Fitting the Curve

Likely as not it’s a natural tendency for both sexes, although because we are significantly different from each other, we go about it in different ways.

Males learn early on that some behaviours work in their favor when it comes to attracting females. Extroversion, willingness to accept risk and physical prowess are amongst the characteristics worth cultivating. Of course we’re mostly talking about early on in our adult lives, which means that we’re still teenagers and barely meeting the minimum grown-up requirements, but it continues in albeit muted form until we die.

We’re also talking extremely generally; exceptions are as thick as bamboo, but guys understand that even if you have hidden charms, the more obvious ones – such as those listed above – get you places quicker.

Which gets me to my point. Although we rarely see it this way, we modify and accentuate the stuff we think the other wants. So desperate are (in this case) guys to be attractive, they’ll go way beyond the boundaries of their character and values to be the person they believe will attract (insert female name here).

It’s a semi-conscious/instinctive project. I overheard Hortense mentioning to a friend that she liked guys who rode motorcycles, therefore I must get a motorcycle. Thoughtless and ultimately ridiculous (who knows whether it’s really what she thinks?) we are driven to do almost whatever it takes.

Such is the need to couple.

Podcast #86 Relationship Triggers

Have you ever said:

I can’t stand it when he talks with food in his mouth?

Or

Why does she never wait until I finish talking before butting in?

Perhaps you’re someone who doesn’t react to anything anyone does. Congratulations. Most of us have triggers. But what are they and how do we deal with them in a couple?

Kregg and I set each other’s teeth on edge with this podcast.

Change-Up

Lots of men find themselves stuck in high school when it comes to relating to women. This, a consequence of poor attention to knowledge about relationships, detrimentally affects both sexes, creating misunderstanding and resentment.

Here’s the problem: when guys are beginning to date and relate to females, they learn specific behaviours. Teenaged females react to certain modes of bloke communication and interaction, so our typical young man learns those lessons.

Women then grow older and change. Experience modifies the way they look at life and themselves, and as a consequence they expect men to provide different inputs accordingly. Unfortunately, men don’t apply the lessons of change they’ve seen in their lives, and don’t stay up with the updated female view of the universe.

Move on a few years, and the dating scene looks dire. Grown men applying the same techniques they learned as callow youths find themselves rejected by mature women looking for something else entirely. We can call this a mismatch; I prefer disaster.

It wouldn’t be so bad if we’re just talking dating. Sadly, we’re also talking marriage, and those who feel the most stinging repercussions are the children.

Guys get stuck – early on – and women are on the move – all the time. That’s what we are all dealing with.

Boundary Rider

I can’t imagine what it’s like inside the head of a modern woman. On one hand she is propelled by her biology, her DNA and all that flows from that.

Then she has to integrate the expectations derived from the modeling of her parents and the lessons of growing up.

And on top of it all she has the day-to-day influences of peers and media.

What stands out in my big-picture description are the differences of time-frame; biology operates over thousands of years, and they become progressively short-term thereafter.

Looking at it this way gives us a perspective on the nature of change in women in the last few decades. Pushing boundaries of their behavior – towards a more male-associated pathology – means lots of uncertainty and chaos. When we operate at the edge of experience and knowledge, there will be success and there will be tears.

And there will come a time when pushing a boundary begins to operate against us. Going too far oftentimes results in self- as well as collateral damage. Unfortunately, knowing when to slow down, ie: knowing the limits of change, is a skill that can only be learned. It’s not innate.

Mob Rule

Being a male does not mean I’m responsible for the past actions of my sex, nor the current actions of other blokes.

The notion of an individual representing the entire history of a group to which he or she belongs (by default) is the kind of conceit that’s widespread and not useful.

Here’s a way to look at this. If you’re a female with bad experiences of men in your past, that’s not a good thing. Your natural bias is to project such a history upon both all other men and your own future. That skew isn’t helpful to you, and it isn’t accurate.

The fact is that the actions of a small, finite number of men treating you poorly isn’t a male fail;  it’s a number of people who did so. Women can treat you in just as rotten a way, but it’s the nature of the interaction that’s different.

On other words, any female-to-male relationship is loaded, no matter its length or intensity. Because humans look for patterns, the reaction is: I’ve been wronged by four men, therefore all men are going to wrong me.

A more logical way to think is to look upon each interaction with a member of the opposite sex as a spin of the roulette wheel. There are certain parameters within which the game is played, but the outcome is independent of what went before.

Except that in life outside the casino, it’s not. Can you spot the flaw? In roulette, each spin has no link to any previous events. In relationships it’s the common denominator that will influence the outcome. What’s that thing that’s the same in all of your relationships?