a man's degrees of un-repression are increased.

APPLICATIONS

There are, in all male/female relationships I have known, times and places for each of these options--that is, circumstances and situations where one or the other is more appropriate, makes more sense, and is called for in personal survival as well as in an effective, positive, long term relationship.

Only the last, love, is potentially relevant all the time; but, as noted, such a choice is only possible to the degree of a man's personal maturity, and at times when he can avoid regressing to older learned patterns of relating.

Although, when repression is greater, a man's moves are limited to reactive patterns of action--usually being one of the first four outlined above, no man can, I conclude, live well with a woman when he is, in effect, a Johnny One Note in his basic mode of reacting. Success over time will likely require a shifting use of one or another choice as circumstances and situations--including a woman's nature, change.

There are, of course, complementary types of male-female relationships based on unions of opposite personality patterns and consequently learned modes of behavior. For example, often a consistently dominant male will be attracted to--and often marry, a mostly submissive female who usually gives in to his desires. Or, an overtly aggressive female may be attracted to a compliant male who, in effect, complements her own personality pattern.

In these all-too-familiar unions of opposites which create an illusion of personal wholeness so long as each mate remains within their older pattern, there is often a temporary feeling of happiness so long as neither one changes or acts out of pattern. However, since the nature of humanity commonly involves degrees of personal change in the course of time, the euphoria of such initially blissful unions is predictably short lived, indeed, often disastrous in time as one or the other partner becomes increasingly honest.

Next, co-operating through negotiated compromises seems to be the second most useful mode of coping when differences arise. Such compromises-with-integrity do, however, require more consciousness and rationality than is often possible at particular times of stress.

When so, choice #3 may be more appropriate, namely, passively resisting overt submission, rather than quickly or routinely giving in, especially when one cannot do so without self-negation. Even when temporary compliance seems more immediately feasible (e.g., until a woman calms down), continued silent resistance to extended submission may turn out to be functional.

Because all circumstances and encounters between a man and woman are unique, I obviously don't know and therefore can't say which mode is best for any particular situation. When sense prevails (as is only possible to a man's degree of un-repression), each choice may be the best for one time or another.

However, at least for myself, I have found that prioritizing in my value system outside of conflict times makes most sense. In general, which choice is apt to be more effective most of the time? And which option is generally to be avoided apart from disastrous circumstances?

My conclusions so far prioritize the above noted options in the order I have listed them, with the exception that the last, namely, love, is most universally applicable whenever I can muster the faith to exercise this choice.

Most commonly, I find that a man's best choice--when he wants to live well with a women, is generally #1, that is, to submit to her desires, try to please her whenever possible without sacrifice of personal integrity.

Of course giving in at cost of one's own integrity is never worth the price, and is predictably destructive in the long run. But otherwise, most of the time, in ordinary events of everyday life, "trying to please" a woman seems to offer greater odds of long term success than any other option I have found.

Next, there are pragmatic times when overt domination is the best of all immediate choices, at least until circumstances are less emotionally charged. For example, if a woman gets completely out of self-control, becoming physically or emotionally destructive to a mate, her children, or herself, physical constraint may be reasonably called for.

Or, if a woman becomes totally irrational in making obviously destructive decisions which effect both partners (e.g., unaffordable spending, excessive drinking, or making unrealistic demands for behavior changes), a man may wisely "put his foot down" in some feasible way of taking charge of an unacceptable situation.

Next, in my value system or priorities, trying to change a woman, at least some aspect of seemingly blind but unacceptable behavior, may be feasible in the long run, at least when I cannot find the nerve to love her as she is, and before opting to leave a relationship, emotionally if not physically.

However, in other than relatively mundane types of behavior, this option turns out to be extremely limited, given the imbalance in inherent gender powers. Real changes, even with the most diligent efforts by another person--especially by a man to a woman, are, in my experience, exceptionally rare. Mostly I have found all such male efforts to be wasted time in the long run. Even sincere efforts to "help" another make obviously needed changes are more apt to backfire than to work for long.

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INTEGRITY

KEEPING INTEGRITY

or

ACQUIESCENCE WITHOUT GIVING IN

"...this above all else; to thine own self be true."

Shakespeare

Keeping personal integrity is a key issue in following any or all of the guidelines suggested here. One might keep all the "rules (of thumb)" and present appearances of a perfect relationship; but if self-integrity is lost in the process, there can be no "living well" with any woman, no matter how good she may be.

If a man loses his sense of his male self, his integrity as an individual person entirely separate and apart from any woman, then the essential basis for a healthy relationship is undermined in the process.

Many of the guidelines enumerated here require a great deal of acquiescence in the process of living well with a "superior creature"; but acquiescence is always to be sharply distinguished from "giving in"-whereby personal integrity is diminished in the process.

Better to rebel-with-integrity, than to give in and lose one's sense-of-self in the process.

Better to be seen as an "ass hole" than to become a "pussy," or a chauvinistic male than an obedient wimp; but better still, to acquire arts of appropriate acquiescence without "giving in" in the process.

For example, two of my observations, "Thinking Like a Woman" and "Doing Dumb Things," will be far easier to follow if a man simply caves in and blindly succumbs to a woman's wants and ways (which many men will see as being "pussy whipped"); but as I intend these and other guidelines to successful living with women, they only apply when a man can consciously acquiesce or defer-in-an-event without loss of personal integrity in the process.

Or, paraphrasing Shakespeare, "Above all else, keep your male self intact while bending for practical reasons aimed at living well with a woman."

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BECOMING YOURSELF

SATISFACTION

Genes plus a bit of practice
and of course sacrificed balls
and swallowed pride
are all that is required for biological satisfaction
in the inherited male role of servicing females
with an occasional sperm and lots of security
otherwise known as:
"keeping the little woman happy"


But for greater happiness
faith is required for moving on
to personhood past gender alone
to owning, that is, the other 44 chromosomes
in each and every cell
otherwise known as becoming whole
and meeting God in this potential
Garden Of Pleasure here

********

ADVICE

Give 90% or your attention to growing up yourself, and 10% to improving your relationships--that is, trying to initiate changes. "Growing up" typically involves un-repressing natural male capacities and learning to integrate them functionally in society and your relationships with women. Other terms for the same process include: "becoming your fuller self," "working out your own salvation," "confronting your own problems," and "accepting responsibility for your own well being."

This guideline is contrary to common male attention which is more like this:

-- 60% of energy given to bemoaning present status of a relationship--that is, regret, disappointment, complaining (mostly to other men), and/or feeling sorry for oneself while doing nothing about the facts.

-- 25% to blaming a woman, trying to change her (or hoping she will on her own), or wishing it were so.

-- 10% to seeking satisfaction outside the relationship, e.g., in outside activities, such as, business, sports, hunting, male friendships, or other female relationships, including affairs (emotional if not physical).

-- 5% to growing up oneself (self improvement).

Probably the most difficult part of learning to live well with a woman is reversing these overall priorities--that is, changing the last common 5% (or variations on the numbers) to the recommended guideline of 90% of attention to growing up oneself, and 10% to "working on" the relationship. When I am sometimes able to follow my own rules, I find positive results to be roughly in the same proportions.

Stated negatively: Quit blaming your "problems (dissatisfactions)" on women and learn to take responsibility for your own happiness, both in and out of your relationships. Energy given to blaming--as revealed in complaining about a woman, trying to change her, or running away from her, cannot but be drawn from the limited reservoir of resources otherwise available for saving yourself and perhaps learning to love a woman as she is.

Embrace self-becoming

Embrace your capacity for self-becoming as the only true path to personal happiness with a woman, rather than blindly looking to a lover for permission to become honest, or for magical powers to make you whole and happy.

Keep focused on self-becoming versus trying to "keep a woman happy." Self-becoming is rooted in un-repression of blindly denied male attributes suppressed in process of socialization, that is, survival and well being, beginning in one's personal family and extending to outside society. Therefore, self-becoming has two major elements: un-repressing missing male qualities and activating natural masculinity in relationships with women.

Certainly "pleasing females" is a prime male responsibility, both biologically and socially; but even in fulfilling this established male role a man is well advised to keep his primary private focus on "selfing" rather than "spousing" and/or "fathering."

Devote major energies toward growing up yourself rather than using a woman as a "missing half," trying to get something from her, or trying to change her to be more in line with your private desires--for example, to be more reasonable, sexual, or understanding, etc.

Point: 1) Such efforts will likely be wasted energy, and 2) Energies devoted to probably futile endeavors cannot but be drawn from those otherwise available for actually possible goals, such as, growing up yourself.

In practice: 1) Think more about your negative reactions to female traits you dislike, than to her attributes themselves; 2) Focus on improving your coping skills with her rather than simply having emotional reactions, falling into old thoughtless habits, or hoping for change.

Realize that very little change occurs in anyone without devoted attention to un-repression and self-becoming. And, whereas, many do "wish they were different, or "better," most folks, women included, simply opt for living-out old modes of coping learned in childhood.

Furthermore, undesirable attributes may be concealed during courtship and early encounters, but they don't go away and will predictably resurrect as a relationship continues. Probably she won't change much, even if you both wish it so.

But, with diligence, you can.

MISSING HALVES

If a woman's efforts to find herself as a person through relating to a man are misguided, as many disillusioned wives have discovered, a man's blind attempts to find his "missing half" (his heart and/or own right brain) in a woman are far more likely to fail.

Illusions of wholeness inherent in "falling in love," especially with a beautiful woman, are predictably destined for a short life, often ending soon after the honeymoon is over, because in reality personal wholeness (and inherent happiness) is an individual matter-like individuation itself.

Time cannot but contribute to eventual disillusioning of a man who, like Prince Arthur, fell in love and tried to rescue a Princess, blind to the fact of an external quest for a missing internal "half."

Bottom line: I conclude that the odds of salvation from an otherworldly God, though highly speculative, are better than those with an earthly woman, though more often gambled on.



SEEKING WHOLENESS

Past gene/meme temptations there is the psychological trap which is perhaps even more dangerous than these first two. I refer to "complementary-ness"--that is, the quest for personal wholeness through ownership of a "missing half" in the form of an opposite-gender person, the stuff of romantic love, the kind we "fall into."

Because this path is commonly taken by unconscious direction, "without a thought in the world" (let alone any reason), it becomes even more insidious than the gene/meme paths. Who has a clue to why we fall in love? At least at the time of such a fall. We just do so. Delightfully, at the time.

In hindsight, with diligent attention we may be able to filter through some of the awesome powers of moonlight and roses, et al. Some of my discoveries include: the hidden shadows of Mother's Smile, the wish for a local Goddess, a fantasy of returning to the Womb cloaked in illusions of "unqualified love," escapes from the nerve to make up my mind as well as from the faith essential for affirming my own existence. I have long looked to woman, especially cloaked in romantic love, for permission--not only to do, but even to be. This, I think looking back, must be the ultimate idolatry as well as the grandest of all cop-outs.

********

 

FEMALE WILES

 

INHERITED WISDOM

Sophia's Wisdom--that is, female wiles either inherited and/or learned early in a girl's life, are obviously more expansive than Apollo's Ploys, male type means of coping in cross-gender relationships. Girls, for whatever reason, somehow seem to know far more about how to out-maneuver boys than vice versa. In most typical male-female encounters, beginning in early childhood and continuing throughout life, women are, I observe, more successful in "getting what they want" than are men.

Although both genders have differing modes of trying to succeed with each other in achieving private goals, clever female "wiles," as best I can tell, are typically more successful than rather brutish male "ploys" available for confronting them.

ADVICE

Study, learn to recognize and identify specific wiles in the repertoire of a woman. All women have and use them, even if unconsciously (which makes them better at it), but each woman has her own favorites. If you don't recognize each, you will predictably fall for them and be manipulated without even realizing what is happening.

Instead of falling for, getting mad about, trying to change her, or at least to stop using a particular wile, give all attention to improving your skills in confronting each effectively--that is, achieving a functional compromise between conflicting desires at the time, one which maximizes your success without damaging her sense of herself in the process.

 

Background: The number and nature of available female wiles is almost limitless (See my essay, Sophia's Wisdom, for enumeration of some 54 of them). Consequently, each woman tends to find her own list and use them as long as they work. The challenge is to catch on to those most used by your particular woman.

There are, however, a few major, widely used female wiles you may begin looking for: Among them are: trading sex for power; deceptive beautifying and dressing (displaying so as to make you think she is prettier than actually so); playing on latent male guilt ("Be ashamed of yourself." "You aren't going out looking like that, are you?"); artful intimidation or "putting down" on you ("Is that the best you can do?" "Is that as big as it gets?").

DECEPTION

Accept the pragmatic necessity of artful deception for success in any extended relationship.

This, however, requires confronting powerful social and religious forces which see honesty-with-others as virtuous and any deception as "being dishonest"--that is, wrong and/or sinful. Because these public values are so thoroughly ingrained in most people, even before times of consideration, many men have to deal with predictable "false guilt" about even considering conscious deception.

In spite of this public perception of honesty-with-others as virtuous (and deception as bad), careful analysis may reveal that these memes are primarily directed at males. Females have long been so practiced at artful deception with males that such skills are now either ingrained or learned so early in life as to escape conscious awareness in those most successful in its practice.

So, men, if you "feel guilty" about possible deceptions with females you care for, realize that they are probably far ahead of you in practicing these arts. They have used them for eons, so long as to have the skills down pat, even unconscious if not engened. Furthermore, female use of deception (e.g., in makeup, dress, and courting skills) is also socially acceptable and quietly affirmed by other females.

If men are to ever catch up in balancing skills in mutual deceptions, many of us will first have to develop skill in appropriately fooling a woman without fooling ourselves at the same time--that is, consciously choosing to deceive and be responsible for same, so as to avoid unconsciously "trying to get caught."

 

********

MALE PLOYS

Remember Samson's hair in the Bible. Be very cautious in revealing your weaknesses to a woman. As in courts of law, "anything you say can be used against you," and often may, especially in emergencies and at times of deeper needs of either of you.

Use and perfect your lesser advantages and useful ploys; but be careful not to naively reveal them to her, especially when she digs. For example, playfully deny: "Would I try to fool you?"

********

 

PROJECTIONS

Accept female projections as inevitable, without taking them personally, getting defensive, and/or trying to explain yourself--as though you are the true subject.

Accept a woman's blind projections onto you without falling for or being done in by any. For example, projected illusions of your grandeur; savior from her family, poverty, or herself; blame/cause of her shortcomings; reason she is unhappy ("making her angry," "disappointing her," "letting her down.").

The point of accepting projections without confronting them is to perhaps tease them further into her awareness, so that in time she may be able to see and withdraw them and their associated powers back into herself. Also, by standing with her and keeping integrity intact, you exercise and strengthen your own powers.

 

Respect female unconsciousness

 

You may be more conscious than the woman you love--that is, more aware of instinctive drives, present goals, and immediate reasons, than are females more directed by emotions than conscious sense.

From these typically different gender stances, men are often inclined to "try to make women see," if not to "make sense," plus to understand us at the same time (while, to be fair, corresponding females often wish, if not try, to make males be more emotional and less dedicated to focused thinking)--which is generally a relational mistake.

Wiser men respect a woman's greater comfort, e.g., for making love in the dark (with no mirrors on the ceiling, etc.), as well as keeping her expansive thoughts to herself, shielded, as it were, from the glaring lights of consciousness as well as the scrutiny of curious men "trying to understand women" (even while avoiding trying to make them understand us).

In practice, this means respecting her right to move more fully into consciousness at her own pace, if at all, and to love her anyway if she never does.

Finally, you may safely ask a woman "how she feels" about almost anything, anytime; but rarely is it reasonable to ask a right brained female "what she thinks."

********

 

SEX IN MARRIAGE



LOVING

To love a woman
hold her warmly
nourishing the roots of her security


To love a man
touch him sexily
affirming the fires of his passion


Then, paradoxically, in time
her security may evolve into passion
and his passion into commitment


She may become a vixen in bed
while he learns to keep his bed roll
stashed behind her couch, permanently


As both abandon the quest for love
in favor of the delights
of loving each other

********

UNFAIR ADVANTAGES

Generally speaking,
in our quests for genetic immortality
all we male's must have
is a warm passage toward a lurking ovum
while our gender counterparts
need much more than a stiff prick
guiding hoards of willing sperm,
such as, a man with a slow hand
if not a soft but firm tongue
unhindered by shame and unhurried
by fear of lack of love

********

 

INDEPENDENCE

 

I have concluded that relative independence in two major arenas of human capacity is a pre-requisite for successful living well with females--that is, for responding creatively to woman's wiles. Only to the degree that such independence is achieved by a man can he hope to move beyond female determination in other than outward ways. Both selfing and sexual independence are critical in exercising male ploys--or, since all is relative, the extent of each will pre-determine the degree to which a man may come to live well in female company.

But just what does independence mean? First, the opposite of dependence is implied. To be selfing/sexually independent means, negatively, to not be dependent on woman (either specific females or femininity-in-general) for "mothering" or sexual affirmation.

It means to be firmly rooted on one's own symbolic "green spot" insofar as "taking care of oneself (selfing independence)" and existing sexually as a natural male is concerned. This is in contrast with "needing woman" to complete a man personally (as in, "better half" in marriage), or to give him permission and occasion to embrace and activate masculine sexual drives.

It may also be seen as "emotional," "spiritual," or "psychological" independence. To be independent, as I view this pre-requisite for effecting male ploys, means to be emotionally intact--that is, comfortably contained as an emotional being, without requiring female support. It means to be spiritually whole without the necessity of woman to "make me whole." Or, in mental terms, it means to be psychologically "mature" in the sense of fully capable of healthy living apart from female "companionship" and/or support.

But these windows on independence are only contrasting sides of dependence and say little about the actual state itself, especially the practical issues of living in proximity with women. In practice, since we do in fact always exist in the presence of females--some closer, others farther away, but always in a society populated by females, understanding independence requires more.

Insofar as mutual togetherness is concerned, the type of independence I am affirming here is more like "inter-dependence" than literal separateness. The separateness of independence is better seen as inward rather than outward, that is, more related to emotions, spirit and psychological matters, than to daily contacts and mutual activities.

Pragmatically and inevitably we "live together"--either in society, marriage, or a host of other male/female relationships. This means that we share many concerns (especially, children) and hence have innumerable contacts and outward connections with each other.

But the essential distinction I seek to clarify here is the difference between outward "inter-dependence" and inward separation (independence). One can be intimately related to females, both closely at hand and in many other "working" relationships, yet at the same time spiritually independent of them. This latter stance is what I am trying to understand better. It may also be seen as being with without "leaning on" or otherwise needing woman's affirmation or approval to exist as a fully conscious masculine creature.

Summary: To live well with women, to successfully exercise male ploys, requires, I think, spiritual independence from them in two overlapping human arenas: selfingness and sexuality. I must first "be myself"--including my masculinity, apart or separate from females, and then be able to function emotionally independent while in their presence, that is, "not needing woman's approval" in order to fully be who I am.

PRAGMATICS OF INDEPENDENCE


I begin with selfing independence. The best general description of selfing dependence, the opposite of what I am trying to see more clearly, is "in need of mothering," either consciously or unconsciously. To be independent as oneself means to have cut the emotional cord to "mother" and all those other females who later come to symbolically represent her, just as completely as was the umbilical cord cut at birth. In practice this means to be able to live well on one's own, without "needing to be taken care of" in any regards--such as, food preparation, bodily tending, house/home provision and management, clothing needs, social relationships, decision making, and personal happiness in general.

Such selfing independence is also to be distinguished from "rebelling against women" which may appear as true independence, yet remains defined and determined by female values, even if in direct opposition to them. An independent selfing male neither "has to have a woman to take care of him and make him happy" nor does he fear/hate women and exist in constant need of rebelling against or fighting them.

He can, that is, live with or live without women in his life and yet do quite well independently of them. If they (or one) are present he takes care of himself with them; if there are no females at hand, he takes care of himself equally well without them--without longing, wishing for, or denial of repressed dependencies.

Corresponding sexual independence is more difficult both to understand and to practice because of fierce social restraints against so many aspects of natural masculinity. Whereas male "growing up," "cutting the apron strings," and learning to "take care of ourselves"--that is, becoming independent individuals, is viewed as socially favorable, and at least consciously desired by females, no such corresponding sexual independence is socially fostered. Indeed, sexual dependence on one legal mate is deeply at the heart of major social structures as well as the basis of many "stable" monogamous marriages.

Selfing independence may be socially affirmed, but corresponding sexual independence is far from becoming a social virtue, and is, in fact, suppressed even as an idea, let alone as a practice. "Good husbands" are expected to be sexually dependent on their wives for any activation of their sexual selves. Even if sexual independence were espoused as a theoretical virtue, strong legal and social structures exist to hinder any effective practice of such a spiritual state.

For clarification, I first amplify the principle of sexual independence; then, its practice. In principle, sexual independence is the same as selfing independence--that is, existing as a self-contained and self-responsible person in each regard. Just as selfing independence means "not needing mothering" in order to live well as one's individual self, so sexual independence means "not needing a woman (wife or lover)" in order to live well as one's masculine self (with all natural sexual drives accepted, embraced, and activated).

To be sexually independent means to be sexually unrepressed--that is, to exist with natural instincts related to replication consciously accepted, entertained-without-judgment, contained in awareness, and activated responsibly--either expressed or concealed, in harmony with social circumstances.

In this ideal male state, masculine sexuality, being unrepressed, is hence not projected onto females who then become responsible for its blessing, permission, and/or activation. Instead, it is recognized as existing and arising within one's own self, not as caused or brought into being by females who "turn us on"--and/or "off," and are then "in charge of" and finally responsible for our sexual actions.

Surely females may attract and we may respond; but, and this is the critical issue here, our sexual powers are not determined either by our attractions or by their responses--at least to the degree that we are sexually independent. We are as passionate or cold as our own genetic structures incline us, often in the presence of females with genetically attractive attributes; but the force of these drives is generated within and remains both from and of our male selves.

To the degree that a male is thusly independent, his sexuality is as surely his own as is his selfingness. It may be activated (expressed or concealed) with a woman, but it is never of or from a female. Such independent masculine sexuality does not need female blessing, and/or approval for its fulfilled existence as a male attribute; nor is its responsible activation dependent on female permission (even presence) for its translation into forms of behavior in the world.

This said (understood in principle), what does it mean in practice? How is being sexually independent translated into forms of action in the world? What are the "shapes" of this existential state described above?

Natural male sexuality may be seen in two parts: 1) Internal passions recognized as outward attractions, and 2) External actions which express (or conceal) inward urges. Because masculine sexuality, after unrepression and re-achieving degrees of sexual independence, is recognized and accepted as a part of oneself, it may be carefully separated from any outside actions.

Indeed, it must be, before a male can be sexually responsible in society. Passions are one thing; actions are another. Sexual urges are given; they arise naturally within, without choice, in accord with genetic wisdom. But sexual behavior is, when a male is independent, always chosen--that is, carefully considered in consciousness before any revelation is made, and certainly before any action is taken with another person.

The ideal is: be as naturally sexual as you are--that is, consciously "feel" all passions which arise within; but at the same time, act as responsibly as social knowledge allows. Just as all "feelings" are responsibly entertained without judgment, so all behaviors are effected with sharp discernment. "Be as sexy as you are; but act as smart as you are," may be a good summary.

Natural masculine passions arise spontaneously along with testicular sperm production, and become most readily conscious in "gene eye" attractions--which are themselves signs of conceive-ability, summarized as "female beauty." Unfortunately, many--indeed most, of these natural urges are socially unacceptable, legally punishable, and religiously condemned.

If "acted out"--that is, translated into their most direct forms of behavior, they may be socially seen as: incest, masturbation, "scoping girls," pornography, "feeling up" females, bestiality, homosexuality, molestation, pedophilia, perversions, sexual harassment, prostitution, fornication, adultery, marital sex, and affairs ("unfaithfulness"). Obviously, all but marital sex--which, I think, only represents a minor element in natural masculine sexuality, are carefully and diligently suppressed in society.

Society, as we all know, only supports hetero--not homo or bi--sexuality, and only this under the confines of legal marriage. But natural masculinity, as best I can tell, might better be recognized as omni-sexual--that is, including, but certainly not limited by these three recognized forms of expression.

Since most of these forms of sexual activity are socially condemned and come with varying degrees of social and/or legal punishment, reason requires unrepressed males to choose carefully among them. Even though all may be genetically acceptable, obviously many of them pose extreme memetic dangers (witness, pedophilia in the priesthood just now). Safest choices begin with marital sex and masturbation (if kept completely private), then, with increasing risks: fornication, affairs, sex with prostitutes, adultery, etc.

Given these dangers in society, I conclude that only marriage, masturbation, and affairs offer any reasonable options for male sexual expression. The latter, though common, also include escalated dangers, especially to marital relationships which are safest of all. Of course some of the noted forms of male sexual expression, such as, scoping girls and pornography, are, since not overtly sexual, socially allowed if discretely exercised. When so, they may be forms of

masculine expression alongside the others.

These observations aside, now I consider the three most common forms of male sexual practice: marriage, masturbation, and affairs.

MARITAL SEX


First, the principle: sexual independence, as amplified before, requires that a husband's sexuality be carefully kept as his own passion and responsibility--never projected into his wife's control. Certainly a wife should be equally responsible for her own sexuality, including its exercise with her husband. I dismiss older modes of "wifely duty" to relics of the past. I do not think that a wife "owes" sex to her husband or that a husband "has the right" to sex on demand. Independence, as a pre-requisite for successful ploys, is a two way street. Until spouses move past older theories of "rights" and "dues," a healthy marriage is, I conclude, impossible.

But to the degree that spouses move into stances of mutual independence together, each becomes responsible for the giving and receiving of sex out of other considerations (hopefully love, along with replication), rather than rights and duties.

PRINCIPLE


In regard to principle, the major male issue in marital sex is: being (and remaining) one's natural sexual self without repressing and projecting instinctive forces onto a wife, thereby empowering her most effective of all wiles. The wifely pussy power wile, I conclude, is about 95% fueled by husbandly repressions.

The principle of sexual independence (essential for a spiritually healthy marriage) is a reversal of this common situation. When a husband is being himself sexually, his sexual eggs, as it were, are in his own basket--not in his wife's. He is not dependent on his wife for experiencing natural passions-for "feeling" his masculine instincts whenever and however they arise within himself, for being "turned on (sexually excited)."

He is, of course, responsible for reasonable expression or concealment of his passions--that is, "what he does" about "how he feels." But, and this is the crucial issued of principle: he is independent of need for her blessing or permission to be his inherited masculine self. When its activation involves or effects her, certainly her own feelings, interests, and values are crucially important and carefully taken into account.

Yet the moving power and choices about expression remain firmly within himself. She may or may not be involved in acting sexual with him, but she remains relatively incidental to his being his sexual self. Her seemingly inherent "turn on" and "turn off" capacities are near zero. Certainly she may be perceived as attractive, even sexually tempting (or not), but still the primary powers for his being passionate remain firmly rooted within himself. Sexually independent, he abides on his sexual green spot, even as with other aspects of his non-sexual personhood.

PRACTICE OF SEXUAL INDEPENDENCE


How is this stance of masculine independence in which a husband's being sexual in some 95% operative in his own gender inheritance, rather than projected into his wife's keeping--that is, when his sexual eggs (sperm) are in his own basket (testicles) rather than in his wife's basket (womb and mind), to be wisely effected?

How, that is, is masculine sexuality to be smartly expressed in a monogamous marriage in which a husband loves his wife--desires to respect and affirm her as a female person rather than use her as a sexual and mothering slave?

The situation is complicated by the additional facts that: a) Masculine sexuality (pure fucking interests) may be 90% greater than female sexual interests. Natural males, I estimate, "want to have sex" vastly more often than equally natural females whose primary concerns are related to her own pregnancy only; and b) Marriage vows commit males to sexual fidelity to a wife--in practical terms, to placing all his sexual sperm, if placed at all, in his wife's vagina, or not at all.

When these two facts are combined, the typical result is a husband with: a) Far more natural interests in being overtly sexual ("doing it") than his wife, and, b) Once she is impregnated, continual natural interests in having sex with other potentially conceive-able females (fucking many others), which, unfortunately for him, he is both legally and personally committed not to do so.

If love is added to a pragmatic relationship--as ideally is so, complications increase. Since love both accepts, respects, and affirms another as-she-is, rather than simply as a man might wish-she-were, husbands who love face the additional challenge of being true to our own genetic sexuality while at the same time honoring a wife who has truly different sexual concerns, including our faithfulness to her.

Whereas a gene-directed husband who marries only for "getting a woman" to use (both biologically and psychologically) is freed to "demand sex" as his "right," and to otherwise seek sex elsewhere, a caring husband is without these options. His sexual activities with his wife will always regard her honest presence as a person, never just "her pussy" alone.

Also, his personal commitments to her (as voiced in the marriage ceremony)--that is, his word as true and dependable, will be honored in love, along with his careful attention to legal contracts and the consequences of breaking them.

Furthermore, predictable consequences of many other forms of extra-marital sexual activity which may be genetically natural and personally desirable (e.g., adultery, fornication, sex-with-minors, homosexuality, etc.) will also be reasonably considered. Among these dangers are: risks of AIDS, venereal diseases, personal guilt, criminal punishments, logistical challenges (like keeping a lover secret, or pulling off a charade of only loving one woman).

In an ideal society (which is, of course, a present fantasy) perhaps prostitution would be legalized and become a respectable profession which allowed husbands to express natural masculine sexuality without threat to legal marriages and/or a loving relationship. But so much for fantasy.

In the real and present world these or other possible sexual arrangements which might more nearly correlate natural male desires with available opportunities, simply so not yet exist. "Meanwhile, back here at the ranch" where all males presently live, the noted dilemmas must be resolved in the context of socially and religiously sacred marriage--where at least limited male replication may safely occur, or else outside these established relational barriers where no such protections are assured.

The end result of these and other factors is that the only reasonable options I have found for a caring husband include: a) Making love (literally) with his wife (as contrasted with periodic fucking only); b) Artful sensuality and masturbation; and c) Extremely discrete affairs. In actual practice, only the first two make much reasonable sense to me, since the odds of truly successful affairs during a healthy marriage must be immensely slim.

Not that they are inherently wrong or evil in genetic perspectives (only in terms of memes), but that pragmatic challenges are apt to far outweigh potential sexual rewards. In other words, they are apt "to be more trouble than they are worth"--at least past immediate thrills of successfully meeting the inherent social challenges ("pulling off" an affair while remaining in a healthy marriage--or truly loving more than one woman at a time).

LOVE AND SEX

Love and sex are intimately connected for woman but basically at odds for man.

Sex without love is naturally unthinkable for woman, except as a means of wielding power in quest of love, which means far more to her than sexual intercourse itself. "Making love" and "being loving" go hand in hand for woman; indeed the two expressions are almost synonymous. A woman may or may not choose to have sex with a man she doesn't love, but her true sexual passions are unlikely unless she does love a man. The more she loves a man, the more likely she is to feel personally sexual with him.

In sharp contrast, for males love is more of a liability than an asset to good sex. A man may often find it far easier to be his natural sexual self with a women he does not love than with one he does love. The threats of entanglement which love evokes, including unconscious resurrection of negative, anti-sexual, psychic forces of the ancient, universal incest taboo, may easily undercut a male's personal passions.

Paradoxically, men may come closer to embracing their full sexual potential, to being as sexually passionate as they naturally are, including enjoying sex more, with prostitutes or females they don't care for, than with those they love deeply.

Conversely, a man is more likely to feel loving with a women he is not sexual with than with one who is freely sexual with him. "Sex," we might say, "is a turn on to man," while "love is a turn off." But the exact opposite is more likely to be true for a woman --that is, "Love is a turn on for a woman," but sex, especially without obvious evidences of love, or at least its promise, is typically "a turn off."

In summary, whereas a man is naturally more sexual with an attractive woman he does not love, a woman is unlikely to feel naturally sexual with a man she does not also love. Consequently, a woman may use sex to get love, while a man more predictably tries to use love to get sex. A man may honestly think (and sometimes say), "If you really loved me, you would have sex with me," while a woman's more natural response (either silently or verbal) is, "If you really loved me, you wouldn't ask (at least until we are married)."

I surmise that these diametrically opposite gender views of the relationship between sex and love are genetically rooted. While both genders are, I conclude, biologically geared below levels of conscious thought to seek maximum replication of personal genes through the medium of sex, male odds of success escalate by having sex with as many different females as possible, as often as possible.

But in sharp contrast, female odds of self-replication success are far greater with the potential security to be found with a male who loves her (and only her) than with a man who is only interested in sex and will predictably be unfaithful to her--that is, "want to have sex" without also loving her exclusively at the same time.

The pragmatic ramifications of these genetic differences in cross-gender relationships (if I am correct in my speculations) are immense, perhaps impossible to over-estimate. Predictably problematic and all too common conflicts are often evident in these arenas:

-- Unconscious drives toward monogamous marriage, resulting in contrasting views of "marriage as sacred" in female eyes, and "marriage as bondage" in male thinking--that is, girls who dream of and can't wait to get married, and boys who resist marriage and "giving up their freedom."

-- Marital conflicts between spouses in which wives strive to keep husbands faithful to them only, and husbands who strive to get wives to be sexual with them--since with marriage vows each promise to restrict themselves accordingly.

-- Females feeling morally virtuous when they are only being true to their genetic heritage, while males may feel equally guilty if they risk being true to their own corresponding but contrasting biological bents.

