MAN/WOMAN BOOK TWOJ. Bruce Evans
Copyright 8 1991 by J. Bruce Evans
All rights reserved. No part of this manuscript may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the author. Inquiries may be addressed to 1674 Glenmore, Baton Rouge, LA 70808.
The "battle of the sexes" is so familiar that it is proverbial. To note sexual differences is almost synonymous with resurrecting the battle. Any focus on this subject of the battle seems likely to initiate it once more. If we wish to get beyond the "battle of the sexes," possibly to some ground of cooperation, perhaps even to love, why raise the question of differences? Why not look rather for similarities? Or at least ignore our differences?
These questions are fair and reasonable. Getting past the proverbial battle which commonly results from our differences is indeed our goal. The question is: what is the best way to arrive at the possibilities of cooperation or love? Should we assume that no real differences exist? That actually men and women are exactly alike? Should we ignore any differences which do appear, pretending that we are the same? Should we focus only on our similarities, even if differences do seem evident? What is the most likely path beyond our all too familiar battles?
In answering this significant question I observe that while ignoring differences may lead to temporary harmony, it does not make them go away. Differences unfaced remain as differences. Even when we hide them, they remain present, continuing to be the source of potential conflict. For example, ignoring the aggressive nature of males or the female inclination toward mothering does not eliminate the differences; it only drives them underground, with predictable eruptions later, often involving conflict.
Such unfaced differences, instead of going away, tend to be acted out in either genetic or habitual ways. Each gendered inclination has its own natural or learned means of expression. Aggressiveness tends to be expressed in fighting; nurturing in helping. When we ignore these inclinations, they are likely to emerge in either their natural forms of behavior, or else in learned ways of acting. For example, when normal aggressive inclinations are denied, one may learn to express the same impulses in passive ways. Active aggression is replaced by passive aggression. Instead of hitting, the person may learn to win by turning the other cheek. But aggression, being genetic, remains. When unfaced, the urge will predictably appear in either its natural or learned form.
Nurturing inclinations may likewise be ignored in their more natural form of actual mothering; but when so, they become predictable in other learned ways, such as, taking care of pets or plants. The point is, ignoring a real genetic inclination does not eliminate it, but rather leaves its predictable expression in its most primitive or earliest learned form of expression. Often, of course, these are effective; but sometimes they provide the weapons for the battle of the sexes. And then, without the choice of the participants. Genes and habits dictate the ensuing wars.
Only faced differences bring, with the facing, any possibility of choice in response. Otherwise, biology and early learning will dictate. When we see, then we may, and I emphasize may, begin to choose courses of action more likely to result in cooperation than war. But only when we see. Improvement is certainly not guaranteed by insight, but change is highly unlikely without it.
This possibility of progress through faced facts is the strongest reason for looking at gender differences. Once we see, then we have options not available when we live by impulse and habit alone. Vision can widen our world.
Insight, of course, brings its own dangers. Understanding can be used to excuse irresponsible behavior as well as serve as a basis for change. "Oh, its just my genes acting up." Facts can also be mustered as improved weapons in the battle between the sexes, that is, to hurt as well as help. "Here comes your mothering instinct again." Gathering more data may substitute for using that which we already have. These and other dangers of insight must be weighed, however, against the risks of operating without it.
Guilt and pride are two such likely risks. Society and religion, for pragmatic reasons of their own, often team up in opposition to, or affirmation of, certain gender differences which either threaten or support these institutions. Sexual promiscuity, for example, is an obvious threat to most social structures, while nurturing is an asset both to religion and society. Predictably then, the first is judged as bad, the second as good. When these social and religious values are accepted, then individuals are likely to feel ashamed of inclinations toward that which is taken to be bad, and proud of activities judged to be good.
Genetic inclinations which would reasonably be morally neutral then become the basis for guilt and pride, two dangerous enemies of positive living. Men are likely to feel guilty for their natural impulses, while women may feel proud of theirs, each responding unreasonably to their own gendered heritage. Such shame or pride, being rooted in institutions rather than reality, may seriously undermine an individual's pursuit of happiness.
When, however, these and other gender differences are faced and accepted, instead of acted-out without inspection, one may find relief from the pangs of such false guilt, and freedom from the self-righteousness of such false pride. The possibility of such relief and freedom becomes aother significant reason for examining gender differences.
The resulting self acceptance for an individual who makes these moves also opens the door to greater acceptance of other persons still caught in the webs of shame and pride emerging from denied gender differences. Since acceptance is a major element in love, the possibility of moving beyond the battle of the sexes into a dimension of cooperation and even caring, is greatly enhanced by a course which begins with looking.
It will be obvious to the reader, as it probably was before beginning this introduction, that I affirm the possibly positive value of examining gender differences. But that I affirm looking does not mean that I believe insight to be magic. Academic understanding may help; yet it is of limited value, indeed, with its own dangers as noted above. Even so, considering its alternative, it becomes, I think, a venture well worth the risks. Konner is correct: The truth may not be helpful. But he stops short, I think, in his conclusion. The concealment of it not only cannot be; it is an even greater danger.
On these premises, let us proceed to look further at certain of our differences I have glimpsed, or bumped into, so far.
Bruce Evans, 1991
Man: "I think; therefore I am."
Woman: "I feel that I am."
A man who was a philosopher, as males are inclined to be, made the first statement--from his head--the heart of his knowledge. No woman would ever say such a thing. First of all, it's logical; second, it is wrong--for her.
She, were she to philosophize--which she will seldom do--might say the quote which I give her, straight from her heart. Obviously it is not from the head, as any man would recognize. First, it's illogical; second, it is wrong--for him.
The reasons? Men, identified with their thinking, come from their heads. Easily they make statements ("I think..."), and draw logical conclusions ("...therefore, I am."). Women, identified with their feelings, come from their hearts. Easily they avoid making statements. Don't their obvious feelings amply evidence that they are? Why bother with saying it? Logic only distracts from self-evident facts--to them.
Seldom do women understand man's powerful connection between his thoughts and himself. Such an event is as rare as a man's grasping the equally powerful connection between a woman's feelings and herself. How can she know that her dismissal of his "silly thoughts" is as earth-shaking to him as his repudiation of her "silly feelings" is devastating to her?
Apparently she can't, and he can't; consequently, we miss each other all too often.
WAY TO HEART
The way to a man's heart,
Less obvious is the way
For success, at least temporarily, feed--or make love--to a man. Identified with his body, he thinks you love him if you do bodily things, like fix meals or make love to him.
But with women the path is different. No old sayings, like, "the way to a man's...," guide us. So here's a new one: "The way to a woman's heart," a later wag has said, "is through her ear."
For success, at least temporarily, talk lovingly--or love--a woman. Identified with her mind rather than her body, she is more apt to take "sweet nothings" (what a terrible name!) more personally, than "many touchings." Better, of course, if they're real, as they slip through her ear to tickle her mind.
Bodily-oriented-men, as we all are beneath our protestations to the contrary, want you to think we're strong. To compliment us, note our muscles, even if they're sometimes hard to find. Mentally-oriented-women, sometimes protesting too much also, prefer that you think they're smart. Compliment their thinking more than their looks, if you wish them to take you personally.
Projecting, erroneously, bodily-oriented-men try to get personal through affirming women's bodies; just as do mentally-oriented-women who ignore men's bodies and try instead to get men to talk (as they themselves would prefer).
To correct these errors remember: men identify with body and use their minds; women identify with mind and use their bodies. And not vice versa. On the way to heart, in case you want to go, its wiser to withdraw your projections and remember our actual differences--that men respond more readily to signs of sex, women to words of love.
Come on now, have a heart! You know it's true.
Truth, to a man,
Truth, to a woman
Words and facts are mental and physical symbols--that is, things which represent perceptions and emotions (sights and feelings). Feelings are emotional responses to what has been perceived.
When a woman feels like something is true, the facts are relatively irrelevant. Logical arguments, in which facts are presented, are of small consequence to women. This is one reason why men seldom win an argument with a woman.
Because truth is emotional and subjective for women, words have emotional rather than factual meanings. There are no dictionary definitions. "Eight o'clock," for example, is an objective fact for a man, a time that can be objectively defined. For a woman, "Eight o'clock" is a feeling state, not a definite time. "I'll be ready at eight o'clock,'" for instance, means: "If I feel ready when the clock strikes eight, I'll be ready."
Even this chapter (and book) will be distasteful to women because it draws lines, attempts definition on an objective rather than a subjective basis.
Women fight definition, while men seek it. Men err when they project and try to define women (as they would be themselves), as when men ask, "Will you or won't you?" Women err equally when they seek to free men from their definitions.
Men, at first, are drawn to women
In time, however, the tables often
Eros, in myth, is a young male, erotic (sexy); Psyche, in the same tales, is a girl. Etymologically, she is soul (psycho-logy is soul-knowledge). Eros, the boy, having sexuality but needing soul, is drawn to Psyche who already has it; Psyche, the young female with sexuality repressed, needs Eros to awaken this deeper part of herself.
In consort the illusion of personal completion is created. His own sexuality is experienced with her, and through her he finds soul; with him, her own heart throbs, and through him she discovers the throbbing of body also.
For a time.
But the hidden agenda, not yet faced, is personal wholeness, not projected capture. Having a soul--hers as his--is finally inadequate. Deeply, every boy turning man wants his own soul, not merely hers for him. Nor can a girl settle, in time, for her own sexuality projected on to Eros. She, in finding her larger self, wants to be sexual, nor merely have access to it "out there" in him.
Also, in the course of the rubs of relating, all projections, like brake shoes, begin to squeak and wear thin. She tires of being a sexual object and develops headaches, etc. Bearing his soul for him becomes a burden. She begins to want him to feel for himself, to quit depending on her for warmth and heart.
He too begins to grate under the load of total responsibility for sex in the relationship. Her projected passion which at first delighted him, enhancing his own, becomes an onus in time. He begins to want her to be sexually responsible, not depending on him to awaken her passion. The hidden flame, which drew the young male moth, begins to burn the wings of the emerging man. He longs to fly again.
His coolness, which first drew out her greater warmth, becomes irritating to her, inviting instead her own coldness. Her denied passions, which excited his sense of challenge in courtship, eventually cool his ardor in marriage.
Still in the dark about shadows, each begins to wonder what they saw in the other. If unlucky, they merely part, to begin looking anew, eventually to be burned again; if fortune smiles on them, they keep wondering until the hidden agenda emerges into the light.
Then, for another time, the tables are turned: love begins to matter to him; making love, to her--which, predictably threatens them both. She gets bothered about him invading her territory of soft emotions; he loses interest as she gets bolder in bed.
