Battle Lines

Surprising, even for a partial cynic like me, was the depth of feeling.

We were a group of seven men in a group discussion, separated from a group of 13 women in the same room. Each sex had the same task, which was to figure out what we wanted and needed from the opposite sex, both today and in the past. Wants and needs, then and now. This was the foundation of the exercise.

Amusing was the different ways in which the men and the women went about the task. The men began working individually. To a man, we saw the empty boxes in the grid and felt compelled to fill them. The women immediately worked co-operatively, by which I mean they began talking about it.

Talk about metaphor alert. If a clearer illustration of the difference between the way we operate exists, I don’t know what it is.

However, after a while, the guys drifted into a community discussion, but as usual it was less about the community than projecting their own point of view. And what clear-cut points of view they held. One guy voiced it for all of them with: (paraphrasing)

What gets me is that when the slightest problem comes along, the women vanish. Because things don’t go perfectly all the time, they think it’s easier just to walk away rather than to spend time and effort to figure out what’s happening and what we can do to work things out.

Here’s the modern coupling dilemma: Women think they don’t need men any more. Up to a point that’s correct, but only in narrow and material ways. Deep in our core lies the yearning for the complementarity that only the energy of the other – the other sex – can provide.

As a female friend reluctantly said:

It’s the edge that I enjoy. When I’m with a man, the slight friction that comes from different ways of looking at life- at anything – gives me a better view on things. It’s satisfying.

The question remains. What exactly do we need from our coupling mates, and what do we want? And after we resolve that, which from which list should we be selecting our mates?


Nobody tells the juvenile male how much their life will revolve around women. We all expect the post-pubescent bloke to focus much of his energy on pursuit of the mystery that is female, but even decades later only the intensity changes, and not by that much.

Friends of mine who work with men in their 90s tell me this doesn’t change many decades later.

Let’s be clear: marriage, commitment and children change the patterns of behaviour, but not the overall thinking process. And if they don’t, we’re all in trouble. We notice and speculate about women in the same way that cats sense mice; it’s automatic.

Unlike cats, we filter the instinct to a higher plane. Cats will pounce when the probability shifts to their satisfaction. Men don’t. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t evaluate the world through the lens of possibility.


It has to be in our DNA, this ability we (guys) have to distinguish the female shape.

What am I thinking? Of course it’s genetic.

Our ability to find your curves in any kind of clutter would astonish women. In the jungle, in the city, in a desert, on tv, in cars: any time our eyes are open, the sight of the luvverly female form gets rushed directly to every part of our brain. Assessment of that lady then becomes our #1 priority, notwithstanding anything else. Oftentimes the decision as to whether we’re interested or not passes in fractions of a second, but still, in an average day we are held captive by this instinctive process for minutes. It adds up.

My point is that we learn (with maturity) to control our DNA’s reaction to the sight of women, but only partially. The fact is that we are captives to our gene’s need to reproduce. We’re transport and life-support for tiny pervs.


Complicating our lives is a seemingly inevitable consequence of being human. Striving for greater detail or more information or some unspecified hidden secret might even define the way a lot of us pursue answers to those internal gnawing questions. It’s a kind of obsession for many, that if we just think harder we will find the key.

Dating and coupling is no different. As we age we gain experience and education, and we could be lucky and even acquire a measure of insight. These skills are a satisfying trade-off for the inevitable disappointments of life, but they work in two divergent ways.

We can, for instance, become more narrowly focused on what we think works for us. I might remember bad experiences with a certain kind of woman, or ways of going about relationships and therefore avoid them in the future.

The other way is to acknowledge that a few core qualities are more important than the ephemera. I could look for calmness and an accepting happiness in a woman; equanimity, in other words.

The discovery that small-scale success depends upon a handful of big-picture qualities is an easily overlooked not-so-secret secret.

Fashion Plate

Towards the end of last century, the bodysuit was a fashionable part of women’s wardrobes. My admittedly blokey description of this item was “like an adult onesie” when trying to remember the name.

The bodysuit, if you remember, was, in fact, an adult onesie made of stretchy material that clasped at the lower extremity of the lady’s torso. I am told that there were two styles: the push-stud fasteners and one other.

My memory of the bodysuit is that it was a pretty darn sexy piece of kit. For starters, it hugged the figure from the neck to the waist, revealing all the goodness of that region on a lady. Second was the smooth transition from this above the equator region to the below the equator region, a fierce stoker of the male imagination. Like all the explorers who came before, we guys like to imagine ourselves on voyages of discovery.

No doubt women have different memories. Because of the skin-hugging design of the bodysuit, every curve was visible, which might or might not have pleased the wearer. Then arose the question of what underwonders one could wear…which I think was partially solved by the internally braced bodysuit. And of course there’s the fatal flaw of that system of securing the dashed thing at the crotch.

The lady parts area really is no place for snaps, frankly. Difficulty with quick removal – bathroom purposes – and unexpected unfastenings – don’t lean over too much! – and the complication of knickers etc etc all contributed to the death of the bodysuit. Sad as it is, we’re not likely to see it return, despite my wholehearted encouragement.