ADVICE

Seek to become sexually independent, to be sexual with a woman, but not to be sexually dependent on her--that is, to be limited to her desires and permissions for your own sexuality.

 

On faithfulness

Be physically faithful to a woman you love, but remain mentally honest about natural male desires in deference to social mores (as voiced in traditional wedding vows) and female needs for security. Respect powerful memes for sexual faithfulness and even more powerful genes for maximizing replication ("fooling around"). A man must deal with negative social, religious, and feminine views, but he need not fall for them or take them as his own directives.

Embrace masculine genetics for pervasive lusting (See my essay, Jocasta Complex) while fully respecting memes and female desires for "only having eyes for you." This will often call for skills in artful deception (fooling her), while remaining scrupulously honest with yourself about your own passions (never fooling you).

Reasons: 1) Greatest source of male power is inherent in lust-ability (urge to replicate our own genes); 2) A man can't become his fuller self if he negates (represses) this essential part of who he is as a male-type person.

********

 

GIANT OR PIGMY



If I am correct in identifying a significant part of male fear in regard to our own sexuality with its unknown nature, with the facts that we project so early and never learn to identify with and become responsible for this aspect of ourselves, how can I see into this unknown? What are its parameters? What is the content of the dark space which we may "live on top of"?

I begin with size; for openers, we (I project and theorize) may not know the true size and hence power of our own sexuality. We know that we often feel sexual; this is hard to deny. But how sexual are we? What is the extent of our sexual potency? How strong/weak are these instincts which erect our penises but leave them without conscience?

Is this dark, pervasive inner force a Sleeping Giant or a Noisy Pigmy? Is "it" more like a time bomb waiting to go off, or a tiny firecracker with only a "pop"? A Roman Candle or a Sparkler? Is it "all blow" with "little show," or a concealed monster just waiting for an inopportune time to do us in? Sexually speaking, are we nearer to omnipotence or impotence?

This unknown is compounded by the fact (as I surmise) that we males often dis-identify our selves from our sexuality. In order to cope with these unknown powers we may learn early to split ourselves into "I" and "it"; "I" who "have (or often feel)" this force "within me"--but "it" is not the same as me.

We may thereafter see ourselves as, for example, "having" erections (wet dreams, attractions, urges, etc.) but not as being sexual. Erections then seem to "happen to us," or "come on us," but they are no longer perceived as us. Since they consequently seem to occur "in spite of ourselves," then "something" must be causing them--that is, the initiating power for uncontrollable erections (or desires) must logically be elsewhere, "out there," for example, in the girls who always seem to be around, or in our dreams, when these strange desires and sensations "arise." Or else, perhaps "the devil makes us do it (or want to)."

Though the psychic phenomenon called projection is only recognized in hindsight, it serves to further darken already clouded sexuality. Projection is, of course, pragmatic at the time; it helps us cope in difficult circumstances. But the utility of projecting does not diminish the darkness which inevitably accompanies it.

We may feel temporarily safer when the cause of these strange forces is imagined to be external, after we have concluded, for instance, that girls "turn us on," but the fact remains: we are thereafter even more separated and hence out of control of innate sexuality. The power is partially manageable "out there" (we can avoid girls, not look, or only touch them by choice, which, of course, they severely restrict), yet the darkness born of projection is only amplified thereby. Illusions of external control only cloak heightened degrees of internal loss of control.

The unknown extent of dis-associated-from-self sexuality is thus magnified by the very psychic procedure we commonly use to find safety and relief from "it." If we were "living on top" of a Casper-like ghost before, after the internal split and the external projection we are left with a dangerous ogre "down there" later.

And social circumstances which always threaten us with real and serious consequences for any breach of its powerful memes--rules of acceptable/polite/legal sexual behavior, are constantly present whenever we are around females or otherwise reveal our natural instincts. Just, for instance, the urge to look--to see female bodies, can, if not kept carefully secret, lead to social rejection if not legal consequences. Saying sexually implicit words is always impolite and usually obscene; and any "unwanted advances" can, as presidents and all other males know, be horrendously dangerous.

The point: internal dis-association of self from sexuality with inevitable projection of cause "out there," would be sufficient for a scary-enough unknown; but add the unknown dangers of extended social consequences for any breach of sexual etiquette (which boils down to almost complete denial) to a male's fear of any unknown, and the scope of this particular fear may begin to appear.

One further primal fear, which may actually be greater than these noted, is the possible resurrection of what I have surmised to be the oldest and deepest of all childhood terrors symbolized by the meme of Mother's Frown. In the earliest days of an infant's post-natal life, when ultimate powers of life/death and all measures of existence in between are posited in the Goddess who cares for us, then nothing in reality matters more than forces best recognized in Mother's Smile, or its potentially disastrous counterpart, Her Frown.

This universally real situation becomes relevant to a male's fear of the unknown extent of his own masculinity because of the way mothers commonly relate to a boy's emerging sexuality. A mother may unconsciously affirm a son's sexuality, since it is in fact her own best avenue to genetic-replication; but such deep affirmations, if they do exist, are more commonly shrouded with consistent messages of denial.

Any non-sexual "affectionate" behavior in a boy may bring Her Smile, but when a son becomes overtly sexual Her Frown is seldom far behind. What son has ever experienced conscious affirmation for this innate aspect of himself from the most powerful force in his earliest life? Mothers discernable "messages" about sons' sexuality must, I surmise in this scientifically dark space, be universally negative.

And when boys "grow up" without resolving this possibly most powerful of all memes, it always remains in the wings of every adult stage. No matter how far we move away, or how long we are removed, the "shadow of Her Smile"--or more often, of Her Frown, lurks menacingly around all later sexual experiences. Present unknowns, which are more than enough in themselves, may be immeasurably darkened by primal memories never quite forgotten.

 

SENSUAL AND SEXY

A psychiatrist administering a Rorschach test found that a man gave a sexy interpretation to every ink blot. Finally he asked: "Why do you see sex in every symbol I show you?" The man replied: "Why do you keep showing me all those sexy pictures?"

Natural humans, unhindered by personal repression, easily move between sensual delights and sexual passions as appropriate with circumstances at the time. Males, biologically aimed at genetic immortality via our evolved role of sperm-spreading, naturally focus on sexual passions which culminate in orgasm and dispersing sperm, while females with the same goal but with their radically different role of baby-making, focus on sensual awareness as critical in discerning hidden times of conception as well as the immense responsibilities of motherhood.

But with the advent of repression, as is so often feasible in essential family and social acceptance long before times of possible replication, males traditionally split ourselves, severing the natural tie between sensual presence and sexual desires, leaving ourselves sensually dull and blindly dictated by innate sexual drives. Easily then, we draw lines between these two aspects of natural capacities, often becoming determined by the second while ignoring the first.

Females likewise, with their own repressions in service of the same goals, often form wide chasms between their ingrained focus on sensual awareness and less essential concern with overt sexuality. All too easily sex-hungry males will be more than attentive to the essential but relatively minor matter of initiating conception.

Then the common consequence, so familiar today, becomes: males blindly compulsive and determined by sexual passions severed from sensuality, and females caught up in lesser delights of sense satisfaction, but deeply fearful of repressed capacities for sexual passions.

Before wholeness and the potential happiness of becoming and being our fuller selves, males must un-repress ourselves, erasing illusionary lines drawn between sensual and sexy, with . total dedication to the second and relative ignorance of the first. Females, likewise, may need to undo their own repressions which often leave them with a wide chasm between sensual and sexy, and embrace expansive capacities for the second along with the first.

Then, ideally, when faith allows, we will learn to responsibly activate both intertwined capacities and wisely express and/or conceal each as is appropriate to time and circumstances.

*******

MASTURBATION AND AFFAIRS

 

In confronting either of these subjects, the critical issue is pragmatics, not virtue. In spite of social and religious judgments of each (more of the 2nd than the 1st), neither, I think, is inherently wrong or sinful. The relevant issue is practicality rather than sin.

The main thing is honest consciousness ("being aware")--that is, embracing rather than repressing natural desires. Within your own skin, recognize passion (lust) as it naturally arises, and seek pragmatic resolutions.



AFFAIRS

sexual encounters outside an established relationship

 

I consider affairs first because this is probably the most common attempt at resolving the noted conflict between sexual desires and sexual dissatisfaction or limitations in an established relationship.

ADVICE

First, move past prevailing negative judgments. There is nothing inherently wrong with having sex with more than one person; but, given existing memes and female needs, affairs are probably the most dangerous and self-defeating of possible resolutions to this common conflict.

CONFLICTING GENDER VALUES

 

There is an inherent conflict between male and female values related to our differing roles in self-replication, namely, between males-as-sperm-spreaders and females-as-baby-makers. Whereas odds of male replication are maximized by having sex as often as possible with as many females as possible, multiple female sex events do little to increase a female's own replication. Indeed, from a genetic standpoint, in a lifetime a female actually only needs to have sex a relatively few times in order to preserve her genetic heritage.

These biological facts are respected, I speculate, in the nature of memes evolved to support what is probably best for both genders in the long run, namely, "family values (affirming fidelity)," religious sins curtailing male freedoms, and perhaps strongest of all, female desires for male possession as their best odds for continued security as needed for successful child rearing.

MASTURBATION

Skillful masturbation is probably the most feasible male resolution for coping with the disparity in drives for "doing it" between each gender. But this means of sexual satisfaction often requires considerable logistical skills, given powerful negative memes opposing overt sex in any arena--that is, arranging circumstances to maximize personal freedom without jeopardizing "family values (e.g., female value systems, children's knowledge of sex, and other risks in "getting caught"). Specifically, these skills may include hiding pornography, such as, Playboy magazines or internet connections with stimulating images, plus, of course, arranging times for these temporary satisfactions apart from mate and/or family knowledge.

PROSTITUTES

Having protected, impersonal sex with prostitutes, with recognized and accepted compensation for each partner (usually, money for sex) is another potential resolution for the natural gender imbalance in desires to "do it." In such win/win sexual situations, both parties may be equally respected as individuals--that is, no emotional abuse is inherent in such transactions.

However, powerful prevailing memes strongly mitigate against this potentially feasible means of confronting the sexual imbalance in a pragmatic way. Obviously, open prostitution is illegal, as well as strongly condemned by most females who are far more concerned with enforcing a mate's fidelity than in supporting his sexual satisfactions with anyone except herself.

Consequently, in all but the most unusual and protected of circumstances, such as, trips to a foreign country where prostitution is permitted and dangers of "being caught" are minimized, this avenue of sexual satisfaction is extremely risky (witness, Jimmy Swaggart and Senator Vitter).

ADVICE

Be sexual with a woman, concealed/revealed in harmony with her embraced ability for overt sexuality; but never look to her for permission or affirmation of your own passions.

Assume and expect that in all genetic likelihood your own male sexual desires will be far greater than her natural female desires, especially for overt sex as distinguished from covert sensuality (e.g., cuddling, being close, etc.).

Unless you are significantly repressed yourself and hence do not satisfy her lesser sexual desires, and she appears to be "more interested in sex" than you are (e.g., blatantly seductive), then suspect that she may be using, even unconsciously, sex for psychological reasons, such as, controlling or dominating you. If so, beware lest you blindly participate in undermining prospects for true sexuality between you.

*******

REPRESSION AND TURN ONS


Almost universally and in all immediate situations men seem to believe that females, or various of their body parts (e.g., tits and ass), "turn us on"--or worse, "off." I conclude that this popular belief is about 90% rooted in male repression of natural sexuality. Were it not, or to the degree that a man unrepresses this part of himself, the sexual appeal of females will be limited to real signs of baby-making potential, especially, clues to estrus--that is, present-tense ovulation.

And even when these evidences are present, an unrepressed male will consciously realize that manifest sexual powers, specifically, erectile forces and urges to copulate are operative within himself--not "caused by" an attractive female herself. He will know, that is, that indeed he is "on," but as a result of self-activation innate in male capacities, not "made so" by illusions of a female's "turn on" capacities.

Being sexually conscious, rather than repressed, he will be easily able to look openly at female bodies, even a naked lady, to lust naturally, and yet remain sensibly present and act responsibly--that is, to not blindly fall into irresponsible control by what he sees.

A past radio and TV series named What Do You Say To A Naked Lady?" portrayed scenes in which males were unexpectedly confronted by a nude woman. The amusing element, past obvious titillation, was how consistently males became tongue-tied in the presence of female nudity--that is, lost the ability to think clearly and speak reasonably at the time.

I think the program was a demonstration of the near universal fact of fragile male reasoning powers in the presence of female bodies--that is, how consistently we males are unwittingly controlled by such visual stimuli. And furthermore, I conclude that this is only possible following significant male repression of masculine sexuality, with corresponding projection of sexual powers onto females (or their bodies).

Otherwise, I continue to theorize, an unrepressed male would remain sensibly alert, carefully and consciously scoping for signs of estrus, while lusting delightfully, but at the same time attentive to social circumstances. All this rather than getting goo goo eyed, tongue-tied, losing presence of mind, saying something stupid, and/or acting irresponsibly in the encounter.

He would be more like a power-full bull carefully examining a cow for signs of readiness to conceive, than like an out-of-control boy suddenly finding himself in a female nudist colony.

Summary: By nature of itself, one aspect of repression is loss of conscious reasoning powers--that is, existing dictated by mindless, primal genetic urges, as evidenced in the above depiction of males in the presence of female nudity. My conclusion is that this situation only exists to the degree of male sexual repression with corresponding projection of inherent powers onto females thereafter assumed to possess irresistible "turn on" powers by simply being present and embodied.

Earlier I estimated that seeming "turn on" powers of females may be about 90% rooted in male repression/projection. The remaining 10% can, I theorize, be properly attributed to stimulus/response type male reactions at least partially engened after eons of replication by sexual means. Just as Pavlov's dogs automatically salivated at the sight of food, or humans have knee-jerk, non-thinking reactions to pain (e.g., being burned), or to possible dangers associated with sudden noises in the night--all of which probably evolved before and are thus deeper than conscious thinking, so, I conclude, have limited male reactions to any prospects of replication (such as, seeing a female) no matter how small or inaccurate they may be.

But--and this is my observation here: Such automatic male reactions to female nudity can probably account for no more than 10% of apparent "turn ons" today. The remaining 90%, I conclude, results from typical degrees of existing male sexual repression today.

Symptoms of this situation include: uncontrollable erections; generalized "fear of women" cloaked by illusions of male superiority, attempted domination, rape, and abuse of females; male "performance anxiety"; psychological "fear of impotence"; and many instances of "erectile dysfunction" occasioning the popularity of Viagra and Cialis today.

********


BITCHING

WHAT'S A MAN TO DO WHEN A WOMAN GETS BITCHY?

Sooner or later, often when you least expect it, many women will get bitchy, mostly sooner than later. Mild complaining may escalate in time into full fledged bitchiness. A woman who is otherwise agreeable, accepting, understanding, and loving may suddenly turn into an outright shrew.

What's a man to do if he wishes to live well with women when they make this common and predictable transition?

First, I note that few men ever seem to learn how to survive well with female bitching, let alone to handle it positively. I, obviously, am still learning--and more often screw up than respond wisely. These, however, are some of the things I have learned so far, even if I yet find them difficult to follow, given my deep-seated habits of blind, unreasonable reactions to any signs of female displeasure.

When men are rarely able to hear female bitching without taking it personally or trying to do something about is, they may explain it to themselves (or try to excuse it) with such speculations as: "She must be on the rag (having her menstrual period)," or, "Her hormones are out of balance," or, "She probably forgot to take her medicine."

But even if these or other explanations are correct (and often they are not), female bitching is far more likely to be based in psychology than biology--that is, reflective of mental rather than physical issues. Monthly periods or hormonal imbalances may occasion or be a female excuse for bitchiness, but "escalated honesty" may often be closer to the truth.

But before delving further into possible meanings of female bitchiness, I jump to summarize what I have learned so far about "what to do" if you or I wish to live well with women.

Stated positively:

-- Stay cool.

-- Remain emotionally present with a complaining woman.

-- Listen to her; try to hear through her words for something she may be saying about herself, no matter what her subject may be.

-- Remain on your own "green spot"--that is, "in your own skin," thinking/feeling normally, as though what you are hearing is on TV or in a movie.

Stated negatively:

-- Don't turn (or run) away or make an emotional exit, even if you stay in the room with her.

-- Don't turn a deaf ear to what she is saying.

-- Don't take it personally, even if you are the stated subject.

-- Don't react blindly, dictated by old habits. Chances are, your learned way is less than positive and perhaps even destructive.

-- Don't rush to trying to fix things to remove the cause of her complaining (the stated subject).

Even if the issue is legitimate and deserves your changing or "doing something different," don't move immediately. Stay present, listening, for the moment, and take appropriate actions later.

If you react quickly--trying to handle the problem, you will only "support her habit"--that is, invite and train her to make this a regular mode of communication with you.

-- Don't try to calm her down, as though you are incapable of standing present with the full force of her negative feelings.

--Don't get defensive or try to explain yourself in hopes of getting her to drop the subject and return to normal. Remember "getting defensive" is like "raising ass," unwittingly inviting being kicked, even to possibly escalate her bitching.

-- Don't counter-attack, as though her bitching is only an attack on you (not about herself), even if you are the subject.

-- Don't plan Tit-For-Tat--that is, take the occasion to register your complaints about her, perhaps saved up for just such an occasion. Don't try to win by putting her down and yourself up, thereby turning bitching into battling for personal supremacy. No matter who wins a Mine's Worse Than Yours contest, you will both lose in the relationship.

-- Don't make fun of her--as though this were a joke, or try to play down, be-little, or otherwise make light of her complaining.

If or when you are able to follow these rules, if you have any mental energy left, give some attention to gaining a better understanding of the whole phenomenon of female bitching. What is truly going on for her, behind or beneath a stated subject, or even this mode of communicating itself?

Here are some of my observations so far: First, bitching is primarily a female mode of communication. Obviously we males have our own complaints about women, including this mode, and may even get bitchy ourselves on occasion. But by and large, females seem to do it more and better than most males.

Why? First, the mode itself is far more socially acceptable for females than for males. Whereas we males are socially trained to "suck it up"--that is, not to complain, to "take it on the chin," "keep a stiff upper lip," not to blame others, etc., females grow up with different messages. In general, complaining is acceptable in the female world, both privately and with other females.

Sometimes this becomes the main mode of communicating with other females who hear and respond openly, rather than putting down on "complainers" as males are more inclined to do.

For example, instead of, "Now don't go getting emotional or excusing yourself"--a typical male response, females are more likely to hear, "Tell us more; how do you really feel?," or, "I know just what you mean; my husband.....," etc. In which case the whole session may turn to sharing complaints about different subjects.

Next, I find that complaining itself has different meanings to each gender. Strangely to me, the same subject ("bitching") seems to mean something different to men and to women. To men, noting dislikes ("problems") is more a matter of bringing up and examining a subject with an eye to making improvements, rather than simply a mode of communicating.

Obviously, at least among ourselves, we men often bitch about women we feel helpless to change; but by and large, noted dislikes are a call for personal action, the first move in "doing something about it" or "fixing the problem," not an acceptable way of thinking or conversing with other men.

With women, however, "bitching (as men hear it)," is often quite different. First, the name itself is mostly a male term, and derogatory at that. Females, as best I can tell, rarely see what they do as "bitching" or even as "complaining" in many instances.

Instead, contrary to male perspectives about ourselves as well as females, what we call "bitching" is more like one of many ways of thinking/feeling/talking, rather than a demand for action, either for themselves or those who hear them. Women, I observe, are far more openly emotional than men. They are more sensitive/responsive to immediate circumstances and stimuli than men who try to remain focused on longer range goals, often ignoring present limitations.

Women, we might say, "feel more (and think less?) than most men who think more (and feel less)." Consequently, in most situations they actually have more immediate perceptions (emotions and observations) than do men. This greater amount of sensory data gives them a wealthier reservoir of undigested information--that is, perceptions and emotions yet to be de-coded into conceptions (Stages 3 and 4 of the Creative Process).

What men commonly see as female "bitching" is, I conclude, more often but woman's mode of moving along in the normal process of expanding perceptions into feelings and images on the longer path to de-coding them into mental concepts--that is, of becoming more conscious and clear about what she sees and feels, than "complaining," as men tend to think.

Also, because females are typically more verbal than males, even from early age, saying (speaking) tends to become their mode of thinking. Whereas males tend to see and silently reflect on what we perceive privately (in our own minds), females more naturally use talking to evolve their thoughts. Men tend to think first, speak later (if at all), while women more often talk, I suspect, "to find out what they are thinking"--that is, they may speak first, think later, in contrast with the typical male mode.

In summary: What men may see as a call for action, a "problem" to be solved or corrected, women are more likely to see as noting or clarifying an observation. What men see as "bitching" may be, for women, more like "thinking aloud" than a calling for change--either by themselves or those who hear them.

"Complaining," as men hear, may be more like "please listen to where I am" than "you do something about it (a demand for action)." Even when the subject of a woman's complaint is a man's behavior, her deeper needs are more likely for "being heard" than for "you to do something."

Recognizing this difference in male/female perspectives about "problems" may be crucial in improving a man's response to what he sees as female "bitching." In general, this means learning to "really listen" for the heart of a woman being brought to light in the cloaked form of negative observations, rather than rushing to personal action, as in, defending or explaining oneself, trying to solve a problem or resolve a misunderstanding, or in any way to "do something about" what one hears.

ADVICE

If you would live well with a woman, as her self-honesty with you (in the form of bitching) increases (later if not sooner), give most of your attention to improving your hear-ability--that is, standing openly and acceptingly with whatever she is "complaining" about.

Let her know by your staying emotionally present, "standing tall," as it were, without being negatively moved by what she says, that you are strong enough to love her even when she "feels negative" and dares reveal herself honestly with you.

A woman is far more likely to move beyond "being bitchy (as men are apt to see it)" when she has been "well heard," than when a man reacts in either of the above noted typical male ways. "Good listening," it turns out, is more powerful than anything a man can do to move past a woman's "bitching."

As noted before, even when legitimate actions are appropriate (her complaints justified), making changes later and silently is more likely to be effective than stopping listening falling into any of the "Don'ts" listed above.

Rule: Stay present, listening well, and keep on loving her while cloaked in negativity at the moment.

BITCHING ANALYSIS


Obviously, understanding bitching will not make it go away; but as a song says, "Things get a little easier, once you understand." And so I have found it to be with my understanding of this familiar phenomenon so far.

Two things I have recognized beneath the surface of female bitching:

1) Bitching is self-expressive. No matter how objective it sounds, 99% of bitching is, I think, cloaked confession--that is, an expression of a woman about herself, only hidden in language about circumstances, others, or often, yourself.

2) Bitching is projection. Allowing 10% for legitimate observations about negative external circumstances (or yourself, etc.), probably the remaining 90% of female complaining is unconscious self-repression being projected onto outside mirrors, often a man.

A man can, as many do (and I, when I forget what I know, often still do), take it personally and fall for it. But energy given to, e.g., trying to make a woman stop bitching, cannot but be drawn from resources otherwise available for practicing standing with her complaining and learning to improve skills for coping, where odds of success are far greater than mostly wasted efforts given to trying to change a woman in this regard.

Better, I conclude, to learn to live well with a woman and love her as she is than to try to change her--which, paradoxically, is far more likely to result in real change than are a man's best efforts to do so directly.

1) BITCHING IS SELF-EXPRESSIVE

 

Bitching always sounds objective, that is, to be about something other than the woman who is doing it--either circumstances, other people, or, often, about the man who hears it. On analysis, however, I figure that almost all bitching (99%?) is, beneath its stated subject matter, self-expressive. Even if you are the chosen subject (as is often the case), when able to get past taking it personally and falling into efforts to correct the bad situation or change yourself so as to relieve the practice, you may hear a cloaked message or revelation about the speaker.

A bitching woman is, in all likelihood, truly bothered, upset, or in some way off her own "green spot"--that is, dissatisfied at the time. But instead of consciously confronting or trying to figure out herself at the time, she takes the path of blaming others (or circumstances) for "making her" unhappy.

Obviously it takes emotional strength to stand unmoved, and "good ears" to listen through the stated subject for a cloaked personal message; but the often missed point here is the fact (if my analysis is correct) that even so, bitching is self-expressive most of the time.

2) BITCHING IS PROJECTION


Which leads me to this deeper part of the analysis, namely, that most all bitching is rooted in repression, that is, some element of personal denial. The cloaked self-expression, noted above, has been pushed out of personal awareness, so that a bitching woman is in all likelihood unconscious of what she is avoiding within herself. She truly thinks, e.g., that you are causing her dissatisfaction.

But the second part of repression is projection--that is, what is "pushed down" within, inevitably appears to be mirrored without--that is, only seen as unwittingly projected onto some external source which does indeed then seem to be the cause of discomfort.

Following repression (inward denial), a woman is out of conscious contact with some aspect of herself. She is unaware, for example, of her compulsion for cleanliness, and only sees it as projected or mirrored in, say, crumbs on the counter. If a man happens to have left the crumbs, then his action, evidenced in the crumbs, seems to be the true source of her discomfort. Consciously then, she "blames him" for "making her upset," since she is unaware of her own repression.

In like manner, I analyze, some 90% of a woman's bitching is in fact a projection of some repressed element in herself. Certainly it may be well hidden (unconscious) to herself, and hence in need of a "mirror" to project it onto. In which case, bitching may then become a functional form for dimly recognizing a dark part of herself as, e.g., reflected in some male action (or inaction).



LISTENING

Learn to listen rather than react

 

"I feel like you don't.... (help, support, do such and such, make up the bed, pick up, etc.)"

Listen through such statements, rather then falling for them (e.g., getting defensive as though attacked). Instead, hear the self revelation: "I feel.... like = metaphor. She is using your actions or non-actions to describe her feelings. Don't take it personally; Don't get defensive.

Even if no "I feel...." begins the sentence, that is, if she starts with "You never help me, (don't love me, etc.)," still, listen through rather than simply reacting.

BETTER STILL

Better to listen to a woman's questioning
than to try to give her answers


Better to acknowledge a woman's problems
than to try to fix them


Better to hear bitching and stay present
than to take it personally and run away


Better to stand your ground pleasantly
than to give in resentfully


Better to grin and bear a woman's jabs
than to fight back or get defensive


********

WHAT TO DO WITH BOTHERS

Romantic love, as most everyone knows, is blind. "When," as Hoagy Carmichael sang, "a lovely flame dies, smoke gets in your eyes." Wiser, he might have noted that smoke was also present when such a flame begins; or, in my case, perhaps soot would be an even better metaphor. Certainly smoke can obscure vision, but soot, I speculate, more nearly blinds a man.

Looking back I can see that whenever I have fallen in love with a female, I have also gone relatively blind to her faults, limitations, and traits which only later begin to bother me. At the time of falling, however, I was, as hindsight would later reveal, wearing--to mix my metaphors--rose colored glasses, even if there was no real smoke or soot in my eyes.

All this confession to note that even in the most ideal of male/female relationships, no matter how blind a man may be while he scales the peaks of passion, no matter how perfect a female may appear while elevated to goddess status in the jaundiced eyes of a stricken male, in time the "moonlight and roses" phase of romantic love will eventually turn, as another wag has said, into "daylight and dishes" after the proverbial if not real honeymoon is over.

Female attributes missed in the blindness of love predictably begin to appear as the smoke clears (or, as in my case, as time dissolves the soot).

Point: Later is not sooner, even with the most perfect of females, psychic if not physical warts inevitably become evident. Bothers appear in time. Negative traits, for example, either cloaked by eye-filled smoke or hidden by expensive makeup and/or Sophia's Wisdom, start to show up. Attributes, perhaps easily seen by those not in love, all too soon rear their ugly heads before adoring but self-blinded males.

Such bothers--things a man dislikes, may include: physical attributes (real warts and other blemishes hidden during courtship); offensive personal habits (e.g., picky picky cleanliness); emotional quirks (such as, irrational fears, angry outbursts, etc.); unreasonable beliefs (like evil dirt, angels, cleanliness next to godliness, etc.); and even psychic disturbances (emotional immaturity and/or assorted degrees of mental illness).

The question raised here: What's a man to do about bothersome attributes of a woman he loves?

I have found and tried at least four major options:

1. Perpetuate blindness

Try to continue overlooking faults, to extend the honeymoon indefinitely, to ignore whatever bothers you. Look the other way; try to not see. Keep wearing rose colored glasses. Gloss over any undesirable traits. Repress awareness in quest of extended adoration.

As a song advises: "You gotta' accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, and don't mess with Mr. In-between." And since elimination is probably not possible, perhaps you can blind yourself to the negative.

I, for example, have much experience with this option.

2. Act nice and harbor resentment

Stay on "good behavior" while you stew in the emotional juices of bothers. Quietly endure ill effects of whatever you dislike about a lover. Suffer in silence; grin and bear it, etc., etc. Perhaps you can find a bit of comfort by bitching to other understanding men with similar bothers, or confess to a priest, or get honest with a therapist.

But this option is to behave with your lover as though nothing bothers you. Consciously act out stances of love, hide your anger, pretend that nothing is wrong--that is, keep your predictable resentment to yourself.

I have considerable practice here also.

3. Try to change her

After getting the smoke (or soot) out of your eyes and acknowledging to yourself what bothers you, get busy trying to change her to more nearly fit your desires. Confront her with your dissatisfactions; tell her what bothers you and push her to do a better job of pleasing you by not doing things you dislike and doing more of what you do like.

If, for example, she nags you, try to get her to stop her bitching. If she ignores you, tell her to pay more attention. If she rejects your advances, try to get her to be more accepting and passionate with you. Etc., Etc.

Point: Acknowledge what you dislike and try to change her to fit your ideals.

Ways of trying to change a woman include:

a. Direct, overt pressure

Openly complain and/or push for change. Means may vary from verbal requests to critical critiques to emotional pressures to browbeating or even to physical abuse if she refuses to change.

b. Subtle, covert initiatives

Without openly confronting her, seek changes by indirect means, such as: trying to please her, to do what she likes, to conform to her standards and wishes on the premise that she is more likely to try to please you if you please her first. Good, you may hope, will eventually be rewarded. Be a "good boy" and perhaps she will want to be a "good girl" by changing herself for you.

Play an adult version of Pleased Or Displeased? What will it take to please you? If you do whatever she wants you too, if you're lucky she will do the same for you--that is, change on her own initiate without you pressuring her.

c. Use psychological tricks

Various male ploys are available for using psychology as a tool for female manipulation. Common such psychic tricks include: compliments and constant affirmation ("You look great."

"Whatever you say, dear."); giving gifts (free meals may work briefly; but since "diamonds are a girl's best friend" escalate to more expensive items.); making promises ("I'll love you forever." "I promise you this if you'll do that," etc.); pout and try to get her to ask what is wrong; act out in ways which get her attention; talk about her faults in the presence of company; provoke jealousy by displaying attention to other females more fitting to your desires (careful; this may backfire!); threaten to leave if she doesn't change.

d. Variations on the themes

Try assorted combinations of these and any other male-type devices to see what works best with a particular lover. Mix and match. If one ploy loses its power, try another. Escalate your intensity with one or more of these psychological tricks. Do whatever it takes to try to change her.

4. Use bothers for personal growth

Although psychological studies are yet to confirm these statistics, I conclude that perhaps 90-95% of what bothers men about women is rooted in male repressions yet to be consciously faced. It somehow seems easier to try to change a woman to fit how a man finds himself to be, than to face the probably source of personal dissatisfactions.

Before exploring further, I note that maybe 5-10% of male bothers about females are truly legitimate--that is, result from objective facts about females which are offensive to males, based on genetic differences rather than psychological dissatisfactions. Coping with, if not changing this small percentage of real bothers, is obviously a proper male agenda in any relationship with a female.

But, and this is my point here: Most of the things I have been bothered by, and as I see in other males, are, I reluctantly conclude, the result of un-faced personal problems brought into a relationship, rather than real faults in those I have loved. My loves haven't, that is, truly bothered me (caused my troubles with them), as much as they have somehow mirrored denied ("repressed") parts of myself.

This is not the place for an extended explanation of the psychic devices of repression and projection, but in summary, I now think that most of what has bothered me about women can more properly be analyzed as unpleasant and/or threatening reflections of un-faced repressions in myself. I have commonly judged female "mirrors" negatively, rather than daring to face darker elements yet hidden within me.

Presuming I don't have a corner on the market of typical male bothers, I also assume the same to be true for many others of my gender. In this light I amplify a fourth option--a "road less traveled," which I find to be far more productive than either of the first.

Based on theories of repression/projection, and excluding the 5-10% of realistic irritations, this choice involves a major shift in typical male perspectives, away from blaming women to using our bothers for catching clearer glimpses of our darker selves--that is, treating them as mirrors rather than causes, reflections rather than irritations.

The larger shift in this approach is from blaming our troubles on females to accepting fuller responsibility for our own happiness and personal well being. Typically, and I have been no exception, male lovers with repressed memories and fantasies about being made happy by a goddess-like mother, blindly resurrect such dark images and wishes, and unconsciously project them onto later lovers, along with equally secret hopes and expectations of present-tense fulfillment (especially if our first mothers were less than successful in making us whole and happy).

ADVICE

When something about her bothers you, e.g., apparent selfishness, instead of focusing attention on her and possibly getting angry at her ("for only thinking about herself and ignoring you"), shift your thoughts from her to yourself. Think about, e.g., the extent of your emotional reactions. Why are you so upset by her action? Does it truly cause what you feel? Or could you be resurrecting an old habit? What memories arise if you think of your past rather than her current action?