If, however, each perseveres on the path past sex and soul, on toward Agape, the Kingdom of Wholeness, love eventually is born again, as are they.
Women are kitchen magicians;
Through generations of training, women, pretending to be "just housewives," have conditioned men to believe that food magically appears whenever men are hungry--and well-prepared at that. The kitchen became the female Kiva, off-limits to men. There the mysterious potions, like meat loaf and mashed potatoes, were brewed in secrecy, leaving men only free to wonder how they did it, to complain when they were slow, and, occasionally, to wash a dish or two, ineptly, after the table ritual ended.
Men, during this same time, carefully trained women to believe that sex, like food, magically appears whenever women are hungry--and far too often, for women's tastes, when they were not. Magicians of the bedroom, men became, apparently with instantaneous and effortless preparations for the trips to Temporary Paradise. To women, sex appeared as mysteriously "out of the blue" as did food to men.
That's the good news, even if it's old.
But the bad news is that while enjoying their magical powers in the kitchen, women got tired of all the associated responsibilities, as did the men who had acted as possessive of bedroom rights as women had of dispensing kitchen "privileges."
Unfortunately millennia of training isn't any easier to undo than is giving up the magical powers each has laboriously acquired. So when women want men to take a little responsibility--maybe a lot--in the kitchen, the desire may loom ominous to the untrained male, just as is often so for the woman, so long denied access to bedroom magic.
Maybe though, with patience and practice, we can both learn the magic of the other, perhaps moving more fully into our shared houses--dare I say homes?
Nothing is more normal
Unless it is face fixing
Attraction has two hidden parts: ing and ed; attracting and attracted go together to make attraction. These two distinct elements find themselves neatly tucked away in the genes of each gender. Eons of evolution have successfully ingrained the urges which initiate the continuation of the species.
Attracting is as instinctive in females as being attracted is in males. From earliest age till latest, the female of the species is driven to fixing her face--plus more. Tiny lassies play with make-up, not to mention walking with a wiggle, and grande dames, long past menopause, still douse perfume, go to the hair dresser--wearing make-up of course (as a matter-of-course-of-nature, that is).
Maleness, on the opposite side of attraction, is equally driven (we don't have to be invited or trained) to being attracted--that is, to looking, smelling, and touching every chance we get (and some we don't). We are as impelled to being turned on by you as you are to doing your part in turning on the world in general and us in particular.
Even when our ethics and conscious sense of ourselves are to the contrary (ask Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker), still our genes guide our minds and eyes toward your attracting. We may, with training and moral compunction succeed in keeping our hands in our pockets (hands have more nerve directors and are therefore more subject to conscious control), but not the brains which incline them--at least without serious mental problems.
And you of our opposite gender, with your own opposite genes, may also play your genetic role without thinking--at least consciously, of what you are doing. Ask a woman why she fixes her face to go to the grocery store at midnight and she's apt to say, "Oh, I just do"--and she does, as though it needed no explanation, which it doesn't. If confronted with the notion that she is attracting attention, she will likely deny, because she, consciously, is not. She is only "doing what comes naturally." We both "just do" what we do.
Unfortunately, for men at least, the female part of attraction is the only half which gets good social press. Of an old woman fixing her face so as to be attracting, we are apt to approve: "Isn't it wonderful that she still takes care of herself." We smile indulgently at old ladies in red slacks and lipstick to match.
But when her 80 year old counterpart is "caught" (note the implied crime) with his complementary instincts revealed--being attracted, as in ogling girls or, heaven forbid, touching one, he is immediately branded a "dirty old man." Sorry guys; too bad about that.
Society, like nature, deals each gender a different hand. But the social press--approving hers and putting down on his--notwithstanding, nature's system still seems fine to me. I can't imagine any two better parts for the wonder of attraction than your ing and our ed.
Oops, 'scuse me now; there goes a pretty girl.
A man's deeds
To compliment a man
Afterward, whatever the ward may be, man's primary concern is "How'd I do." Woman, coming from another land where performance is less important than emotions, is far more concerned with how she feels about what she did than how she did it.
Languishing silently in the emotions of the moment matters more to her than stopping to evaluate skills, either his or hers. In fact, the same turn-ons to him--compliments about performance, may be turn-offs to her: they sound insensitive to feelings. She'd rather hear about how good he feels being with her than about how well she did.
One spin-off is that men, less influenced by feelings, can handle emotionally laden situations, like disciplining a child, more forthrightly than women. On the other hand, women, less subject to performance anxiety or threat of failure, can often do more work than men, so long, of course, as the emotional waters are calm.
Wiser men, understanding these differences, avoid looking to women for affirmation of their deeds. They never ask, silently or aloud, "How'd I do?," at least of a woman. Instead, they speak, if at all, of how they feel.
Equally astute women, recognizing man's attention to deeds and ignor-ance of emotions, avoid asking, "How do you feel?," especially of a man. Instead, such men evaluate their own performances and remain attentive to a woman's feelings; while their counterparts enjoy their own feelings and note, approvingly, any artistry a man may have shown.
Sometimes then, they meet, coming and going, doing and feeling.
"All you men ever think about,"
Well, not exactly "all," but often; about once every 5-7 minutes according to one survey I read. Women, on the other hand, seem to be able to go for days without it ever crossing their minds, or so I have also been told.
Which, as problematic as it sometimes becomes, is, I believe, as it should be. You've got security to think about instead, which is as important to you baby-makers as sex is to us sperm-spreaders. Besides, why should you ever think about it when you've got us to think about it for you?
"Preoccupied" is the word another wife used to describe her husband. Probably accurate too, from her perspective, though I've never heard a husband who agreed with such a proverbial wife. "You only want one thing," she added in her distressed concern about their "communication problems."
Well, again, not exactly "one" only, but one much. As an old college expression (male, of course) noted: "You can think about more than you can get." Which, predictably, thinking as often as we do, becomes true.
Whatever the reasons or statistical truth may be, the fact that males are far more conscious about sex than are females seems to be true. Consciousness about sex should not, however, be taken as synonymous with being sexual. Nor should the apparent fact that females think about it less be taken to mean that they are less sexual. Maybe you are more sexual, but just leave thinking about it up to us males, leaving yourselves free to concentrate on more important (to you) matters--like security--confident that we guys will do the necessary thinking.
Also, as all females who've paid attention for long know, we mentally "preoccupied" males who "think about more than we can get" are often more sexual in our minds than in the bedroom. We think/talk bigger than we turn out to be. Conversely, the more observant males (there are fewer of them) may see that females who "never think about it" are often more sexual than they consciously realize. "They want more than they think about," we might paraphrase, though the quote is not likely to become popular.
Which leads to a consideration of our converse homework in the School of Personhood: males, before we graduate as persons, will need, it seems to me, to become as conscious about security as we already are about sex. We will need to add "occupation with loving" to our preoccupation with making love," achieving a balance between the two.
And you females, if I dare be so presumptuous, will need to open your minds to more awareness of what you generally leave to us to think about. Hopefully without slipping into our "preoccupation," you may add consciousness about making love to your "occupation with loving."
Perhaps then, we will begin to love each other, past our differing preoccupations.
Under cover of sex
Under cover of love
Both sex and love count in good living. None of us are complete without each of these wondrous human capacities. Without love, sex is but an effective half of the procreation process; without sex, the love half is sterile and lacking. We both need them both.
How we go about finding them, however, differs radically for each gender. Men go toward love through the door of sex, while women move toward sex through the portals of love.
Given our differing biological heritages--males to be the sperm-spreaders, females, the baby-makers, men are geared for intercourse (getting the baby started), women for tending (keeping the baby going): sex and love, as we have come to call these different but essential roles in reproduction.
But we are more than procreators. Within the deeper domains of human capacity lie the roots of creation also; driven to make babies, we yearn to become more fully human too. This means to find what is missing within ourselves.
Each gender wants not only what it has, but also what is missing--and to find it in the easiest possible way. Since sex is easier for males and love for females, and since males seem to be more sexual and females more loving, men reasonably turn to women for what is missing within themselves. And vice versa.
But fearing the unknown, as all humans seem to do, each gender needs a magical cloak to protect it in the search for its missing part. Not yet daring to confess our deeper yearnings, we need a cover story for the search.
Safer with sex, as males are, and more comfortable with love, as females are, we understandably take our own security blankets on our perilous quests. We males, often denying--even to ourselves, how much we long for love, may cloak our search with sex. We often appear, as fooled females also think, to "only want one thing."
And women, so often unconscious of your own urges toward ecstasy, can just as reasonably shield yourselves from the naked power of sex by draping it in the softer robes of love, often fooling us as well.
And why shouldn't we? As scary as the unknown is, don't we deserve a cover story while we explore?
Women exhibit themselves,
Men dress themselves,
Women want the lights on, and brightly, while they put on their makeup; after that, soft lights are more than enough. Men can get dressed in the dark, but prefer to undress, especially women, with the florescents flickering. Women may sometimes begrudgingly oblige them, but they are much more comfortable undressing in the dark.
Women spend hours preparing to exhibit themselves to the public; rarely, though, do they become exhibitionists. Only men need laws to protect themselves, as well as women, from wearing raincoats with no underwear. Men, more tempted to expose themselves, dress mostly for women who seldom find male exposure very funny. Women exhibit mostly for effect, while preferring to cover themselves. Even if a woman in a bikini should break a law about exhibitionism, a male cop would rarely arrest her as speedily as a female cop might go after a man in only a raincoat.
A woman may, in very safe circumstances, unclothe herself on her own choice; pity, though, the man who tries to force her. Women are as diligent in trying to get men to dress up as men are in trying to get women to undress. Rarely will a woman try to undress a man. 'Tis a pity.
As with bodies, so with minds: men want to tell you what they think, to explain things--to expose their grey matter also, no matter how boring or mundane it may seem to women. Women want, or so it seems to men, to conceal their minds as well as their bodies: they want to keep you guessing. Just when a man thinks he knows what a woman wants, she changes her mind. To further complicate the matter, women even dare to keep themselves in the dark also. "Let's wait and see," they tell us as well as themselves--something a man has a hard time doing.
Mooning--sorry about this, guys, is fairly well limited to men; dressing up--sorry gals, is mostly a female phenomenon.
Men wonder: "How'd I do?"
Because: Men care more about performance,
Being liked matters to both genders; the way we like to be liked, however, is different. Men are more concerned with productivity--the effectiveness of things, including themselves. Women focus more on the appearance of things, especially themselves.
Performance anxiety, a feeling of threat about accomplishments, is far more common in males than in females. Women rarely understand why men get so upset about a simple inability to perform--simple, that is, to them, but very complicated to men, who take such simple-to-her, failures-to- him, personally.
