5:14 PM WST
men v women. unrealistic expectations
Seems, my wife thinks that being a man, means being a dog - literally.
Had these very exposing discussions last night with wife.
I postulated that there are characteristics in which men and women differ. I'm not talking physiology or biology, I'm talking more emotionally and socialogically. All humans possess traits and characteristics to varying degrees, irrespective of gender. But I said that there are some characteristics that women display, on average, more often than men. And there are some human qualities and characteristics that men display, on average, more often than women. This is neither good nor bad, it just is. It's an observation that has been made after correcting for age, culture, economic situation etc.
It's important to note that the characteristics I'm talking about are neutral. They're amoral. They don't carry a "good" or "bad" classification.
To qualify, I can find examples men who are more sensitive that some women. I can find fine examples of men, who will display strongly, those characteristics which women display on average more often than men. I can find women who are more aggressive than some men. There are always examples you can point to, but we're talking bell curve's here and yes, the bell curve's overlap.
She went on and on that it was no excuse. But she must have misheard me. There wasn't an attempt to make excuses, I was just stating a well accepted and statistically proven fact.
After much discussion (more like torture) she agreed that there are differences between men and women. But, here's the kicker, it turns out she thinks that any differences between men and women can be overcome by proper nuture of boys and better education.
Her argument is that characteristics that women display on average more often than men can be attained just as often by men if they were brought up properly and educated. She used road rage and slavery as examples.
When I asked her how she characterised men, she basically described a dog. She basically said all men think about is sex and procreation. She muttered something about grabbing tits, leaving mess about the place, being dirty. There was mention of abuse in the murky mix too.
So it was revealing. What I think she's saying, is that men are basically inferior humans to women and that if you can educate and nurture them better, they will display those characteristics that women currently display on average, more often.
It saddens me that she thinks of men in such a dim view, because I am one.
The conversation started because I think that marriages are suffering under the weight of false expectations. Mass media over the last thirty years has portrayed both men and women in a light which elevates expectations. Women expect men to be basically bigger versions of .... women! Men now wear women's clothes, makeup, and manscaping is a burgeoning industry. We have bromances, we're urged to get in touch with our feminine side, be sensitive, caring, in touch with our feelings, and have long conversations. We're urged to shun "typical male behavior" which is now frowned upon as being neanderthal and somewhat less human. In other words, we need to connect left brain and right brain and become more emotional beings. If only building synapses was so easy!
Men seem to expect to marry the hottest babe (who of course never slept around) but is highly charged sexually and who will stay slim and gorgeous for the rest of their married lives. We only have to look at leading ladies of the big screen. They all seem to stay hot no matter how old, or how many babies they have (and if they do let themselves go, they're never offered any more roles). Take Demi Moore, or Madonna as an example. For goodness sake, even Grandma Cher is in some creepy way still hot. But the reality is that once young women have married it is hard to keep up with the hair, the fake tan, the nails, and keep off the weight. Post childbirth, it's a hard road. It seems only a tiny minority can stay slim after one or three kids. That's just reality.
But back to the expectations.... An extremely funny video by Perfect Italiano, has a fencing expert practicing his listening face when his woman is not around. He can fence and listen. He can paint and listen. He can cook and listen to all her problems, and urgers her to "go on and on and on". It's a total crackup, but it's only funny, because it's ripping off reality.
I think if we could just understand the other gender, and realise that no matter how hard you try, you probably won't shift the bell curves and to have realistic expectations of one another. On a personal level, if you want to have a more harmonious marriage, you
to get to know the other person. You've got to leave your expecations on the threshold. It's fine to have expectations when your dating... that helps you choose your mate. But after you marry, the best you can expect is for them to be... them.
And you can't change that. You have to seek to understand, but after understanding, then accept and then choose to want that. I'm not advocating tolerance here. That's one degree above contempt. I'm advocating that you understand what you have, and choose to want what you have.
Being blinded by expecations serves no-one. Disappointment is a heartbreaker and it's hard to turn around from disappointment-ville. Disappointment comes from unmet expectations. Wouldn't it be better to expect men to be men, and women to be women? wouldn't it be easier to just understand the person you are with, than to make an idol of your expectations and in the glasshouse of idealism in which it's only a matter of time before the rock of reality smashes it all around you?
Idealism is for youth. Realism with optimism and wisdom is for the mature.
Realistically, men are never going to become women in bigger bodies no matter how much education and nurture, their nature predisposes them to display certain characteristics on average more often that women and other's less often. It will always be that way. Expecting anything different is like the first sign of madness... doing the same thing and expecting different results. If you keep making males, you'll keep getting the same results - on average.
Men aren't unrefined boorish, second rate humans any more than women are. It's just that characteristics men display on average more often aren't desirable in our society, and characteristics women display on average more often are held up as being the pinnacle of humanity.
Why else would researchers be developing a nasal spray of oxytocin (the female hormone) that men can use to achieve greater empathy?prayt Why not just implement castration once family planning is over? Forget about vasectomies, just cut the testes out and the whole world would be a happier, more harmonious caring place to live.
- 09:21 PM - 06/01/2010
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