The point of this line of thought is to look for dark elements in yourself which may be triggered by her actions. Consider the principles of repression/projection. Could it be that what you see in her mirrors something repressed in yourself? In this example, might it be that her obvious "selfishness (looking after her own interests)" reflects your denial of the same capacity within yourself? Are you more self-sacrificing than you like to admit? Might you be jealous of her embracing a natural capacity you have repressed within yourself? Are you accusing her of being like you fear being yourself?

********



TRYING TO CHANGE A WOMAN



WAYS TO GO

Two paths open
when the light of reality
begins to dawn on illusions
of romantic love:


One may then set about
to try to change a lover
to fit more in keeping
with private desires

or
, when faith is sufficient,
dare to begin accepting
another as revealed
on the longer way to love


********

 

Although it may well be genetically proper for a woman to continually try to change a man, after, but not before marriage, to make him fit more acceptably into serving her genetic needs, I do not think the same holds true for men and our wives.

A male's wiser option lies, I think, in trying to love a woman as she is-in the agape sense of the term. Over time I have come to see real love as comprised of three major attributes: acceptance, affirmation, and freedom. To truly love a woman, in this understanding, is, first of all, to openly accept her as she presently presents herself-that is, to openly acknowledge without negative judgment her manifest traits.

This does not mean, of course, that you actually like everything about her, or even that you might not delight in significant changes; but it does mean that in daily living, in the moments of your encounters with her, your energies are devoted to openly taking her as she now is, carefully avoiding diverting attention to trying to change her in any way.

Instead, I find it better to give energies to developing one's own skills and artistry in maximizing satisfactions to be found in meeting her in presently positive ways. Paradoxically, real changes in a mate are far more likely to occur based on a foundation of current acceptance than on even the most devoted and diligent efforts to trying to change her.

Obviously there are certain changes one may reasonably seek to bring about in a spouse, such as, gross irresponsibility in matters which effect both partners (e.g., money making and/or spending); household chores, physical health; paying bills; illegal activities; unhealthy addictions to drugs or alcohol; sexual acting out; physical abuse; self-destructive behavior; snoring, etc.

This, however is not about such wide-ranging attributes or behaviors which do seriously effect the success of any relationship. Rather it is about an often wider range of lesser traits or habits better seen as: irritations, disappointments, "bothers," "needed improvements," offensive attributes, things I wish she would do or ways I wish she would be; absence of traits admired in others (e.g., one's mother and/or other lovers).

Examples in specific relationships might include: matters of personal hygiene; degrees of cleanliness; lack of, or excessive shows of affection; avoidance of being sexual; puritanical sexual attitudes; judgmental habits; being critical or unappreciative; high social expectations; dislike of personal friends, hobbies, or expectations of personal changes before approval is given; bitchiness (habitual complaining).

I interrupt this train of thought to note my prior conclusion that the first of 3 major attributes of agape ("real love") is acceptance of a loved one as they now are rather than as I wish they were or think they might be. This comes before #2, affirmation and #3, freedom.

Relevant here is my opinion that accepting versus trying to change a person is but the first step in truly loving another person. At issue here is distinguishing traits which seriously effect oneself in a community property marriage relationship from simply offensive attributes which do not truly undermine the marriage or have actual destructive consequences on oneself.

Acceptance means standing consciously present with an offensive trait fully in awareness without trying to do anything about it-that is, trying to change it in any way. Such acceptance doesn't mean that you like the trait, or that you would not be delighted if it changed more to your liking; but it does mean that these private feelings are held as your own, without being spoken or allowed to influence your open acceptance of such a trait.

When acceptance is expressed well, a wife may not even recognize a trait's offensive nature; or, if so, she feels "it's still alright with my husband."

Negatively speaking, acceptance means without any negative judgment. Even if, for example, a wife knows that her husband doesn't like a certain attribute of hers, she doesn't feel "put down" about it, or that she must hide, pretend to be different, or try to change it herself. She may think: "I am aware that he wishes I were different, but I also know I'm still okay with him as I am."

But if a husband does openly accept a trait he wishes were different-in accord with this first phase of agape, what is he to do with the personal energy generated in perceiving the trait itself?

The nature of natural perceptions includes creation of energy in the process of perceiving. These energies are typically dissipated in negative judgments, criticism, smoldering resentment, rejection, and/or devoted efforts to change them in a spouse. But with acceptance, when these typically familiar reactions are stopped, the same associated energies are left, as it were, "free floating." What then is a husband to do with them?

 

PARADOX OF PECCADILLOES

Past any major attributes of behavior which seriously undermine the stability of a relationship and do indeed call for artistry in efforts to change (e.g., those enumerated before), most of the lesser or personally offensive traits which I suggest to be best dealt with by acceptance, may be summarized as peccadilloes-that is, individual attributes or modes of behavior ("personality traits") likely to have long existed long before in the life of a wife.

Most of them have little if anything to do with a husband himself, except that they "bother him" and he wishes they were different. Mostly, from a wife's perspective, they are just a part of "the way she is."

Now to the paradox part. As strange as it may seem to the eyes of logic, smaller peccadilloes are often but the tip of an iceberg of vastly larger, concealed (repressed), aspects of oneself. Even though they may reasonably seem like small things ("Why am I so bothered by such an insignificant attribute?"), in reality offensive traits-either things done or not done, may be keys (or clues) to un-faced or unresolved problems within oneself.

The psychological rule of thumb is: Most traits in others which bother me are a reflection of some repressed aspect of myself. In other words: we are commonly offended by traits in others which in some-as-yet-unrecognized way reflect un-faced parts of ourselves. Easier to be bothered "out there" than to deal with matters "in here." "Putting down" on others, in this case, one's wife, is temporarily easier than "letting up" denied aspects of oneself.

It is as though the bothersome traits of others some-psychologically-how reflect or mirror deeply hidden and often consciously denied, traits in myself.

ACCEPTANCE AS IS

One further clarification of acceptance as contrasted with trying to change, which I so easily forget is this: To accept a wife is to accept her as she perceives herself to be, rather than some imagined potential one may see in her, some way she might be, versus now is in her own deeper mind. Even if your images of her are closer to actual reality than those she holds of herself, still true acceptance involves suspending your opinions in favor of accepting the way she views herself, e.g., smart/dumb; pretty/ugly; strong/weak, etc.

Such acceptance becomes particularly hard when a wife's view of herself is very different from her husband's perspective, e.g., when she sees herself as dumb, while he thinks she is smart; or when she thinks she is unattractive in contrast with his "thinking she's pretty."

Accepting a wife as-she-sees-herself does not mean agreeing with her when you don't-that is, lying about a different perspective; but, and this is the critical point: It does mean standing openly present with her self-view even when you think it is wrong, without trying to change it, e.g., to convince her of her error ("You're not really dumb," or, "You're certainly not unattractive").

The Don Quixote/Dulcinea stance, in which a man devotes himself to a woman's potential self rather than her current view of who she is, is, though idolized, contrary to the stance advocated here.

********

 

FEMALE THINKING

 

The woman is smarter...she's smarter than the man in every way.

Harry Belefonte song.

Well, not in every way; but insofar as overall mental usage is concerned, woman's type of whole brain thinking easily overwhelms man's limited type or left brain, train-track, logic. Women may not "make much sense" to typical male-type reasoning; but when the two modes of mind use are pitted against each other, woman's circular way of thinking commonly proves superior to man's linear "logic" in most arenas of daily living outside of science, philosophy, and religion.

ADVICE


Be reasonable with a woman, but rarely try to use reasons to convince her of anything.

If you resurrect this mental device, at which men typically excel, you may indeed achieve temporary success--that is, win an immediate point; but predictably you will lose in the long run, because in final analysis women value heart more than mind, their "feelings" more than your "reasons."

Even when women ask for reasons, as: "Why did you do that?" "Why does such and such happen?," etc., they are more likely using such questions to voice personal curiosity, not to get whatever explanations you may have.

Also, given their circular, wholistic mode of thinking, as distinguished from typically male linear, focused, "train track" type of thinking, females are vastly better at creating plausible reasons for whatever they "feel like" they want to do. Technically, this is rationalizing as males understand logic; but this is of small consequence to most females.

Consequently, in conversation with males who value "reasons" more than "feelings," women are quick to translate personal desires into sensible ideas when they recognize this typical male limitation. They are often skillful in making what they want (their "point") sound sensible--that is, in speedily creating quasi-plausible explanations for their even their most irrational tastes.

When contrived logic works, fine; but just as women may be able to quickly create sensible reasons (actually, excuses) to justify cloaked desires, as long as they prove effective, they can, often with even greater speed, totally abandon all attempts at sense-making when this male mode seems to be failing. They can, that is, quickly switch from sense to emotions when the greater powers of the latter seem called for--an option rarely available to men.

A further female advantage in such encounters with men is rooted in their freedom from the typical male necessity of "having to win," or losing "face" along with losing a point. Whereas males, as sperm-bearers, are instinctively driven to compete, to try to win, to come out on top, to best all opposition, and typically "fear losing" as though any loss is self-destructive, females, ova-bearers, are commonly better at waiting and cooperating--that is, not "having to win."

Consequently they can easily leave a conflict or disagreement at any time, without loss of "face" or self--an option rarely embraced by males. Obviously any form of "well have it your way," or, "It's okay if you want to think that," that allows a woman to thwart a man's point-making by easily withdrawing at any time she finds herself losing at logic (or for any other reason), is an ever-present threat to win-or-lose type males.

Point: Even though there are rare times when "trying to be reasonable," or, "trying to explain yourself" to a woman is feasible, mostly, staying reasonable oneself--which involves remaining fully conscious of one's own "sense," while at the same time aware of the limited value (and even less power) inherent in using reasons to sway a woman, a wiser man opts instead for standing quietly with his own conclusions (not trying to prove his point with words) and thoughtfully charting another course of action.

This is especially true as female "irrationality" or expanding emotionality escalates. Few male activities are as irrational as "trying to be reasonable" with an emotional woman. When so, as is all too commonly the case, the more reasonable a may tries to be, the more emotional a woman will predictably become. And, since emotions are inherently more powerful than even the best of reasons, a man who continues in such a fruitless endeavor will predictably be a loser.

And all this "logical thinking" yet ignores a woman's trump card of withholding sex--if not herself, whenever a dependent male is in any way displeasing to her--as in trying to be right based on logic alone.

A woman convinced
against her heart
is yet of the mind
she was at the start


A wiser man remains reasonable himself in the presence of an emotional woman who may listen to logic, even try to sound reasonable herself, but who, in final analysis, will go by feelings rather than sense.

********




 

PRIORITIZING

DREAMING

A husband may understandably wish
that a wife were one tenth as concerned
with their relationship in the house
not to mention happiness in the bed
as she is with crumbs on the floor
or dishes in the sink


But wiser ones dream on
and keep their mouths shut
in the meantime between now
and when hell freezes over


********

 

Along with many advantages of wholistic thinking, as typical women naturally do, one major limitation is difficulty with prioritizing values. Deeply moved by feelings, giving sensible attention to one's values--that is, reasonably prioritizing what one says and does, is often ignored.

Emotions, mostly geared for genetic concerns only, are notoriously ignorant about relational and personal values in complex societies (they evolved too soon for this), such as the feelings of others as well as private goals. Whereas emotions may be astute in discerning threats to personal safety, and feelings are good at resurrecting acquired habits, neither genetics nor learned patterns of reacting are wise in the ways of love. For that, consciously prioritizing responses is critically important.

Unfortunately, females who are deeply responsive to emotional directions often have great difficulty in making reasonable choices more in accord with present personal values than with ancient knowledge. Males, more limited to left brain logic and prioritizing information, plus ignoring distracting feelings as well is seemingly irrelevant data, are often better at moderating actions in accord with self-chosen values--if, that is, we are able to resist a prevailing male temptation to use reasoning as a tool for trying to manipulate women, rather than remaining reasonable ourselves while in the presence of those more determined by feelings than by sense.

For examples: sensibly weighing non-emotional factors, such as, cost, afford-ability, actual need (more shoes?), immediate effect on others, long range costs to self, and most all elements of mature love--that is, agape, including acceptance, affirmation, and freeing of loved ones.

********

 

CONNECTIONS

CONNECTIONS AND INDEPENDENCE

OR

COMPANY AND JUST US

Perhaps in reflection of the genetic fact that a released ovum dies within a day if not connected to an available sperm, ovum bearers also seem blindly driven to establish and maintain social connections in the people world; meanwhile sperm bearers seem to be equally driven toward independence, even as the sperm we bear are death-destined if they do not arrive and be singly selected for potential immortality.

And perhaps in reflection of these biological facts, women are commonly moved to prepare for, seek, and enjoy company of others, while living with men who may be happier with just us independently together.

Whatever the basis for these apparent gender differences, when the two contradictory modes are brought together in marriage, with two spouses living in one house, conflicts inevitable arise when one spouse or the other tries to practice their own mode-for instance, when a wife delights in preparing for and having company or a husband resists "entertaining others" and tries to keep just us together alone.

A predictable challenge is inherent with spouses who do indeed care for one another, but at the same time want to enjoy their own natural mode of personal living-she to make and keep connections with others, and he to carefully maintain his independence, both with her as well as any company with others.

Obviously, some type of pragmatic comprise is essential for living well together.

********

 

PATHOLOGY IN MARRIAGE

or

WHEN A MATE'S BAGGAGE IS UNPACKED

WHEN GHOSTS FROM THE PAST SHOW UP

WHEN YOU BECOME THE DEVIL

WHEN A SPOUSE GETS CRAZY


REVERSE COMPLIMENTS

When a wife is not in therapy
a husband is often the safest place
to project shadows of inward stress
yet to be recognized as rooted within


But as long as he takes them personally
as though her criticisms are actually about him
she is set up to continue in denial
and he to fall victim of bitching


If, however, he comes to see her problems
as hers, not his, and to appreciate
her blind confidence in his stand-ability
then silently he may be affirmed
by her cloaked compliments


********

PREFACE

 

Be alert for the worse side of your spouse.

Later if not sooner a spouse's resident pathology may predictably appear in the midst of marriage, often to be projected onto you. Unless alert, you will, with equal predictability, take it personally rather than recognizing it as cloaked confession, deeper level revelation of a loved one's actual self, which may actually be a back-handed compliment to security and safety you have provided in your relationship. What you do, how you respond, is critically important for the future of the marriage.

Intellectually, we all know that "nobody's perfect." And in psychological language, this means that we all have degrees of resident pathology ("emotional immaturity")--some, of course, more than others. But we commonly forget-or don't want to believe, that our spouse is also one of "them," let alone that the label probably fits ourselves to some extent also.

Theoretically, as in courtship before marriage, we would all bring our "best self" to our spouse, the one we love the most. And in the beginning of a relationship, this seems to commonly be the case. But, paradoxically, the deeper nature of a love relationship, especially one surrounded by structures of a legal marriage, is that in time, inherent security of "love and marriage (which, we are told, 'go together like a horse and carriage...')" naturally invites deeper revelations of parts of ourselves commonly hidden, even unconsciously, during courtship.


DEFINITIONS

Before explaining, understanding my terms will be relevant. By pathology I refer to what in familiar terminology may be seen as "having problems," "being upset," "having a fit," "feeling bad," being "emotionally disturbed," "having a difficult time," or, in immediate situations, "being mad at you," or, "hateful" and "unloving." It may also be seen, borrowing medical terms, as an "illness" or "sickness." Or, in religious terms, as "being possessed" by a "demon."

INTRODUCTION

- Everyone has a bit of personal pathology, some more, others less, but "nobody's perfect."

- We all carry a load of baggage from the past, subject to being unpacked in varying degrees during the course of an extended relationship.

- No matter how sophisticated one's intellectual thinking may be, resident ghosts from past fears may predictably re-appear in the course of an extended marriage.

- No matter now sane a spouse may often be, we all have varying degrees of resident craziness apt to be encountered at stressful times in a relationship-if not our spouse's, then predictably our own.

- If religious, no matter how "saved" one may often appear, deep un-faced and/or unforgiven sin is likely to remain, subject to resurrection in the presence of a spouse.

- No matter how adored, loved, or even worshiped a husband may be in the conscious thinking of a wife, at one time or another he may be transformed in her eyes into a Devil who is seen as the major cause of her unhappiness (or current craziness).

- In everyday language, synonyms for these times include: When a spouse reveals "Troubles," "Blues," "Problems," "Unhappiness," "Depression," or "Mental Disturbances."

Hank Williams lamented in song: Another love before my time made your heart sad and blue; and now my heart is paying for things I didn't do...Why can't I free your doubtful mind and melt your cold cold heart?

At some critical times in every extended relationship, one or more versions of these various ways of recognizing limitations (pathology) of a loved one is highly likely to appear.

The question I raise here is: What is the best way to act when a spouse's demons appear? What should a man do when a woman gets crazy? What to do when ghosts from the past appear in the present? Or, personally, what have I learned so far about the best way to respond to a woman's pathology.

DEMONIZING

First of all, expect to be demonized at one time or another, that is, seen as the Fall Guy, the one at fault, the source and cause of a wife's unhappiness. Total projection of debilitating powers onto a husband is highly predictable, especially in the early phases of long term problems emerging into consciousness.

Paradoxically, a reverse compliment may be hidden in a wife's overt demonizing of her husband. She may even remain outwardly "nice" and civil with others, while privately degrading the husband she "loves." As a once popular song voiced it: You always hurt the one you love, the one you wouldn't hurt at all. Perhaps this paradox was being confronted in song.

The cloaked compliment may lie in the experienced safety a wife sometimes feels with her husband, more than with all others, allowing her to risk bringing out her deeper troubles. Because it is also the nature of beginning stages of unrepression to see projections first-that is, to look at images or mirrors which may reflect denied aspects of oneself, and, in effect, to blame "them," to imagine them to be the source and cause of one's personal problems (much like a child blames a ghost for "scaring me").

In time, if healing continues, such a projecting wife may eventually stop projecting onto her husband (or other outside "mirrors") as she comes to accept personal responsibility. But in the meantime, a husband is better advised to look for a hidden compliment in the implied trust she may deeply feel in her relationship with him before she risks "trotting out her demons" before him, than to take her projections at face value.

Just because she "blames you" for her emotional ills, you are not obligated to either fall for her projections or to take blame yourself.

UNDERSTANDING "DEMONS"

The nature of beginning phases of any unrepression includes a tendency to exaggerate personal denials and indulge in consequent projections-that is, to resist seeing pathology as one's own and hence to look for, even to create, an outside cause. In broadest perspectives, this is the psychic phenomenon of demonizing or "devil making," imagining an outside evil source (in this case, you) to be causing discomfort she feels when her "problems" are nearing awareness.

Facing personal responsibility for one's difficulties is notably difficult to do. It is always easier, and perhaps even natural, to view oneself as innocent (not at fault) and to seek some outside cause bearing the guilt for "making me feel this way." In religions, this is commonly seen as the Devil. In marriage, the guilty party is typically a spouse.

The psychic phenomenon is an exaggeration of typical repression/projection which commonly lies at the source of pathology. When one begins to un-repress ("face oneself"), for whatever reasons, the first step is usually an escalation of initial psychic events, namely, increasingly personal denials ("not my fault"), and magnifying the size of the projection object (in this case, you).

Personal innocence may be staunchly maintained as the projected guilt cause is increased proportionally to keep balance. The deeper the pathology, the greater the degree of exaggeration of both personal innocence and guilt of whatever source one has chosen to blame the problem on.

In practice, a wife at this initial phase of potential unrepression will typically focus on the "faults"-either real or imagined, of her husband on which to place blame for her "problems," e.g., something he has said or done, or failed to, or even "just the way he is."

A second reason for ease of projected cause of a wife's un-faced pathology is a husband's need to maintain illusions of her perfection, as first imagined in the blinded eyes of romantic love-that is, her magical powers (as though she were a goddess) to "make me happy (if only she will)."

To see a wife's difficulties (her pathology) as actually her own, requires also facing her limitations in previously imagined powers to "take care of" her husband's psychic needs (to "save him" or "make him whole" by supplying his "missing half").

When she is "upset"-that is, appearing to "not love me" at the time, then any threat I feel outside the circle of her "love (good graces)" will be predictably resurrected. Rather than facing her limitations ("problems") as her own, and consequently her inability to "make me happy," a husband may be tempted to accept her projections onto him as cause of her difficulties. This is easier than confronting one's own irresponsibility in the relationship, as reflected in secret adoration of her.

Which leads to a third reason for not seeing personal denials and projections onto oneself. If I "take the blame," that is, accept the notion that I am causing her to be upset, then, irrationally, I may also maintain deeper illusions of my own powers to possibly "make her okay," that is, to personally change the situation by something I can say and/or do, to, in effect, "heal her sickness."

If I am the cause of her problems, then theoretically I have the power to somehow correct them ("heal" her) and return her to goddess status again-that is, with magical powers to "make me happy." This illusion commonly begins, I surmise, with boys and our mothers in early life.

Unless a husband remains carefully conscious at times when a wife's pathology is resurrected, for these and many other possible reasons, he will "fall for" her typical projections onto him-or even to imagine them to be so when they are not. It will be far easier to simply not see her difficulties as her own-that is, as caused by him (as she may indeed state to be the case), than to confront the real situation.

If he simply reacts emotionally rather than remaining conscious and reasonable, that is, responding based on facts rather than feelings, then an inherently difficult situation will predictably be exaggerated, later if not sooner.

In practice, this involves resisting irrational temptations, such as: to counter attack, as though she is truly attacking you when she "confesses" her discomforts in your presence, often blaming her problems on you; to play Tit For Tat, that is, counter with a recitation of her faults which likewise "bother" you; to defend yourself by justifying or explaining your "good motives" and/or other reasons for "not meaning to hurt" her; to run away in mind if not body, as in, "tuning her out" or simply "not listening"; to judge her as being bad or mean, or belittle the situation by labeling it as "just bitching," "having her period," or "being like a woman."

Before exploring positive responses to times when a wife "gets crazy," here are a few counter-productive reactions:

WHAT NOT TO DO

- DON'T RUN AWAY: First, and most important of all, don't exit the premises or otherwise try to hide and avoid confrontation at the time.

- DON'T FREEZE UP: That is. don't "run away" emotionally or otherwise brace yourself as though preparing for a fight.

- DON'T TAKE IT ON: Avoid any temptation to blame yourself, as though her discomfort is your fault and as if you have the power to heal her-that is, "make everything all right" by something you might do.

- DON'T GET DEFENSIVE: Avoid instinctive urges to "fight back" as though her problems are an attack on you rather than a revelation of herself, calling for either defense or counter-attack. Face and resist resurrecting demons of your own, even though they may be sorely tempted to emerge for countering hers. Don't borrow the occasion of her negative revelations to trot out your own dissatisfactions.

- AVOID ARGUING: This warning is generally applicable throughout a marriage, but is especially relevant when a wife "gets crazy" with her husband.

Verbal arguments between males and females are generally non-productive for boys and men, as reflected in the convention male wisdom: "You can never win an argument with a woman...." But if this is true under ordinary circumstances, it is 1000 times more so when a woman's pathology is becoming conscious.

- DON'T TRY TO BE REASONABLE: Never try to "be logical," to "make sense," or resort to using reason at such a time. By definition, or at least by the nature of itself, pathology ("craziness") exists and functions in one's deeper, unconscious mind, which operates below or outside the lofty realms of conscious reasoning. Therefore, it is not sensible to try to use reason for confronting what is inherently irrational.

No matter how sincere or well intended attempts to deal with a spouse's ghosts via "being reasonable," all such efforts will be relatively impotent; in fact, more likely to backfire or make matters worse rather than better.

For example, left brain thinking, commonly revealed in such verbal expressions as: "Don't worry; it will be alright," "Things will get better," or attempts to help by saying "I love you," are all likely to fall on deaf ears, even if they are true.

- DON'T PLAY TIT FOR TAT: This advice is almost always valid in a marriage, but is especially relevant when a wife is getting honest about dissatisfactions in the presence of her husband. For example, trying to match her criticism of you with yours for her, is predictably counter-productive.

Even if you can match, or exceed, her stated troubles-that is, have even greater problems of our own, or find more faults in her than she points out in you, now is not a functional time to do so. If you wish to confess your own troubles to her, this will be the worst of all possible times to do so. Just then, in the presence of her projections onto you (her blaming or criticisms), far better to simply remain silently present, hearing her out without taking on what she says, as though it were truly about you.

- DON'T TRY TO "TALK IT OUT": Forget "talking it out." The healing values of communication in a troubled marriage are, I think, vastly overrated at all levels; but nowhere is this more true than when a spouse's demons begin to surface in the relationship.

Although "talk therapy" may be beneficial with a professional counselor, the same "in-house" procedures in a marriage are predictably ineffective, more likely to backfire than to help. Stated negatively: If "doing business with family members" is dangerous, as often proves to be so, "doing therapy" with a spouse is far more so.

No matter how skillful one may be in "playing doctor (counselor)" with friends and relatives, I find the same attempts to be notably non-productive within a marriage. Not that many useful therapeutic techniques, such as, non-judgmental listening, aren't also functional with a spouse; but "becoming a mate's counselor" dangerously risks removing oneself as a loving mate, which, especially during troubling times, may be even more needed than quasi-professional counseling.

- DON'T EXPLAIN YOURSELF: Certainly there are significant times for sincere apologies, including revealed reasons for disturbing actions, as when one has truly been offensive or irresponsible in a relationship; but such events of properly assuming responsibility for real shortcomings are to be carefully distinguished from the dangerous habit of "raising ass" via automatically "explaining yourself" or living apologetically, always assuming blame for causing a spouse's dissatisfactions.

Learning to wisely say, "Yes, Dear," in a variety of ever-changing words, to many of a wife's requested services is no doubt feasible; but crossing the line into becoming an automatic "Yes Man"-one who habitually says, in effect, "Yes, you are right," and blindly blames himself, rushing to take responsibility for all a wife's irritations, is quite another thing.

WHAT TO DO

- TRY TO UNDERSTAND PATHOLOGY: Even before it erupts in your presence and any responses are made in an immediate situation, try to get a mental handle on the phenomenon of emotional disturbances, in this case, a wife's "craziness."

In a nutshell: Self-repression typically lies at the source of negative outward expressions. And repression commonly reflects in projection, often onto others, in this case, you. What sounds and may "feel like" it is about you, may in fact be a cloaked personal revelation, that it, literally "about her" or "her problems," projected onto you. Even when a wife consciously believes that her husband is "driving me crazy,"-that is, my unhappiness is his fault, a man may do well to understand the phenomenon of repression/projection ahead of time.

- STAY PRESENT: Most importantly of all, as noted before, avoid "running away" in any form; stay present, in the company of a wife who is acting crazy at the time, both physically and emotionally. Literally, be or remain yourself with her when she is revealing her dissatisfactions, especially when she is "blaming you."

- REMAIN CONSCIOUS: "Remember, Wart, to think....." (Merlin's advice to young Prince Arthur's puzzlement about females, as related in Lerner and Lowe's version of Camelot.)

I know of no other time in a marriage when remaining conscious is more important or difficult than when a spouse begins to become conscious of resident pathology. The temptation to simply react emotionally rather than responding reasonably may be hard to resist.

On the feeling level, a spouse's "problems"-when she encounters her pathology in her spouse's presence, may always seems-as-though they are about him rather than her. When he doesn't remain carefully conscious, he will predictably take them personally, as though "I am at fault," that is, the cause of her discomfort, one who has made her "feel bad," and hence the one to blame for her current state.

This is so easy to do, I think, for several reasons. First, when a spouse is beginning to become conscious of her pathology, when she begins to un-repress, she is indeed likely to project it onto her spouse, seeing and sometimes saying, in effect, if not literally, "It's your fault," that you-something you have done (or not done), said (or not said), or even "the way you are," is the cause of her "feeling this way."

- LISTEN WITH A THIRD EAR: That is, listen through rather than to what she says at times of greater disturbance. Use your proverbial "third ear" to detect cloaked emotional (personal) messages concealed in the content of her expressions-all of which may be directed at you at the time.

For example, listen for possible fear behind angry words about you (or any other life circumstances); or, listen for anger behind verbal criticism of you or others.

 

SUMMARY ADVICE

Negative: Don't fall for a wife's problems, even when she openly projects them onto you, that is, "take them on" or "blame yourself" for causing them. Chances are, the underlying basis and true cause of her problems lies in deeper, un-faced pathology which she brought into the relationship and you failed to recognize at the time.

Rather, try to see the current revelation of her "problems" in your presence as being with you, rather than at or to you. Even if she is blind to the fact, as is commonly the case, that she is, in effect, confessing her troubles to you, as though you were a priest, try to recognize them as such, instead of "taking them on" or "blaming yourself."

Try to see her as being upset or troubled with you instead of at you-that is, daring, for whatever reason, to take the chance of revealing her deeper self to you as invited by securities inherent in her relationship with you (the marriage and/or your love for her).

If you can remain truly conscious and reasonable at such critical times, you may even see the "reverse compliment" inherent in her "confession" to you. Chances are, she will diligently hide her problems while with others, "acting like nothing is wrong," pretending that "everything is fine"; but the very fact that she takes the chance of revealing her troubled self to you is a compliment to deeper security which she feels, even if unconsciously, in your presence.

Certainly you may prefer open and "direct compliments"; but with reason, you may be able to decode what is more easily taken as criticism, and see the darker affirmation inherent in revelations of her problems with you.

Positive: Instead of falling for or taking on a wife's projected troubles, better to stay with her while they are revealed in your presence, even when they are consciously being blamed on you. Instead of running away or, in effect "closing your ears," try to remain consciously present with her during these troubled times. Openly accept her negativism without trying to "do something about it," or "make her feel better." Allow her emotional space to even escalate her revelations with you without taking them on.

Nor is it smart to try to "make up" too speedily, that is, to heal or erase an apparent rift or emotional distance between you while she is "confessing" her problems with you. Stay on your "Green Spot," that is, within your centered self, all the while openly present with her, accepting-as a good priest might, her present condition without condemnation or apparent effect on yourself. "Don't," as a wise saying puts it, "just do something; stand there," lovingly, as she continues to reveal her deeper self in your presence.

********


WHAT TO DO WHEN CRAZINESS APPEARS

Respond non-verbally. Keep words to a bare minimum. The most powerful "messages" you can send and those less likely to be misunderstood, are more physical and emotional than mental and reasonable. Appropriate non-verbal "messages," conveyed via bodily stance, appearance, and actions, rather than words, include:

"I can see/hear your distress, and can stand present with you being honest with me (revealing your unhappiness) without being done in myself or otherwise hurting you."

"I recognize your pain (discomfort, anger, fear, resentment, or whatever), and believe it to be bearable, even if it seems overwhelming just now."

"I accept you as a person in your current state, without judgment, condemnation, or rejection." (As Jesus said to one being condemned by others, "Neither do I condemn thee.")

"I believe you have whatever it takes to endure this difficult time and eventually become whole and happy again."

"I recognize that right now you may believe the source of your discomfort to be outside yourself, properly blamed on some external cause, even me; but I also believe that you are inherently capable of "working out your own salvation"-that is, becoming completely responsible for your own well being."

These and other relevant "messages" are best "said" and become more "hearable" with a minimum number of words and a maximum amount of appropriate physical responses.

Even a minimum use of words will rarely be intended to be literal, as in, an attempt to convey some reasonable and/or relevant information. Instead, they only aim at conveying "emotional" messages, as outlined before.

For example, even if a husband says, "I understand," he will be attempting to convey his presence-with-her, as in, "I'm standing-under your troubles with you," rather than implying an intellectual grasp of her personal experience at the time-while she is apt to believe, "No one could possibly understand how I feel now (since I can't)."

This appropriate use of minimal verbal language is more about avoiding possibly negative messages being read into silent presence, e.g., "You're not listening to me," or, "You're being condescending," or, "You're putting down on me."

Such word's summary use is only to let a suffering person know you are closely present, but not "trying to tell her something." Because even the most carefully chosen words may be taken negatively, a "good listening" husband only speaks to his wife as necessary to let her know he is acceptingly present with her. When she seems to "know he is there" accepting her as revealed, no words are better than even the simplest ones.

For example, a simple warm hug may "say" more than a dozen "I love you's." Or an empathetic face may "say" "I'm with you" far better than a host of re-assuring words, such as, "Don't worry; things will be alright." Finally, staying physically present without judgment is perhaps the clearest of all non-verbal messages.

In combination, un-moved bodily presence confirmed by open, non-judgmental facial expressions and an occasional rare but carefully voiced, "I see," or, "I hear you," may be the most functional form of non-verbal communication when a wife is "acting crazy." And even these brief verbal "I'm still here's" may best be conveyed with pre-verbal sounds, such as, timely grunts, sympathetic sighs, and warm hugs.

 

APPROPRIATE FEEDBACK

 

In general, telling a wife anything about herself, such as, what you think about her actions, feelings, ideas, or motives is apt to be unwise. Except for periodic affirming compliments, e.g., about her looks and deeds, opinions about herself are best kept to yourself, for two main reasons:

First, you invite personal dependency on yourself for supplying insights best recognized by herself. In principle, insights into dark aspects of oneself are only productive when one sees them for herself, rather than being told about who-she-is by someone else. If a husband, in effect, "does her thinking for her" and she accepts what he says about her, an unstable dependency relationship may be established.