"I can't" is literal to a man: his "can't" is about himself, who-he-is, not merely some act which he does. Impotency, though familiar and therefore less scary to femininity, is the ultimate threat to masculinity.
Conversely, men seldom understand the immense threat which women feel about losing their looks. Since looks are relatively unrelated to productivity, as far as men are concerned, they have a hard time seeing past their own noses. "She spends hours fixing her face," an impatient male complains, reflecting his ignorance about the primal importance of attractiveness to females. "We're just going to the movie," he thinks--just to him, but not to her.
Her self, as she conceives herself to be, is always on the line when she goes out. Visible, she--who-she-is, is at stake, just as he, when performing, is personally on the line. She never just goes to the movie, or out anywhere, even to the grocery store at midnight; whenever she appears, she is at risk, as surely as he, whenever he performs, no matter what, is in personal danger.
Rare is the male, as smart as he may be in other ways, who truly grasps the deep significance of attract-ability to females; about as rare as the woman who understands why men get so upset about perform-ability.
Rare as they are, though, they are the ones who can bridge the gender gap. Such men are more apt to say, "You look good," to a woman, who, in turn will probably say, "You did good," to a man; at least when they love.
(Plus Their Sidekicks: Anger & Fear)
Men are better at passion
Women are better at sadness
And so with anger and fear.
Physical rape is real; so is molestation--in fact, both are all too common. There truly are vicious, as well as dirty, old (and young) men. All "rapes" and "molestations," however, aren't real. Under cover of the names, some innocent feminine capacities often lie carefully cloaked, namely, desire and anger.
A woman's unfaced violence and passion are like homeless puppies in the pet store, waiting for someone to rescue them. The natural, but unwitting urges of similarly innocent men toward aggression and sex are all-too-often selected as adopting parents.
Such a woman's anger projected on such a man's aggression can as easily become, "He tried to hurt me," as can her passion mirrored in his sexiness become, "He tried to rape me." A man's natural impulse to touch femininity all too often volunteers, unwisely, for a girl's emerging, but yet denied, sexuality.
On the other side of the gender fence, "emotional rape" is also real; so is "molestation" of the heart. Easily occurring female tears, like overt male erections, are often used in the covert abuse of men who are yet to confront their own fears and sadness. A man trapped in the powerful grasp of his own unaccepted feelings is always vulnerable to the emotional abuse of females who so readily (as readily as men get mad and sexy) cry and cringe without personal threat.
Women's ease with fear, for example, of roaches, rats, and the dark, easily tempts them to an equally innocent "molestation" of emotionally naive men, all too eager to hide their own through "saving" women from theirs. And many a man has been viciously driven to intolerable heights of bravery under threat of a woman's tears, which such men think they can't stand.
Fortunately for men, at least in the long run, rape and molestation of the body are illegal. Men have outside forces to help protect them from themselves. Unfortunately for women, emotional rape and molestation of the heart are socially acceptable. No laws protect females from the abuses of the covert powers of tears and fears gone rampant.
Which doesn't, of course, mean that all women who get scared and sad with men mean to rape their hearts, any more than that all men who get sexy and mad with women mean to rape their bodies. Often the naivete of each, combined with an incredible urge toward conscious wholeness, results in the daily tragedies which spring from our innocent projections on each other.
Dogs bark loudly and
As with men and skirts.
But when they stop
Back when men were men and women, I suppose, were women, skirt-chasing was in. Still is, of course, but Women's Lib has revised the race, adding a few new hurdles to the course.
Dogs don't bark as loudly when cars slow down; nor do men when skirts... The same grass on this side of the fence (to mix my metaphors) is never so green. Straining at the leash can change radically when the leash is gone. Women's Lib is freeing women from, among other things, any illusions of Male Sexual Omnipotence: Always-want-to, Always-ready, and Always-can (held, of course, primarily by men).
Men too are being dis-illusioned, painfully, about the innate power of women to turn them on, as well as their own supposedly insatiable lusts. Swishing skirts slowed down, like green grass when the fence is gone, or straining without a leash, have a surprising effect on male eagerness. Many a John Wayne on the prairie turns out to be a Casper Milktoast in his own back yard, not to mention disinterested in the bedroom.
Which brings us to the challenge females face, along with the males who dare to face them, when women venture into the strange new world of Sexual Initiative. Gone, for openers, is the barking dog who formerly went wild when she swished her skirt (mixing my metaphors again). Instead, she often finds, disappointingly, a puppy dog lying beside her, who even begins to get headaches, as she once did.
When men start turning away, women need to forget what they once thought about the male animal's Singular Interest, and learn what men had to while they were chasing skirts and barking loudly; namely: Persist, but Go Slow, pretending you're not.
And men must learn, when women start coming on to them, what women knew long ago: Fake it at first, while you learn to relax, embracing the capacity to receive as well as put out.
women's unfaced sexuality;
In the beginning, women project their sexual powers onto men, while men likewise credit women with their own ignored emotions. Women mistakenly believe that men "are only interested in one thing," while equally blind men think women "don't care about sex." These same women think their men are "hard hearted," while their men see them as "cry babies."
Beneath the surface, men aren't as sexual as they appear, nor are women as emotional as men think. Men feel more than they acknowledge, while women are sexier than they pretend not to be. Women are not as frigid, nor men as heartless, as appearances commonly indicate.
Mostly we see our own sexual and emotional shadows in the mirror of our opposite genders. Because it is useful, at least at first, each goes along with the illusions and projections of the other. Men smile at women's assumptions about men's singular interests; it caters to their masculine pride and lets them off the hook of becoming emotionally honest. Women are delighted for men to believe that they are scared-to-death by bugs and can't keep from crying. "Big brave men" then kill all the roaches and are easily manipulated by normal tears.
So long as men believe that women "could care less" about sex, men gallantly (if begrudgingly) take all the initiative and responsibility for bedroom events. And while women think that men "are unfeeling," they bring up all the emotional subjects, not to mention getting up at night with crying babies which "uncaring" men don't even hear.
Meanwhile, the hidden time bombs tick away. Her smoldering passions and his repressed feelings, crying out, like all human capacities, for expression, lie waiting for an inopportune time to explode. Before the blow up occurs, she will likely begin to chip away at his sexuality--trying to reduce his rather than face hers. He will no doubt begin to put down on her emotionality which attracted him to her to begin with--rather than face his own fears and tears.
Until enough is enough.
Then, predictably, the explosion comes. After which we all-too-often split, rather than face the more challenging options of growing up: women becoming sexual, men emotional--defusing the time bombs which threaten our extended happiness together.
Men sometimes think that women only want to talk about clothes and babies while equally erroneous women think that men only want to talk about sports and hunting. Past our differing interests, women often think that "men won't talk to us," while men think that "women won't listen to us."
Mistakenly, we sometimes believe that it's all about subjects, speaking, and hearing. "If only men would share themselves," women bemoan; "If only women would understand us," men complain with equal ignorance.
Not so. Ten cents on the dollar for subjects and hearing, or the lack of sharing and understanding; ninety cents for the inherently opposing ways of talking which we naively try to mix without compromise. True, men find it easier to talk about sports, women about clothes; also true that many men are gunshy about emotional talk, and many women unskilled in logical understanding; but untrue that our "communication problems" mainly arise from these obvious facts.
Beneath the level of subjects, sharing, and hearing, lies the true culprit: our naturally different modes of talking which are inherently in opposition to one another--in spite of how much we as individual men and women may want to talk to each other.
Competitive men quite naturally want to talk competitively; cooperative women, equally true to their genes, want to talk cooperatively. Competition and cooperation, inherently at odds with each other, predictably butt heads. Men want to argue; women want to share. Point-making men, also gene directed, want to make points when they talk. Picture-seeing women want to describe what they see--to which men understandably ask: "What's the point?," while women wonder why men can't "get the big picture."
Line-drawing males, whether in the dust or talk, must leave many things out, in order to draw clean lines. They are always in trouble, conversationally speaking, with circle-drawing women who, having to include everything, must erase men's lines as soon as they are drawn. To a man's, "It's a fact...," a women cannot but say, "Yes, but..."
And so on.
Changing subjects, even men learning to "share feelings" and women to "understand," will never be enough to solve our communication problems. For that, we must learn to compromise.
Men, growing up,
Women, in the same quest,
Men are driven to seek trophies--signs which affirm their skills of body and mind. Trophies for the shelf affirm a man's physical prowess; the understanding of others affirms his mental feats. For both body and mind, men need the affirmation of others. Their power requires acknowledgment before they know it exists.
Their touchdowns, magnified in spiking, need the crowd's roar and scoreboard's record in order to matter. A victory in an empty stadium is nothing to a man. Likewise, with their mental "touchdowns,"--feats of mind; their ideas need the recognition and understanding of others before they have meaning to the men who think them. Their beliefs must be shared; their books read.
The deeper truth is that men need the affirmation of others in order to know they exist, while women, already knowing they exist, are threatened by compliments which force them to see and acknowledge the facts.
Women don't mind having trophies, but don't want them sitting out on a shelf in the living room. They are embarrassed, not affirmed, in having their feats displayed. Even if they've worked for hours to present a good appearance, they don't enjoy being make a focal point of attention. "Oh, it's nothing, really," they easily lie, evading the accolades for their dressing table performances.
Men, like the Fiddler on the Roof, need verbal affirmation. "But do you love me?," he asks his wife of many years, who wants her labors of cooking and tending to speak for themselves. Women, conversely, want to be shown, not just told. My Fair Lady sings, "If you're in love, show me." Words are never enough for a woman. Not that they don't enjoy hearing them, especially in private or to recall later; but what they truly want are signs of assurance, like fidelity, support, and a listening ear. Words are only icing on the cake. Bread comes first. Or so they prefer.
Before a man becomes his larger self, he must embrace his feminine capacity for self-affirmation, for enjoying his own touchdowns when the stadium is empty, his own ideas when no one understands. He must learn to be honestly present without seeking to impress anyone, intent on self-revelation rather than garnering the accolades of others, trying to be himself publicly rather than get somebody to see him. We Fiddlers, on the roof or off, must learn to read the actions of women, without requiring women to say so.
Before a woman becomes her larger self, she must accept her denied masculine capacity for standing exposed in the world, at least acceptive of compliments--verbal trophies, if not actively seeking them. To her already embraced knowledge that she "is," she must learn to stand, without threat, the public acknowledgement which men so actively seek and must learn not to.
My Fair Lady, without giving up her preference for signs-which-show, must also learn to comfortably stand-out herself.
