22 August, 2006

Men and Women

[Update below]

Yup. One of those kinda posts...

SWWBO tipped me off to a great essay by Fausta that starts out as a discussion of why "love and life" is so much more difficult for men these days, but is also a (right-on) analysis of the cultural behavior and values of so many women today. Go read it all, I'll wait.

Okay, you back? I think she's got it right, though fortunately not all women are as she describes.

I encountered some of this myself recently when a 40-year-old single recounted to me his dating experiences of the last couple years. Most of the women he'd dated recently were socially coarse, financially and emotionally manipulative, and slutty--and this was just on first dates! Imagine what they would've been like after a couple dates when they felt comfortable enough to be themselves!

Reading things like Fausta's essay tends to give me the urge to stand on the rooftop and shout, "I'm not like them! I'm not like them!" Due to my conservative upbringing I never felt that I was entirely a part of the culture, but that sense of separateness has grown as I have. How in the world can I be expected to operate in a culture like this that is not just foreign to my "outward values," but foreign to my very way of perceiving and judging the world? I don't see men as the enemy (I see them as a thoroughly puzzling, charming, delicious and somewhat elusive alien species, but that's another post, haha!).

Fausta starts off with what she calls the "Church of Oprah" whose main tenet is apparently that women are superior to men (of course, Oprah is not the originator of this idea, but at times seems to be a the high priestess of it). In an attempt to balance the scales, early feminists rightly pointed us to what makes women so special and to the characteristics or qualities that are often more obviously expressed in females than males. But somewhere along the way we overdid it and the pendulum swung back too hard. Instead of jokes about airheaded and overly-emotional women we now get ones about idiotic and loutish men.

In the quest for "female empowerment" we've now done to men what society did to us for so many years. Various "thinkers" have been warning of this for quite awhile, but it seems that the average man is now feeling it himself. It's gotten so that a girl like me who loves men for how they're different and who doesn't expect a man to be an inept version of a female is greeted with skepticism at best.

Fausta also talks perceptively about one of the things that makes men and women different, something which I've been repeatedly reminded of in my interactions with military men in the last couple of years. Men communicate, it's just that most of them speak a different language than women (this is especially true in a military environment where both loquaciousness and tender emotion are often sidelined by the tasks at hand). It's a language of short phrases and single-sentence paragraphs, of deeds and not dissertations. They bare their hearts by inference, in a gentle touch accompanied by a vow that "if there's anything I can ever do for you, just let me know," in actions and attitudes that speak for themselves if only we would listen.

Yes, men can be infuriatingly silent, and even dismissive and chauvinistic at times. But in a world where we women can run that gauntlet of emotional cruelty to each other that reaches high art, men are at a loss as they discover we've decided it's okay to sharpen our claws on their just-as-tender hearts. They're not going to come to us in tears over it, but if they're smart they quickly realize there may be little payoff for making themselves that vulnerable again.

We single women go around asking where all the good men are. Sometimes I wonder if the beyotches scared them all into hiding.



Update: Masked Menace writes a comment over at Fausta's that must be shared:

I think fuasta's point is something along the Biblical Proverb:

For who can find a virtuous wife? She is worth far more than rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her and he lacks nothing of value. Proverbs 31:10-11

It's the same as the addage "Behind every great man is a great woman."

There seem to be a shortage of virtuous women, and consequently there is a lack of men with anything of value. There are many fewer great men.

Women have tremendous power whether they realize it or not. A woman has the power to absolutely destroy a man, to drive him to the depth of suicide, and never raise her voice much less her fist.

Ladies, you make us who we are. With you by our side we can do anything, overcome any obstacle, and do so with confidence that even if we fail, we'll kicks its ass tomorrow.

With you needling us in our backs we couldn't cross the street without fear and doubt that perhaps it's better just to stay over here.

For who can find a virtuous wife? I'm very fortunate, indeed.

I'm reminded of several people I know who have completed extreme military training (i.e. Ranger School, BUD/s, etc.)... and have told me that the one near-universal factor in those who didn't washout from training is that there was a woman in their lives whose memory they turned to for inspiration when their body and mind had reached the limits of endurance. As MM says, we women have tremendous power.