Secondly, and more commonly, there is a serious risk of backfiring-that is, a husband's observations being taken negatively. Dangers are twofold. First, a self-protective wife may take any statements about her as being against her-that is, as an attack, put down, or a devious attempt to change her. Consequently, her negative reaction may be to become defensive and move toward even deeper denial of what is said, especially when a husband's observation is more accurate.

Or, conversely, feeling attacked or put-down-on, she may react with a counter-attack, that is, begin criticizing, threatening, or otherwise rebelling against what is said. Even if a husband is able to hear-through such denials and projections of cause, he may still be excluded from a warm relationship with her at the time.

Bottom line: attempted, even well intended, observations about a wife concerning traits or habits she does not recognize herself may easily backfire, leaving any personal "dark side" traits even more repressed, and occasioning a break in the relationship at the time.

Also, of course, there is always the possibility (likelihood?) that you may be wrong, that a husband's observations are inaccurate, that other factors you have not seen or considered may be at work in what you see.

Even so, there are rare times for appropriate feedback-that is, for conveying a husband's observations about his wife, especially when the subject affects the marital relationship and/or her personal well being elsewhere. Key word, however, is appropriate, meaning "fitting" when all known facts are taken into consideration, including, timing, a wife's hear-ability, and relevance to current circumstances.

And feedback is intended literally, that is, feed being given back to a hearer. Feed is a food metaphor, implying nutrient for positive growth, in distinction from something said as a psychic device, such as, a criticism or emotional attack.

The principle in appropriate feedback is about higher degrees of love, an attempt to affirm a wife on deeper levels, below, for example, her current view of herself or her attention to her effects on others. It is not about expressing anger, getting even, or "trying to change her." Appropriate feedback is more like a gift than a weapon, like pointing out an unseen approaching car at a street crossing, or offering a prescription aimed at relieving pain.

Always, however, these guidelines for such rare telling will be applicable:

- Choose a comfortable time for "bringing up the subject" when things are going well between you. Never, for example, speak of some potentially threatening or divisive subject in the heat of an argument, or when a wife is "feeling down" or negative about herself.

- Clearly distinguish between "what I see" and "facts about you," that is, "This is my observation which may or may not be true," not an attempt to define or even say who-you-are.

- Don't try to "make her see" anything not already visible to her or acceptable to consider without personal threat.

- Back off at first signs of defensiveness, resistance, rebellion, or any negative reaction. Unless what you have to say is obviously being received without personal threat, stop immediately. Any further comments, such as, an attempt to explain yourself or justify your observation, may only make matters worse.



ADVANCED INTIMACY


Eventually, later if not sooner, latent insecurities of each partner will predictably appear under illusions of safety created by any extended relationship. The issue confronted here is: what is one to do, how best might one react, when deeper darknesses of another emerge into the light of an encounter, especially a verbal conversation.

Unfortunately open conversation with repressed, unrecognized, and hence unconscious parts of another person is relatively impossible, especially so when what-they-don't see (their unconscious attributes) is clearly visible to oneself ,e.g., repressed anger, disappointment, and/or aggression.

Attempting to talk over the line of embraced awareness in another person (what they consciously recognize about themselves) will inevitably backfire in time, even if it is not immediately disastrous. Dangers are twofold at best:

1) Invitation to even deeper repression in reaction to uninvited information, especially when the data is correct. The greater the uninvited light (more truthful an observation) the more deeply into darkness a repression is apt to become.

2) Invitation to personal self-righteousness, as in, "See how smart I am." This doesn't mean that talk must cease in the presence of unconscious boundaries, indeed the more relevant conversation may become; but it must be done carefully, respecting the darkness of another, versus trying to force light ("to make them see"), and skirting confrontation without appearing to run away or "be avoiding the subject."

Artistry involves accepting projected insecurities cloaked with overt hostility and/or verbal abuse (blaming you) rather than falling for and/or engaging in retaliation, such as, playing serious Tit For Tat. This is especially important when a woman is emotionally disturbed.

ADVICE

Never look for self support, or ask, "How'd I do (e.g., after sex)?" Don't "fish for compliments." Reason: acting like a little boy who invites a wife to play mother, unwittingly belittles himself by avoiding challenges of self-affirmation, that is, examining and acknowledging his own experience.

Instead, examine your work in light of your own values. Certainly look, pay attention to non-verbal responses of another, for instance, how a female responds physically, for information to be considered in possible later changes; see how you did, but don't ask how you did, except when clarifying information may be useful in future endeavors.


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DECEPTION IN MARRIAGE

Artful deception is pragmatic for success in any extended relationship.

This, however, requires confronting powerful social and religious forces which see honesty-with-others as virtuous and any deception as "being dishonest"--that is, wrong and/or sinful. Because these public values are so thoroughly ingrained in most people, even before times of consideration, many men have to deal with predictable "false guilt" about even considering conscious deception.

In spite of this public perception of honesty-with-others as virtuous (and deception as bad), careful analysis may reveal that these memes are primarily directed at males. Females have long been so practiced at artful deception with males that such skills are now either ingrained or learned so early in life as to apparently escape conscious awareness in those most successful in its practice.

So, men, if you "feel guilty" about possible deceptions with females you care for, realize that they are far ahead of you in practicing these arts. They have used them for eons, long enough to have skills down pat, even unconscious if not engened. Furthermore, female use of deception (e.g., in makeup, dress, courting skills and male-management) is also socially acceptable and quietly affirmed by other females.

If men are to ever catch up in balancing skills in mutual deceptions, many of us will first have to develop skill in appropriately fooling a woman without fooling ourselves at the same time--that is, consciously choosing to deceive and be responsible for same, so as to avoid unconsciously "trying to get caught."

 

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DUMB THINGS


DOING DUMB THINGS-WITHOUT JUDGMENT

Dumb Things = Things a woman does (or wants to) which don't make sense to a man; activities which defy male understanding. They may or may not be literally dumb or even "unreasonable" in the larger picture; but at the time they seem dumb from a male point of view.

Genetically different, and especially when our own femininity is un-embraced, we men predictably find that many things about women "just don't make sense" to us. We can't understand much that they do-or at least want to.

Specifics vary, of course, from one woman to the next, but typical differences may include such examples as:

- Degrees of cleanliness. Many women are far more concerned with "keeping things clean" than most of us men are on our own. Men living alone are rarely as concerned with "a little dirt" or, for example, "a crumb or two on the floor," as are those we often try to live with. Easily we see-and judge, female diligence in trying to remove all signs of dirt and dust as "compulsive," that is, bordering on emotional illness, if not already there.

- Concern with appearances. We males are typically concerned with functionality-what works and serves our various projects, including things being useful and comfortable in our own homes. "If it works well, and does what we want, never mind how it looks" might even be a male mantra.

But alas, female values are often in reverse. "Utility is nice," but "how it looks" commonly takes precedence over "how it works" in a woman's world. Men rarely seem to grasp, let alone make sense of the massive amount of attention women commonly devote to "keeping up appearances."

- Re-arranging furniture. With men, once furniture is functionally and comfortably arranged, "that's it." We see no need to keep changing the way objects in our houses are placed. For example, we prefer that our comfortable chair be directly in front of the television, regardless of other furniture or possible placements in a room. Also, we typically see no need to hide the TV in some sort of decorative cabinet.

But is there a woman alive who does not feel a need to periodically re-arrange living spaces, including where we sit and do our in-house projects?

I suspect not.

- Beautifying one's self. Unless females are around, we males typically could care less about how we dress and look to others. If our clothes are comfortable, we are generally ready for whatever events face us. We don't need hours of time, tons of expensive make-up, and a closet full of ever-changing clothes to select from before we can comfortably be seen by others. And how many pairs of shoes are "enough" for any woman?

But I need not note how different we are from any typical female in regards to personal appearances; everyone already knows this "full well."

- Making up the bed. Men do want the beds we sleep in to be comfortable; but past "making for a good night's sleep," we have little interest in how a bed looks during the day. Left alone, we may pull up the covers when we get up (or we might not), but rarely would we diligently try to remove every wrinkle, nor have any great concern for what potential company might think if we didn't. On the same subject, just one comfortable pillow is enough for most men.

- Worrying about company. Other than a few buddies for, say, an occasional poker party or an outdoor barbecue with a keg of beer, most husbands are fairly content to spend time at home with our wives alone. Never mind "having company" as a regular event. But even if occasional "visiting" is in order, as in, seeing friends and/or relatives, or entertaining business prospects, men rarely worry about "how the house looks," the table is set, or "what company may think about us."

All of which is rarely true for a woman "expecting company."

- Modesty about body. "Being caught with our pants down," or, "closing the bathroom door," is relatively irrelevant for men in comparison with "being seen with your slip showing" or "spied on while dressing" is for women. "Being seen naked" is no big deal for most men, certainly not cause for alarm, especially within the confines of one's own home. A man may be seen unclothed; but a woman is more likely to feel caught if viewed by a man beyond any degree of self-chosen exposure.

The extent of typical female "modesty" about body is a mystery few males ever seem to solve.

- Safety versus thrill. "Playing it safe" is as common to women as "taking chances" is to men. Female concern with safety, as in, keeping doors locked, driving carefully, avoiding "dangerous" equipment, staying away from strangers, etc., etc., is commonly paralleled in men by "forgetting to lock doors," speeding on the road, competing with other drivers, "not being careful" with equipment, and generally valuing excitement over avoiding risks.

Any given man will likely think of many other "problems" inherent in living with a woman with these or other habits which, try as we may, we cannot understand. The issue I confront here is this:

How shall we live with and relate to the many "dumb things" most women

do--as viewed, of course, from a male perspective?

Commonly, "making sense" is as important to us males as "feeling right" is to females we live with. Consequently, when we "can't make sense" of female behaviors, when they seem to us to be "doing dumb things," what are we to do? Other than trying to ignore them, complaining, raising a fuss, arguing about cost, trying to be reasonable, or dumber still, trying to change a woman we love, what are we to sensibly do with acts and patterns of behavior which don't make sense to us and are therefore "dumb things"-as we dimly perceive them?

GENERAL RULE

In general, whenever possible without loss of personal integrity, when you have time and energy, when you can afford possible costs, go ahead and do dumb things (as they seem to you, not her)-without judgment.

In practice, the last phrase, without judgment, may turn out to be the hardest; but I begin with explaining the first parts of this "rule."

- ...without loss of personal integrity. Since individual integrity-that is, a comfortably accepted sense of oneself as an individual apart from others, is crucial to any successful encounter or relationship, a man will sensibly avoid any move which threatens or costs his self-identity.

If, for example, a man has difficulty in "being told what to do" or in "taking orders" without losing awareness of himself as a person-with-the-right-to-be-here ("getting bent all out of shape"), then of course doing dumb things to please a woman is certainly ill advised. Better to ignore or rebel than to "give in" when the price is loss of self-esteem. Or, as Shakespeare wrote: "This above all else; to thine own self be true...." Only do dumb things for or with a woman when you can at the same time remain "true to yourself."

- ...when you have time and energy. Although women are likely to have more projects or things they consider "needing to be done" around the house, men too commonly have personal agendas at home as well as at work-for examples, doing our own accepted chores; projects in the shop or yard, often in preparation for other outside ventures, such as, hunting or fishing trips; resting, reading, or "just watching TV."

Even so, most men "have time" in relationships with women when we are not "too tired," and putting aside personal interests is easily possible apart from "doing our own things." When so, doing dumb things which please females is both sensible and practical.

- ...when you can afford to. Many of the dumb things (again, to us males) which women strongly desire can be done without cost or excessive energy, such as, participating in their degrees of cleanliness and household order-for examples, picking up after oneself, putting dishes in the dishwasher ("the way she likes"), making up the bed ("without wrinkles"), and periodically re-arranging furniture.

However, as is well known, many women are indeed "high maintenance"-that is, expensive to maintain in pleasing moods. Many of the dumb things they want, such as, diamonds and "enough" clothes and shoes, not to mention costly make-up and house decorations, may, as we say, "put a strain on a man's pocketbook."

Even so, within the limits of actual afford-ability, many of a woman's desires can be safely "indulged (male perspective) in without breaking the bank." When so, smarter men quietly spend money on women they care for, without begrudging them for wanting dumb things.

With these "ifs and whens" in the background, I can now go ahead clarifying the "rule."

In summary: Try to discern a woman's desires, especially when they are unstated, and attempt to

fulfill them quietly (without being asked), quickly, and without fanfare. "Just go ahead and do dumb things" without making a big deal of it. Act as if they make perfect sense to you, as if you want to do them.

Carefully avoid such secret agendas as, looking for compliments, rewards, pay back, or other forms of personal affirmation; that is, do dumb things because you chose to on your own, for reasons of your own, and not as a cloaked con job. After you participate in a dumb-to-you deed, move quickly on, as if you simply did what you wanted to and it had nothing to do with her.

If she appears to ignore what you have done, for instance, does not acknowledge or show appreciation, then move along as though it were nothing. Don't call attention to your "good deed," as though you were a little boy looking for mother's approval. If you do, you invite her to see you as such, rather than as a man who cares for her.

If, on the other hand, she makes a big deal over your act, as with compliments and thanksgiving, accept graciously, but carefully avoid "falling for them," that is, being "set up" by a female's ego-boosting wile, even if it is unconsciously wielded.

Or, as may sometimes be the case, if she belittles what you have done, as in criticizing the way you did it, finding faults in your efforts, or blaming you for not doing so more often, be especially attentive to remaining on your own Green Spot ("in your own skin," with personal integrity). Hear her, that is, "without falling for it," as in, "taking it personally" and being "put down" by her words.

In reference to compliments and criticism, follow Kipling's advice in his poem If, "treat these two imposters just the same," that is, see them as expressions of others which do not move you in either direction, up or down, spiritually speaking. As he concluded, if you do, "you'll be a man someday," really!

 

In previous sentences I used the verb act and the metaphors as if (as though) in pointing toward effective use of this "rule." This, of course, raises the larger issue of honesty in relationships. Obviously acting seems to be in contrast with "being honest," which is commonly viewed as a virtue in good relationships.

I, for instance, grew up hearing a love song with these words: "Be honest with me, dear, whatever you do; remember you're mine, and always be true. Wherever you wander, o'er land or o'er sea, whatever you do, dear, be honest with me." And as late as last night I read a marriage counselor's article entitled, "Even Little Lies Can Hurt a Marriage," in a popular self-help publication, including this advice about "....sharing everything. It is the premise of a good partnership." (Italics mine)

But, I observe, this long time popular ideal may often be more disastrous than practical and/or loving in any extended relationship, especially between males and females.

 

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HONESTY IN MARRIAGE

Before amplifying my point, I give credit where credit seems due. When honesty is understood on the existential level, as in, literally being honest-as contrasted with irresponsible verbal honesty or "telling all" regardless of consequences, then the popular ideal appears valid to me. But being honest is an existential condition which includes far more than what one says or does not say, such as, what one silently knows about possible consequences of any verbal declaration. To ignore potential results of what one says is to be less than honest (at least in an existential sense).

Certainly words may be a part of being honest; but often they are a small part. Silence, sometimes, is more honest-in this deeper sense of the term, than "sharing everything," "telling all you know," or, "saying how you feel," without regard to consequences, such as, how words (your truth) may be received by another. A responsible lie, for instance, may sometimes be more loving than a verbal truth (an honest statement) which ignores possible effects of words.

My point: although verbal honesty is traditionally touted in songs, religions, legal courts, parental advice, and social ideals, when separated from existential honesty it may be more destructive, even disastrous, than a positive force in an extended relationship. Better, I conclude, to be wisely deceptive, always taking all one knows into present account, than blindly honest in verbal declarations.

When "complete honesty," "sharing everything," "keeping no secrets," "having everything out in the open," "telling all," etc., is taken as an ideal and worked for in practice, such a relationship is, I conclude, on dangerous ground at best, and headed for breakup at worst.

This ideal only holds true and workable to the extent that each partner is self-repressed, "living on top of things," has no "ghosts in their closet," no cloaked self-images, no need to project un-embraced feelings, desires, or hopes.

The more repressed one is, the more possible, and even feasible, "total honesty" or full disclosure may be; but conversely, the less repressed either partner is, the more destructive "sharing everything" may become.

The more honest you are with yourself (less repressed), the less verbally honest you may reasonably be with others. The more clearly you know yourself, the more deceptive (as in, appearing to believe what you don't) you may pragmatically become. Or, conversely, the less honest one is with himself, the more honest he can safely and functionally be with another.

But the point here is the opposite, namely, as self honesty escalates, other-deception (acting as though) becomes increasingly pragmatic in healthy relationships. Blind, automatic, irresponsible "telling all" (like confessing to a priest or revealing oneself in therapy), is replaced by discretionary verbal honesty which takes context into account along with stated words-that is, how what one says is apt to be heard and with what effects it may have, as my previously described being honest implied.

Or, from Creative Process perspectives: Those who live at early phases of the natural process, namely, Perception, Emoting, and Imaging Stages, and are yet to de-code their images into Concepts or absorb them into themselves, may successfully "share everything," especially with others who share their same images (as in religions); but the more either partner moves in the Creative Process (or unless both progress at equal speed) the less feasible un-thinking verbal honesty becomes; that is, the more functional acting and relating as though (e.g., "dumb things make sense") becomes.

Bottom line: Unless both partners in any male/female relationship are equally repressed (or to the degree that this is so) "total honesty" is apt to be more destructive than virtuous. When otherwise, which is more often, artful acting, e.g., living as though certain things are truly believed in or agreed with, "respectful pretending" is often the wiser course of action, the more loving way.

Consequently, learning to artfully pretend, to act as though, for instance, certain "dumb things" a partner either does or believes in, truly make sense may become an essential part of "living well with women (or anyone else)."

Which leads me to the last, and often more difficult part of the "rule," namely, without judgment.

DISCERNMENT WITHOUT JUDGMENT

"Making sense," approaching life through the door of reason rather than feeling, seems to come naturally for most males; but doing so without crossing the line into judgment can be a grand challenge. Easier to fall into self righteousness about "being reasonable," with resulting judgments of "nonsense" about "feelings," than to remain sensible, yet non-judgmental.

The principle is: Always discern sharply, but never judge what you discern. Make as much sense as you can, but never put down on non-sense. Be as reasonable as possible, without idolizing logic or looking down on emotions.

See irrationality without judging it negatively, while honoring reasonableness without making a god of sense (e.g., "thinking it's better than feelings"). Consider all available data, weigh all information on the scales of reason; but finally stand openly at the door of mystery, the existential fact that we have no certain answers, no final truths, no unquestionably right or wrong knowledge.

For example, we men typically value reasons over feelings, and give less credence to emotions than to sense, often in sharp contrast with our female counterparts. But if we are to avoid judgment, we must also acknowledge that this typical gender difference is only a difference, that is, that "being reasonable" is not necessarily "right" or even "best," and "being emotional" is inherently "wrong" or "bad." We must, that is, if we follow this part of the rule, acknowledge such typical gender differences without assuming, e.g., "men are smarter," or judging that "women are dumb."

We must muster the nerve to stand at the open door of mystery, not-knowing-for-sure, while yet discerning diligently but avoiding judgment of what we see as irrational, not making sense to us. Obviously, "being reasonable" seems to be more practical and productive, at least to us males, than "just being emotional," as females often appear to us; even so, the latter way is not, in larger reality, "wrong" or "bad," only different from our male-preferred mode of coping with life.

This difficult principle requires recognizing and remaining aware of dark mystery always surrounding our most lighted truths, our best answers so far, our most logical conclusions-that is, the limitations of all human knowledge, ours included. And doing so without resorting to the opposite way, namely, of putting down on reason, devaluing sensible thinking (weighing all available data on the scales of logic), and ceasing to discern carefully-that is, escaping the challenges of sense-making by falling into accepted ignorance.

Bottom line: If we men are to live well with women, one challenge involves "doing dumb things" without judgment, that is, without putting down on women for "being unreasonable," elevating ourselves for "being sensible," or blindly concluding that our way is "right" and their ways are "wrong."

Arenas for practicing this "rule" will obviously vary from one male/female relationship to another. But typical examples may include:

- Seeing and accepting apparently irrational desires for cleanliness and going along with their applications without judging them, for example, to "be stupid." This may involve such seemingly mundane (to us males) practices as: washing dishes before putting them in the dishwasher; changing clothes before they get dirty; picking up crumbs from the floor; bathing "too often."

- Confronting needs for excessive (to us) order in such areas as: silverware in drawers, clothes in the closet, dishes in the dishwater, furniture in the room, pictures on the wall, making up the bed without any wrinkles.

- Having new and/or stylish clothing when currently owned clothes are more than adequate for comfort, for example, an unlimited number of shoes and/or blouses of every color.

- Buying expensive and name brand products when ordinary goods are equally functional-for example, shopping at Ann Taylor rather than Walmart.

- Seemingly unlimited desires for expensive jewelry and other adornments.

- Unreasonable beliefs and self-images nor supported by available data, such as: "Sex is dirty," "Cleanliness is next to Godliness," "I'm too fat (or ugly, dumb, frivolous, etc.)," "You don't love me anymore," "You don't do anything to help around the house," "Men are only interested in sex," "You can't go to bed with dishes in the sink (or make love with lights on)," etc.

Applying this principle may be easier to see when a woman's ways ("dumb things") phase into what may be called "emotional disturbances," such as: obsessive/compulsive behavior (e.g., rechecking for locked doors, repeated washing), or irrational beliefs, such as, "Ivory soap causes cancer," or "People are out to get you").

Children who believe in ghosts, invisible monsters, or, e.g., "tigers under the bed," are another arena for practicing this "rule."

In either case, application of the principle involves seeing emotional disturbance and irrational beliefs, even obviously imaginary "realities (e.g., mirages in the desert or ghosts in the closet)," without judgment-that is, staying present with women or children who are "talking and/or acting crazy," while carefully concealing contrary discernments (e.g., that Ivory soap is harmless; everyone is not out to get you; you are not really "too fat" or "dumb"; and the closet is free from spooks), and appearing to accept such "crazy" or "dumb things" as presented.

In practice this involves my previously amplified phrase, acting as if. In order to stay present with unreasonable behavior, beliefs, and/or actions ("dumb things") without judgment, one may often have to act as if he does in fact accept, believe in, and/or approve of what is, to him, actually irrational, unrealistic, and unnecessary-that is, "dumb" or even "crazy."

When so, such acting will require deception and pretense, that is, keeping personal opinions to oneself, controlling non-verbal expressions which may reveal disagreement, and often "going along with" or participating in "dumb things," such as: not buying Ivory soap, making up the bed "right," removing all stains from kitchen counters, putting dishes in the dishwasher "like she wants them," washing clothes "whether dirty or not," "turning lights off before having sex," and even, especially with fearful children, pretending to look for ghosts in a closet.

Obviously there will be practical limits to such acting and/or temporary pretending to believe what in fact one does not, when, for example, consequences are destructive (or, as previously noted, when a man does not have time and energy and cannot afford "going along with" without loss of personal integrity). But much of the time in ordinary daily living, a female's unreasonable-to-males desires, beliefs, and habits, can be easily and safely accepted, indulged, and participated in without unacceptable results.

Whenever these qualifications are met, a man may wisely do many "dumb things" in quest of living well with women.

 

HEARING DUMB THINGS WITHOUT JUDGMENT

From a man's perspective, women often say, as well as do, "dumb things," that is, they make statements which don't make sense to a man, aren't reasonable, don't add up, aren't logical, are inaccurate, or just plain wrong.

What then is a man to do when he hears such? How might he wisely respond?

Typical male reactions include: attempts to correct, explain otherwise, require "being logical," supply contrary information; get angry and/or frustrated "that women won't be reasonable"; quit listening; remain quiet; or otherwise leave the conversation.

"Dumb things" spoken may include:

- Illogical statements, such as, something being both right and wrong, in and out, up and down, true and false, etc., at the same time.

-Shallow reasoning.

- Unexamined ideas, such as, "read in a magazine," heard on Oprah, somebody said, heard on TV (e.g., that burnt toast causes cancer).

- Hyperbole talk; "worst food I've ever had", "best...."

- Inaccurate facts.

Typical "dumb" subjects and modes of female talk which are often problematic to males:

- Talking about feelings rather than facts; "what I feel" or speculate about emotions of others.

- Basing ideas on feelings; "emotional talk," e.g., "I feel like...you think I'm fat (don't like what I said, did, want, etc.)".

- When an idea is presented as a feeling rather than a fact.

- Sentences as questions, e.g., "Why is so and so," = "I'm wondering" versus an actual request for information. Or, "What do you think about....?" = "I'm unsure of what I think" versus "Tell me."

- Pointless, non-focused circular talk; saying whatever comes to mind, with no obvious purpose.

- Changing any subject at anytime, even in the midst of a sentence.

- Pretending to listen to what is being said, acting attentive while ignoring what is being said (as mothers may do with small children).

- Finishing a man's sentences before he can.

- Probing male motives; asking or telling a man what he feels; "You're mad at me, aren't you," or, "You don't like what I said, do you?"

-Interrupting in the middle of a man's sentence.

- Constant complaining ("bitching") versus trying to improve or change; a female mode of voicing discomfort, typically unacceptable in male talk.

 

Wiser responses:

- Suspend judgment; forget "being reasonable"; listen carefully without speaking; give non-verbal signs of accepting the speaker (nods, smiles, etc.) even if what is said seems dumb to you; reserve contradictory opinions, information, or explanations for truly relevant and consequential ideas, not any casual subject.

 

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DISTANCE

WOMAN'S WORLD

A friend of mine's father advised him when he was getting married: "Remember Son, 'For better or for worse...' but not for lunch.'"

I take this sage advice to be about appropriate distance, about a man unwisely trying to enter too far into a woman's world.

Gibran, in his essay on children, advised parents: "Your children live in a world you cannot enter, even in your dreams...." I paraphrase to note that the same is even more true about wives than children, namely, that "Women live in a world a man cannot enter, even in his dreams."

A popular but dangerous ideal, rooted, I think in the equally prevalent-but-impossible illusion about two half persons becoming whole together, is that spouses should so meld their separate worlds into one that they do everything together, even "having lunch."

In this familiar ideal, a man, in effect, abandons much of his masculine world, as he lived before marriage, in favor of immersing himself in the new relationship-not only living together but also eating, sleeping, playing, watching TV, and, apart from work which is necessarily separate, trying to do everything else together, literally merging himself into a shared world with a woman. Community property, as established in Louisiana law, is, in this ideal, expanded into everything in community.

Obviously, in large measure, monogamous marriage does indeed inherently involve merging many aspects of a man and woman's separate lives into a functional union where many previously personal acts are now done together, such as, sleeping, dressing, and eating many meals in shared spaces.

Such functional sharing, including conceiving and rearing children, is, of course, the purpose and substance of this ancient institution. But this bit of advice focuses on proper limits-and exclusions-of what spouses attempt to share together, that is, how far a man may wisely go in fitting himself into harmony with a woman's world. The "for better or for worse" commitment is, of course, proper; but this advice focuses on the "but not for lunch" part of my friend's early instructions.

I term it: appropriate distance. By this I mean a functional parameter on idealized closeness. Obviously, many intimacies are both inherent and desirable. When we marry we are socially granted and personally choose many new dimensions of closeness; but what are the proper limits on such intimacy? Just how close should a man try to come to the woman he marries? How close can closeness be, without crossing a hidden line into dangerous degrees of self-negating intimacy?

To begin, I can see now that I have often crossed over this invisible line. I have abandoned much basic masculinity as I unwisely tried to venture further into woman's world than a man can reasonably go without significant loss of essential male elements.

Long ago I recognized in mind's eye that becoming a whole person begins with embracing inherent gender differences (traits initiated by 2 of 46 chromosomes -XY- in every male cell), but proceeds, at the same time, to becoming many other non-gender related capacities rooted in the remaining 44 chromosomes-that is, that whole person = gender-based "personhood," mainly being "somebody" who just happens, by accident of having one Y chromosome, to be of the male rather than female variety.

But in practice, outside my intellectual theory, I have unwittingly repressed elements of masculinity while exaggerating attention to my smaller degree of femininity as initiated by the X chromosome paralleling the Y in each of my cells. Then, to compound my error, in marriage I have tried to (at least wanted to) enter completely into woman's world-that is, to be totally close, fully intimate, with every aspect of femininity. I have wanted and tried to "share everything"-all of myself with every aspect, every feminine part of females I love.

On an even deeper level, only now beginning to appear clearly in consciousness, I have also brought a hidden-to-me agenda even more unrealistic than the first, namely, I have blindly "looked" to my wives (and women in general, beginning, I think, with my mother) for permission, support, and even blessing, for masculine aspects of myself. Dumbly, as well as blindly, I have, in effect, looked to woman to "make a man," even a "person," out of me.

How foolish, even irrational, can a man be!

But enough of confession; back to generalizing what I have learned about myself, and here to project into "advice" to other men.

In summary, I believe that I, and I suspect many other males, have erred in trying to venture further into a woman's world than is, in reality, possible-certainly than is feasible. In so doing, I observe that they too may have unwisely repressed masculine elements of themselves while trying to get "too close" to a woman they loved.

Blindly, such men as I, have, as made graphic in myths of Attis and Cybele, in effect given our balls to our wives. While often blaming it on them, we may willingly participate in our own emasculation, leaving ourselves as wimps in marriage, "hen-pecked," as it were, by our personal denials.

Point: Should wisdom prevail, a man will be careful about trying too hard to enter into ("get too close to") many elements of a woman's world which we males are literally, by virtue of inherent masculinity, unable to enter.

There are aspects of the feminine world which females may easily and delightfully share with each other, but which are also beyond realms a male may enter without loss of significant elements of himself.

The same, of course, is also true of wives trying too hard to enter the masculine world of their husbands-but this is not my subject here.

Elsewhere I focused on the greater error of any man's secret hope that any woman-even a "perfect one," could/would "make a happy man" out of a yet repressed boy/man. But here I am only trying to clarify proper limits of closeness between a husband and wife-that is, the hidden line which realistic intimacy will not try to cross.

Although I obviously cannot shine mental light on an invisible line, especially one which varies in location from one marriage to another, and even from time to time in all marriages, I can at least point toward some of the arenas in which it may be sought; or, to mix my metaphors, some of the "lunches" best avoided between "for better or for worse."

Some possible arenas beyond which a male may wisely avoid trying to cross include:

shopping; feminine hygiene; bitching (commiserating); significance of "appearances"; female psychic problems; complaints about men; realms of cleanliness; typical female repressions, e.g., sexuality and killerness; monthly periods; irrational outbursts ("must be on the rag?").

Point: rather than trying to understand before accepting, a wiser man would, I conclude, be open to accepting what he doesn't understand-without probing too far.

 

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PLAYING GAMES

Except for fun, never play games in a relationship which matters, especially with those you love.

Emphasis here is on the word fun, because while seeking pleasure only, any game may be a delightful medium of encounter. Conversely, when any game is "played" seriously, that is, for psychological reasons unrelated to pure pleasure, relational damage is the predictable result of the game.

Games may be either physical--like tennis, or on a board--like Monopoly, or psychological, such as, Tit For Tat, One-ups-man, or Poor Little Me. In either case, the significant issue here is that with loved ones, especially females, and doubly so in marriage, wise persons only play for fun.

The principle is easy enough to express and understand; but practice can be a grand challenge. Problems arise because the line between a playful and a serious game is often difficult to determine at the time. Playing-for-pleasure, for example, may easily turn into having-to-win, with no conscious thought required.

Also, psychological motivations for all games may undermine "playing for fun" before seeking pleasure ever arises in awareness. Furthermore, because many people only "play" for deadly serious psychological reasons, one can never play for pleasure only with such persons.

Psychological motivations for playing games, totally apart from potential fun, are many and varied from person to person. Some of those I have discovered in myself and/or observed in others include:

- Playing for power, that is, blindly seeking to dominate another person, to "get the best" of him or her.

- Playing for control. Games may be used to control oneself and/or others who choose to "play" with you. Paradoxically, unconscious fear of fun may be controlled by compulsive game "playing," that is, "staying busy" with a wide variety of games, both physical and psychological, in order to avoid facing oneself honestly. Also, demanding or cajoling others to play one's personal games may be rooted in un-faced needs to control their behavior.

 

- Playing for escape. When the challenges of honest living, including facing personal problems, seem too great, one may temporarily escape into any of many available games.

- Playing for structure. Freedom, in spite of its conscious desirability, includes challenges of "thinking for oneself," that is, deciding what to do at any given time. On vacation, for example, or after work, what is one to do when life demands are eased? Available time, with nothing to "have to do," may invite threatening degrees of self-facing. Game-playing may then become a readily available option for structuring one's "free" time.

These and many other psychological motivations may undermine, even prevent, the possibility of pure personal pleasure in game-playing. And, because such reasons-for-playing are typically unconscious, one may find it difficult if not impossible escape their control. They are, for may of us, so habitual and automatic that not being caught up in unrecognized, serious "playing" becomes a grand challenge.

RECOGNIZING PSYCHOLOGICAL MOTIVATIONS

Obviously I cannot evade dictation by deeper non-fun motivations unless or until I bring them into awareness. Otherwise, I am pre-destined to blindly act them out "without thinking," and, regrettably, to pay psychological prices inherent in dictation by my repressions. So, clues to such unconscious motivations are important to me.

Some of those I have discovered so far include:

- Getting serious rather than remaining playful and enjoying the game. This, of course, is a play on words; one can "seriously" play for fun, that is, be diligent in trying to win any game. But the line between negative seriousness and playful pleasure can be easily crossed over when I am not carefully attentive to "having fun" only.