Facts are as irritating
Jack Webb, as only a man could, often said on Dragnet: "I just want the facts, ma'am." No woman would ever be so exclusive in her request. Even if she wants the facts too, she also wants the feelings associated with them, not to mention to remain aware of all the exceptions to the so-called "facts."
All these latter matters--the mishmash of facts, feelings, and exceptions--are only confusing to us guys. They come too close to fusion--melting things together--which we find not only difficult, but threatening as well. We want to divide things up, separate them out, so we can deal with them one at a time. Fusing things is just too confusing!
The confusing nature of facts to women, we men should more humbly note, is not because you are simple-minded; but rather because you are complex-minded. It is the relatively simplistic nature of the way we men think (on a train track, one fact at the time) that attracts us to facts. Facts help us avoid the threat of fusion, of being swallowed up in the profundity of data.
Women, conversely, more complex-minded, are easily able to deal with a multitude of facts at the same time. What you find difficult is being forced, as our "facts" require, to omit any of the exceptions which we men necessarily do.
We, in our factual manner, want to know: "Does blue go with green?" You, unfortunately for us, can only answer, if you are honest enough to risk our consternation, "It all depends." You Jills seldom seem to realize how confusing your ability to handle such a vast amount of information about color is to us Jacks who "just want the facts, ma'am."
While men are drawn to eliminate "extraneous" data in order to support our fragile "facts," women are equally compelled to include all "exceptions," lest, like your own diverse offspring, one exceptional child be left out.
All too often, for harmony's sake, our quest for facts runs head long into the brick wall of your fusion of information. Or is the reverse?
These illogical facts are true because women and men are required to leave the security of their own identified worlds in these opposite processes. Women, forced toward clarity, must exit the dark realm of feelings where their security lies, just as men, entering that same world, must leave the safety which they find in sense.
Men naturally try to lead women into the light, where they themselves feel more comfortable. Women, wanting to be close, often try to follow, only to find themselves feeling overwhelmed the farther they move from the emotional world with which they are identified. Women, understandably, want men to join them in their familiar world of feelings. Men too, wanting to please, may attempt to join them, only to find themselves disoriented as they move from the logical realm of facts where they feel at home.
Men seldom understand that the cloudy realm of feelings, which they fear entering, is the very place from which women come. Nor do women, unimpressed by the structures of sense-making, seem to grasp the immense comfort which men find in the orderly confines of reason. Naturally then, neither easily understands the resistance which the other has toward crossing over the dividing line between emotions and logic.
In our ignorance, men err by trying to force clarity on women, to make them understand, or be sensible, while women make the opposite error of obscuring the facts, attempting to drag men too speedily into the dark realm of emotions where only they feel at home.
Not that women don't want to be clear; they simply want to enter the light at their own pace, seeing when they feel safe enough to look without loss of emotional stability. Nor, as it often appears to women, do men want to be unfeeling; they simply want to carefully enter the murky world of emotions when they are safely girded with the armor of understanding.
Meanwhile, we miss--not only each other, but the delights of the realms we strive to avoid.
The male animal, normally,
The female animal, his "better half,"
He attends to himself;
Divorced fathers have a way of forgetting child-support payments which is, literally, unthinkable to mothers who have a way of forgetting themselves which is admirable but equally unthinkable to the husbands who left them.
"How can they be so selfish?," one such abandoned single parent asked, voicing them all. In the midst of the guilt cloaking his honesty, her abandoner may also be wondering, "How can they be so selfless? I could never do it."
Selflessness is as hard for men as selfishness is for women. We guys, genetically geared for getting there--which requires being selfish (an unselfish sperm who put others first, which none is yet evolved to do, would certainly die), must learn, if we are lucky, to add the virtue of putting others first. It doesn't come naturally.
You gals, conversely, already there, but geared for putting first the child which results from our getting there, must also learn, if you are to survive our forgetting, to add the values accruing from putting yourself first. And it won't be easy, since it doesn't come naturally for you.
But then He never promised us a rose garden when He assigned our separate roles in the reproductive drama and said, "Be fruitful, and multiply." The thorns came with it.
Returning to Eden requires, it seems to me, a remarriage between the all-too-commonly divorced selfishness of men and selflessness of women. Somehow we must find the faith to get together again if we want to return from whence we came--the Garden of Pleasure, that is.
Maleness, mostly, is illegal;
Femaleness, fortunately, is safe;
A large kingdom only needs one king but many loyal subjects. The virtues of kings--warring, winning, and pillaging--being above the law, are the vices of subjects, who must cooperate and share, keeping the law. In the overall economy of societies, a little "kinging" goes a long way. In fact, one is about all a kingdom can stand.
Maleness, with its inclinations toward competing and killing, trying to be King of the Mountain--and everything else, not to mention girl-getting and sperm-spreading, is generally dangerous to any society already established.
The female inclinations toward belonging, cooperating, being faithful, and keeping peace--paddling together rather than making waves, are far more fitting for any social group. Maleness is fine for the jungle, for getting a tribe started, but once the society is going, femaleness is the main requirement.
Just as one male's five minutes of fun might theoretically fertilize 400 million ova--the maximum production of 166,666.67 females for an entire lifetime, so a tiny bit of maleness can satisfy the demands of a large society for a long time.
Past these minimal requirements, and once the laws are passed, bare masculinity becomes an irritant to the social group with more than one prospect for king. As ours has.
Result: Masculinity which is valued in the jungle becomes a vice once the streets are paved. Kings-in-the-making must be curtailed by laws against speeding, theft, insurrection, murder, and homicide, not to mention prohibitions on exhibitionism, fondling, molestation, crimes "against nature" and rape. Doing what comes naturally for men is not what makes for Citizen Of The Year. It takes the female virtues for that.
Consequently, maleness gets a necessary bum rap in society, while femininity is appropriately rewarded. Olive Oyl (social machinery needs you) and Wimpy fit in fine. But Popeye watch out (and Tarzan too).
Women, true to themselves,
Men, true to themselves,
"Good fences make good neighbors," Robert Frost wrote in his Mending Wall, as he, being a man, well might. His wife, if inclined to pontificate, which she wasn't, might have said: "Good chats make good neighbors." Women find walls divisive, not "Mending..." Fences, which keep us apart, are no fun to them.
In our ancient pasts, hunters, for practical reasons, kept their distance; gatherers, equally pragmatic, stayed close. So it is with their descendants. Men, true to themselves, are still inclined to keep space between each other. They remain good neighbors, not by chatting often, but by mending and keeping their fences--both stone and heart, intact.
But not their mates who share their space. They, perhaps deeply remembering when gatherers fared better by staying close, still want to take down the walls and get together. They want to meet and talk and share, not glance occasionally across the "good" fence, shouting an impersonal "Hi there." "Come on over," they prefer to say, "Let's have a cup of tea and tell the news."
Men want to know the news, but they prefer to read it in the newspaper, which they often do at the breakfast table, which women call "retreating," which, indeed, it would be for them. If women do read at the table, it is to find news to share, or because the men won't talk to them. If men don't read, it is mostly to please the women who want to talk.
The conflict then, is predictable: men trying to protect their space; women trying to bring them into theirs; his virtue of distance bumping into her's of intimacy; his far vs. her near.
Fortunately we are both blessed with the capacity for compromise, which, when wise, we sometimes utilize.
Men are geared for killing;
Caring is a challenge for men;
Killing, plus all its antecedents--competition, aggression, fighting, and war--is natural for maleness. Caring, plus all its related activities--cooperation, peacefulness, tending, and healing--is equally innate in femaleness. Killing and caring are, I surmise, in our separate genes. We are born this way.
From sperm and ovum to death and dying, we come and go with these opposite inclinations. Show a sperm a fallopian tube or a man a mountain; it or he will struggle for the ovum or peak. Ask why? Lamely the bearer and climber will answer, if honest: because it's there. It's there alright, there in the genes. No need to explain the dangers.
Show an ovum a sperm or a woman a baby; it or she will immediately begin to make a peaceful place and yearn to tend and care. Ask why? Lamely, she may reply: because it needs me. No need to explain that her house is full already. Her genes are deaf to rhyme and reason.
But if a man attempts to add caring to his killing, or a woman to add killing to her caring, watch out. He'll forget to change the diaper; she'll tell secrets to the enemy. He'll be too rough; she, too gentle. Finally, he'll kill his own offspring; she'll take her worst enemy to her bosom.
No wonder we need each other.
Men, with their principles,
Principles become rules, which may provide safety and ease in deciding, but, inevitably, they restrict freedom. By definition, rules exclude. Mercy, on the other hand, by its very nature, is beyond rules. Freedom is inherent in this state of rule-less-ness.
When men are bound by principles, and women are possessed by mercy, freedom is up for grabs. It can go either way. Men, from their abstract towers of principled justice, seem able to dispense or withhold freedom. If you break the rules, they can send you to jail; or, once restricted, they also have the power to set you free. Freedom, it would appear, is theirs to give or take.
Women, in their concrete places, beyond the authority of abstract principles, already have freedom. Of great concern to men, it is of small consequence to women. They are open to that eternal realm of liberty, to which freedom is but the door.
Then we meet. Men, territorial creatures that we are, often engage in dispensing justice--giving and withholding freedom to and from others, women included. Occasionally, when feeling benevolent, we grant freedoms to females.
Women, merciful mothers that you are, often play along with this male game. More often, you take liberties with the freedom you already have--enjoying yourselves, while frustrating the dickens out of us.
In their quests,
When their money doesn't work
We accuse each other
It's natural to do things the easiest way. Since money--plus what it buys--is often effective in influencing women, and sex--plus how it feels--can frequently wield power with men, we understandably tend to use them in reaching for our personal goals with each other.
So long as they work, we need not even think about it.
Sometimes, however, meals and flowers, even diamonds, don't work. Women take them, say thank you, and that's it. Likewise with the bedroom, plus all its antecedents. Men take you, say thank you, and go on their merry ways.
Then, of course, we get upset. Failing to achieve our goals is understandably disturbing, plus the fact that we don't like to throw our money or our sex away. So what shall we do?
Since seeing the faults of others is easier than facing our own, again we tend to take the path of least resistance. We get mad at each other, ignoring our own deceptions. We've "been used" we say, rather than admitting we were trying to use each other.
Were we wiser, we'd both face up; perhaps even love.
Men are seldom at home on earth;
Maleness is best symbolized with the sky; femaleness, with the earth. Men dream of flying and have long attempted to build flying machines. Paternal religions imagine heaven to be in the sky. Women, on the other hand, dream of bliss here, and have long attempted to build the House Beautiful. Maternal religions, should they ever arise again, would likely focus on peaceful earthly families. A female God would probably never think of flying.
