Friday, March 5, 2010

"Brilliant Thoughts on the Sexes #2"

This was the second installment of Leif's discourse on sex roles. I think when he talks about learning these things as a child, he was talking about his experiences in high school in particular. That was in the macho culture of Puerto Rico. He certainly didn't learn these lessons in our household.

More Brilliant Thoughts
by Leif Garretson
June 29, 2001

Ok. Now for the men talking to women thing. First a crash course in what it is like to be a man.

Lessons learned as a child:

1. Men don't cry. (exceptions for deaths of family members or women dumping them)
2. Men don't talk about their feelings (at least not to other men with above exceptions)
3. Men aren't supposed to be sensitive.
4. All men are potential enemies.
5. All men will look for weakness in other men for later exploitation (even friends).
6. You can never trust another man.
7. Competition between men, even friends will never cease.
8. You can never relax around other men for they will be watching for you to fuck up.
9. At best a man may be your comrade but never truly a friend.
10. A man may be your ally, but never forget that like with separate countries, treaties can be broken and war can always be declared.

Ok, now you know the basics of what it means to be a man. Now, how does it relate to you as a woman? Well, none of those rules apply to women.

First off, #1 crying. You can't imagine how much I envy women the ability to cry without shame. Even when we are alone we are so conditioned not to that it is difficult for us to release emotional pain. We feel so ashamed that we can't even do in front of ourselves. But a woman changes things. The ideal mate is part lover, part daughter, and part mother. In this case it is the mother that we need. The one person that never judged us or told us we were wimps when we were hurting. If a man can find a woman that he loves, trusts and is comfortable enough with that he can cry in her lap, then he has found something priceless, because that woman will not judge him harshly for it. She will be able to comfort him not only for his pain but for his shame at showing such weakness.

This weekend before the wedding S and L were fighting and the first thing I saw of her she came right to me without saying a word, put her arms around me, her head on my shoulder and started to cry. Two thoughts went though my head, other than concern. First, I was very flattered that she chose my shoulder to cry on, and while I hated to see her sad, it felt really good to know that after a year apart and after me and N splitting up S still loves and trusts me enough to come to me like that. And second, I envied her the ability to show pain and admit being hurt, not only to me but the the others that were witnesses.

#2 Believe it or not, we do have feelings. We just aren't very good at expressing them since we aren't supposed to talk about them. We often don't have the vocabulary, don't know the language. But if a man finds a woman that he can talk to and can learn to communicate then she will be the one irreplaceable outlet for his feelings.

#3 Sensitivity: men can be sensitive and they can be hurt but they will never admit that to another man. Women take for granted all the things that you can do with each other or with men. You can be yourselves a lot more than we can. You can cry. You can be hurt. You can be easily upset. We are only allowed to have one emotion and that is anger. It is ok for us to be pissed off but we can't be sad or hurt or weak, so we bottle that all up and store it. The only release we have for any of that is our mate.

#4,5,6,7,8,9, & 10 Men do not consider women to be a threat. The game, if you will, the battlefield, is populated by men. Women are not included in the rules. Unfortunately, the main reason for this is that men feel superior to women. We are all a little sexist. We look at men as being on equal ground, a level playing field. But we do not see them as equals. We are always working to establish the pecking order, to determine hierarchy, to see who is the alpha male -- which is why we can never truly be friends or truly trust and open up. Cuz, if we are the beta and we soften to the alpha, then that reinforces our subjugation to him as a superior. If we are the alpha, the softening in front of the beta will give him encouragement to assert his position over us and vie for the alpha spot. It is basic animal psychology and no matter how advanced, we are still animals. We still do what all mammals do. But a woman does not fall into this game because while I see women as symbiotic equals to men that exist in combination for common benefit, each using their different abilities to compliment the others' shortcomings, but in this sense men judge their worth in terms of strength.

And in those terms, women are simply inferior. Pay attention to what I said! By the standard of strength, women are inferior, and that is the standard men use to judge ourselves. By that standard, women are not threats because we can kick your ass. A woman is not going to oust me for the alpha spot because she neither can't nor would care to do so if she could. So what do I have to worry about showing weakness to her? And to further that point, women show weakness constantly, so even if we became blubbering idiots we would still be stronger (by the male standard) than the women.

Now please make sure that you are not reading more into this than I have written. I think that in an emotional sense women may be stronger and better equipped to handle emotional pain. In addition, women may lean on each other and draw strength from each other in times of need. Men do not. May not. You may have heard the saying "no man is an island." Well, actually we are. We are just islands that are close enough to trade, but ultimately we are alone.

Women are like seas in the same ocean. They flow together and draw strength from each other’s waves. We men, we islands, can have a love affair with the ocean but the other islands will never caress our beaches with their waves. (wow that is a cool analogy. I am proud of myself :-) So when a relationship ends, whether it is a breakup, or worst of all, death, I think it is harder on the man (unless he did the leaving). A woman can lean on her friends. She can grieve with them. She can cry on their shoulders. But if the man is left alone he is truly alone. The woman he lost was likely the only person he could talk to, the only person he could trust, the only shoulder he could cry on.

To continue my analogy, if an island sinks into the ocean the seas will still have currents between them; they will not be alone. But if
the water recedes from the land the islands are left behind and can only stare at the other lonely peaks. Ever notice that you hear a lot more stories about old men dying of a broken heart after losing their wives than the reverse? Now you know why.

This concludes my brilliant thoughts for the night. :-x Leif

Starting when he was first old enough to notice then, Leif loved vehicules of all kinds, but especially beautifully designed machines that went extremely fast. Here he is posing by a very fancy speed boat at a lake in Japan when he was about 5 years old.

No comments:

Post a Comment