- Having to win. In truly playful games, pleasure lies in the process of playing, using one's mind and resources in pursuing the theoretical end; but psychological motivations of power, for example, may easily supplant pleasure-motivations when I am not carefully alert.

This seems to be especially true for men who commonly take all games as "deadly serious," that is, as though winning is crucially important in order to avoid loss of personal integrity. When I fall into this typically male mode of "playing," I cannot but lose contact, not only with pleasure motivations, but also with native skills which are only activated when I am relaxed and present as a contained person.

Many females, in sharp contrast, seem to inherently know that "it's just a game," and can consequently "lose" without loss of personal integrity. They can even stop in the middle of a game when they recognize that an opponent is "getting serious" or "becoming emotional (as in, getting angry)" about the game.

Past gender differences, in which males may indeed, with genetic drives related to sperm-bearing, be more inclined to "win," and females, as ova-bearers, must "lose" in order to "win" impregnation, I conclude that "having to win" is one serious detriment to any creative game-playing.

In trying to heed this present advice-to-myself, whenever I realize I am blindly slipping into "having to win," rather than enjoying a game-in-progress, I do my best to curtail this blind motivation. "Stop," I say to myself, "You know about the cost of such psychological games in any healthy relationship." So, "get a grip on dark projections and return to awareness in your own skin."

Of course it doesn't always work, in that many of my darker motivations yet remain dictative; but sometimes becoming aware of such blind directives allows me to catch myself in the process and at least avoid some of the otherwise high prices to inevitably be paid when serious games replace playful encounters in relationships which matter to me.

********



POWER IN MARRIAGE

UNDERSTANDING POWER

A common erroneous notion identifies power with dominance and views submission as powerless. Understanding power (as I mean it here) requires going beyond this error.

Power, like hope and faith, is invisible, but is often expressed or exercised in such stances as dominance or submission, "standing up to," or "giving in to." Consequently, power is difficult to express or see literally. Often it is better revealed or grasped in colloquial language, in phrases such as: "having the last word," "can-do-ness," or "move-ability." Or in feelings, like: confidence, stand-ability, well-being, "okay alone." These in contrast with: fearful, threatened, anxious, or stressed.

Power is inherent in "being yourself," in embraced capacity to "stand up for yourself," "not be run over by others," to represent your own values and desires in present tense living.

Power may be better recognized in its absence, as when one is "overwhelmed," "done in," in despair, helpless.

Although power is more visible to others in stances of dominance, distinguishing power from any such stances is critical to understanding its nature.

Dominance = overtly "having your own way," "lording it over others," "running over others." But much dominance is but a show, a cloak for fear.

Submission = overtly "giving in," "lying down before others," "getting run over." Even so, much submission involves "standing up inside."

Power itself is a consequence of embraced capacities, of "being yourself," not a matter of conscious choice. Mode of expression, for example, dominance or submission, is a choice, but power itself is only acquired indirectly, as through focus on un-repression or self-activation.

Real power results in "feeling good." Exercising power is inherently exciting, self-authenticating.

Power is more evident in "letting" than in "doing"--that is, in which person is "letting" the other act (choose, speak, or do). A wife, for example, who quietly "lets her husband decide" where to go on vacation (or, what to eat, which movie to see, which TV station to watch, etc.) is exercising more power than the man who is overtly deciding. He may, in fact, be entirely fooled in "thinking he is in charge" when he is actually being quietly manipulated by the "little woman" who lets him "think he is boss."

EMPOWERING WOMEN



Long ago Solomon wisely advised: Give not your power to women... (Proverbs 31:3). Unfortunately many of us have been extremely slow learners; me in particular.

BACKGROUND


Empowering women is functioning or relating to them in ways which give powers (can-do abilities) they would not otherwise have. Forces which actually exist, if at all, in males are seen as though reflected in females. I say "if at all" because often such powers are entirely imagined by males--that is, only exist as magical or supernatural, not truly real, either in males who repress and project, or in females assumed to possess them.

Situation: Insofar as personal powers (not externally given) are concerned, the balance is with femininity to begin with--all em-powering aside--due to a genetic edge, biased legal structures and social mores, and generally greater degrees of embraced natural capacities.

Men, for any real equality to exist, need all the power we can get just to reach a level playing field; certainly we do not need to give any away, especially to those who are already at an advantage.

Also, empowering females is apt to backfire in time, further undermining an already unstable situation. This is likely because of genetic reasons, even when forces are socially as well as personally useful to those so empowered. From the standpoint of genes, women need strong and virile males they can count on for good sperm and long term protection and support--not wimps who need the strength of women to exist with power ourselves.

Consequently, even when females work to make males stronger (as in, ego-boosting or letting us think we are), feel temporarily good about their gifted forces, and use them for pragmatic purposes (e.g., supporting family and structuring home arrangements), on deeper levels they may resent such males, even unconsciously reject both the men and their granted powers, because of these genetic facts.

All the advantages associated with male empowering, though socially functional and personally useful, may finally run counter-current to biological female needs related to conception and successful child rearing.

Generally speaking, women need a man "with balls"--both literally and figuratively, for increased odds of success in their inherited mothering agendas. When a man is otherwise (is weak, hen-pecked, wimpy, a pushover, or ball-less), he may be useful (better than none at all), and even loved as such; but--and this is the point here, a woman's genetic heritage is apt to cry out negatively, no matter what she consciously thinks/feels as an individual person.

I speculate that widespread, though often denied, female resentment, private disappointment, even anger and outward put downs of men, may be a reflection of this familiar situation today. On deep levels, I think, women are silently--if not verbally, crying out for "men to be men," not wimps they can easily manage, but who do not live up to what their genes call for, that is, so "women can be women."

Now to the practical question: How do we males often empower women beyond those forces they naturally and socially possess?

Among those I now see are these:

1.Falling in love

Perhaps more clearly and completely than in any other way, I see in hindsight that we males typically empower females when we fall in love with them. On analysis this immensely popular and socially acceptable event turns out to be more clearly and accurately seen as but a cloaked form of worship.

In spite of its seemingly unconscious beginnings ("it just happens"), social acceptability, female promotion, and temporarily exciting nature, finally falling in love with a female boils down to blind worship, unrealistic devotion with hidden expectations rooted in male repression and projected magical wishes--in other words, a psychic event with predictably disastrous consequences in time.

In religious language, falling in love is one form of secular idolatry--that is, "having a god (in this case a goddess) before God." Socially acceptable, personally enjoyed, and oft exploited, male "adoration" and "faithful devotion" are but reflections of thinly veiled worship, which, in Christian theology is supposed to be reserved for God alone. According to the bible, any such idolatry is breaking the first commandment ("Thou shalt have no other gods before me") and is done so with dire spiritual consequences--which also soon become evident in the secular world, even as the bible predicts.

Relevant here, however, are only the elements of false empowering of local women (which, though similar in effect, is, according to popular religion, supposed to be reserved for a universal male God only). Bottom line: falling in love ("limerance") with a female is perhaps the most common and greatest form of female empowerment operative in present society.

Spin-offs from this familiar psychic event include:

2. Automatic deference

Automatic deference is blind, "unthinking (and often unreasonable)" obsequiousness, systematic "giving in" regardless of the situation or consequences. Although "pleasing females" does indeed have healthy genetic roots (in quest of acceptance essential for male replication), this familiar "whatever you say, dear" male stance goes far beyond any genetic realities and grandly empowers a female with unreal-but-operative forces not inherent either in her genes or herself as a person.

This male mode of relating to females in general, lovers in particular, and wives as well, is like self-castration, handing a woman a man's balls on a silver platter.

3. Systematic agreement

 

Systemic agreement (A spin-off from #2)--that is, accepting a female's thoughts or opinions (ideas, beliefs, etc.) as though they are inherently true, as if spoken by an infallible God. Systematic agreement is a stance of mental and verbal acceptance which takes whatever a woman says and/or thinks as "gospel truth." Even if a man inwardly disagrees completely, in this mode he functions or acts like the woman is "always right."

Again, though consciously aimed at pleasing or "avoiding an argument" or "just trying to keep the little woman happy," such a mode of relating unrealistically empowers a women's mind. When treated as though she is omniscient (mentally infallible) she is left with no legitimate, and often needed, feedback, especially so when her own "thinking function" is not her main suit in comparison with a powerful "feeling function." If, for example, she is not confident in her own reasoning abilities and actually needs/wants sensible feedback, then a male's automatic agreement may be more threatening than pleasing.

4. Looking for help

Looking for help refers to slightly cloaked desires to "be taken care of," that is, supported, "mothered," or "babied," e.g., to be fed, clothed, comforted, seduced, blessed, and given permission to be, especially his masculine self.

This common male situation is especially dangerous when cloaked with machoism (false independence, "I don't need you or anybody else") or phony "love." Females, I suspect, easily see through male egotism and/or false "love," and recognize hidden expectations rooted therein. Even when they accept and use the associated empowerment, the temptation to resent obvious male weakness, however cloaked, must be great.

5. Running from anger

Although a man may have good and solid reasons for avoiding female anger (e.g., keeping her favors), any refusal to stand up to it easily gives the appearance of male weakness (thereby, empowering the female) and makes female anger seem even more powerful than it actually is.

If a woman is already fearful of her own emotional powers, especially those seen as negative (of "exploding" or "acting out" in unloving ways), a man's "running away from her anger" cannot but amplify its inherent threat. Unwittingly, whatever his intentions, when a man runs from (does not stand up to or with) a woman's negative emotions, he falsely empowers her unrealistically.

6. Excessive compliments

When a man is automatically complimentary of everything a woman says, does, or how she appears, he unwittingly empowers her.

7. Looking for affirmation

This is another spin-off from #4. No matter how much self-affirmation is truly needed by a male, or how sincere his attempts to "get complimented" by a woman, all such efforts unwittingly empower a female so approached. Even when she chooses to act affirmingly, as in, giving desired compliments, she is further empowered beyond reality because at the same time she is handed the power to refuse them. Placed by such a male in a position to be freely able to give or withhold something he deeply desires, she obviously holds powers not inherent within herself.

 

8. Hiding masculinity

Paradoxically, when a male cloaks his masculinity from a female, even when she seems to wish it so, he unwittingly empowers her by placing options in her hands which do not truly exist there. While he is hiding signs of masculinity, she, in effect, has the power to allow or disallow these elements of himself into the open with her. Consequently, she is unrealistically in charge of his gender revelations in her presence.

A secondary unfortunate side effect of this male stance granting power to a female is that she too is required to be conscious of her own desires before she can signal his masculine response. So long as his masculinity is hidden (with revelation power in her hands), she cannot simply become female (get "turned-on") in response to his "going first," since he is, in effect, waiting on her to give permission to begin the whole gender-encounter process.

 

9. Explaining oneself

Automatic justification of behavior, emotions, ideas, is another way in which males may falsely empower females. Regardless of intent, this stance sets a woman up as having authority over a man's thinking. This is most dangerous in regard to his motives, reasons for what he does as well as feels.

Living thusly, as though she must understand him before he (his actions, motives, etc.) are acceptable and legitimate, unwittingly grants unrealistic powers to her. Imagine having the tacit authority to judge another as right or wrong, okay or not! This is what blindly happens whenever a man falls into the habit of automatically explaining himself to a woman.

10. Magical good graces

When a man lives-as-though a female's revealed favor--her smiles, approval, etc., as contrasted with her frowns, disapproval, negative judgment, are essential to his well being, his remaining openly himself in her presence, then he has placed extra-ordinary power in her hands.

At the same time, he has, paradoxically, invited severe restraint on her personal freedom to be honestly present with him. Once she realizes the magical power he has assigned to her good graces, she cannot but also see the effects of her frowns or other signs of disapproval. Even though she may enjoy and benefit from her granted powers on the positive side, once she also sees that all her negative feelings, regardless of how personal they may be, are inevitably taken as "against him (what did I do wrong?)," she must restrict her honest negative feelings with him, lest he take them personally when in fact her feelings have nothing to do with him.

11. Falling for female wiles

Although they are often unconscious (as best I can tell), and perhaps even genetic (inherited as Sophia's Wisdom), every female seems to have a number of personal "wiles (male managerial skills)." Perhaps, e.g., she has learned that "being apologetic" or verbally blaming herself for whatever goes wrong ("I know it's my fault"), works in bringing automatic forgiveness plus changed behavior on a male's part. Whenever a man reacts automatically to this or any other form of female behavior ("wile"), then he has unwittingly empowered and invited her to use it repeatedly.

12. Raising ass

This graphic metaphor for inviting being kicked in the butt portrays another common way in which males may empower females. By automatically taking the blame for any of her displeasure, such as, being immediately defensive or apologetic for any apparent offense (regardless of any part she may have played), a man unwittingly projects power for her to use with him. "Raising ass" in any of countless available ways, a man, unfortunately for him, invites and empowers female domination, even emotional if not physical abuse.

13. Catering to every whim

With full respect for potentially positive values in choosing to go to great lengths to please a female (as in, romantic endeavors), when this male mode becomes a habit of automatically catering to every whim--complaint or wish, revealed by a female, then he has passed reason and gone on to grant unrealistic powers, even if under cover of "love."

14. Looking for heart

Perhaps deeper than in any other way, males often empower females by "giving them our hearts"--that is, placing our symbolic hearts in their hands, giving them the responsibility (and magical power) for making us hearted or whole as individual persons.

Instead of remaining openly responsible for our own spiritual ("emotional") development and well-being--as is the nature of human reality ("every tub has to sit on its own bottom"), males all too commonly cop out on this natural human quest, in favor of projecting magical wishes onto females--that is, living-as-though females, at least one of them, can actually "give me heart (make me feel hearted and whole)" if only she will.

What actually happens, I analyze in retrospect, is that we males begin early to repress elements of our own human capacity for becoming/being whole ("hearted") within ourselves, especially parts of our inherited masculinity and other capacities falsely identified with femininity only (e.g., being emotional or "sissy").

Unwittingly, we split ourselves through these partial denials and repressions. We, in effect, "divide our hearts." Then, in the second phase of repression, namely, projection, we come to "see"--or so we imagine, powers denied within ourselves reflected in female "eyes (and bodies, etc.)." Caught up in this illusion, we begin to seek the other half of our "heart (the rest of ourselves)" from those in whom we glimpse its reflections.

Bottom line: In this, perhaps greatest, form of male empowerment of females, we erroneously "look for our hearts (potential wholeness)" from females who in reality don't have them to give. But once this familiar male mode is put in operation, such empowered female "lovers" are granted immense forces for managing us projecting males in countless other real ways, often more useful to them than to us.

CONCLUSION


I have noted these ways of empowering women in a semi-objective form as my mode of backing in, as it were, to difficult insights about myself--that is, to seeing more clearly some of the forms of my own repressions. Whether or not other males "give their powers to women" by these modes, certainly I have at one time or another participated, even blindly at the time, in all of them.

POWER BALANCE

Power balance is one of the least acknowledged but most significant issues in functional relationships at all levels of encounter-from countries to couples. Whenever one party holds more operational power over the other, whether it be nation over nation or husband over wife (or vice versa), primal genetics evolved for self survival at any cost cannot but be operative, even if unconsciously, on the part of a down party.

On the other hand, temptations to self-righteousness and phony benevolence to the "under privileged" (lesser powered or weaker ones) cloaked by false humility, are so great that those on top seem incapable of not falling into self-righteousness-that is, hiding power advantages with token charities.

Given genetic drives for selfing, no healthy relationship is possible as long as either party is dis-empowered. Of course, alliances based on pathological conditions and/or complementary limitations-where need (lacks) of one are met by opposite needs of the other, may exist over extended time, as in, many long marriages. But clock time and personal health are not synonymous characteristics; often longest marriages, e.g., are actually the "sickest," with peaceful conditions cloaking deep unhappiness and/or psychological illness.

Temporarily functional balances may be achieved between overt and covert forms of power, when outward submission is balanced by behind-the-scenes dominance, as in marriages where a husband "rules" an overtly passive wife, who quietly controls him "behind the scene."

His overt power may be balanced by her covert power. He may appear as "head of the household," even "king on his throne," while she actually "runs the house (including the bedroom)," and exercises queenly power "behind the throne."

Or, in more extreme cases, even overtly abusive physical power may be balanced by covertly abusive emotional powers. Pathological alliances may last over time where threats of bodily pain are balanced by others of heart pain.

Such a passive wife may endure degrees of physical pain, even non-life-threatening bodily injuries, so long as she can inflict balancing degrees of emotional pain which maintain her covert control over other aspects of their relationship.

Similar situations may exist between slaves and masters, where established outward dominance of masters is balanced by inward "rebellion" or passive resistance of slaves. Slaves may maintain personal integrity by cloaking inward independence with outward acts of servitude.

A Dennis The Minis cartoon portrayed this stance with a small boy sitting in the corner of a school room wearing a dunce cap, while mumbling: "I'm sitting down on the outside, but I'm standing up inside."

Or, in less dramatic and more socially acceptable forms, power balances are often established between complementary personality patterns, e.g., a dominant one with a submissive other, and couples with complementary psychological needs and supplies. For example, romantic love, as firmly established, accepted, and approved in many current societies, even as a proper basis for monogamous marriage, is typically rooted in repressed drives for individual integrity in which wholeness is unconsciously sought through attributes of another person, or is blithely and openly acknowledged when, for example, men find our "missing halves" in a woman. As voiced in song, "first we were half" (before marriage), "now we are whole."

But I note these various forms of achieving degrees of functional power balance only to try to confront the limitations and temporary nature of such alliances, especially as related to fullness of life in the here and now, that is, heaven here.

When any such power balance is achieved with loss of personal integrity (as in pussy-whipped husbands with emotionally abusive wives, or brow-beaten wives with physically harmful husbands), or when repressed parts of oneself are temporarily captured in the form of projections onto another person (as in typical romantic relationships), then personal salvation is inevitably undermined, if not prevented thereby.

Certainly reality includes different forms of power, often with one type more in the hands (or control) of one than another (as in, nuclear power between nations, or financial and/or sexual powers between men and women); but functional cooperation between different forms of power, such as may be exercised in conscious bartering, is not the same as unconscious wielding of power over another.

While the latter types of relationships may sustain in time, such imbalances in operational powers cannot but be inherently unstable and personally destructive to each party in differing ways.

 

BALANCING POWER

Definition: Balancing power is keeping the embraced power of each person at a relatively equal level, without either one or the other being overwhelmed or done in. If power were visible, like mercury in a thermometer, balanced power would be like a U tube with each side representing a person, and equal levels of "mercury (power)" in each side of the tube.

Balanced power is not necessarily revealed in who-is-deciding or who-is-going-along; in fact, such stances may be entirely deceptive, with more actual power operative in the going-along person.

Balancing power is literally a "balancing act," like standing straight on a tight wire-- except in this event one is, in effect, balancing for two persons, that is, trying to keep both persons erect together.

Ideally, both persons are consciously involved in an effort to keep power balanced, to avoid situations in which one literally "runs over" or is "done in" by the other. But in practice, "meanwhile back at the ranch" where couples live, this rarely seems to be so. Almost always one partner is more conscious than the other, who is more repressed or moved by unconscious forces. When so, responsibility for balancing power is left up to the more conscious partner.

Typically, persons who are less conscious (more reactive or "on automatic pilot") wield their embraced power blindly, willy nilly, without regard to its effect on others, or even on relationships with those they love. Unwittingly, they often "run over" or emotionally dominate "without meaning to" or even recognizing that they do so. The mode of such rampant power operation is incidental to its emotionally destructive effects.

For example, unrecognized emotional abuse may be effected by overt dominance, as in an overwhelming mother, or by passive submission, as in a self-sacrificing wife. In either case, the "overprotective mother" or the "always giving-in wife" may consciously love their children or spouse, and yet be totally unaware of their destructive mode of relating. Even so, the resulting imbalance of power is still the same.

Because exercising power "feels good," even if done unconsciously, those who are less aware of how they relate, naturally tend to exercise as much power as they possibly can in blind quest of greater self-satisfaction. Unmindful of effects they are having on others, they are typically "overbearing" or "running over others," as they blindly luxuriate, as it were, in the emotional benefits of exercising power by any means. Whether exercised by obvious-to-others dominance, as in a dictatorial father, or by outward submission cloaking passive manipulation, as in a self-sacrificing mother, the power-wielding effect on others is still the same, namely, emotional abuse.

Other notable examples of more socially acceptable forms of unconscious power-wielding include "do-gooders," such as, religious evangelists who cloak their manipulation as "just trying to help (or save) you," or, "for your own good." Often abusive activities are enhanced by greater degrees of self-repression which allow one to be "totally sincere"--that is, to make emotional kills while feeling "humbly" self-righteous.

In all such encounters or relationships where one person blindly wields embraced power, whether by outward dominance or self-righteous submission, any balancing of power is left up to the more conscious person.

The challenge then becomes to seek balance: 1) without allowing oneself to be done in or manipulated, while at the same time, 2) not reversing the situation by "over kill"--that is, "doing in" the other person. The situation is further complicated by the degree of unconsciousness of one who blindly exercises power--that is, "doesn't know what he or she is doing," and consequently, may be "completely sincere" in their efforts.

When so, one who is consciously seeking a power balance is, in effect, responsible for the unconsciousness of the other; not, of course, for causing it, but for dealing with consequences of their self-repression. He must, that is, deal both with what the other person "thinks she is doing (e.g., "trying to help or save") as well as their blind attempts at manipulation.

This situation is further complicated by the fact that by definition, unconsciousness is unrecognized by self-repressed persons. They literally "don't know what they are doing." Consequently, one seeking power balance must deal with their repression indirectly--that is, non-verbally. You can't wisely talk to or about what another is unaware of.

Attempts to confront repression directly, as in, telling an unconscious person "what they are doing" or "how angry they are," will often backfire--that is, result in denial and further repression, or else in more overt efforts to overpower one trying to point out what is not seen by the other.

This doesn't mean that language can't be used in attempting power balance with such a person, but that words can rarely be directed toward unconscious efforts of the other (without the above noted undesirable results). Instead, language, if used at all, must be formed in ways which privately acknowledge what the other is blindly doing (while at the same time not falling for it), but does not focus attention on manipulative efforts themselves--such as: 1) changing the subject of the conversation. In the midst of an unconscious effort to wield power over you, one seeking balance might simply avoid picking up on a tricky subject and carefully raise another less dangerous topic (e.g., "that reminds me of.....").

Or, 2) one might pick up on some less dangerous aspect of what is being said, something he can agree on without supporting the manipulative effort, and note his agreement (without supporting the unrecognized attempt at manipulation by the other).

 

PRIORITIES


Reclaiming power is a first priority if one wishes to live well with women. Without required powers to exercise them, even the best of male efforts will prove unworkable. Next comes defensive maneuvers--learning to protect oneself against abuses of woman's wiles. Finally, developing offensive ploys on ones own is the crowning art.

First, reclaiming powers. I estimate that about 90% of the force behind female wiles comes from male projections--these being the inevitably result of self-repressions. Until projections which result in "giving away" masculine powers are stopped, and projected forces reclaimed and activated within a male's own skin, we are in no position to either defend ourselves and certainly unable to mount an offense.

Projected powers are in typically in two major arenas: selfing and sexuality, or mothering and fucking. Until a male can move past deep, un-faced "needs" for mothering ("being taken care of") and for permission to be sexual, we are inherently stymied, both in defending ourselves from vulnerabilities created by repression, as well as creatively developing ploys of our own.

Defensive maneuvers are essentially ways of protecting ourselves from continued vulnerability to wiles. Even if we reclaim powers which fuel wiles, still habits of reaction are apt to remain. This second phase of male homework involves looking clearly at woman's wiles, seeing how they work, how one has personally learned to react (without thinking) to them, and then finding ways to creatively counter their forces.

Finally, ploy art is the third essential for living well with wily women. Even if there were no women's wiles (which are, in effect, mainly de-fused in steps one and two), still men would need ploys of our own to confront the "natural superiorities" of females. Learning ploys involves several steps of its own: first, learning to recognize female needs and vulnerabilities; then, figuring out ways (called ploys here) to relate positively to them; finally, developing artistry in using our ploys creatively.

In terms of numbers, I figure that about 70% of an average male's attention should go to part one, reclaiming power; 20% to learning defensive maneuvers, how to protect oneself from wiles or let go of defensive habits now become reactive; and 10% for developing skills at ploy art.

Summary: In largest perspective, I view typical male homework in learning to live well with women (which I explore here as though it were advice to other males) as this: 70% attention to unrepressing oneself and reclaiming powers rooted in masculine capacities for selfing and sexuality (for taking care of ourselves and seeking maximum replication); 20% work at facing and de-fusing woman's wiles as I have long been manipulated by--that is, learning to protect oneself from real female forces and break long habits of habitual reaction to wiles which have actually been outgrown already; 10% schooling in learning ploys--male versions of wiles, which may work in achieving personal satisfactions while living among women.

 

ADVICE

Overall Stance: Stand with a woman, but never be had or get owned. Be hearted with, but never give your heart to her or try to find your own in her. In biblical metaphors, don't "sell your soul for a mess of potage."

Stand with a women, but do not lean on or lord it over her. Aim for mutual inter-dependence rather than either independence or dependence--either you on her or vice versa. Be individuals together rather than leaning on each other in other than pragmatic ways (not "emotionally"); be loving with, but don't try to get love from.

Avoid: wimp/macho; over/under; dominant/submissive; boss/slave, or many other variations on these familiar themes.

Certainly there are emergency times for temporary use of many of these roles, but never fall into either for extended times or as prevailing stances together.

Keep power balanced

 

Carefully avoid all degrees of dominance/submission in which one partner lords it over the other who consistently gives in. For example, avoid: macho man with submissive wife; hen-pecked husband with bossy wife; pussy-whipped man and ball-busting woman.

Best relationships are between equally empowered partners.

Avoid being hen-pecked or macho; don't be a Casper Milquetoast or a Lord and Master.

Avoid head to head conflicts whenever possible. Never try to win a verbal argument because you will most often lose in the moment; and even if you win initially, you will predictably lose in the long run because of beating her down (making her submissive) or in loss of favors (both sexual and emotional).

If you lord it over her, you invite dependency which may be temporarily satisfying but is destructive to the relationship in the long run. If you give in too often or consistently you set her up for illusions of unrealistic power, which she may blindly seek and temporarily delight in; but, on deeper genetic levels, a woman needs a strong man even more than a subservient slave. So, setting her up with too much power predictably leads to eventual resentment and acted-out abuse.

Use Your Head

Use your head, not your body, as your major power for maintaining a power balance and relational harmony. Your single greatest advantage and least dangerous force lies in embraced ability to truly be reasonable--that is, to think beyond feelings and to prioritize accepted values in the face of a woman's constant temptation to rely on blind emotional powers only.

Certainly head sense is innately less powerful than bodily emotions, and head to head, feelings will predictably win every time over reason alone. But still, as a commercial reminds: "A brain is a terrible thing to waste." Even if inherently weaker, male powers for remaining cool, for keeping-on-thinking, for holding emotions in check, can, when embraced, prove successful in confronting the greater forces of emotions alone.

Even when a measure of physical restraint is called for--either in containing personal urges to hit of inflict bodily pain, or to hold a woman to prevent harm to oneself, continuing to use your head remains the wisest choice.

"Using your head" is to be carefully distinguished from trying to make a point by being reasonable or to win an argument by the lessor powers of logical sense. "Out thinking" a woman is not to be confused with "making more verbal sense" or "being more logical."

Certainly "sense making" is involved in "using your head," but the larger issue is far beyond rational logic. When a man tries to "out argue" a woman--that is, win by rules of reason, he will lose every time due to inherent advantages, namely, whole brain thinking and freedom to drop sense making at any time when emotions will work better than trying to be reasonable.



SACRIFICE AND POWER


I explored the relationship and relative strengths of overt versus covert power-that is, of outward force, as more typical of males, and passive aggression, more common in females. I have noted that whereas male-type overt dominance tends to prevail at first and in outward ways, female-type submission, which appears to lose immediately, may more often prevail in the long run. But power potentially inherent in self-sacrifice is often even more dangerous.

Relevant here is the genetic fact observed in the beginning, namely, that self-sacrifice, as operative in mothering, is as natural for females, as is forceful "selfishness" in males equally devoted to contrasting fathering agendas. In practice, this means that whereas unselfishness-putting others first, is naturally easier for females, the same mode of operation is equally anti-genetic for males. Females, we might say, "easily give in" (at least at first and on the surface) while males typically find "not standing up for ourselves" (appearing to be selfish) to be threatening as well as difficult to do.

As social and religious ideals now stand-where the first ("turning the other cheek"--is viewed as virtuous, and selfishly "putting oneself first" is frowned on, if not religiously condemned, men are at an obvious disadvantage. It is, that is, easier for females to "be good" in this regard than for males.

Genetically as well as socially, females consequently find self-sacrifice easier to do as well as powerfully effective-both in immediate situations with most males (especially typically repressed males), and often in the long run with even the most outwardly selfish other males.

In these same regards, selfishly-inclined males find themselves socially judged and at a genetic disadvantage when self-sacrifice is the path to virtue and/or success with gaining female approval--all the way from sexual permissions to major family, home, and daily living decisions.

Conclusion: I have previously erred in only viewing the phenomenon of self-sacrifice as a human issue, regardless of gender. But I now see that genetic gender values are often at play when this socio/religious ideal is operative and taken as virtuous.

"Giving in" or "putting others first" is not the same for men and women. What is both genetically functional and hence natural for females, is at the same time typically counter-productive in most male ventures, even when aimed at the same goal of genetic immortality.

It is not only more difficult for males to be self-sacrificial; it is also self-defeating in most arenas where genetic values are at stake.

 

PROJECTION ERRORS

When one is unalert to these gender differences in regard to self-sacrifice, a common error in understanding occurs via projection. A man, for instance (often I), blindly projects his own male feelings about sacrificing onto women and erroneously assumes they feel the same as he, that is, that self-sacrifice looms as large and negatively to them as it does to him.

Naturally, as a male, being instinctively moved to be Number One, to put himself before others, to avoid losing at all costs, he consequently feels negative about self-sacrifice. Then, when he blindly projects his own feelings onto females he assumes they too feel the same.

Wrong. Unlike him, many females, possessed of mothering instincts and genetically geared to make major sacrifices for their offspring, find it relatively easy to make minor sacrifices for men also, especially those they love and/or wish to possess.

In fact, small sacrifices, such as, putting others first to eat or in a line, come easier for most women than being out front, Number One, ahead of others themselves. Unlike men who delight in being first, and feel self-affirmed in having others honor us, as in, sacrificing for their benefit, natural women, gene-moved, probably feel just the opposite.

This may be one reason why women resist accepting compliments, which men thrive on. A compliment is an overt affirmation, placing one, as it were, "in the limelight"-that is, out front. Since males are genetically moved to strive for being Number One, we seek and easily bask in the favorable light of even the smallest compliment. In fact, as all females seem to intuitively know (and often take advantage of), we are commonly vulnerable to being powerfully moved by even phony compliments.

Of course females too may take inward delight in affirmation of others, especially from those they love; but unlike men, they apparently prefer receiving such knowledge in ways which do not put the focus of attention on them-as vocal praise does. Consequently, such females respond more easily to gifts (e.g., the proverbial dozen roses) or deeds which indirectly affirm, without forcing them to be out front, in the open.

Wiser men therefore, those who do not project self-knowledge onto their complementary gender, are careful about obvious, verbal compliments to women, and more freely affirm those they care for with gifts and deeds.

(Emotionally speaking, men hear words better than actions, while women "hear" actions better than words. "If you're in love, show me......").

But back to my subject: Errors of Projection. Blindly projecting our own male genetic mode onto females, we commonly make one or more of the following errors:

1. Try to affirm a woman, e.g., an admired and/or loved one, in the same ways we ourselves feel affirmed, for example, by overt verbal compliments which seem to place her in a Number One position as we are genetically moved to be.

Sans such common projections, we would more smartly be short on "embarrassing" compliments and long on affirming actions (gifts, supporting deeds, etc.)

(The same reverse error is commonly made by females who project their own native mode onto men, consequently withholding verbal affirmation--which embarrasses them, in favor of "being long on" deeds to communicate what they feel. For example, taking good care of children as a way of saying, "I love you," their father. )

2. Over-valuing a woman's small sacrifices for him, erroneously assuming they are as difficult for her as they would be for him. Not realizing that "putting others first" is easier for her than "going first" herself-the opposite of what is true for him, a man may easily mis-read "putting him first" (as in, serving food or "letting him" go ahead of her) as being more complimentary than it actually is.

In this same arena, trying to affirm a woman by thrusting her into first place, e.g., forcing her to go first when she feels safer "putting others first," is apt to backfire.

3. Misreading a woman's failure to be impressed by his own sacrificial actions. Mistakenly assuming that making sacrifices (as in, putting himself last) is as difficult for her as it is for him, and consequently that his efforts to please her by this means will mean as much to her as they would to him, he sets himself up for disappointment.

Without projecting his own mode, and thus seeing that since small sacrifices are relatively easy for her to make, and that she may also assume the same to be true for him, he may then view her limited responses with more understanding.

4. Feeling overly affirmed by a woman's small sacrifices, as though they mean the same for her as they would for you. Failing to see that "putting you first" may be more about her, as in, acting in her natural female mode, than "caring about you" as you might like to think.