Even in the house, men are seldom at home. They prefer the out-of-doors--the yard, the woods, the jungle, the frontier; the names change, but they all refer to "some-other-place," prerequisites to the sky. Wanderlust is a male characteristic. When a man has a day off, he works in the yard, goes fishing or hunting, or hangs around the office. Rarely does he want to "go home," because he doesn't feel at home there. If forced to stay at home, he soon gets restless. Retirement, with the prospect of staying at home, threatens males.
Women, conversely, love the house. Here they are most at home. Why should they want to "go somewhere." Speaking of the joys of the out-of-doors, a man said: "There's only one thing I'd rather do than duck hunt." His wife might have countered: "There's nothing I'd rather have than a beautiful home." Seldom, if ever, might these comments be gender-reversed.
Men mistakenly identify covert power
We both err often, but in opposite directions, when we confront the power of each other. Manpower, symbolized by the sword, is obvious--that is, overt. Womenpower, symbolized with the anvil, is less apparent. Covertly, it hides.
Coming from our opposite places, with opposing powers, we easily misjudge our counterparts. The brandishing sword-swinger hops from his horse, his power evident; the patient anvil just sits there, her power hidden. He, predictably erring with his evidence, takes her covert power to be weakness, as indeed such silence would mean for him.
She, not immune to projecting her own experience either, errs equally. She would have to be strong to wave a sword so majestically. If he displays such obvious overt power, he must surely be possessed of great strength. Or so she thinks at the time. Marriage, however, to such a Prince Valiant, is likely to teach her another lesson.
The fact is, we each err when we imagine the other to be like ourselves. Her covert power only appears as weakness; his overt power only looks like strength. When we remain together, examining these appearances more carefully, we commonly discover that women are not as weak as they appear to be, nor are men as strong as their sword-wielding indicates.
The anvil often sheathes the sword.
Words are sacred to a man;
Men often fail to live up to what they say, just as women sometimes betray their emotions. Still, a man's word is more important to him than are his feelings, while a woman's feelings matter more to her than do her words. And not vice versa.
Ideally, words and feelings are important to each gender. Men also care about their emotions, and women's words matter to them. But when it comes to one or the other, when one must be sacrificed in favor of the other, men keep words on their altar; women bow down before feelings.
At such times, men discount feelings; women discount words. A man may say: "I see how you feel, but what do you mean?" A woman, conversely, is more likely to say, "I heard what you said, but how do you feel?" Each skips over what is less important to them, asking about what matters more.
Furthermore, women can more easily take words back. "It's a woman's prerogative." Men, likewise, can take feelings back. It's their option. Woman: "I know I said that, but what I meant was..." Man: "I felt like that then, but now I've changed."
The strongest connection for a man is between what-he-says and what-he-does. What-he-feels is less connected. The strongest connection for a woman is between what-she-feels and what-she-does. What-she-says is further removed.
If you get a man to commit himself verbally, to say "I will," you are more likely to get follow-through than if he simply has feelings about the matter. On the other hand, if a woman gets emotionally involved, she is more likely to perform than if she merely says "I will."
For instance, if a man says, "I'll meet you at 8," look for him then. If a woman says the same, don't look for her then unless she "feels ready."
But when she is emotionally ready, the time doesn't matter.
Men make love through sexual intercourse;
Women make love through social intercourse;
For man, sex is intimate; talk is just talk. For woman, talk is intimate; sex is just sex. Of the two types of intercourse, men are more likely to feel personal about sexual intercourse; women, about social intercourse.
Coming from such opposite places, men tend to contrive talk. If they are honest they may say: "Let's hurry the conversation and get to bed." Women, on the other hand, are more likely to contrive sex. Equally honest, they might say: "Let's hurry and get through doing it so we can talk."
Less honest, men, perceiving how women value conversation, may act talkative as a means of getting sex. Women, equally deceptive, may act sexy, trying to get men to talk to them. Men are more likely to use speech as a line to get sex, while women use sex as a means of getting around to talking.
If they have their way: men go to bed first, and maybe talk later; women talk first, and go to bed later, maybe. Men can't understand why women are so interested in talking and so resistant about sex. Nor can women grasp why men seem so preoccupied with sex and care so little about conversation.
Unless, of course, they read this book.
Women value security
With good biological reason, our values are different. Women, nature's baby-makers, properly place great weight on security. Mothers and babies require it. Men, nature's sperm-spreaders, are equally concerned with having sex. Fathering requires it. Sex, needed rarely for woman's biological heritage, is naturally less significant for her. Security, hardly relevant for man's role in reproduction, is secondary to him.
With these biologically different values we come together, predictably misunderstanding each other. Women wonder why men are "only interested in one thing." Men don't understand why women seem to "only want to talk." Men wonder why women care so much about safety. Women can't understand why men take so many chances.
It's in our genes.
Men are casual about sex,
Women are casual about feelings,
Men seldom understand how women can cry so easily yet be so reticent about having sex. With equal difficulty, women confront the paradox of how quickly men can hop in bed, yet be so slow about revealing any feelings.
It is because we come from different places in regard to emotions and sexuality. In a man's world, feelings can be extremely dangerous. Primitive man, in search of his prey, had to hide his fear least he fail. So with modern man. Emotions interfere with making money. Sex, however, is safer for him.
In a woman's world, the opposite conditions prevail. Emotions are invaluable in rearing children. Safely, women can feel together. Sex, however, is more dangerous. His romp in the hay may mean years of bondage for her.
So, in time, we naturally learn opposite lessons. Men learn to control their emotions while freeing their sexuality; women learn to free their feelings while controlling their sexuality.
Then we project our own experience, with the common confusion resulting. Men wonder why women are so afraid of sex. Women wonder why men are so afraid of feelings. Women wonder why men can't stand tears. Men wonder why women have so many headaches.
Small wonder, considering where we come from.
Men learn to act like they can,
Women learn to act like they can't,
Men don't learn to accept their weakness.
Society deals us different hands when it comes to playing strong and weak. Little boys, early, are taught to act tough, as though they can take it. "Big boys don't cry." Meanwhile, their sisters are affirmed in their weakness. Their tears are okay. After all, "she's only a girl."
By the time we reach adulthood, the lessons are ingrained. Girls have learned to be comfortable with their weakness, boys with their strength. Even when they can, grown girls find acting like they can't socially and personally acceptable. But not their big brothers. Can't is by then, very bad, for them. They must act as though they can, even when they can't.
Consequently, we find women feigning impotence--evidence to the contrary--while their male counterparts feign omnipotence. Women learn to go around acting like they can't screw in a light bulb, while men parade, peacock-style, pretending they don't even need counseling, let alone help in selecting clothes to wear.
Result: men have great difficulty with weakness, due to lack of practice; women, conversely, skilled in can't-and-that's-okay, have problems with can-and-what-to-do-about-it. Men can dish it out, but they can't take it. Women can take it, but they can't dish it out.
Until either of us is pushed too far--then watch out! The weakness of men, and strength of women, will predictably appear.
To love a man, be sexy
To love a woman, be close
Intimacy, like so much else, is different for men and women. Closeness for a man is often distance for a woman, and vice versa. For the same experience of personal intimacy, the word sexy is better for man's understanding, the word close is more accurate for woman's understanding--that is, intimacy is synonymous with sexy for man, while it means close for woman.
The popular sense of the phrase, they were intimate, referring to being sexual, is literally accurate for males, but only figurative for females. When a woman thinks of being intimate, literally, she refers to emotional closeness, which has no inherent connection with being sexy--at least for her.
Since love involves being intimate in a way which the person understands, men and women feel loved in different ways. Because sexy is more intimate for a man than emotional closeness, he feels more loved when a woman is sexual with him. Conversely, because close (the emotional sense of the word) is more intimate for a woman than sexual intimacy, she feels more loved when a man shares himself emotionally rather than sexually.
When these differences are not understood, and each gender approaches the other as though both are the same, hurt feelings commonly occur. Men feel unloved because women "just want to talk;" women feel unloved because men "just want one thing."
Our "intimacies" not being the same, often we miss loving.
Men get close when they are competing,
Women get close when they are cooperative,
Our mediums for closeness are different. Both genders are drawn toward intimacy, yet through opposing paths. Men, like the sperm they bear, are competitive. Instinctively they strive to win. Women, bearers of ovum, are conversely cooperative. Their genes incline them to work together rather than in opposition.
For species survival, this arrangement is excellent; for intimacy between the opposing genders, the results are often disastrous.
Being their genetic selves, males get close to one another when they compete--in arguments, games, fights, or wars. Females, equally instinctive, get close when they cooperate--in conversations, sharing recipes or troubles, raising children, or talking together at the bridge table.
But not vice versa. When men are forced to cease competing and work together, they become uncomfortable rather than intimate. Healthy during war time, they develop ulcers at the conference table. Conversely, when women are forced to compete, leaving cooperation behind, they get upset, not close. There is no such thing as a "good fight" for a woman.
The anger which calls men to life and intimacy, drives women away. Outwardly men pretend to make peace, but it makes them edgy. Soon they must start something so they can get close again--while their women must stop something, so they can.
Men are out of touch;
Women are in touch;
Men, good at getting on top of things, often find themselves out of touch, literally, with reality. Though in control, they get out of contact. And contact matters.
Women, good at being in touch with things, emotionally in contact with reality, often get attached. Unwittingly they get bound with what they touch, losing their freedom to be their larger selves. And freedom matters.
In these dangerous states, men, appropriately, look for touching--which they need, to establish their communion with reality. Women, given their biologically based appeals, become men's easiest targets. Men love to touch women, and be touched by them, for reasons other than genetic.
Women, also wise, look for something beyond touching--which they need, to expand their contact with the larger world. Men, with their money-making abilities, become the easiest tickets to women's liberation.
All of which sets us up for using each other, but not for creatively participating in the humanizing process. Men try to touch the very women who most need to be freed from the prison of their own femininity. Women seek to avoid contact with the very men who most need to get beyond their own masculinity.
Such men end up more out of touch; such women, more bound.
Until they accept responsibility for themselves.
Given our preferences,
women will dress up,
Men dress for function; women, for fun. Not that women's dress isn't also functional, or that men don't take pleasure in what they wear--but primarily we dress for different reasons.
Utility is man's first consideration--personal pragmatics and peer group acceptance: Are the pockets deep enough and in the right places? Will the pants ease or interfere with what I am going to be doing? Is the outfit acceptable in the circle I will be in (business men must wear business suits; cowboys want boots, even when they are walking). If clothes meet these male qualifications, they will work; if they also happen to look good, that's a bonus.
Not so with women. His bonus is her first consideration. Beauty is her major criterion: Do the colors and textures and lines harmonize? Do the accessories match? Will my make-up blend in? What shoes will go with this dress? What purse? If the outfit meets her immensely diverse qualifications for beauty of appearance, it will work. If it is also practical, that's her bonus.
