I am woman, hear me roar!
I am man, hear me…umm…take a selfie?
Where have all the men gone? Is male behaviour failing to keep pace with what women want? Is there room in the sky for both of us to shine? What should we do – if anything – to keep up with the changed dynamics between sexes? Where did male mojo go?
Kregg and I put on a jacket and tie and polish our shoes to discuss.
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In a time of digital reproduction and near-perfect quality, relating to other humans appears increasingly anachronistic.
My iPhone updates with a new operating system as technology changes. Automatically. My personal operating system was cast at birth and set by the time I was seven.
Our cars tell us when something’s wrong, what it is, and what to do next. No-one even considers tinkering with them any more. Most of the time I can barely tell you what I’m feeling, and definitely not what caused the emotion, nor how to fix it. Every day is different, no one internal reaction the same.
Social media tell us who our friends are, why, and the last fast-food meal they ate. Everyone is neatly categorized and graded. I’m still wondering why my Grade 2 girlfriend, Jane Phillips, wanted to bring me lunch every day. It’s a mystery decades later.
A binary world of yes/no on/off outcomes is great for some parts of life, and not so good for others. Consider a computer-based romance. Such a thing would leave no room for surprise, or delight, or unexpected change, or anger, or the resolution of such a thing. Or direction shift, or kindness, or renewal of long-lost friendships.
Silicon romance lacks the chaos of biological romance. Which means that if we want real romance, we should probably learn to like the chaos, or, at a minimum, figure out how to accept it.
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.
Have you ever said:
I can’t stand it when he talks with food in his mouth?
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.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download
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.