 

SUMMARY

I do not know of a couple who has achieved an exact balance of power in their relationship. Even so, I think that best relationships come as close as possible. I observe that least satisfactory relationships have a greater imbalance of power--that is, one partner truly lords it over the other. Consequently, even if exact equality of power is relatively impossible, I conclude that striving for this goal is an attribute of best relationships.


********



DECISIONS IN RELATIONSHIPS

STUFF

The Sabbath,
according to the bible,
was made for man
and not the other way around
 

which may or may not be true
since I have often found it otherwise

But more surely, in the bible or not,
The Stuff

was made for woman
rather than man
and wiser men accept
and learn to live well
with this earthy fact


********


 

Theoretically, in a relationship where each partner is equally respected all decisions might be equally made--that is, with equal input from both persons. But gender differences and pragmatics of compromise (e.g., time and energy it takes) often make such equality unreasonable and impractical.

Better, I have found, to separate arenas for decision-making into different categories and leave most choices in each group largely up to the assigned partner. Such categories are reasonably made on bases such as: areas of talents, expertise, and interests, considering overall personality traits.

For example, females are often better with matters relating to decorating and appearances, while males are typically better at prioritizing and managing finances. When so, major decisions in each category may be largely left up to one who is better qualified to make them. Room colors, and furniture arrangements, e.g., might be mainly made by the female, while decisions about budgeting, major purchases, and borrowing money are made by the male.

Or, vice versa. Obviously such categorizing is dependent on embraced capacities of each partner. Sometimes males are in fact better at decorating, and females at managing money. The point, however, is that certain divisions or arenas for major decisions may be wisely separated rather than requiring every choice have personal agreement and/or compromise.

Other typical gender-based arenas where accepted responsibilities may be left up to one partner or the other include: house versus yard; grocery shopping versus tool purchases; cooking versus car maintenance; buying clothes for children versus a new family car. Again, however, given unique qualities of all individuals, in either instance the deciding partner may be reversed based on capacities and interests.

In practice then, when a decision is to be made, e.g., about buying a new couch for the den, making the choice is largely left to the partner with decorating responsibilities. Certainly, tastes of the non-deciding partner will be reasonably considered (they may go shopping together); but finally, when purchase time comes, the ultimate choice may be made according to prior divisions of categories.

Decisions about category assignments are ideally made consciously through open discussion between both partners. However, factors such as personality traits, degrees of repression, etc., may make mutual decisions about categories impractical. When so, the concerned partner (here I focus on males) should think openly about the choices and consciously decide for himself, so that unnecessary conflicts and/or personal resentment do not follow when daily decisions in any arena are to be made.

For example, if a man decides that decorating decisions are generally in a woman's category, he can consciously opt for her choices without loss of integrity or need to rebel or criticize later. Also, if family finances are largely his responsibility, he can then reasonably set sensible limits about costs and times of purchase, rather than getting caught up in unnecessary squabbles or passively permitting decisions which are financially unfeasible.

Obviously, assigned categories and decisions are seldom as clear-cut as I illustrate here. Often there is considerable over-lapping and there are arenas where each partner has vested personal interests. In these arenas, conscious compromise is the ideal resolution, lest unconscious resentment over unfair domination follow. Arts of compromise are another subject; but here I only commend that a man strive to be reasonable and make his decisions awarely, lest the essential balance in power be systematically and seriously tilted in one direction or the other.

Another relevant issue is differences in embraced ability for decision-making itself. Some persons easily decide quickly while others have extreme difficulty in making up their minds about anything. When so (or with degrees of difference between these extremes), the more conscious partner (e.g., a male reading this) will wisely take these differences into account and seek appropriate balances anyway. For example, if his mate is indecisive, he may encourage and support her in making choices where her expertise and/or interests are obviously greater than his.


ADVICE

Be as conscious as possible--that is, think as openly and reasonably as you can about all choices effecting both partners in a relationship. Then:

-- Don't fall for total dominance or submission in the decision-making arena--that is, don't become the one who "always decides" or who "always gives in." Instead, strive for balance in decision making, as in overall powers. Avoid becoming either a macho-male asshole or a Casper Milquetoast insofar as relational decisions are concerned.

-- Don't run from standing up responsibly for your own position where truly significant differences of choice arise--as they inevitably will in time.

-- Don't let old habits or personality traits (e.g., natural dominance of either partner) take the place of "using your head"--that is, facing all choices as consciously and reasonably as possible.

-- Don't "give in" quickly or "lord it over" a partner when personal values are threatened. Instead, strive for sensible compromise.

-- Above all, "to thine own self be true"--that is, continually respect your own integrity as an individual person. Without integrity, no relationship is worth continuing.

********



PUT UPON VERSUS LEFT ALONE

Strangely, to men
who'd rather be left alone
than put upon
many women prefer
being put upon
than left alone


It wouldn't be right to think
they like being put upon
but one would have to be blind
not to see how quickly women often opt
for the former
over than the latter


Put upon is a colloquial expression for a variety of specific actions and stances, such as, looking for things to complain about; making a show of struggle and/or sacrifice in doing small deeds which would, at least for a man, not call for attention; exaggerating the difficulty of routine tasks; going out of one's way to make ordinary jobs more difficult than they would naturally be; taking extra responsibilities on oneself which could easily be handled by others; being super-sensitive to actions or comments of others, reading put downs, slights, or even insults where none were intended; looking, as it were, for hard ways to do tasks which would naturally be simple or easy to accomplish; perfectionist requirements or relatively impossible ideals projected onto everyday tasks (e.g., degrees of cleanliness and order); playing Ain't It Awful or Poor Little Me or Won't You Please Help Me (Princess and pea phenomenon).

If a man doesn't understand these basic gender differences, and, in typical male fashion, simply projects his views onto his wife-that is, assumes that she, like himself, hates being put upon and prefers to be left alone, then he may make significant errors in practice.

For instance, he may lean over backward to avoid her Poor Little Me type complaints, falsely assuming that her bitching is a demand for his change, rather than an easier way (appearing to be "put upon" or self-sacrificial) of coping with a situation. Or, he may become unduly apologetic for "causing" her discomforts, even turning into a Wimp, if he does not see her "put upon" mode as simply an opposite of his "left alone" way.

In practice, simply standing present listening to, that is, consciously acknowledging a wife's stated discomforts, her "put upon" mode of reveling herself, without doing anything, such as, tip-toeing around, trying to avoid a complaint, apologizing as though "its all my fault," or making a great effort to change oneself "so she won't have anything to bitch about," may often be the most effective way of long range coping.

Many a man has discovered, to his own dismay, that removing one source of a wife's complaints may be followed by two or more to take its place-that is, that what was happening was less about his own offenses than activation of her "put upon" mode of functioning in life.

********



PARADOX OF SELFISHNESS

On the surface, at casual glance, it appears that men are basically selfish and women more naturally selfless. Men consistently compete while women typically cooperate. Men help ourselves while women help others, including their selfish men.

Look deeper, however, and a contrary picture may emerge, namely, one in which woman's apparent selflessness with others is underlain by a deeper selfishness which by far exceeds the upper level self-centeredness of typical males.

Also, below obvious male selfishness, one may find slightly cloaked degrees of self-sacrifice which reach even deeper than surface "niceness" of females.

In largest perspectives, past initial appearances, I find that, e.g., females are far better at taking care of themselves than are males who at first appear to "only care about themselves." This difference is easily visible in matters of personal safety, both physical and emotional.

Although risk-taking itself may be a masculine rather than feminine trait, reflecting different gender values of sperm and ova (and we who are born to bear them), most women are also more careful in taking care of bodily needs and pleasures far beyond genetic levels related to ovum rarity in comparison to sperm expend-ability, than are typical males.

The same is true in regard to mental and emotional encounters with men. Even if females outwardly "go along" or appear to be "giving in" (sacrificing self) in matters of lessor concern to them, when push comes to shove, or when their own personal ideas of right and wrong, or even their "feelings" (emotional sense of self) are at stake, seemingly unselfish women typically prevail in most encounters with males.

In common events of everyday life, apart from wars and assorted male competitions, when male values are confronted with female values, e.g., between husband and wife, as in, home living, where money is spent, whose opinions matter most with children, how beds are made and rooms decorated, when and how sex is engaged in and carried out, what food is eaten, what language and dress is acceptable, etc., etc., by far, it seems to me that in typical families, mother has the last word in accord with her own values.

And even though males, especially "good husbands," may selfishly compete in the work world, regularly trying to assert ourselves and our values over others in the workplace, most of these money-making efforts are unselfishly aimed at family support and making purchases, e.g., clothing, jewelry, etc., in an effort to "keep the little woman happy"-that is, to support her personal desires.

Even in unusual situations, other than when their own children are threatened, females are rarely as self-sacrificial as males engaged in any team endeavor, all the way from football to war. Women may make limited sacrifices, e.g., for a war effort, but rarely do they risk life and limb as freely as most males do for any "cause they believe in."

In this latter regard, namely, external "causes," such as, impersonal principles, religious beliefs, political affiliations, winning games, or even in acquiring wealth, rare is the woman who will sacrifice her own interests as freely as any typical male.

********



GOOD HUSBANDS


GOOD ENOUGH

A man can never be good enough
for a woman with a private belief
that he could make her secure
if only he lived up to her wishes


Any more than any woman
can ever make a man happy
who doesn't yet know she is not
a goddess like he once thought
his mother was before he gave up
on growing up himself


********


GOOD HUSBAND DANGERS

Beware of becoming a "good husband" in the popular sense of this term, especially as oft intended by wives with unconscious tongue-in-cheek. Such "good husbands" may indeed succeed in reducing verbal controversies and open confrontations, but at cost of deeper long range divisions, including cloaked or unconscious disrespect by one they are trying hard to please. Such marriages may look good to others, but "behind closed doors" deeper problems can be festering.

The error is, of course, by implication rather than definition. Certainly a husband may wisely aspire to be "good" literally-that is, to live up to his best knowledge of a man's role in this honored social institution. But all too often, "good" male knowledge about masculinity is repressed in favor of female definitions based in conscious thinking rather than instinctive femininity.

When so, what males know "in our bones" is denied in awareness in favor of what females "say they want," namely, compliant, obedient, supportive, "nice," "polite," "well behaved," "well dressed," men who are also clean and "helpful around the house." All this, of course, without "getting under foot" or otherwise interfering with a wife's freedoms.

The problem lies below levels of common female consciousness where the above noted definitions of "good" are correctly applicable. At issue is the ancient male conundrum, "What does a woman really want?" Easily a husband may know what a wife says and/or implies she wants from him. Many of these are even stated in marriage vows; but, unfortunately for us word-oriented guys, expressed "wants" may conceal deeper desires, including real, cross-gender needs.

Well recognizing my presumptions in speculating about what any woman "really wants," I chance to state what I have deducted so far, namely, a "real man," not a boy in a grown up suit who is still trying to please his mother unconsciously cloaked in a wife's body. When such a well intentioned husband tries his hardest to live up to a wife's, for instance, cleanliness standards, et al, he may eventually realize that even his best efforts tend to backfire in time. In terms of an old saying, "the harder he tries, the behinder he gets."

Not that wives with "good husbands" consciously "mean to have" these predictable reactions, such as, deep resentments about wimpy, "pussy whipped," underfoot, "nice boy" husbands, who they can easily manage, even run over; but rather, as I analyze, their own deeper feminine needs, not yet consciously embraced, are disturbingly reflected in the "mirrors" of such compliant males.

In my understanding, a "good woman" needs and deeply desires a "good man" for a truly successful relationship-to be sharply distinguished from one characterized by tenure alone. Certainly there are many surface advantages to "staying married at all costs," for example, "for sake of the kids," or long term financial security; but these "reasons" may be small compensation for missing primal satisfactions needed for a healthy cross-gender relationship-such as, marriage.

I italicized woman and man in the above paragraph to imply something more than anatomical differences, especially as may be cloaked by "nice," good boy males and often resentful females.

The ancient drama of replication, where instincts and equipment essential for species survival are complementary, namely, for reception and penetration ("being soft" and "getting hard"), may be a good mirror for glimpsing later-to-evolve psychological needs in cross-gender relationships far removed from baby-making alone-that is, in typical marriages where issues other than child-rearing are concerned.

In either case, my presumptuous conclusions about what women really want, often in contrast to what they say (and may even believe), are threefold: sex, safety, and security.

First, most primally, rarely, and less consciously, a good woman needs a man for good sex-that is, strong sperm and a firm "hard" for a few impregnations, plus possible-but-biologically-unnecessary occasional personal pleasures (where a "slow hand" may be ever more necessary than a "fast hard").

Next, she needs his strength for protection and safety in this dangerous world, given her lesser physical powers and greater involvement in vulnerable child-rearing concerns.

Then and overall, she needs security-comfortable circumstances for rearing offspring to maturity, and herself beyond child bearing years. In practice, security needs include "enough" money (wealth), housing, and, ideally, male dependability for the long haul.

When either or all of these primal needs go unmet, as with a "good-but-weak husband," a wife may predictably react, often unconsciously, with covert resistance, deep resentment, and even overt rejection. She may, for example, with unconscious wisdom, "play hard to get, to get it hard (to get)" in quest of good sex.

Then, well beyond the bedroom, she may criticize, complain, and otherwise "put down" on her compliant "good husband" in an unconscious attempt to force him to "stand up" like a really good man would-that is, to respond to her deeper needs (as noted above) rather than continually currying her favors like a son might do with his mother.

Unaware husbands may try hard and do their best to "be good," only to discover in time that their best is "not good enough," perhaps because they had missed the deeper point of a wife's "put downs."

Finally, longer term and often more hidden resentments may arise when a wife's primal security needs seem threatened, as when a husband is undependable ("can't be counted on") or otherwise acts irresponsibly (e.g., not "bringing home enough bacon" or giving threatening attentions to other females).

Even deeper than these noted physical needs for a healthy cross-gender relationship-at least as I have learned so far, is a psychological situation which plays out in each of them, namely, a balance of powers, especially on emotional/spiritual levels. Nothing, it seems to me, is more primally crucial to a successful male/female relationship than "keeping the power balanced," with neither partner able to "get the best" of the other-that is, to physically and/or emotionally overwhelm the other, to "do the other in" insofar is personal integrity is concerned.

When either partner is easily able to overcome the other, to literally "put them down" spiritually, then a primary basis for any successful male/female relationship is gone (or never existed). I focus here on the male side of this requirement, but the same is true with females who cannot "stand up" to chauvinistic males without "being done in."

Point: psychological success in a male/female relationship is predicated on the embraced ability of each partner to maintain personal integrity in the presence of the other-that is, to keep power relatively balanced in all situations. Certainly there are specific events when gender-specific powers of one are more needed and operative than those of the other partner; but even then, acceding to pragmatic powers of the other is wisely done with personal integrity.

For example, "taking directions" in such instances is done without "giving in"-as occurs when integrity is sacrificed.

Bottom line: For living well with a woman, a man may wisely beware of becoming a "good husband" who negates his own manhood in the process, leaving a woman married to a wimp rather than a "good man" who is capable and willing to respond to her deeper needs as a truly good woman.

ADVICE

Convey security without fostering dependence; act kingly, but be careful about "doing too much for," or unwittingly catering to female fantasies of being a "Rescuing Prince" for all her needs.

Give the appearance of "unqualified acceptance"--everyone's infantile dream, but always with recognized private limitations. Don't tell your limits and thereby invite rebellion or give power away. Instead, know your limits without showing them.

"Take care of" a woman when feasible and as best you can, but be careful of undermining her individuality with illusions of more security than you can in truth ever guarantee. Don't promise, even by implication, more than you can actually give (e.g., the moon or everlasting love, etc.).


BEING NICE BACKFIRES

OR

LET 'EM BITCH

Initially, and soon after falling in love, "being nice" to/for a woman works; later, however, if not sooner, such well-intended, self-denying efforts predictably backfire, defeating their desired purposes.

Reason: Past a woman's real need for a few sperm and limited security for baby making and raising kids, her deeper desires for individuation and openly using her own left brain, may be delayed, if not thwarted by a man's obsequious attempts to please her by "being nice."

His "help," for instance "around the house," beyond a few strength-requiring deeds, such as, openings stuck jar lids and taking out the trash, may be appreciated on the surface, but evoke deeper frustrations, because men seldom know and rarely learn "how to do it right." Often a woman, if respectful, will have to come along behind such a man, and, for instance, fix the bed or load the dishwasher "right"--to her higher levels of discrimination.

Or, as related to security, even though she may pragmatically need a man's money and protection, especially while busy keeping house and raising children, her deeper needs for individuation ("supporting herself"), along with personal freedoms inherent in economic independence, may reflect in resentment about "needing him," or "having to be taken care of."

Even more relevantly, using her good left brain for creative thinking, rather than rationalizing and making up reasons to explain herself to him, may go undeveloped as she "gives in" to his limited thinking "for sake of peace" and "not making him mad."

So long as a man "does her thinking for her"-as in, making critical decisions about spending money, jobs, and long range plans, or she relies on his limited logic, she is failing to develop her own left brain reasoning capacities (e.g., for prioritizing values). And, I think, brains, like selves, "cry out," as it were, for wholeness, that is, full activation and usage.

Rather than supporting and unwittingly undermining a female's deeper desires to be a whole person instead of "just a housewife" or "the little woman (man's 'helpmate')" by well-intended niceness-and thereby delaying if not preventing her natural individuation into personhood, a wiser man (should there ever be one) might opt for "letting her bitch" rather than continually trying to placate her by "being nice" after the honeymoon is over.

Sometimes, after registering her dissatisfactions in words-or "bitching" as we left brainers may hear it, a woman may quickly move on to developing aspects of herself suppressed when she tries to "be nice" in return.

All this, of course, if a man stays present, listening to predictable complaints, without falling for them ("taking them personally").

The deeper and even less recognized issue in "being nice" is "loss of balls"-that is, embraced masculinity in the relationship. Unwittingly, while "trying to be nice" to women, men may, in effect, blindly sacrifice our symbolic balls, becoming "Yes men ('pussy whipped')," and thereby losing much of what attracts females to begin with.

No matter how hard a woman may try, usually unconsciously, I think, to dominate a man ("castrate him")--and such efforts are often gargantuan and consistent, something significant to every successful cross gender relationship is lost, to whatever degree she succeeds. A woman cannot help, I conclude, but deeply resent a man she can reduce to a wimp.

Best gender relationships remain as men with women, not wimps with witches.

********

 

TALKING WITH FEMALES

SECRETS

The secret, if there is one,
to living well with woman
is to pay more attention
to what she does
that to what she says,
to go more by your eyes
than your ears
in choosing what to do
especially when pleasure
is the goal


Hear her words
listening through them
for earthy wisdom
but never try to force a female
through the narrow sieve of sense
especially of the male variety


********

 

WHEN CONFLICTS ARISE

Think in circles, not straight lines, and forget about "your word."

In Lerner and Lowe's version of Camelot, when young King Arthur is confounded trying to understand Princess Guinevere's thinking, he goes to Merlin the Magician asking for answers. Merlin advises him, in effect, not to worry about how women think, because "they don't do it often."

Merlin may have been wise in many regards, but I think he was wrong if Arthur heard him literally and concluded that "women don't think much." More clearly Merlin might have added: "as we do," that is, metaphorically speaking, as on a railroad track rather than a Merry-go-round or a Farris wheel.

He might have said-at least I do: "Indeed females don't often think as we do." But for clarity he might have added, "Rather they think wholistically, in circles which encompass all, rather than in lines which exclude seemingly irrelevant data while moving toward a logical conclusion." Or so I observe and hence imagine wise Merlin would also have seen.

My summary point is: Typically, women think in circles, while men think in straight lines (like riding on a Merry-go-round rather moving down a train track). Correctly women may see men as "having one track minds" because we do tend to think of one thing at the time, and to follow a line of thought toward some logical end. Also, we may be easily distracted when a woman tries to change the subject before we reach one shared conclusion.

Small wonder that young Arthur, nicknamed Wart, was having a hard time understanding beautiful Guinevere. If a woman had written the tale, she might have noted Guinevere's difficulty in "sticking to a point" devoid of emotions.

But Camelot speculations aside, back to my point (small pun intended).

This suggestion is not that we men give up what seems to be our more natural mode of thinking, but rather that we add another mental capacity, namely, to also "think like a woman" in times of relationship conflicts. We need not negate our "one track," logic based mode, but if we are to converse productively with females we do well to learn their "language (to mix my metaphors)" also-that is, to think in circles as well as we already do in lines.

In fact, for success in talking with a woman we will be wiser if we use our left brain capacities to think in larger circles rather than straighter lines, that is, to, in effect, encircle their circles instead of trying to force them to "be reasonable" or "think like we do."

We can seldom, if ever, succeed with our lines when confronted with circular thinking which always and easily outwits linear logic. Better, if we can, to out circle her often limited circles with even larger circles, than waste energy trying to win a disagreement with our fragile (though reasonable) lines.

PRINCIPLE IN PRACTICE

Don't try to use reason to resolve a conflict. Logical thinking, in which one makes points with discrete bits of provable data, may work well with other males who also think logically; but this mode of conflict resolution is predictably unsuccessful with females who think wholistically and value feelings more than reasons.

Instead, for example, of presenting facts aimed at proving your case (as a lawyer might do in court), abandon this adversarial mode in favor of encircling a woman's revealed feelings. Encompass her emotions rather than trying to prove your point.

Instead of "trying to be right" yourself, or to "prove her wrong," or even to defend yourself with logical explanations, try to embrace (encircle) her feelings, both verbally and/or non-verbally. If her emotions are not clearly stated, as in, "You don't do anything to help around the house," try to read between the lines looking for a cloaked emotion. Perhaps she is feeling overwhelmed by housework, or angry at you for watching TV while she cooks.

You might, in typical male fashion, counter with a fact, such as, "You don't ever mow the yard either," or defend yourself in some way (assuming, blindly, that she is attacking you), as in, "Well, I've had a hard day at work."

But if so, predictably the occasion will only deteriorate because, either way, you will have missed her emotional expression ("how she feels") slightly concealed in words about you.

I pause here to amplify a gender difference commonly operative in such conflicts, namely, left brain "thinking" males and right brain "feeling" females. While we males commonly identify ourselves with "what we think," females rarely do; instead they more often identify with "how they feel."

To us males, things are mostly okay when we can "make sense" of what we perceive; but for females, "feeling comfortable" is more often the primary goal in whatever is happening. From these different perspectives, emotions are as irrelevant to point-making males, as are facts to feeling-oriented females.

These significant differences may be ignored or avoided when things are going well in a relationship; but at points of conflict they typically become problematic, even divisive. When disagreements arise, we males tend to resurrect, or escape into, our sense-making mode, while females do the same with their self-identified feelings. Men get more reasonable while women get more emotional, and, barring a minor miracle, disruption is predictable.

UNFAIR ADVANTAGE

Conflicts, often long-standing, are typically brought into the open, if at all, in the verbal arena where males have an unfair advantage. Whereas reasons and facts are easily expressed in words, emotions are notably hard to translate into verbal language. We may "know how we feel," but putting an emotion into words can be difficult, if not impossible to do.

The relevant problem here is that what "comes naturally" for men, namely, expressing reasons in words, is often very difficult for women who are much better at non-verbal emotional expression, but must in this arena of conflict, translate their feelings into words.

Their difficulty is compounded by the fact that sense-oriented men are typically focusing on facts ("what is said") rather than feelings ("what she means"). What women are most wanting to communicate is what we men are often trying to ignore.

ENCIRCLING CIRCLES

How is this principle and metaphor of encircling circles, that is, embracing woman's circular mode of thinking with even larger circles, exercised in practice? How can a man possibly "out think" a female in times of conflict?

The first step is temporarily abandoning our familiar mode of thinking in straight lines (as on a train track), that is, presenting points aimed at "making sense" and reaching a reasonable verbal conclusion. In order to move into woman's mode (circular thinking) a man must first let go of his own way and begin to engage in wholistic thinking in which all data is included, whether it seems relevant or not.

For instance, in the female mode of circular or wholistic thinking, as contrasted with the male mode of "sticking to the point," any perception is acceptable at any time. Any observation, idea, recollection, feeling, or sense experience (a sight, sound, smell, etc.) is in order at any point in circular thinking. There is no such thing as "changing the subject," since there is no single subject in woman's way of thinking (regardless of what a man may think). "Anything goes," insofar as current conversation is concerned, when the mode is circular rather than linear.

Even though there is a real point of difference in any relational conflict, a subject, a man might think, in circular thinking this is but one of a multitude of possible bits of data acceptable in a current conversation. What a man may take as "trying to change the subject," may be, in woman's mode, simply including one more piece of information.

For example, in the middle a typical male attempt "prove his point," a circular-thinking woman may observe and state, "It looks like rain today." Geared to exclude data not deemed relevant, a man is likely to be "de-railed" in his train-track mode, thinking that "she is trying to change the subject," or, "she is not listening to me." Both may be wrong since in woman's way of wholistic thinking most all perceptions are acceptable in any conversation.

If a man is to "out think" a woman in such an encounter, he must first be willing to abandon his linear mode, to move into circular thinking, and then to, in effect, draw an even larger circle. To, for example, her seemingly irrelevant observation about rain, he might switch quickly himself and add, "It does at that; I must remember to take my umbrella to work today."

In so doing, he evidences acceptance of her way of thinking, and openly joins in, as though his "train of thought" has been completely abandoned. In reality, however, he is temporarily shifting to circular thinking while remaining open to either pursuing his point later, or perhaps, waiting for her to return on her own. In either case, he has preserved a comfortable setting rather than escalating the conflict by pressuring her to see things his way.

Often, when a man succeeds in such "encircling the circle," switching from linear to a circular mode, he may discover that a female was not, as he may have concluded, "trying to change the subject." Instead she may simply have been taking her time in hearing him, while her own feelings became clearer in her conscious thinking.

 

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"HOW'D I DO?" ERRORS

Beware of female ego-boosting, that is, being set up by false compliments aimed more at manipulation than self affirmation. The proverbial "fragile male ego" is well known by most females, but commonly hidden to many males who easily confuse ego with self.

Point: Best to look the gift horse of female compliments in the mouth, lest one be set up unawarely, that is, blindly controlled by flattering statements from unconsciously wiley women.

Unconscious "ego-boosting" is, of course, to be distinguished from sincere affirmation from another. Manipulative compliments are not the same as honest observations of favorable acts or attributes. But the presence of a "fragile male ego" can be a grand temptation to a discerning female to exercise unreal powers, especially when a man is unconsciously looking for female support. The personal danger is unwittingly putting oneself down and thereby exaggerating female power at expense of male integrity.

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ARGUING

You can never win an argument with a woman.

Not that reasons are irrelevant, but men who are given to comfort-through-understanding, may take note of these observations:

Typical male understanding of this conventional wisdom lies in what we may call (among ourselves, of course) "pussy power"-that is, a woman's ability to withhold her sexual favors whenever she is displeased, as, for instance, when she loses a verbal argument. Then because we most commonly hate losing sex even more than losing arguments, we may deeply feel personally defeated, even if we think we win an argument.

But there are, I think, many other deeper reasons why women consistently win arguments with men, even sooner rather than later-that is, in the heat of an encounter, even before the cold of a bedroom. Among them are:

WORDS AND HEART

Males commonly identify ourselves with our words ("A man's word is his bond"), which females do the same with their heart (feelings, emotions, or non-verbal selves). In practice, each gender then comes to a verbal argument with significant differences in how we value and respond to words, the vehicles of communication. Females, heart identified, always have the advantage of freedoms with words, which word-identified males rarely achieve.

Because feelings are her forte, the source of her deeper self-identification and thus her personal powers, a woman may use words (and reasons) as long as they are working to her advantage; but at any point in an argument when she seems to be losing a war-of-words, she may freely drop language and switch to feelings as her mode of exchange-a freedom males seldom acquire.

Then, when powerful emotions are pitted against relatively weak reasons (words formed into "sense"), the outcome is predictably slanted in woman's favor. A man's words, for example, as every man must know, are never a match for a woman's tears. And so with her anger, passion, and every other emotions in her arsenal of powers.

Also, not being self-identified with verbal success, as we males typically are, a woman always has the additional freedom of being able to drop or stop an argument at any time without-and this is the critical point, personally losing. With a show of niceness she can, for instance, at any point, especially when she is losing a verbal battle, politely withdraw, saying, e.g., "Well, have it your way," or, "I can see you're getting angry; let's just drop the subject."

No matter how fiercely a verbal game becomes, she always holds this trump card, which rarely appears in a man's hand.

THINKING

 

Expansive versus focused thinking


Another female advantage is inherent in the different ways men and women typically "think"-that is, identify with and thus use our inherited mental capacities.

In an overall perspective, men typically are "left-brain" thinkers in contrast with women who tend to be "whole brain" thinkers. Men typically major on using and identifying our sense-of-self with a small portion of left hemisphere functions (Broca's Area) which enables speech, that is, symbolism, words, concepts, ideas, reasons, and "sense making."

At the same time we begin early to suppress right hemisphere functions, such as, mediator of deep brain genetic emotions ("feeling capacities"), because they easily interfere, even undermine, "logical thinking."

End result of this complicated process leaves us males good at "focused thinking" (as in, aiming at game for food or any other of our multiple goals), much like a train on one track headed toward a single destination. Females may properly see us as having "one track minds," and at the same time limited in "getting the big picture."

Meanwhile, typical females begin early to embrace, develop, and utilize both hemispheres of the brain. Commonly, for example, they "learn to talk" earlier than boys, and continue to develop this aspect of verbal skills (rooted in left brain), and at the same time to develop the "emotional" half of the brain also. Consequently, they are better at "using their whole minds (both brain hemispheres) in coping with worldly matters.

In addition they have, over the long haul of evolution, developed larger connective tissues (Corpus callosums) between each half of the brain.

End result: Typically, females can think quicker, compute more data in shorter time, as well as view the larger picture with less distraction by less relevant details, than can left-brain-oriented men. What they lose in focused, emotion-less ability to "remain on a subject (one track)" they gain in advantages of comprehensive analysis and decision making based on a wider range of variables.

They can, unfortunately, and to our chagrin once we recognize the fact, easily "think circles around" our "one track" minds.

As related to cross gender arguments, these facts reflect female ability to quickly "out-reason" males limited to sense-making only, by bringing in a wealth of data from outside the limited domains of logic. Not stuck with train track thinking only, they can freely bring seemingly unrelated subjects into an argument-or even change the subject completely if they seem to be losing, or simply tire of this male type fighting.

WORD FREEDOMS

Word freedoms for females, much to the consternation of males, include not only freedom from strict rules of verbal logic (e.g., either/or), but even extend to freedom to change (or ignore) male-accepted, dictionary definitions of words. For example, females are typically able to say, "I'll meet you at 8 o'clock (meaning a definite time to males)," when they actually mean, "...if I happen to be ready at that time." Or, a woman may say, "Turn right" to a male driver, when she actually means left (by dictionary definitions) without even feeling wrong in what she said ("Oh, you should know what I mean!).

CONCLUSION

For these and other reasons men who venture into arguments with women do so at their own risk. Statistically speaking, odds of winning, even of coming out without damaging the relationship, let alone, helping at the moment, are, I conclude, infinitesimally small.

Fortunately, other options are always open.

Artfully avoiding verbal arguments which one is more likely to lose than win (and to pay for eventually, even if a man wins at the time) is not to be confused with "giving in," "being run over," "losing face," "raising ass," "being a coward", or in any way tilting the power balance in woman's favor. Indeed it aims at least toward preventing loss of personal power, and at best with maintaining a workable balance at a time when male loss is often predictable.

If not to argue, what to do?

-Do nothing, literally. At many other points in a successful relationship the best advice is: "Don't just stand there; do something." But here the reverse is often the wiser option: "Don't just do something; stand there."

"Standing there" means, first of all: stay present; don't run away, either physically or emotionally. Remain fully alert, present in the fullest sense of the word, in the company of a spouse who is openly disagreeable at the time. While avoiding slipping into an argument, also avoid slipping away as a person in the immediate vicinity of a spouse who is presently "standing up," even, perhaps, "losing it."

Bite your tongue; seal your lips; remain silent; but, and this is the crucial point: stay spiritually as well as physically present, on your own Green Spot, with your mouth shut but your heart open. Don't even look away, let alone run away or withdraw emotionally.

-Communicate non-verbally. "Keeping your mouth shut" doesn't mean "stop communicating"; in fact, real co-munication is perhaps more important at these critical junctures than at other peaceful times in a relationship. Only now, the focus shifts from verbal to non-verbal, from mouth to body.

Essential messages to be conveyed without words include these:

"Say" non-verbally: "I love you anyway." "Sure, you have emerging disagreements, even, perhaps, demons, but they can't drive me away." "I'm still here, with you, even while you're upset with me or having a hard time."

"I realize that you may....feel overwhelmed, not know what to do, need to blame me, wish you had never married me, would like to run away, even die..." or whatever; but I'm strong enough to stand here with you as you hurt."

"You are free to project on me, believe I am causing your difficulty, think I can help by changing my ways (if only I would), and that's okay. I'm still here."

"No, I won't fall for your projections; I won't take it on, as though your problems are truly mine; nor will I blame myself for 'making you unhappy.'"

All these "sayings" are best communicated with your eyes, looks, and expressions, perhaps your hands and arms (if touch seems possible without inviting rejection), the warmth and openness of your body, and maybe certain actions on rare occasions. For example, if she is crying, without words a husband might move toward her with an empathetic hug or soft hand grasp. If she has retreated into a silent funk, an understanding husband might quietly lie beside here for a time.