In a man's pragmatic considerations, personal comfort is a major consideration. With beauty, comfort is secondary. A man would rather his clothes feel good and look bad than vice versa. Women are more likely to sacrifice comfort on the altar of beauty.
The whole event of dressing is primarily pleasurable for women, but a chore for men. Men dress because they have to; women, whenever they can. Consequently, when it comes to packing for vacation, men need more space for fishing gear and gold clubs than for clothes; women need several suitcases for clothes, not to mention accessories, shoes, and cosmetics.
If her values don't prevail, he'll dress down from his everyday world; if his don't, she'll dress up.
Love, for a man, begins in his loins,
Sex, for a woman, begins in her heart,
Man: Loins -- Head -- Heart
Note: at no point do they connect; at every point they conflict--Loins vs. Heart, Head vs. Loins, Heart vs. Head. The fire in a man's loins can easily burn out the romance in a woman's heart, just as the love in her heart, so virginal, can smother his lust below.
When the heat of his loins reaches his head, becoming conscious, any honest language about what has yet to reach her head can easily cool the glow beginning in her loins. She is not ready to talk about it.
Finally, by the time making love has reached his head and begun to thaw his reticent heart, leading to love, she, if she has persevered, may be getting ready to get sexy. Unfortunately, his early experience with the incest taboo--no sex with mother--has trained him to keep the two apart. He can easily love the Virgin Mary, but not go to bed with her. And so, when he is finally ready to love a woman, and she to go to bed, he is apt to be in conflict. Getting what we want can be a real problem.
Meanwhile, her experience, loving daddy, with his subtle sexual invitations also, has set her up to eventually bring them together. The Princess goes to the Ball with the Prince and finally marries, bedding down with the King. The Prince however, dances with the Princess but never goes to bed with the Queen.
Except in real life he is supposed to.
Fortunately, our paths draw us together, finally bringing love to a man's heart and sex to a woman's head. Unfortunately, together, they may also keep us apart.
Unless, of course, we learn to love one another, in addition to ourselves.
Commitment, for a woman,
She wants him committed
When her definitions prevail, we find men getting married; when his way wins, we find women having affairs. Society, unfortunately for men, works better with women's definitions. Dictionaries, done for societies, predictably include hers, omit his.
So, for clarity's sake, fairness, and equal time, I include his here. Probably it will never make Webster's. Her's, being so long accepted, needs no further clarification.
The point is, true to our genes, not just to our society, we come from different places insofar as commitment is concerned. Of course women, destined for the rigors and responsibilities of child bearing and rearing, want a man committed "in the morning," and in the morning and in the morning and in the morning, as well as all other times between. If men had to raise kids they'd want the same from women.
Our primal heritage however, as far as genes only are concerned, gears us for the night time job only. We don't wonder, "Will she love me in the morning?" "Wham, bam; thank you, ma'm," is more than enough for genetics, even with a polite social cloak. Biology leaves us before dawn. True to it, "committed" that is, and projecting our own ingrained definitions, we search for those willing to cooperate in our part of the genetic Drama Of Reproduction, just as faithfully as women do to theirs.
All of which helps us get together, but not stay together. Eventually one or the other of our definitions must prevail. If her's, then she, society, and the kids win; if his', then the lawyers and divorce courts, or her extreme tolerance, are called into the play.
Because he is more than his genes, both animal and man, as is she, he wants both; conflict, therefore, is our destiny. Unfairness is written into the genetic/social script. If she wins, he loses; if he wins, she loses. If his genes win, he also loses. It's not fair.
But whoever said that nature was fair. It takes love for that.
When it comes to temperature,
Men go for cool; women, for warm--
Cool, for men, descended from hunters who would not have survived had they lost theirs, is a virtue. Males strive to be cool in all circumstances. Warm, which is a prelude to hot, is dangerous for them.
Warm is the virtue for women, evolved to nurture their young who, left too long in the cold, would have died. Females, not yet discriminating, diligently strive to maintain warmth is all things. Cool, the first sign of cold, signals danger to their genes.
Cool headed men naturally thrive on cold logic while warm hearted women are drawn to the hearth of emotions. "Cold and calculating" is the way women see their reasonable men; "naive and soft-hearted," their men see them.
But staying cool requires men to suppress and deny their own warmth, just as focusing on warm leaves women unaware of their own coolness. Unhampered by the restraints of denial, each can more easily see the shadows of the other: women observe the melting powers of men shored up by their veneers of coolness, just as men see the cold hearts of women cloaked in their self-images of warmth.
In time, when circumstances force us into the light--as they so often do, men are commonly revealed as hot-hearted, even when we try to act cool. We lose our heads all too easily. Women, to the surprise of themselves as well as the men who thought they knew them, often turn out to be coldly logical--in fact, devastatingly so. They lose their warm hearts as easily as men lose their cool heads. Ask any divorce lawyer.
Abandoned men, caught in the heat of their own emotions, may kill you with weapons, while abandoned women, equally threatened and trapped in the coldness of their minds, can freeze a man to death. And dead--gender and social virtues notwithstanding, is dead, whatever the means.
Pray speed the time when we learn to embrace our own shadows, caring past both cool and warm.
Men know how to get sexy
Women know how to get angry
Given these regrettably common projections of power--sex to women, anger to men--women, unreasonably, must bear the responsibility for men's sexuality; men, the brunt of women's anger. It's not fair, but it happens.
Then, once the projections are made, men are stuck with adoring or fearing the women who have been unwittingly selected as the bearers of men's sexual powers. Whichever attitude prevails--worship or terror--men, consequently, cannot love the women who hold such power over them. Their own ambivalent emotions stand in the way.
Nor can women, captured in their own fears of the men selected to bear the responsibility of their projected power for anger, freely love them either. Their own denied emotions too easily get in the way.
When wiser, should we ever become so, we men will withdraw the projected power of our own sexuality. Instead of handing it to women, lock, stock, and barrel, we will keep our turn-on-ability for ourselves. After all, we truly need it for the power generated thereby.
Wiser women will likewise learn to get angry on their own, without blaming it on some of the peccadillos of masculinity (and they are many!). To their already embraced capacity for fear, they will add the additional power of anger. Wimpy men, watch out then!
But, with wisdom, the more likely result will be love. Freed from the obsequiousness required for worship, or the quakings of fear, such contained men will probably choose to love their previously adored/abhorred women.
In turn, wiser women, given the added power of their own adrenalin glands, may also risk the demands of love over the so-called freedoms of becoming "liberated women."
I hope I am still around if it happens.
For men: All signs of affection
For women: All signs of seduction
There is a certain amount of truth to the popular female notion that men only think about one thing. We do indeed, out of our own passions, tend to read most of your favorable signs into our own sexy books. Because we want you so much, we like to translate your messages into our preferred dialogue. Even your smiles, as innocent as they may be for you, can easily be seen seductively--when we are feeling that way--which is often.
But before you cast too many stones, take note of your own temptations to the contrary. Women, coming more often from places of sociability than sexiness, more interested in making friends than love, in finding security than in having sex, all too easily pervert our sexual messages into your own arenas of chaste friendship, especially looking for morning-after promises when we are only thinking of night-before commitments. We are commonly amazed at how easily you can ignore our intended seductions, or translate them as affectionate only.
The power of your interests in being loved must be equaled by ours in making love. The converse lack of correlations--yours in making and ours in being--no doubt makes our mistranslations predictable, even if no less confusing or more tolerable.
All too quickly we both slip into our easier judgments of each other. Because we men so much want you to, we blame you for leading us on; you, perhaps with opposite but parallel wishes, may blame us for making misleading promises.
But blaming gets us nowhere, except where neither of us wants to be. Maybe sometimes we will quit reading into each other and blaming the other for what we want to, but don't really, hear.
If we are lucky, the door of love may then open.
Contrary to Public Opinion,
At first glance, especially when men are doing the looking, women appear to be all heart and no head. You seem to do everything based on feelings and make no room for sense. We easily conclude that you are totally unreasonable; we can make no sense of you and often believe that you make none yourselves. You fix your faces beautifully, which is a real challenge to our logic when we have concluded that you haven't even got heads.
But if we erroneously see you as headless, you are not totally without fault in mistakenly concluding us to be heartless. All too commonly we hear you blame us--when we discipline children, want to kill an opponent, or bring home the bacon in the form of venison--with "being heartless." "How could you possible kill a poor Bambi," you tearfully ask, noting what appears to you as our being totally without feeling.
But enough of our errors: the facts are that hidden under our cool heads we males commonly cloak tender hearts, and you warm hearted women sometimes blow your covers revealing immense abilities at cold logic. Even though we are both good at hiding, we too have our hearts, just as you, deceptively with us, have heads also.
The other fact is that we both hide our desires for a cross-gender readership. We men know that we feel, even when we appear to be hard-hearted; we just want you to read our hearts for us. Heart-wise, most of us never graduated from kindergarten. And you are so good with feelings, why couldn't you just hold our heart-books and read them for us?
We also suspect, reasonable creatures that we want to appear to be, that you of the opposite gender harbor equal but opposite wishes for us. As best we can tell, you want us to read your minds, which you hide so diligently with your feelings.
Maybe we could make a trade (we like to do things like that); we'll try to be more patient in reading your minds if you'll be more reasonable in reading our hearts. Okay?
But then maybe that's asking too much of each of us.
Women, deep down, are drawn
"Well, goodnight Ralph," says the pretty lady in a not-so-funny Feirstein cartoon, "It was nice meeting someone so sensitive, aware, and vulnerable. Too bad you're such a Wimp."
There is, unfortunately, such a thing as being too nice to many women--in spite of their protestations to the contrary, especially those who are partially liberated. Many a "good Ralph" has gotten, even if not-so-clearly, a just-as-final Dear John message from a woman whose genetic inclinations overcame her contradictory conscious desires for a "sensitive man."
There is, I believe, an ingrained attraction in the feminine genetic system for power in a male--power to produce a strong sperm and provide security for its recipient, even when baby-making is not the conscious agenda. Vulnerable Ralphs, for all their desirable attributes, still smell, to a woman's genes, like wimps--weak sperm and poor security makers. And as the pretty lady said: "Too bad about that."
The challenge for today's male, in the presence of the emerging liberation of females, is to avoid the traps of machoism (becoming S.O.B.'s) on the one extreme, or wimpism on the other side--that is, of becoming a "sensitive and vulnerable" male without turning into a Wimp at the same time.
Specifically this is apt to include the male/person capacities for: 1) becoming very flexible but finally unbendable; 2) granting independence to a female while containing his own jealousy, the natural male possessiveness; 3) participating in a woman's learning to fly on her own, to think logically, to make rational decisions, and to do mechanical things.
He must learn to say "Yes" to a woman without becoming a Yes-man; to stand her shaky reasoning while she learns to add head to heart in making decisions; to suspend his own desire for understanding while he accepts her without understanding her first; to grant her freedom to try her wings without too much advice or many strings attached--and to be there when and if she chooses to return, still loving.
Because these female attractions to power are so often unconscious--cloaked even to women themselves by their desires for an emotional man--the male faces the additional challenge of confronting the issue without talking about it with the woman he cares for. The phenomenon must usually be related to non-verbally and resolved the same way.
Some problems can be "talked through"; these seldom can. The rare male who survives the Wimp Crisis without losing the lady he loves, becomes a man on his own, while loving the woman who is also becoming a person herself.
Men, deep down, are drawn
"Don't go changing, to try and please me," advises Billy Joel to a woman in a song few men can honestly sing to the women they love. We really do, most of us, want you women to try harder to please us, because we honestly believe you could if only you would.
But not too hard. Yes, Virginia, there truly is such a thing as trying too hard to please us, in spite of our seemingly insatiable appetites for what we want from you.
"Maid" is the name I give to the female counterpart of the male "Wimp." A "Maid" is a woman who tries too hard to please a man; one who puts herself completely aside in one massive effort to be all a man seems to want her to be. She does everything, she thinks, "for him." One such Maid I knew even put her husband through med-school, working literally as a maid.
Then, of course, he left her after he became a doctor. Not, as she supposed, because he "thought he was too good for her," but because he, like most men, wanted more than a maid for a wife. He might have paraphrased the Wimp joke (previous chapter) with this line: "Well, goodbye Irene. It was nice having someone who worked so hard to please me. To bad you're such a Maid."
For all a man's conscious desire for a "good" woman to please him, masculinity has a deeper attraction for the covert power of a contained woman, one who, as Billy Joel praised in song, won't "go changing" at a man's every whim. I suspect that it is a genetic attraction for what maleness deeply knows is required for the effective mothering of offspring, namely, covert power necessary for the arduous and extended process of producing, birthing, and rearing healthy children.
Consciously, of course, a man wants a Maid, a perpetual pleaser; but deeper down his genes know better. In time, being the stronger, they are apt to win out; then out, when the man can find the nerve, goes the Maid (or the man from the Maid). Sorry Irene; too bad about that.
Fortunately--for extended relationships--we men and you women may also become persons, more than just our genetic gender inclinations embodied. When we learn to love, Maids and Wimps both get a new lease on life--if not on the house.
But with the gifts of consciousness
Paternity is as natural to men as maternity is to women. Mechanically speaking, this means hard and soft. For our complementary but contradictory parts in the reproductive drama, men must get hard and do it, women must become soft and take it.
Understandably we have evolved a hard word for the male part, a soft word for the female role. Males, we say, are drawn to "fucking," females, to "loving." And not vice versa. Which leads to a lot of conflict as well as babies. Past the biological bedroom act, where our differences are quite sufficient, we find each gender trying to get the other to cross over the line and get together for a bit of companionship as well.
Men, cowards that we are, want women to cross over and fuck with us--to forget all this "love" stuff; women, with equal desire and lack of courage, want men to cross over and love with them--"why do men have to be so sexy?" And we both have the propensity for a lot of stubbornness, especially when we deeply fear the loss of ourselves if we leave our native territories. So much for instincts.
Fortunately though, evolution and the graceful gods have also gifted us with the capacity for consciousness. With this bouncing cork on the sea of our instinctive genes, plus a large measure of faith, we can sometimes cross over the lines of our halfness into the sacred space of Whole Persons.
When our nerve is great we "hard nosed" men and you "soft hearted" women can expand our native lands to include that of the other. Then, given the choices we will have, we guys may learn more often to make love; you gals, to fuck.
But only when we become whole.
For freedom, sad but true,
(Ask David or Jesus, or any woman
Without betrayal, man stays bound, with his word as his bond; woman, hidden in the haven of her heart--each enjoying the benefits of thinking or feeling, sense or sorrow, but both shielded from the knowledge of the other, lost from the wholeness of their larger potential in Eden.
Destined then, until betrayal, to seek their missing parts: men their souls, women their minds, in anonymous strangers of their opposite genders--Adam in need of Eve in need of Adam; Eros searching for Psyche; He actively after She, equally, if passively, longing for Him. Till capture.
Temporarily then: Quasi-Eden. Happiness for awhile. He has a heart; she, a head. In love with their own shadowed selves, each delights in their illusion of wholeness--as long as it lasts, which commonly isn't for long. Reality, in time, comes creeping, if not crashing, back in.
Then back to the limbo of limited-selves, missing again what the fall into love briefly brought. What to do? Try again? Look for a better other? Or give up? Retreat into bitterness? Settle for sadness? Variations on the common themes follow for most.
Or until betrayal. Until God lets man down, breaking His word, or She, playing God for him, withdraws her heart. Or, for woman, who needs no external God, having Man to replace Him, sleeps alone because He stays out all night--proves unfaithful, that is. Until man faces the limitations of his Almighty Word, or woman her idolatry of the Holy Heart.
This is a crucial time--for both. Destiny hangs in the balance--heaven or hell the payoff, depending on the courage of each. Ideally, through struggle and patience, man comes in time to find his own heart, to embrace his silent knowledge previously projected onto woman; woman, equally faithful, comes, through nerve and consciousness, to discover her own mind, to add reason to her intuition, to accept her speakable knowledge, instead of looking for it from man.
Otherwise the tip of the balance is toward where neither of us really wants to return--back to the farm after we've seen Paris--to the hell, that is, of half-ness, after wholeness has been glimpsed.
Men love gaining, but
Women know well how to lose;
Men, like the sperm they are evolved to bear, are at their best in pursuit of gain. Winning the ovum and its symbolic replacements--the race, the prize--come easy for the male of the species. The passions associated with gain are truly a pleasure for him. Easily he can win and be glad. The sin of pride tempts him regularly.
But sad is another matter. Sad, for him, like losing, is bad. Sorrow, the related emotion, with tears which express it, is to be avoided at all costs. Big boys, as we all know, don't cry--that is, run the risks of grief. And little boys learn early; they fear that they will drown--die to themselves--in sorrow.
Women, like the ovum they are evolved to bear, know otherwise. It is in losing, being overtaken by the sperm and their bearers, that they survive and find themselves. Tears, the natural release expressing the emotion of losing, come easy for females of the species. They have no fear of drowning in sorrow; indeed they possess the dark knowledge, hidden to all men, namely, the salvation inherent in the good cry.
But the passions associated with gain--ah, there's the risk for them. Easily they lose and cry; coming out on the bottom is old hat. So what else is new. Have a good cry, or a baby; be affirmed and get on about life.
To come out on top though--to win, to gain, is to risk being glad, the opposite of sad. The ecstasies of gladness, unlike the tears of sadness, evoke their primal fears of flying, the terror of losing the selves they have identified with losing itself. The sin of shame, not pride, is woman's constant temptation.
In the quest for wholeness then, should either decide to pursue it, men must face the threats they identify with losing. They must discover woman's secret knowledge of the self-affirmation inherent in losing and grieving, the relief, indeed the expansion, of the good cry.
Woman's challenge is the opposite. She must face the threats associated with gaining; she must confront her fears of winning and flying, before discovering man's secret, the self-fulfillment inherent in losing one's self in ecstasy, the upper edges of gladness.
Then, should either survive the challenges of gaining the knowledge of the other, a Person will emerge, capable of meeting one of the opposite gender, past the necessity of using the other as one's own missing half--ready, that is, for loving.
Males, lost in their masculinity,
Females, lost in their femininity,
Lost, of course, also implies blind. And when we are blind we cannot see things as they are. Easily we get things turned around: such as, blinded males who erroneously see females as the ones who put out and think that they themselves can take it. Or, equally blinded females who fail to see that they are the ones who can take it, or fall for the male invitation to become the ones who put out.
The translation of these colloquial metaphors into their literal meanings may be useful in shedding the scales of our blindness (but then again, it may not). The sperm-bearer, the male, is, of course, the one who puts out. The ovum-bearer puts nothing out; indeed (most especially in this deed), she is the one who takes it (literally, them) in. If he doesn't put out and she doesn't take it, nothing happens: end of species, at least as far as these particular representatives are concerned.
But past this common knowledge, lost in our respective roles in the Reproductive Drama, blind males, caught up in machoism and in search of females to receive, easily come to see themselves as able to take it, and the reticent females as refusing to put out.
Their blinded counterparts (females lost in femininity), ignorant of their own covert power, also fall for the illusions that they can't take it, but that they do have something powerful to put out, to give (or more often, trade).
Then comes the battle of the sexes: he, thinking he can take it (when he can't), is out to get it from she who he thinks can put out (but she can't); and she, not knowing that she can take it, but believing that she has something powerful to put out (or, more powerfully still, to withhold), meet each other in Illusion Land. The battle, of course, is consequently inevitable, along with the predictable disappointments, if not disasters.
He is trying to get it from she who has naught to give; she, with nothing to give, is trying to withhold it from him who is trying to take it; he, who can't take it, is looking for a she who can and will, while she, not knowing that she can, is looking for a man who can take it (and therefore take care of her), but who, regrettably, in his blinded state, can't.
The confusion of these sentences is minor in comparison to the convolution of the above noted battles which consume the energies of countless males and females yet blinded in their converse traps.
The resolution, should it ever come, begins with removing the scales from our eyes. The facts are: we males do indeed have something valuable to put out; but we are yet to learn to take it. Females, powerful receivers that you are, are inherently able to take it; but you, all too often, are yet to learn the delights of freely putting out.
When salvation comes, after we males learn to honor our own productivity and also to endure the vicissitudes of life--to take it, and you females learn to respect your own endurance and enjoy the metaphor of puttin' out, imagine the delights we will discover in this present Garden of Eden, no matter what is or is not to follow.
Men, naturally, are loners;
Men are yet to learn community;
Descended from hunters, who learned to go it alone, and gatherers who best did their things together, the imprints of our ancient genes yet remain. Men, even when the jungle is corporate and proximity is the mode, still tend to be loners in search of financial rather than furry game.
Women, shopping eons later in stores rather than woods, are yet likely to strike up a conversation with a stranger, should they forget to take a friend with them. They even go to the bathroom together, something men never do by choice. When men are forced by civilization to do so, they, loners that they are, carefully refrain from making friends there.