Sometimes carefully chosen words may be added in support of mainly non-verbal communication, but always with sharp attention to their effects. For example, as icing on the cake of "standing present," one might softly say, "I hear you," or, "I'm still here." Or, "I love you anyway." Or, "I hurt too, seeing you so overwhelmed."

But with words, be careful not to "turn professional," existing as an empathetic husband, with such stock responses as, "I can tell you're upset," or, "This must be hard for you," etc., unwittingly placing an emotional gulf between you.

Sometimes females become verbally and/or physically abusive when their repressed demons arise. When so, it becomes even more relevant for an accepting male to carefully remain present without "fighting back," playing Tit For Tat, or otherwise compounding the revelations with violence of his own.

Instead, while protecting himself from actual physical harm (e.g., refusing to be battered by moving away or placing his arms around a flailing wife to prevent personal harm), he might continue so silently "say" by his presence: "I'm with you."

SUMMARY

Never engage in verbal arguments with women. You are predestined to lose in time if not immediately, due to your own limitation to left brain logic (sequential reasoning) and woman's freedom to abandon logic at any point, e.g., where her skillful rationalizing begins to fail, or for any other reason she tires of limiting her input to verbal sense apart from innately more powerful emotional responses.

Even when a man temporarily wins or makes a point which defeats a woman's argument, he faces ultimate loss when/if she opts to play her trump cards of personal and/or sexual withdrawal in the relationship.

Stand strong with a woman, plus up to when necessary to keep power balanced, but carefully avoid arguments and/or "raising ass." In either case you lose in the long run, even if you win at the time.

With arguing by rules of male-type logic, you may temporarily win a battle, but you will predictably lose the war, because females hold innate advantages of freedom from the dictates of making sense, plus the capacity for giving in without losing--options seldom embraced by men.

When you become defensive and unwittingly "raise ass," you present an almost irresistible temptation to resurrection of repressed female urges for destruction of all opposition to whatever of whomever stands in the way of getting what they want. While yet unblessed with the gift of conscious reasoning, they may all too easily "bite the hand that feeds them" and kick at ones they love when presented with temptingly raised posteriors--as defensiveness unwittingly does.

Above all, avoid playing any of your only three trump cards, namely, physical strength, threat of abandonment, and logical thinking. Certainly, either may work in a moment of conflict. Your larger muscles make bodily abuse possible; ever-present natural urges for living without fences may easily tempt you to threaten her security by running away from home (or even pretending to); and forced reasonableness is a brief challenge to emerging emotions.

Temporarily then, she may cow-tow to you in the face of immediate dangers to her personal well being; but her own dark powers of greater tolerance for physical pain, sleeping alone at night and/or holding cold shoulders (not to mention an elephant-like capacity for never forgetting a prior offense), and overcoming even the best of reasoning with the least of emotions, will likely out-do you in time, forcing you to apologize and come creeping back on hands and knees, if not done in as a man.

In emergencies you may use your strength to briefly contain physical outbursts, as by holding her arms and body to prevent harm to yourself; but even then, carefully avoid hurting her, as the long range consequences to the relationship are apt to be excessive.

Whenever possible, avoid getting defensive, as this invites defeat, as in "raising ass," implying weakness just when strength is most needed.

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KICKING THE DOG

AND

TAKING IT PERSONALLY

Two common psychic tricks which predictably undermine a healthy relationship if not recognized and avoided are: Kicking the Dog and Taking it Personally.

Kicking the Dog is transferring emotional reactions from one arena where expression is threatening, to another seemingly safer place. For example, a man might get angry at his boss who can fire him, bite his tongue at the time, then come home and take it out on a non-threatening pet; hence the name. Or, unfortunately, on a spouse or child if no dog is available.

This psychic trick, usually done unconsciously, tends to be used when one's natural emotional expressions, either in word and/or deed, seem threatening at the time and are temporarily suppressed (often for very practical reasons); but in other circumstances, where one feels safer, previously denied feelings may be resurrected (brought to the surface) and transferred to (projected onto) other innocent "objects"-such as, pets, people, or even walls (as in cases of displaced male aggression).

The psychic device is a modern version of ancient scape-goating, where innocent goats were made bearers of human sins; or later punishing, even killing the messenger who brings bad news. Now this old use of projection, before psychology was invented, may be moved from goats in the wilderness and runners in the kingdom to spouses in the house.

Taking it Personally is erroneously assuming ill will of another to be about yourself, rather than a revelation of another person in your presence. Often we may in fact believe our feelings are caused by others and may consequently project blame externally, as in saying, "You make me angry (etc.)." But this psychic trick involves falling for such a projection, "taking it on," as it were, rather than standing present, seeing and/or hearing someone else exposes their emotional self.

When, for example, a husband takes a wife's projected emotions personally, he unwittingly volunteers to be the proverbial innocent dog getting kicked.

PROJECTED PATHOLOGY

In advanced forms of Kicking the Dog, deeper personal pathology, well past simple emotional expressions, may also be repressed within and predictably projected onto loved ones with whom a disturbed person feels safer.

In such instances, for instance, a wife may be nicer, kinder, more accepting of everyone else, even anonymous clerks at the supermarket, than to those she consciously loves. Or, of course, a husband likewise.

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FEMALE ABUSE

Just as a man who contains his hostility at work may come home and kick the proverbial dog, so a woman who is submissive to others "out there" may come home and "take it out" on her husband. Forced by constraints of female niceness to hold her tongue and defer to friends, and even strangers, the security she feels at home may give silent permission to un-repress otherwise denied aggression and covert dominance.

If such a verbally abused ("misunderstood") husband "takes it personally," as though her revealed hostility is about him, as it indeed is outwardly directed, relational conflict is predictable. Blindly, resurrecting his own repressed marital disappointments, he may react irrationally, as in, becoming defensive, trying to explain himself, or counter-attacking-erroneously believing her revealed disturbance is about him-that he, in effect, is the cause of her upsetness.

Ideally, in contrast with what commonly happens (at least for me), a man might: 1) understand the phenomenon of repression/projection; 2) avoid "getting hooked" by a woman's revealed ("acted out") aggression (or obviously disturbed state at the time); 3) keep on thinking reasonably (remain self-contained, on his own Green Spot), weighing all available date, including knowledge about repression/projection (as described above), and predictable consequences of each typical reaction of his own (defensiveness, explanations, counter-attack, or otherwise "trying to calm her down"); 4) choose a saner response based on other knowledge about specific, immediate circumstances and his wife's particular traits (e.g., times of emotional entrapment, as well as individualized patterns of projecting aggression, plus, of course, some form of self protection if her mental abuse is accompanied by physical abuse also).

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LEAVING HOME

ADVICE

While men are typically excited about leaving home and taking trips, women may feel extra distress at such times. An attentive husband may wisely expect predictable wifely stress and tension, commonly projected externally, especially on himself, whenever couples are leaving together. Such typically unconscious stress may also be expressed in: delaying leaving, dilly dallying, last minute house cleaning (making bed, washing dishes, etc.), double checking packing, plus control of exodus time.

Better to anticipate female stress whenever connections with a secure home are threatened by leaving, and to accept with understanding, than to escalate tension by "trying to rush" her.

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CRITICAL MALE ISSUES:

- Keeping masculine integrity on the longer way to personhood; keeping balls (or getting them back) rather than becoming a pussy-whipped, ball-less, wimp; consciously allowing, accepting, and embracing all natural male capacities and attributes.

- Mediating embraced masculinity in society primarily structured around female values; learning and living-out artful discretion in all expressions of masculinity in the outside world, especially in the company of females.

Only in war, the woods, small segments of male sports, and in the exclusive company of other males, can natural masculinity be openly and safely revealed and activated.

Otherwise, elsewhere in the midst of all social structures from home to school to city, in both politics, business, and religion, most masculine instincts are best kept consciously contained and carefully mediated in society with artful discretion.

In summary, a wise man, concerned with personal wholeness and living well in current society, especially with women, is well advised to most often appear and act more like a "good woman" than a "real man"-that is, one who embraces and lives-out socio/religious female values as though they were his own, without at the same time denying and repressing his genetic heritage within himself.

Perhaps, if analyzed, the familiar compliment, "He's a real gentle-man," may point toward this universal male challenge. First, real means existentially natural, not phony; gentle may summarize the essence of female values; and man stands for instinctive masculinity.

A true gentleman is to be distinguished from a wimp in male clothes, a pussy-whipped wuss who only acts like a man. Together, as one word, gentle-man implies a manly man, strong and powerful, who can also be as gentle as a lamb when appropriate to any current circumstance; but such female-like gentleness in a true "gentleman" is never an escape from or substitute for ever-ready, aggressive hardness when needed.

 

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FEMALE GIFTS

Trying to get something from women
all the way from pussy
to our own right brains
to permission to be ourselves
is a cloak for threats
inherent in re-embracing male powers
once repressed in quest of a mother's mysterious resources
truly needed back then before instincts for individuation
were, as it were, short circuited
by magical beliefs in awesome Goddesses
forerunners of more manageable girls
and delightful possibilities of giving something back
even the rare wonders of love


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WOMAN'S ANGER

BACKGROUND

Men typically see women as "more emotional"; but this cloaks, I think, the deeper fact that women more consciously embrace our shared emotional capacities, and are quicker to activate natural feelings-for instance, "crying at the drop of a hat."

They are, I conclude, less emotionally repressed than men, and consequently more alert to feelings, both their own as well as those of others, including fear and anger, sympathy and concern.

But relevant here is the observation that women typically "get mad" quicker than emotionally repressed men. Paradoxically, however, women are also more in control of their feelings in the sense of being better able to reveal or conceal what they feel "appropriately," that is, in light of their goals at the time, e.g., to act nice when feasible, even while hating another person, or, to care for children even when deeply upset about them.

Furthermore, being more emotionally contained, they become more skillful in expressing, even acting-out emotions in service of personal goals-a skill men rarely acquire. They can, that is, use emotions judicially, far better than most men ever learn to do.

Women are also capable of immense angry outbursts and exercising huge powers generated by this emotion in certain conditions. Even though commonly kept under control, these vast forces may be activated, e.g., when their children or their marriage is threatened, or finally, when personally threatened with being totally out of control. This ability is recognized in such conventional wisdom as: "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned," that is, when her security in marriage is threatened, or in unusual bursts of power in emergency situations.

Another observation: Because females typically identify themselves with being nice and caring, rather than deeply angry, they tend to repress such awareness and project their un-embraced feelings onto others, especially men and/or circumstances-that is, to blame their hostile emotions on outside "causes."

But, paradoxically again, just as women may more quickly feel anger, they are also quicker to move on afterward when it has become openly embraced. After a "tantrum," for example, they may "get over it" rapidly, soon acting as though it never happened.

However, when powerful anger is strongly repressed rather than expressed and "acted-out," women are also capable of "keeping a grudge" for years, even a life time, that is, of "remembering" an offense (assumed cause of anger) "forever," like proverbial elephants.

Overall, I speculate that female anger may be the most repressed of all natural feelings except sexual passions.

Now to typical male situations:

Men are commonly vulnerable to all female emotions, exaggerated by our personal repressions, but especially to female anger. We may be blindly moved by it, first because being more emotionally repressed ourselves, and consequently less attuned to our own feelings, we are more likely to project and "see" anger "reflected" as it were, in females.

But mostly this is because we commonly learn as small boys to read and react to mother's anger when it is crucially important for our own survival and satisfaction in early life, e.g., first in availability and quality of milk, and later for permission to do what we want to. Then, typically, this early "wisdom" is repressed and unconsciously projected onto other females, especially those we "fall in love with" and/or marry. Thereafter we tend to resurrect the same patterns we learned with our mothers for trying to get and keep her "good graces" which are critical for well being in early stages of life.

Blindly we tend to resurrect and project early learning onto all females, especially those we care for. We become, as it were, super-sensitive to signs of displeasure in a mate's eyes (reminiscent of "Mother's Frown"). Commonly we are unconsciously moved by and immediately, without thinking, resurrect survival modes learned early in life, for example, by quickly changing to "being nice," stopping whatever we were doing at the time, going into a "what will it take to please you?" mode, assuming blame and/or "trying to fix" whatever the problem seems to be.

In summary: Normally sensible men are apt to have irrational reactions to any signs of female displeasure, especially overt anger-or so I confess about myself and project onto "men in general."

I analyze that some 10% of these motivations may be natural and realistic, born from gene-driven attention to sexual availability; but that leaves 90% to be based on blind psychological reactions rooted in early repressions and learned habits, mostly dysfunctional in present life.


WISER RESPONSES TO WOMAN'S ANGER

- Don't rush to blame yourself and/or to try to fix what seems to be the cause of female anger.

- Expect projection from females who typically repress angry feelings in favor of blaming them on outside "causes."

- Avoid reacting with learned patterns while you collect your senses, that is, try to remain sensible.

-Stay present, on your Green Spot, in your emotional skin, as though, unmoved by her anger, in order to convey stand-ability, especially when she apparently can't.

- Analyze sharply, that is, "look for (think about)" possible personal causes of her own, e.g., feeling overwhelmed at the time, out of control, rather than assuming you are the cause.

- Major on: staying present with rather than doing something about her anger, especially "taking the blame for" it.

- If actions seem reasonably called for, as in changing circumstances, including yourself, delay doing anything immediately, lest you unwittingly be "raisin' ass" in the process, inviting further blame and encouraging irresponsibility for her own emotions.

- But best in the long run: Learn to acknowledge, become conscious of your own emotions, especially anger, so as to contain it as a gift of Mother Nature, almost as essential for survival as the urge to breathe, rather than denying/projecting externally-as females are inclined to do. Then, the more aware you become of your own emotions, and consequently more emotionally contained, the more easily you will be able to accept, stand with, and act responsibly with a woman's out-of-control anger.

- Beware of attempting to appease a woman's wrath; it can become an escalating, lifetime job, with no chance of other than temporary success.

ANGER ANALYSIS

Anger is a psychological reaction to the natural emotion of fear, evolved into our genes as a source of power for effecting survival instincts, that is, mobilizing us for quick action ("fight/flight") aimed at staying alive. Typically, fear/anger is expressed in aggression aimed at destroying (or running from) a perceived threat to existence.

Anger is rooted in fear naturally arising at any perception associated with threat to survival. Literally, fear is deep brain, amygdala-based learning aimed at staying alive. Anger/aggression is a re-action to the real emotion of fear; that is, less of a literal "feeling" than a learned reaction to a bodily emotion.

Quite reasonably, when fear is evoked for whatever reason, we turn quickly to look for external causes in order to speedily eliminate threats to life, as by aggressively destroying a threatening force, or quickly getting away from it. Many such reactions have become genetically ingrained also, as in, withdrawing from pain (e.g., a hand in fire), or other "knee-jerk" reactions to perceived danger.

But as soon as time for "thinking" becomes possible-that is, a small gap appears between bodily reactions and mental attention, it seems that the psychic process of repression/projection also tends to become operative. We not only react physically, aimed at survival, but we also begin quickly to project sources of power-that is, to conceive "causes" and place "blame" for our own internal reactions. We psychically move from: "I am afraid" to "You (or it) made me angry," that is, from embraced fear/anger/aggression to some projected outside "cause" for this natural feeling.

Consequently, I see anger as a psychological reaction, rather than a literal emotion, because I think that experience and "learning"-even deep-brain, limbic system, amygdala based knowledge ("thinking") enter into the shapes and content of anger itself. We naturally (genetically) "feel" fear whenever life seems threatened, and power for action is generated thereby; but we, in effect, "learn" our personal ways of reacting with what we later learn to call anger.

In summary, fear is, I conclude, natural-that is, a genetically ingrained capacity aimed at personal survival, even as are urges to breathe and eat; but anger, even though typically seen as a "feeling," is more literally a personal, learned reaction to the true emotion of fear. Given that fear inherently generates power to move, and that such actions may properly be seen as aggressive (either active, as in "fighting," or passive, as in "fleeing"), we may note that fear and aggression are inherently connected and therefore inevitable when personal threat is perceived.

But anger and aggression are not synonymous. One may feel anger without acting aggressively, or, be aggressive without anger. Animals, I speculate from how they appear, are often aggressive in protecting themselves from danger, or in quest of food/resources for survival; but, as best I can tell, they are not angry at their enemies and/or victims. After events of defense or attack in service of self-survival are over, they quickly return to "being themselves," apparently without projecting "cause" and/or "blame" for whatever has occurred.

I conclude then, that fear/aggression (either active or passive) is entirely natural, but anger (including blame and revenge) is learned, that is, acquired as a mode of coping/expressing real emotions of fear. Consequently, typical results of anger, such as, blaming outside-of-self causes (other persons and/or circumstances), making enemies of assumed causes, creating internal stress by repressed awareness, and/or seeking revenge against those blamed (trying to "get even"), are all psychological phenomena not inherent in natural humanity.

They all result, I conclude, from personal repression of one of our most natural human emotions, a grand gift of Mother Nature elegantly aimed at survival and enhanced satisfactions in this inherently dangerous world we are graced to be born into as "higher" animals.

Were it not for, or in absence of, psychic repression, we humans would properly and consciously acknowledge, accept, affirm, and sensibly activate inherited capacities for feeling fear whenever personal threat is perceived; but we would not, as "lower" creatures apparently don't, engage in blaming what we feel on outside causes, especially other people; or creating enemies to bear the weight of projected emotions; or perverting natural aggression into psychic anger; or wasting precious, limited, life-energies in fruitless attempts at revenge against those we assume to be the cause of what we naturally feel.

Instead, acknowledging and accepting natural fear as a gift needed for successful survival, even as feeling pain, we would use powers generated thereby, our aggressive urges, along with added gifts of potential consciousness, for wisely confronting real dangers, avoiding repression/projection, and constantly striving to create evermore satisfactory circumstances for pleasurable living, including improving relationships with those we care for.

 

In terms of grammar, these challenges may be "seen" as: moving from "getting mad at" to "being angry with," while acting sensibly without projection onto others-that is, wisely moving in response to perceived threat (whether real, like wild animals, or imagined, like ghosts), rather than assuming impotence and being dictated by outside causes.

This means correcting the commonly missed error of at versus with-that is, accepting the wisdom and embraced power of genetic drives for personal survival, as operative in fear whenever threat is perceived, owning, as it were, the gift and embracing powers initiated by fear, rather than denying and giving away personal forces generated by one's own natural emotions. Or, stated negatively, reversing the typical move from with to at, by withdrawing projected blame/cause and embracing this internal gift.

Conclusion: The more completely one comes to acknowledge/embrace natural fear, the more capable he becomes for standing present with projected anger of others, without "taking it personally," thereby facilitating the same possibility in others, by "saying," in effect, "See, I can stand anger and yet act responsibly; perhaps you can too."

Final note: Acknowledged and embraced anger is naturally short-lived, passing quickly, allowing one to profit wisely from its emotional base; but, contrarily, denied/repressed anger can be extended for years, even a lifetime, as in, remaining unconsciously mad at one's mother for not actually being the goddess one imagined in the beginning.

ADVICE

Get angry with not at a woman

Anger with means in her presence, rather than blindly projecting onto her as the actual cause of your emotions. Perhaps your projection is based in a dark dream of her as a goddess capable of making you happy and/or whole. You may well be mad about the death of such an illusion; but better to be responsible for your own broken dream than to project on a woman as the actual cause.

Mad at is generally a cover for mad with, that is, a blind projection of anger. But the projection of cause is accompanied by loss of personal power. Thus one de-powers himself when he comes to believe that another causes or "makes me" mad.

Consequently, a smarter man may "get mad" with a woman, but, owing his own anger, he carefully avoids projecting what he feels onto or at her. And, if smart phases into wise, he recognizes similar female temptations, de-codes them in mind's eye, avoids falling for a woman's anger projections, and continues to stand with her at such a time.

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KEEPING MEN WAITING

Women seem to commonly have an unconscious urge to keep men waiting (or so it appears to us) as, I suspect, a way of managing a degree of desired control over a relationship.

Full credit is due for female needs for elaborate preparations before going out, a trait not shared with men, including not going out until "ready," a state of presence which few men can ever understand.

"Eight O'clock," for instance, means a specific clock time to a male; but to a female it has little to do with numbers on a clock, and rather translates into "when I'm ready"-no matter how long that may take.

A wiser man is well behooved to simply accept this gender difference without having to understand; otherwise he must confront a challenging mystery. I, however, have been unable to avoid trying to figure it out, and have so far concluded that past realistic feminine urges for "looking good" before going out, they do commonly harbor deep inclinations to keep men waiting, for reasons of power rather than pure coincidence.

I further speculate that such unconscious drives-if indeed they exist, may also reflect genetic wisdom related to escalating male attraction, as in, playing hard to get, to get it hard to get.

But even if I am totally wrong, such speculations relive me of confronting my own impatience.

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WHY WOMEN RESENT MEN

AND OFTEN DON'T KNOW IT

OR IF THEY DO

DON'T KNOW WHY

SPECULATIONS ON FEMALE REPRESSIONS

Of course some don't, and others who do may also know why; but by and large, as best I can tell, typical female repressions blindly reflect in resentment of men in general and those they love in particular, such as, lovers and husbands.

Sometimes unrecognized resentment flares into overt anger, but more often it hovers just below the surface of awareness, showing up or slipping out in bitching, criticism (often justified), cold shoulders, and, of course, "Not tonight, Henry's," as well as opinions that "men are assholes," "no damn good," and/or "only interested in one thing."

If my observations are correct, what might be the possible causes of this unfortunate road block on the way to relational intimacy? My speculations include these:

1. Repression of two major natural facts, two genetic truths: 1) Female superiority, and 2) Servant status of males.

The first fact is, obviously, also repressed in society and cloaked by overt male dominance in religion, business, and politics for several thousand years now. Public awareness, especially in ego-identified males, includes a reversal of these biological facts, and is, unfortunately, all too often, accepted by females also.

Fact two is the genetic truth that maleness has evolved over eons of life history primarily for providing sperm to fertilize female ova-ever since sex was "invented" to replace cloning as a means of species replication some 600 million (?) years ago.

I speculate that as Homo sapiens expanded past pair bonding (small pre-families) into clans, male "servicing females" for pregnancy also expanded to providing other services as well, e.g., food, especially wild game, and protection from the elements, animals, and other marauding males.

As clans evolved into tribes, communities, and societies, the content of male services also expanded into realms of business and politics, outgrowths of hunting and protecting, but still basically aimed at serving primal female needs, especially as related to shared instincts for replication.

Male religions evolved, I also speculate, from various forms of male-only Kiva clubs as men sought to free themselves from servant roles by establishing gender support and left brain justification expanded into overt dominance in business and politics, supported by irrational religions.

Once females lost conscious awareness of 1) their creaturely superiority, falling, in varying degrees, for male illusions of fact reversal, as testified to in religions and acted out in society, namely, being the secondary, weaker sex, created only as "help metes" for males, and 2) that genetically speaking, males "should be" serving them rather than vice versa, the psychic stage was set for the post-natural drama regularly re-created today with extended relational conflicts, including female resentment, now commonly unconscious.

Analysis: Females, deeply aware of their religiously and socially denied superiority, while typically existing in contrary contexts in religion, business, politics and often in marriage as well, are understandably resentful of this unnatural situation, especially of missing opportunities for exercising and openly experiencing their oft-demeaned capacities.

These social injustices are further compounded by the second unnatural fact, namely, men, both in society as well as home, acting-ever since Eden-like "the little woman" exists to serve us, rather than vice versa as evolution indicates.

Summary: Barring repression of biological facts, females would naturally know and utilize their inherent creature advantages in wisely expressing themselves-living well in the world-as-we-find-it, including awareness of present day social and family relationships.

Also aware, except for repression, of the natural servant role of males, now cloaked by social reversals and ego-identified males, females would artfully use their inherited roles, along with greater capacities, for effecting their biological as well as personal agendas aimed at replication and self satisfactions.

But all this is ideal, and, as noted, might be operational, were-it-not for typical female repressions which understandably often reflect in resentment of men in present day contrary circumstances.

2. A second possible source of female resentment of males lies in sexual repression.

Unfortunately for females, current social conditions, along with biological facts, favor male consciousness about sex, along with socially tolerated affirmation, while supporting female repression.

Although biological needs for female intercourse are relatively small in comparison with male drives for maximum self-replication, female capacities for sexual pleasures are, I think, vastly greater than those of "wham-bam, thank-you-ma'am," males.

It is in this later regard where female resentments may understandably be based. Evolved capable of huge amounts of sex-related satisfactions, including expansive sensual delights along with multiple orgasm possibilities, yet existing with un-faced socially supported suppressions, and often living with sex-demanding males, female sexual repressions are easily predictable.

Following such understandable repressions, females may exist on top of vast, unexplored-but-naturally-possible sexual satisfactions, that is, capacities for delightful passions left largely untapped in current circumstances. Unlike males who are naturally driven, as it were, to seek sex in service of self-replication, female urges for pregnancy are minuscule in comparison; but perhaps to balance biological books, potential female pleasures related to sexuality itself are, I reluctantly observe, vastly greater than male instincts for fucking only.

It is in these latter regards, I think, where female resentments may be based. Given the noted biological and social situations, female sexual repressions become highly predictable. Lesser needs for pregnancy-inducing sperm are easily met with hardly any sexual consciousness required-indeed, overly so, most of the time.

But in regard to pleasure possibilities the situation is largely reversed. Whereas sperm needs are easy to satisfy, a "good man" with proverbial "slow hands" may indeed be, as voiced in song, "hard to find."

Point: In the presence of understandable female repressions of inherited sexual capacities, with reproductive needs easily satisfied but passion possibilities largely untapped, wives may become dependent on husbandly initiatives, as well as techniques, for whatever limited sexual pleasures they experience.

Consequently, I speculate, the stage is set for predictable resentments toward often inefficient, inadequate, overly-demanding or unduly-assertive males, so often focused on our own orgasms alone.

When sexually repressed females-in consciousness only, not in natural pleasure capacities, become dependent of males for "flying them to the moon," and their men don't (or no longer do), deep resentments become highly predictable. This relational challenge becomes even greater after child-rearing responsibilities diminish and female sexuality is yet in its prime.

3. Possession ambivalence is another possible source of female resentment commonly directed toward men. Ideally, a queen-like female both needs and desires a king-like male-that is, one who is independently capable of "servicing" all her external needs, namely, for strong sperm and effective, extended security (food, shelter, resources, and protection, etc.).

But in quest of finding and keeping such an effective "servant" who is both strong and continually available, females must also be blindly driven to possess any male they select for these essential services-that is, to, as it were, "own him" for their exclusive use.

Here, however, is where the psychic "rub" may come in: Independence and possession are, in psychic fact, mutually exclusive. To be truly independent (and hence capable of needed services) a man cannot be spiritually ("emotionally") possessed.

Or, conversely, "ownership," by definition, undermines actual independence. A man can either be independent or possessed; but not both. In colloquial language, if a woman "has her man," he is no longer truly an independent person. Or, in terms of degrees (as real processes always occur), to the extent that a man is had by a woman, to that same degree he ceases to be a "real man."

I suspect that deep, unconscious male knowledge of this spiritual dilemma may be one source of typical male resistance against "bonds of matrimony"-that is, "getting married" and, as bride grooms may remind a reluctant groom before the commitment ceremony, "Don't forget, you're giving up your independence."

But the female side of this familiar dilemma may be even more hidden and dangerous in the long run, namely, in being caught between inherent needs for a strong "king" who is independently capable of "servicing the queen" with best available sperm as well as best odds of long range security, and equally strong urges to possess such a powerful male for her exclusive use.

But, unfortunately for both men and women, the more completely a man is possessed by a woman-thereby increasing her odds of extended "services," the less capable he becomes as an independent male with king-like powers for supplying these needs, especially on sexual and spiritual levels (in bed and in the business world).

I suspect that this psychic dilemma must inevitably be resurrected in the unconscious mind of every successful bride. On the surface (at the altar) she "gets her man," along with female accolades, social approval, and a legal contract for perpetual, exclusive rights. But beneath all that is visible and operative in society, the above noted psychic fact is also set in motion.

Before marriage he may be strong and independent, apparently capable-else she would not have selected him, of meeting her immediate and long range needs; but as the cords of marital possession become evident, even on the long anticipated honeymoon, the costs of diminished-if-not yet fully gone independence begin to be paid.

The adoring "prince," due to become a powerful "king," who courted the lovely "princess (queen-in-waiting)" may rapidly be turned into an obedient servant, consciously intent on pleasing his bride, but at the same time unconsciously leaving "kingliness" in favor of becoming a "good husband"-that is, a "pussy-whipped" wimp disguised as a strong, independent husband.

To the degree that a woman succeeds in an understandable attempt to "get her man," that is, to possess an otherwise independent male for her exclusive service, I conclude that hidden (if not conscious) resentment cannot but be lurking in the marital wings, predictably to appear in time, if not on the honeymoon.

 

PREDICTABLE REFLECTIONS

In the presence of possible female repressions-consciousness of superiority, male servant-hood, passion possibilities, possession ambivalence, and any resulting male resentments, these practical results may follow:

- Unrecognized and counter-productive spiritual abuse of males-as in, over-kill in unwise activation of superior capacities.

- Unreasonable shifts in desired services. After real female needs for "servicing" by males are met, namely, for a few sperm and much security, and yet a woman feels unfulfilled due to unexpressed capacities in the outside world, plus un-embraced passions in bed, a woman's focus of attention, rooted in un-faced resentments, may be shifted to less essential arenas, such as, house cleaning and other forms of servitude reflective of primal roles now gone awry.

Psychically, repressed awareness and attention to real male services may be projected onto ("shifted to") unrealistic obedience more related to overt female dominance than to legitimate service.

In practice these shifts may reflect in bitching, complaining, male "put downs ('you never help me with the house,' etc.)," emotional and/or sexual withdrawals, if not overt hostility.

Evidences: The harder a man tries to live up to such displaced female desires, the "behinder" he may predictably get, because underlying agendas of female fulfillment remain untouched by even a man's best efforts and greatest acquiescence.

Unfortunately, escalating male obedience to conscious and stated female desires may be taken as weakness rather than strength she unconsciously believes will "make her happy."

- Unrealistic Father Images are another possible source of later male resentment. Often a girl's image of her father, acquired in childhood, is unrealistic in one of two major ways: 1) Exaggeratedly positive, or 2) Distortedly negative.

In the first instance, an early father figure is adored and seen as almost god-like, that is, without faults and capable of making a daughter abundantly happy, far larger in her idolized eyes than her more present and involved mother.

Two additional factors may influence such an unrealistic perspective of the first man in her life. First, his relative absence in comparison to her mother, often associated with treats and special favors when he does appear; and secondly his masculine attributes which instinctively invite her emerging, pubescent sexuality into partial awareness. Incest taboos which are stronger with mothers and sons are often more lax with fathers and daughters, even while pragmatically cloaked as "innocent affection."

In contrasting, but often more unrealistic father images, especially when a mother is the dominant parent, a girl may identify with her mother and share her mother's resentment toward an apparently weak, inadequate, or less supportive father. She may, for instance, perhaps reflecting her mother's negative feelings or hidden resentment, come to look down on her father, seeing him as "irresponsible and no good."

In either case, whether a father is seen as a "Sugar Daddy" who treats his "Little Princess" as though she is perfect and can do no wrong, or a "no good asshole" who doesn't take good care of her mother or herself, the stage is set for future unrealistic expectations and/or judgments of later men in her life.

Male images formed in early childhood may be projected, even unconsciously, onto men who enter a girl's life after she leaves her first home. These early-formed images, whether unrealistically positive or negative, may become like rose-colored glasses blocking clear vision of any later male to enter her life.

If her deeply ingrained male image is unrealistically positive, as acquired with a "Sugar Daddy" who did indeed make her world happier in childhood, she may later look favorably on all men, unconsciously elevating, even idolizing them as she did her father. Resurrecting childhood patterns of behavior, she may consequently cater to male whims and constantly try to please, like a "good little girl" adoring her long gone father, now unconsciously "seen in," for instance, a chosen boy friend or husband.

Although such catering behavior can be highly pleasing to such a lucky man, it may come with a dangerous hidden agenda, namely, a deep, un-faced expectation that this new man can also "take care of her," and "make her happy" as she remembered her father from childhood. Her always-striving-to-please attitude and behavior may be like a ticking time bomb waiting to explode later when her obsequious mode of acting fails to meet her hidden expectations.

If, on the other hand, a girl's early ingrained male image is negative, as formed with a weak, absent, irresponsible, or even abusive father figure, these too may be unconsciously projected onto later men in her life. Often, in trying to survive and enhance minimal advantages with such a father, a girl may learn to cloak her deep contempt and hidden resentment with a stance of phoney admiration in which she blindly tries to "be totally good," even to appear and act perfect with men.

With her father, such a perfectionist stance may have served in two ways; first, to hopefully gain small favors from the only man in her life, "if only she can somehow please him." Or, on the other hand, if she "is perfect," perhaps she can at least not evoke his ill will and/or overt wrath. This stance becomes more predictable, and understandable, when another sibling seems to be more favored in their father's eyes. Suppressed jealousy may further feed and support seemingly unsuccessful efforts to secure his favors for herself.

In either case, or for whatever other causes, whether a father figure is viewed as unrealistically positive or negative, a girl is likely to project these same images onto later men in her life, including resurrected patterns of behavior first learned in early days of childhood.