Unfortunately, for men at least, woman's natural way--community, is more pragmatic and therefore valued in modern society. Insistent loners are suspect: "Why won't he join us? Is something wrong with him? He must be anti-social." Community-minded women, who actually want to join the PTA and countless other social groups, are naturally affirmed by society which needs organizations.
Natural men, married but still gened loners, aren't understood by their spouses who'd rather talk than read the newspaper at breakfast, any more than talkative women are understood by the men who married them. Such men, still in the dark because they haven't read this book, are naturally puzzled about why women talk so much and continually nag them about "sharing their feelings." "Why can't they just shut up sometimes?," they bemoan to fellow spouses whom they assume to be equally bothered by social-minded women who'd rather speak than enjoy silence.
Before wholeness can come, however, we of each gender must expand our native territories. The hunters must return to the village, learning to be at home there too. You gatherers must venture beyond the safe confines of social settings, learning to go to the bathroom, and other more dangerous places, alone.
Men must learn what women already know, the delights of togetherness--sharing and community--to feel at home at home as well as they already feel at home alone away from home. Women becoming persons must likewise learn what men already know, the confidence and integrity which is only acquired with embraced aloneness. They must learn to explore strange places without the security of companionship.
Then, perhaps, men can quit fussing about women who "talk too much," and women about men who "won't talk to them." Men then may enjoy family in addition to work, while women delight, along with companionship, also in their ventures into the corporate jungle alone.
Thus blessed, even love may come then.
"No" is what a woman
"S'posed," in this case, is biologically based, not related to morality--except to the extent that ethics emerge from genetics. Pursuit and resistance are, with good reason, written into the biological script at all levels. For ten days, for instance, the King of the Jungle may patiently (?; do we project?) pursue a lioness who persists in her resistance.
Why (not, does he pursue, but is there good reason)? Because the event, as far as nature is concerned, is about impregnation and conception--the continuation of the species. Fun, should there be any, is only a bonus. And the two Primary Roles in the Reproductive Drama are best served by an extended "No" in the face of an insistent "Yes."
How? When a she plays Hard To Get, he--don't all males respond (react?) to a challenge--tries (and tends to get) Hard To Get. This, obviously, prepares him to play his role more perfectly (and God knows we need all the help we can get). Meanwhile, she, while her lips are saying "No, no," has time to properly arrange the stage and position the ovum in the ideal spot to receive the pursuing sperm, not to mention the entrance requirements. Such complicated physiological logistics, which must all be accomplished unconsciously, naturally take time, something females are evolved capable of doing well.
Her vocal "Yes," anytime before the propitious moment of ideal arrangements--even if a victory for him (not biology's concern), would defeat nature's intent. And Mother Nature resists defeat, mightily! Even by Father Time.
So, guys, even when you can see the "Yes, yes" in her eyes, respect her lips and hang in there. Probably Mother Nature does know best. Personally, of course, you would rather hurry, as in "Wham, bam; thank you, Ma'am," but the wait, as hard as it is (a little pun here), may enhance your fun (the bonus) too. Playing well can be a pleasure in addition to winning.
In either case, remember that your ego is a minor character in this larger historical drama. If it must take a few bumps (and waits) along the way to the stage, so what? You too, like the lion, must practice if you are to advance beyond the complaining Prince and become the King in this civilized (?) jungle.
And, gals, respect your own inner timing also. Even if tempted, for power's sake, or your loving concern for his fragile ego, to rush the act, don't. Better things, including love and/or the making of it, do take time. Even when Pleasure rather than Reproduction is the newer name of the age-old drama, still a proper, demurring "No," appropriately extended, can enhance the play. As you well know, many a roaring apparent King of the Jungle is yet but a Prince in a lion's suit--who, in spite of his hurry, still needs time. So, when you care enough for the very best, artistically resist.
Finally, guys, back to you. When you love enough, past making it, theatrically persist; except, of course, when the "No, no" is also in her eyes. Then love her anyway. Real Kings do that too. Especially that.
At first glance:
But not on second look.
Just glancing, men seem to be the ones who are reasonable; women, emotional. Men make sense; women cry at the drop of a hat. Men criticize women for "not thinking;" women regret that men "don't feel more." Men say women are "too emotional;" women say men are "too logical."
So much for appearances. At level two, these facts are reversed: women show up as the real thinkers; men, with their logical covers blown, turn out to be emotional pussy cats--either deeply afraid, tender beyond all reason, and/or killers.
Given their inclination to include all the data before reaching a decision, women, when heard carefully, show themselves to be far more logical in the long run than their male counterparts who, easily excluding facts which don't fit their theories, jump to shallow conclusions. Observable female emotions merely cloak their unseen but careful search for truly reasonable answers.
Male logic, the surface show, conversely hides the powerful emotions which men try to deny for pragmatic reasons. Women commonly out-think, and see through--even if they don't say so--the paraded-but-limited think-ability of men. When pressed, women also out argue men with woman's usually hidden but devastating logic.
Men criticize women for "feeling too much" because men deny their own emotions, exaggerating their reasonableness; at the same time women accuse men of "thinking too much" because women hide from their own sense, retreating into familiar emotions. This may be why the tables get turned when the heat is on--why men get so emotional when they argue and women, after tears quit working, get so threateningly reasonable. Men, finally, do dumb things like hitting or hurting, even killing; women, more sensibly, after both emotion and logic cease to have effect, just withdraw.
More wisely, should we ever get that way, we men would own our own feelings rather than trying to force you women to carry all the emotional weight. You women, conversely, would quit hiding in feelings, accusing us men of being "unemotional," and admit your own fascination with sensible thought. Perhaps then there would more cross-gender conversation, real reason in world affairs, and--God-help-us, less killing.
Facts are: In Nature's Primal Drama
But not the feelings, Which are that:
Obscenely, the primary roles in the gender drama of reproduction are named in contradiction to the physical facts of life, which are, that the male sends forth sperm and the female receives it. He gives out; she takes in. That's the way it works.
But the deep feeling, as reflected in the obscene language of innocent young boys and dirty old men, is different. There it does indeed seem that she is "puttin' out" and he is "gettin' some."
Why this contradiction between facts and language?
Perhaps the obscene language reflects deeper experiential facts of spiritual life which are more personally relevant than the familiar facts of physical life--namely, the hidden-to-men wisdom that in giving we receive the gift of our larger selves. Men create in "puttin' out" sperm and thereby receive the gift of personhood.
But since projections are always easier to see than are ourselves, even the noses on our faces, we envision our creativity as coming from "out there," which, obviously, is woman. Therefore she must, or so it seems to us men, be putting something out; otherwise, or so our logic goes, where would we be getting this wonderful gift of who-we-are becoming?
Females likewise, in daring the vulnerability of your immense act of reception, must experience the expansion of yourselves also. But while women know all too well about the power inherent in giving (you are the natural givers), your hidden wisdom lies in the wonder of unfaced capacities for assertively getting. Thus blinded, perhaps you see your own reflections in male projections. If men are so taken by what seems so natural to you, then it must be that you, mysteriously even to yourself, are "putting something out," something which you must preserve and protect lest it be used up. Or so it must seem.
Maybe in the far distant future, if our minds catch up with our genes, we will know ourselves better; then men may be wise enough to own their own creative potential, and women to embrace the wonder of their get-abilities also.
And wouldn't that be wonderful.
Men think a woman is "holding out"
Answer: Projection. When men don't try to extend themselves, to push their limits, to rush in, to "crowd" whatever is out there--including women, they are indeed "holding out." Rushing in is normal for men.
Women, conversely, are by your opposite natures, receptive. You naturally "hold back." Extending yourselves, pushing limits, rushing in, "crowding" any thing--including men, is abnormal to your genes shaped for taking in, not rushing out.
So when women project, that is, see their own shadows reflected in the inviting mirrors of men, what they naturally see is what they would indeed be doing if they acted like men do--namely, "crowding" or exerting themselves in contrast to being receptive.
Actually, all projections aside, men naturally "crowd in" just as women true to their genes "hold back." Beneath appearances men are only being their masculine selves, not "crowding her." And women are not "holding out," as men erroneously think; literally they are holding themselves in, as in fact femininity calls for.
More wisely, should such a miracle ever happen, we men would withdraw our projections of what we would be doing if we acted like women, and own them in affirmation of our masculinity. Then, freed to think more clearly, we would embrace our feminine shadows, that is, our denied capacity for holding back. What we chose next would be based on reason rather than habit.
Women, surpassing projection in favor of wisdom, would also withdraw their projected fear of "crowding" and own the shadow of their own masculinity. Then, not caught up in your mirrored selves, owning your rejected capacity for pressing forth, you too would chose what to do next, beyond the urges of your genes.
Perhaps in such a miraculous place we might truly make love or honestly care for each other--or sometimes both. But what we would not do is what we most often do do--project and depart, in heart if not bed.
Men are affirmed by women
But when gender needs affirmation
Women freely affirm men, as long as men don't obviously need it. When a man is being a man, a woman can easily be a woman, thereby confirming his manliness as well as her own femininity. And vice versa: women being women find male affirmation readily at hand. Often, all too readily--or at least, too near--at hand.
But then, of course, when we're affirming our own genderness, we don't need affirmation from the other side of the fence. A man being a man doesn't need a women to tell him so; and a feminine woman requires no masculine confirmation.
But sometimes, alas, the chips are down--along with other less symbolic necessities, like self-confidence. We men have a regrettable way of forgetting our masculinity. Overt power does sometimes need overt affirmation. Nor are women always immune to similar lapses in memory. You too may forget what your genes know. Covert power, at times, also needs covert confirmation.
Ah, but here comes the rub!
For covert power, the type you women wield, to become overt for affirming males, you must leave your natural territory; as must we when we covertly confirm you lagging covert power. You must venture into the light, and we into the dark. But leaving our strongholds, when self-confidence is low, is difficult to do.
More easily we operate with our obvious strengths. We men try to confirm your lagging covert power overtly: good with lines, we throw you verbal ones when you are drowning. Can't you hear that we love you? And good with looks, you try to affirm our failing overt powers covertly. Can't we see that you love us?
The answer, both times--shades of 22, is "No." Overt cannot confirm covert; nor can covert affirm overt. At least, not workably. When we're caught without confidence, neither our loving lines, nor your silent love can work for each other. What we both need is to hear in our own native tongues.
Which, unfortunately, is what neither of us has to give when our own powers are low. Too bad about that.
Always though, the option of growing up faces each gender. We men just might, when courageous, become persons on our own, without you completing us; as might you. Then we could speak your covert language, silently confirming you when needed; or you could speak up and reach out, doing the same for us.
But then it wouldn't be necessary; and we might love each other without getting caught in 22.