Relevant here as possible sources of later male resentment are these:

- In both cases, with either unrealistically positive or negative male images, a woman may unconsciously carry exaggerated illusions of male capacity for "making her happy," that is, for bringing personal fulfillment to her life as a separate person.

The oft-ignored fact that, as my own father used to say, "Every tub's gotta set on its own bottom," which I interpret to mean: we are all individual, separate persons, inherently responsible for our own well being, including happiness in life, may be easily ignored (if indeed it is ever recognized) and cloaked with either type of female projection.

With a "good daddy" a girl may come to deeply believe that another "good man" can make her equally happy with relatively little self responsibility-that is, "just by being herself" as seemed to be so in childhood. When this "love me for what I am" attitude and stance is enhanced by small efforts to "be a good girl" with, for instance, a husband, then the stage is set for grand disappointments when the noted fact of individual responsibility inevitably appears later in life.

When, for example, the hidden illusion that marriage (to a "good man") will make me happy is finally shattered on rocks of human reality, then resentment (or worse) is highly predictable.

Or, with a "bad daddy," especially when perfectionism was chosen as a means of coping in early childhood, cloaked with a thin veneer of outward obsequiousness, the stage is even more predictably set for shattering disillusionment later in life. Early efforts to be "a perfect wife," make a "perfect home," become a "perfect mother," etc., all with the unconscious belief that somehow such perfectionism will eventually cause her husband to become the "good man" her father never was, will predictably prove not to work in time.

The problem is often escalated by the fact that a girl with an absent or "bad daddy" may have learned her mother's role of coping with him, that is, being the responsible member in the family setting. In later coping with her "new father," she may unwittingly devote herself to "mothering" him, as it appeared her own mother was to her father.

Although a husband may briefly thrive with the services of a mothering wife, eventually both will predictably become disillusioned with this unworkable form of marriage (mother/son versus wife/husband). He will often turn outside the marriage in quest of a woman who relates to him more like a man than a son.

Meanwhile, she, deeply realizing that mothering is not working, but now entrenched in this role, may escalate her perfectionism, trying harder at first, to be a better mother to him (e.g., housekeeper, cook, obsequious pleaser, etc.), while retreating even further from greater challenges of being a woman with him.

If he, for any reason, remains outwardly "faithful to her," fulfilling his "duties as a husband" rather than divorcing or having serial affairs with other females, her deep resentments may escalate. First, because her "best efforts" at mothering are not working, and secondly because her deeper illusions of finding a "better daddy" to "make her happy," since her first father failed, are even more unsuccessful.

The harsh fact of self-responsibility for self-fulfillment, so easily avoided in dreams of a magical marriage and motherhood, may finally crash on the unsympathetic rocks of institutional failure.

Before the proverbial axe falls in such all-too-common marriages, there may be extended periods of unconscious resentment, expressed in endless wifely nagging, criticism, put downs, plus various forms of emotional abuse and spirit-distance. If some functional resolution, such as, accepted failure and live-together-divorce, is not found, otherwise long repressed personal pathology is apt to erupt in the context of such a disappointing marriage.

 

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CONFESSIONS

 

All told now, counting both, I've been married for 57 years-71% of my life so far. Experience is not always the best teacher, but who cannot learn some things with 499,320 hours of practice? Probably repeated mistakes have taught me most-at least when I've been willing to admit them later.

--Mistakes I've made include:

-Unrealistic expectations

-Explaining myself

-Defending myself

-Arguing with a woman

-Playing Tit For Tat

-Trying too hard to please

-Rebelling against being told what to do

-Falling into predictable scripts

-Mistaken identities (wife for mother)

-Seeking understanding from a woman

 

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GENDER EQUALITY AND ME

BACKGROUND

Gender equality, as amplified before, is, I think, a popular illusion fostered by both genders with predictably dangerous consequences for either. Men advocating equality may piously ignore illusions of male superiority conceived long ago to protect us from difficult facts of life. Women with the same opinions may properly seek to redress historical imbalances in economic and political powers, but risk self-righteousness inherent in assuming victim-hood while ignoring dangers of their own powers running rampant.

In broadest perspectives the greatest dangers of repressing awareness of natural gender inequalities are: male vulnerability exaggerated when weaknesses are cloaked by illusions of superiority, and female overkill when their own natural advantages are ignored. Macho/cocky males neither carefully protect themselves from rampant female powers nor do they typically use their slim advantages wisely.

On the other hand, meek/mild females who deny their own natural superiority risk outward abuse by threatened males while at the same time blindly damaging those they want to love through excessive use of blindly held inherent powers.

Facts of gender life as I see them: XX chromosome advantages reflect in an overall power imbalance between males and females in almost all regards except brute physical strength and the ironic temporary advantages of male focus-ability, which is itself rooted in limited capacities for feeling and thinking in the broad senses of these words.

Males do hold the edge over females in capacities for immediate outward dominance, especially in physical ways; but overall female powers remain operative even then in emotional/spiritual ways. Even when men lord it over women outwardly, having the first and loudest word, in relevant inward arenas females generally "have the last word."

When men do not consciously acknowledge these facts, our options are largely limited to playing macho or becoming wimps--usually an unhealthy combination of both. Only when we recognize the basic power imbalance and move past traditional escapes into cockiness or wimpiness, can we possibly learn to use our limited advantages wisely while otherwise protecting our spiritual selves as best we can.

When women avoid seeing these same facts of life, their common options are to get caught up in survival by playing weak and dumb, all-too-often falling for their own acts, and then unwittingly and unintentionally hurting the ones they otherwise love. Meaning well, they risk blindly damaging, even killing, the spirits of males who are most significant to them, namely, lovers, husbands, and sons.

From genetic perspectives, femininity is the primary gender; maleness only evolved as sex entered the scene of reproductive innovations. It was and is the secondary gender, existing mainly for "service" reasons--fertilization and support of femininity which continues to hold major responsibilities and hence powers for continuing the species.

CONFESSION

Recognizing these observations as facts which are quite in contrast to those I "learned" from my culture has been long and difficult. Still I resist seeing them, commonly ignore "knowing what I know," and often live as though they are not true--always, I note in hindsight, to my long term loss, if not immediate disadvantage.

When or if I am wiser, I acknowledge, even if reluctantly, historical male errors of trading in reason for the slim advantages of outward dominance; machoism, even when I succeed in carrying out the act, is never worth its cost in the long run. Better, I have/am learning, to face and accept what I see when I am not blinding myself--namely, natural female superiority in many of the arenas which count most for good living in the here and now, and then to appropriate these facts as best I can in daily life.

In practice, these applications include: remaining continually alert to the female edge, lest I blindly react in learned ways which I know to be unproductive; choosing times and means of confrontations sensibly rather than by instinct only; accepting female blindness to these facts rather than "trying to make them see" or looking for female affirmation for what I see.

Females, I now see, are often even more in denial of gender inequalities than are males. Perhaps this is because they have for so long been outwardly dominated and have so artfully ingrained playing submissive roles for long range success, that they do presently live better when operating on automatic pilot rather than by conscious sight.

Also I am learning to waste less and less time and energy in judging these facts--that is, in either bemoaning my fate, resenting female advantages, putting down on myself for failures in encounters, or falling into my ancient mode of female idolatry (goddess worship).

This latter trap (sin?) only became visible to me after I finally worked myself out of the more familiar male mode of substituting gods (or one God) for goddesses. Male gods were created, I came to see, as a logical way of coping with the female facts of life; but the temporary advantages of sky gods over earth goddesses are, I now think, not worth their price.

In summary, the traditional notion of male superiority, reflected in male religions as well as male dominated politics and economics, is, I think, an understandable but costly mode of coping with contrary facts about gender differences. I find that I live better when I let go of these traditional views which are yet held by most males I know and are also generally supported by females who have long-learned to cope through playing weak.

When I recognize and accept, even if reluctantly, that in most all immediate circumstances (outside of business, sports, war, and the jungle) natural female powers, backed by operative memes in nearly all social situations, exceed the limited utility of brute strength even when backed by the advantages of one-track thinking, then I am better off.

Seeing thusly, I can sometimes remain alert to my temptations to self-righteousness, as in, rushing to machoism, or to self-negation, as in, falling back into female idolatry ("adoration"). I can also more quickly catch escapes into sins of judgment, either of females or myself or the facts of the power imbalance itself. These attentions then free up my conscious mind for thinking more clearly about how to use my limited advantages, my hard-acquired insights, and to discern more sharply among various "wiles of women" which I have long ignored or been ignorant of.

Some rare times, when I stay accordingly alert and can muster enough nerve to remain a separate attentive person, I even manage to act wisely. Thank God (or Goddess)!

MIGHT AND RIGHT


Might, I think, represents gene power--innate capacities for "move-ability," for "making things happen" by forces existent in one's own body/mind. Right, I am coming to see, emerges from meme power--social forces operative "out there" in the ethos of culture. Right is never existent in nature, but only comes to be through various formulations made by social groups out of their own evolutionary successes. After a group finds something to work, they come to see it as right. Meme powers are effected through rules/laws/principles. Gene powers are accompanied by pleasure.

Camelot represented my first awareness of a shift in history from "Might is right" to "Might for right." I am now exploring what I understand this shift to involve. I see it as a move from honoring personal power as genetically endowed to honoring social power, as locally recognized. The power of genes has been, I observe, subverted to become a servant of the power of memes. In nature the situation seems to be reversed.

I have previously seen this move as totally positive, as a great advance in historical progression; now I am not so sure. I can now see how I have made this shift in my own life, how I have come to project powers which are truly genetic into social dimensions where memes determine my actions. This shift has certainly served me well in many regards and probably been beneficial to social groups in which I have lived; but was it personally healthy? Was it best for me and/or society in the long run?

Another historical speculation: I think that women live much more by the principle, albeit unwittingly, that "Might is right," that is, that while they use rules/principles to effect personal goals, they mainly function by the might they embody. They use rules, but they do not worship them, as men often come to unconsciously do. They regularly live-by might rather than right. Men, however, tend to establish rules as right and then bow before them (under cover of such vague principles as "my word," "my honor," and other abstractions which are far removed from personal might).

I now suspect that male elevation of abstract principles--written laws which can be empowered outside any particular male's might, may have signaled the end of ancient eras when I believe that women guided society by their own might, without resorting to infallible rules. Perhaps males cleverly, with their left-brain evolution, evolved rules and eventually the notion of "Might for right" as a way of confronting and finally defeating ancient feminine powers.

Rules may have evolved/allowed men to eventually dominate women. The invention of laws may have signaled the downfall of women from goddesses to servants, from prime movers to "helpmates."

Back to me: maybe I simply personify what has happened historically for men and women, only now with me and my mother first, then continuing with other females who represent her for me. I have long recognized the goddess nature of any mother to a child. She truly is might personified, insofar as a child is concerned.

Maybe I simply kept this primal awareness intact and learned to live it out by the above noted habits which are now "amazing" to me. Maybe I, as though I were primal man, "invented" rules for right (as a way of being "good" to my mother), as a way of coping with her excessive might--as was true in my early relationship with her.

But unlike historical man, I never went on to "get on top" and overtly dominate females, as men have traditionally done; I simply remained "in awe" of woman's power, keeping the habit operative by failing to recognize the extent of my own projections.

I, in effect, "sacrificed my balls" as an appeasement to the powers of might, and came to honor right (her rules) as a way of coping with what I believe to be superior female powers. "Might for right" for me meant subverting my actual genetic might into service of right which represented the shape of female powers (as in, the "right thing to do").

Now I am in the process of trying to return to conscious awareness of my inherent powers, to, in effect, reclaim by sacrificed balls. Seeing my projections, indeed, being continually amazed at them, is but one step in the longer process of absorbing forces I have long given away in the pragmatic events of trying to live well in the presence of women.

Wonder if I'll live long enough...or find sufficient faith to re-become myself?

GENDER OPTIONS


These, I think, are ideal choices in regard to gender. They, at least, are the ones I am now trying to make:

1. See and acknowledge the natural power imbalance between genders, rather than blindly reacting as dictated either by genes or memes. The genes-alone reaction is, I surmise, to react by the fight/flight reflex--that is, to either challenge and try to defeat or to run away from the threat.

The fight option is, I think, that which has been taken in the long course of history and seems to be the most common one still taken today by individual men. We still react, most commonly, to the female threat by trying to fight/dominate/get-the-best-of. Or, as has been my common path, by running away from it--that is, by avoiding recognition in awareness and by submitting in practice (blindly).

This later mode, the one I have taken, involves trading in our balls at the altar of mothers first, and then all females later, approval. Instead of fighting female power outright, as in trying to dominate, as has been primarily done in history, I took the opposite route of trying to appease/please females, rather than standing up to them.

This is best accomplished, or so I have tried, by offering the best we have, namely, our masculinity ("balls"). We may try to appease female wrath by removing what I think must be the ultimate threat to femininity, namely, masculinity. The one thing females can't acquire for themselves, given their favor on the power balance, is what males are born with, namely, the results of a Y chromosome in each cell--symbolized by our balls.

The good news is that it works, temporarily. When we first begin the sacrifice by becoming "good boys," balls don't matter that much anyway. If we were thinking just then, they must seem like a small price to pay for Mother's Good Graces, which are so supremely important at the time.

But the bad news is that what we gain from Her Smile is taken away from what is required for success: a) with other males, namely, fight/win abilities (without balls we cannot compete well), and b) for final success with females. No matter how diligently and successfully females may be with feminizing males, the immediate delight in a "good boy" or "soft man" is in time undercut by genetic needs for a strong male--and this takes balls.

Result, what we win at first by sacrificing out balls we pay for in the long run by losing out both in successful competition with males and eventually with good female relations too.

We have no choice but to cope with the power imbalance; but we do have options about seeing. Now that I am beginning to see what I have done, first by studying the long course of male history, and finally by decoding my projections onto Gaia, I realize some of my choices.

The first temptation I face, whenever I dare seeing rather than continuing to react blindly as my habits' dictate, is to fall into the trap (sin) of judging--that is of playing God and judging the situation as bad/good, or playing games like "Ain't It Awful," "Poor Little Me," "Bad Mother," etc. The same trap is present for, plus rather than, negative judgments. Even if one becomes egotistical and succumbs to pride rather than shame, still reality is evaded by judgment.

A significant part of my regular homework is to avoid this trap. I want instead to simply see the power imbalance as clearly as I can, whenever I confront it, without wasting energy in judging it to be good or bad, or me as good or bad because of how I have learned to react to it. Then my energies become available for more effective coping.

The next challenge, past judgment, is to evade the above noted reaction of fight/flight, that is, the genetic reflex to any threat. Attempting to defeat females, or to run away from them, is almost always counter-productive. This powerful gene-directive is in the social context of an equally powerful meme dictation to submit to female authority. I am just beginning to see this meme with some clarity. Its basic thrust, beginning with mothers' moves, ostensibly to civilize sons, and continuing with all social norms related to basic masculine traits (compete/fight/win vs. cooperate/make peace/give in), is: sacrifice balls and feminize yourself.

Thus the temptation is to either be dictated by genes which say fight or flee, or by memes which say sacrifice your balls and submit. But whether a man fights women, runs away from them, or gives in to them, either way, both lose in the long run. I, of course, know much more about the latter than the first two.

I have never physically fought with women, and have rarely run away from them (except temporarily in the heat of a conflict), but I have a long history--for as long as I can remember, of deference (submitting, trying to please, seeking their approval, and in effect bartering my balls for their smiles).

I can see from watching others that fighting doesn't work doe long; as all men know "you can never win an argument with a woman"--or, I think, anything else except a brute strength battle. Nor does running away, since we need them for sex and much much more. And I have well learned myself that submission if finally defeating also.

In summary, whether we cope with the power imbalance (woman's natural superiority) by either dominance (gene direction) or submission (meme dictation), whether we try to win, get the best of, stay on top, or whether we choose to give in, try to please, get approval, and seek permission-to-be/do (as I have)--either way we lose in the long run.

********

 

 

MALE FEARS

Male fears
commonly cloaked by diligent efforts
to put down on women or
to put them up; to dominate,
that is, or to idolize, and thereby
escape from their threats and
at the same time con them into
wielding their powers in our favor include:


Fear of the gaping vagina into which
we may fall, losing ourselves, or fail
in its breadth to find sufficient stimulation
for ejaculation and self-replication


Fear of our own natural sexuality
projected onto females for reasons
of irresponsibility and lack of nerve;
responsibility, that is, for wielding
its forces wisely, and nerve for daring
to become who we are
outside the good graces
of Mother's Smile now reflected
in a Lover's Affirmation


Fear of openly confronting
the natural superiority of woman,
the limitations inherent in having
a Y chromosome in every cell,
and thus having to leave the security
of a fragile male ego in favor of
learning artistry for survival in
the ever-present Enchanted Forest
where woman's magic remains the
Supreme Power


And fear, most of all, of threats inherent
in becoming persons in our own rights,
thereby facing the awesome possibility
of the wonders of love


*****

Yesterday I wrote this poem; today I want to try to see more clearly what I was glimpsing then. I am trying to confront three major fears which I recognize as my own, and suspect are fairly common to other males also. Certainly they have been a significant part of my life so far.

First, the "gaping vagina." This metaphor represents the deepest fear I have been able to glimpse. The physical picture portrays a primal fear of losing myself--who-I-am, my very being as an individual. Somehow my known sense-of-myself, quite apart or below ego, stands in threat of this ancient symbol. It is as though my very existence as a separate individual, one who is apart from my mother, stands in danger of the huge vagina from which I came.

Another historical male image--a "teethed vagina," may also represents this same fear. It is as though vagina represents a huge teethed mouth which is capable of biting and consuming. Together these metaphors may be merged into the obscene image of "cunt."

I think that the primary human agenda, of both males and females, insofar as "growing up" is concerned, is achieving individuality (called "individuation"), that is, becoming one who is truly separate and apart from "mother" and the womb from which we all emerge physically if not spiritually.

But I think the male version of this common fear must be greater, given the facts of sexual functioning. Or perhaps the "gaping vagina" simply becomes a better male metaphor for our shared challenges in achieving individuality. In either case, I can see that for me, both on thinking and feeling levels, "cunt" or "gaping vagina" is a truly apt symbol for a very primal fear.

The sense I make of this irrational representation is this: first, I suspect that primal memories of the womb, of the vast cavern in which infantile life is first generated, easily become a literal representation of the true human quest for individuation. We do find ourselves, if at all, as pulled or exited from the womb via a "gaping vagina." Is this memory of struggle primally etched in the cells of brain-being-formed? Its strength to me could well make it so.

Then as womb becomes vagina on the way to becoming mother on the way to becoming cunt or pussy after puberty when sex becomes real, perhaps the awesome cavern remains a reasonable symbol for many emotional/spiritual challenges inherent in our individuation quest.

The threats and dangers of "growing up," maturing as separate individuals, from but no longer of our mothers, may well be projected back on to this physical passageway from which we first struggled to become separate. Emotional challenges which in reality have no connection with physical facts of birth or later threats related to sexual intercourse, may understandably become mirrored in what was in fact once real.

Our (my) predictable fear of becoming a separated, "cut-off," individual, on my own in the world, is perhaps most clearly and deeply recognized in dark images associated with a "gaping vagina." Forever, perhaps, it may graphically reflect remnants of unresolved fears of becoming myself. Until I completely, if this should ever become so, become my separate self, probably this ancient memory/danger will aptly hold my projected fears.

A second or higher level of fear of becoming myself, seen in the mirror of cunt, is perhaps rooted in what I suspect to be a common male fear of impotence, again projected onto woman and most easily recognized in images associated with her.

Positive male images may focus on a "tight pussy," rather than a "gaping vagina." I suspect that the fears are inter-related, perhaps even the same; but at an upper level I think that fears of, or during, intercourse which may also be labeled "of getting and keeping it up (maintaining an erection)," probably emerge from deeper self-becoming threats. But what we may more clearly differentiate are common male desires for a "tight pussy," perhaps cloaking threats of a "gaping vagina."

Physical facts about male need for tactile stimulation of the penis, whether in masturbation or intercourse, are no doubt involved in conscious preference for a "tight" vagina. In masturbation we may choose an appropriate degree of hand pressure to provide "just right" stimulation; but in intercourse we must rely on pressure from vagina walls for an appropriate amount of tactile contact. If the vagina is "gaping" rather than close-fitting, thereby limiting the amount of physical contact and hence stimulation, then reaching an orgasm becomes increasingly difficult. Easier then to project and blame impotence threats or "erectile difficulties" on a female than to face and own our own fears.

As long projected, "The woman..., she..." (Genesis 3:12)

There may also be a real factor involved which is totally apart from fears of either self and/or impotence. A "tight pussy" is no doubt a better sign of virginity or youth than perhaps any other clue. It may be that male "gene eyes" in their age-evolved vision for best baby-makers have come to recognize that replication odds are increased with signs of virgin, young females, euphemistically recognized by "tight pussies." But even if this is so, still I suspect that most powers encountered in desires for highly stimulating vaginas, and comparable fears of their counterparts, are psychologically rather than biologically based--that is, we fear the "gaping vagina" more out of projected denials than out of wise genes.

 

My first fear, in summary, projected onto cunt, emerges, I speculate, from challenges of becoming my separate self, cut-off from mother as surely as my umbilical cord was cut in my beginning citizenship in the world. For these challenges, vagina is simply an appropriately apt symbol for the spiritual counterpart of a real physical process.

The second element of this same fear involves sexual components of my masculine self, namely, becoming my male-self along with my human-being-self. Here the "gaping vagina" becomes even more graphic; well past any realistic dangers of not-enough tactile stimulation to elicit ejaculation, fears of un-embraced (or possible non-existent, not present, or severely limited) libido forces are easily projected onto a vagina which I may then blame for inadequate "help" in getting and maintaining an erection or "bringing me" to reach orgasm.

I also suspect that many male fantasies about, or desire for, anal intercourse are more deeply rooted in un-faced needs/wishes for "more stimulation." Rectums, being anatomically smaller, may easily be imagined as "tight pussies" during dark, private moments of intercourse.

A second major male fear, easily projected onto females, is of the socially dangerous power inherent in masculine sexuality--in particular, instinctual forces rooted in reproductive urges which are so elemental (related to Y chromosomes in every cell) as to be completely below levels of consciousness.

Other than instincts for survival--ingrained urges to stay-alive above all else, drives for self-replication are, I think, the deepest and most powerful. And because genes for life ("staying alive") are older, they are hence more primally ingrained--that is, evolved longer before consciousness appeared on the human scene. Sex genes (X and Y chromosomes), being younger, are consequently nearer to consciousness which is even younger than sex.

The point: even though sexual urges are younger and weaker than life instincts, they tend to be closer to awareness. We think, that is, more about sex than about breathing, not because it is "more important," but because it is "easier to think about." Plus, logistical challenges require more conscious attention.

The powers--BTU's of energy, normally generated by genes evolved for reproductive purposes long before consciousness ever entered the human scene are enormous, second only, I think, to those for survival. Energies associated with massive production of male sperm cells (there is nothing remotely comparable in the minimal female ovum production system), plus in strategies evolved for dispensing this vast reservoir of potential re-creations, are mind-boggling (literally) to contemplate.

Studies show that an average male "thinks about sex" every 5-7 minutes. But if these forces rise into consciousness that frequently, imagine how pervasive and powerful they must be below the level of possible awareness. All statistics and speculations aside, I note, when I am honest with myself, that I know of no other constellation of forces/motivations/drives/instincts which so consistently move me as those which I may summarize as "about sex." Even motivations which seem far more benevolent and noble at the time often boil down, on analysis (when I dare), to emerge from primal drives more clearly seen as sexual in nature.

Point: males are, I think, natural generators of immense amounts of latent power which can best be conceived in sexual categories. We, like all creatures, are "driven" to stay alive; but past survival alone, we are, I conclude, "possessed" of vast amounts of energy which, left in its natural state (not "sublimated"), would seek expression in various activities associated with "baby-making"--most focused in "doing it," especially with young virgins. Given air and food, filled lungs and stomach, more than all else, I think, we are moved to fuck.

But the problem is: what are we to do with such extensive "drives" outside the jungle where Mother Nature provides functional boundaries. Animals, I surmise, "don't have to worry" about "being too sexy"; natural constraints and opportunities provide workable limits. Male animals are free (bounded by circumstances) to "be as sexy" as they actually are (or so it seems to me).

But civilization changes all that. Surviving social structures have evolved with severe constraints on animal-like sexual behavior. We guys are in a far different sexual arena than "them lions (and bulls and studs, etc.)." Probably we are born with similar sexual instincts, yet we find ourselves in distinctly different circumstances. Moves which result in success in the animal kingdom are more likely to lead to incarceration in human society.

Human males, though genetically like our animal ancestors, have necessarily evolved different strategies for managing similar sexual "drives." The fears which I am now trying to face are a part, I believe, of the ways we have evolved to cope with these natural forces which are problematic in current social structures. These "strategies (coping devices) are what I wish to explore now.

First and foremost, I think that conscious denial, suppression, and eventual repression, are the most common of our male coping devices. We may "try not to think about it." We may "take" proverbial, if not actual, "cold showers." We may come to disassociate our selves from natural forces which, in reality, are part and parcel of who we literally are.

Unable to completely "rule out" or consciously deny powerful ingrained urges, we may come to imagine ourselves as separate from them, as "having" them--or, more particularly, "having to cope with" forces which are eventually conceived as apart from "me."

Once "out there (in our imaginations)," we may then place (project) internally generated powers onto various objects (persons, places, or things) which we thereafter take to be "moving us" in sexual ways. Commonly these objects-for-projection include females (She "turns me on."), or, if one is religious, then a Devil may be imagined to "make me do it (or want to)."

Then, rather than being sexual, as in reality we are, we come to exist as though our sexual powers are "out there" somewhere, as external forces to be indulged, denied, suppressed, or otherwise reckoned with. In either case, we then live cut-off-in-awareness from one of the two most powerful genetic forces which in fact, though not in our fancy, continue to "move us."

It is this immensely vulnerable condition in which we are consciously separated from powers that unconsciously impel us that, I think, the fears I am beginning to face must arise. Like children waking up fearful in the night, we must look for various "ghosts" to bear the weight of denied natural powers. Women may "turn us on" in the daylight, I now believe, just like ghosts once "scared us to death" in the night. But when it is happening, if I am correct, we never know about our projections at the time. We truly believe they "do it to (or for) us."

The condition is, of course, not complete; all men know a bit--some more than others, about our own sexual drives. We seldom if ever succeed in complete repression (as testified by monastic monks and celibate priests). Some of us even claim to be "totally aware" of our sexual natures; but such men, I speculate, are often fooling themselves--or else are extremely rare. I don't think I have ever known such a man. Such "bragging" seems to me to be more ego than self, and more likely verbal compensation for un-faced, non-verbal fears. "Me thinks" such macho males "doth protest too much."

In summary I believe that most males, certainly this one, are in large measure cut-off in awareness from the true extent of our natural sexual instincts. Even when we protest to the contrary, or secretly suspect ourselves to be latent Don Juans, I think that men-in-general are grandly (consciously) disconnected from large proportions of our nature-given sexual powers.

Even when we "talk big," or unconsciously fear sexual omnipotence (or its cloaked side, impotence), I suspect that most males today live at an existential distance from the true generative powers initiated by Y chromosomes. We often exist in illusionary egos ("fragile" as recognized by most females) which are an escape from self, created to protect us from real dangers "out there."

We then live out our lives trying to protect, promote, or enhance fragile mental constructs which are other than our existential selves (who we truly are). In these familiar male quests, we may never even get around to challenges inherent in being our sexual selves.

UNCONSCIOUS FEAR

We males are not nearly as "sexy"
as we sometimes think we are
or fear we are not
but we are, I observe,
far more sexual than we deeply
believe ourselves to be

 

Fear of our own sexuality may be first of all rooted in fear of the unknown; just as we commonly fear any dark space, so we (especially males) may naturally be afraid of the unknown nature of our sexual powers. Certainly we know sex is present and operative--blind urges tell us that, at night in wet dreams, if not in day time fantasies and irrepressible impulses arising when females are around (or when they aren't!).

But consciously knowing the reality of sexuality is not the same as knowing its full and true nature, for example, whether or not we can contain, express, and mediate its powers wisely in the social world. Because male repression and hence projection typically begins so early in life, who among us has time to learn personal responsibility before society allows, indeed, encourages, us to thrust that requirement onto females?

We are like children who have the benefit of recognizing a ghost in the dark, bringing the temporary relief of naming terror of unnamed fears; but because our projections, especially onto females, remain so complete, we are left with the continual anxiety of living with still scary ghosts--eerie shadows and reflections of our own unrecognized and hence un-embraced sexuality. (Wow, what a sentence! Not to mention the state-of-being.)

The current social situation which allows boys' limited degrees of openness about sexual urges, while supporting girls' suppression and requiring female responsibility, easily gives males an unrealistic sense of our own sexuality.

On the one hand, males can be somewhat conscious of our impulses without incurring social wrath; but because girls are traditionally charged with responsibility for "how far we can go," we gain relatively little experience in personal, sexual responsibility. We learn a bit about how to lust, but not much about how to "handle" desires wisely in society, which is largely repressive of any overt sexuality.

We are rather like "nice boys (sometimes)" who are aware of a "tiger in the tank," but are ignorant of its actual powers and especially of our unknown capacity for its wise management--somewhat like sitting on a time bomb which we know is there, but have no idea of when it may "go off."

But we do have much direct knowledge about dangers to be encountered if and when it does. This information is acquired early in life with mother, and is continually reinforced in social situations beyond her presence. By the time boys are old enough to get away from her searching eyes, this powerful memory may already be ingrained. "What if she should see or find out?," may remain present in conscience, if not in every place.

Information about this arena--a boy's emerging sexuality with his mother, is relatively skimpy. First, it begins so early in life, indeed, at life's very beginning before speech is even possible; it proceeds in almost total silence, yet with evident powers operative; and hardly anyone ever talks about it later. Boys may try, but mothers, so far as I know, never do. The end result is a huge dark space where immensely powerful and long-lasting forces are loosed but seldom acknowledged and never examined.

Result: since "scientific data" is lacking, I can only rely on personal experience, very limited data from other males, almost none from mothers, and hence, considerable speculation. So, what do I think? First, I am convinced that male sexuality (probably female also) begins in the womb (erections are evident in sonograms) and continues to develop actively from birth onward. Sons are "sexy" first with our mothers. We don't wait till puberty to have urges and attractions as well as erections. And mother, naturally, is the first "object of our affections."

Secondly, I believe that all mothers participate, mostly unconsciously and more likely unintentionally, in the process of a child's emerging sexuality. Holding, touching, kissing, cooing, and regularly "cleaning" genitals and anus cannot but invite sensations which will later be recognized as "sexual."

Without language and conscious thinking about sexuality, still its powers must be present and operative. Even when mothers consciously think and sincerely believe that "nothing sexual is going on," and infants have no language for naming erotic perceptions, still, I surmise, sexuality is inevitably being experienced in the silence of body.

But while I think that mothers cannot but provide what boys cannot but take as sexual stimulation (e.g., by touching, nursing, cleaning, and their own bodily exposure), I am equally convinced that mothers must universally deny that they are "being sexual," and with almost the same degree of consistency, respond negatively to overt signs of a boy's sexuality. The whole operation is, as it were, carried out in strict secrecy--which probably exaggerates rather than diminishes its consequences.

It is like living in a room with an elephant which certainly influences movement, but which no one acknowledges being present. "What sexuality?" I have read that in some primitive cultures mothers use sexual stimulation to soothe infants. Perhaps modern mothers may unwittingly do the same; but even if so, I surmise that it must be done unconsciously and never "admitted" with a child.

And by the time a boy has language and may overtly pursue his sexual interests--as in, saying sex-related words, trying to "touch girls," "look at nudity," "show off" an erection, or openly "play with himself," surely negation from the goddess, by silent judgment if not verbal condemnation or physical punishment, is predictable. While the second most powerful of male instincts is emerging openly in the world, accompanied by mother's active stimulation (admitted or not), this critical developmental stage takes place in virtual silence (like a non-subject) and general denial, if not negative judgment and/or punishment.

Small wonder that boys have so much trouble in warmly embracing this essential aspect of our male selves. We must do so almost totally alone, yet in the presence of powerful, unacknowledged stimuli and almost certain rejection if the process ever becomes overt. We may no longer "get our mouths washed out with soap" for "talking dirty," but judgments and/or punishments for "acting dirty" must still be as widespread as ever.

Point: social conditions are still far from conducive for positive affirmation and parental reinforcement of emerging male sexuality. If we boys ever grow up sexually, rather than remaining trapped in small-boy modes, we must do so largely on our own (even peer talk is often more threatening than helpful), in the presence of the goddess's judgmental eyes (risking the powerful meme of Mother's Frown), often accompanied by punishments and/or rejection at the time. I, for one, am yet to out grow powerful repressive habits I learned so early in life at Saline. I am beginning to see my way through patterns I acquired for survival, but absorbing what I know is yet a significant part of my daily agenda.

********

 

COMPROMISE

For relational success
win-driven men blindly focused on being #1
and appropriately fearful of ties
which hinder independent pursuits
need to see and accept connection-driven women
equally concerned with peaceful togetherness
and cooperative harmony


Just as women who thrive on closeness
must learn to grant space for freedom loving men
without taking their need or distance personally


All this before functional compromises can be made by both
on the longer path toward loving acceptance of each as we are
devoid of regret or hidden hopes for change


********

 

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