Chapter 20: Who’da Thunk It? Men and Women Are Different.
Please check Yes or No and send back.
Do you love me? Yes____ No____
Do you want me? Yes____ No____
Do you think I’m sexy? Yes____ No____
There are two things people are afraid of: The Unknown and Change. And damn it all if that doesn’t describe Love. Because to get it, to have it, to keep it, to nourish it, they must be willing to brave The Unknown outside forces and cause Change in themselves. Most are not willing to do it unless they know the outcome. Thus the power of the Note.
The above survey is typical of notes sent by girls to boys and boys to girls as soon as they learn to write. Internet-based love-matching services, in a bit more complicated and circuitous route, are simply helping people to send the same ego-protecting, time-saving survey before they face The Unknown and cause Change in their own lives.
Many a man in any country you can name is willing to march into combat with a cocky grin and an I-dare-’em-to glint in their eyes. Weapons at the ready, deprivation their constant consort, and pain their friend, they laugh in the enemies’ faces and beat their chests in victory.
But you put them face to face with a woman and they become a blithering idiot, unable to form a sentence, and so cowardly they blush and run when asked one simple question:
Care to dance?
It is this world Lucinda introduced me to, and it is this world I have been studying. How can a man put himself into a situation where he knows women will be after him and still be surprised when they talk to him? I have come to a conclusion. Right or wrong, I don’t know, but it is my book and I can say it.
Men are simple creatures.
It is a well-known fact they differ physiologically from women. That physiology includes neural pathways in the brain. But more specifically I shall address the information superhighway of the brain: The Corpus Collosum. It is a bundle of fibers laying at the base of the brain between its two halves – sort of like a wiring harness in a car connects the engine power source to the gadgets that make it work.
In the female of the species that bundle is much larger than a man’s. A seminal work was produced some years back that explained the roles of that piece of hardware and hormones. I shall sum up the work here in layman’s terms.
One: Men and women are different. We have proof. So all you social engineers and feminazis and emotional socialists out there shut your pie hole and stop trying to make everybody equal because it ain’t going to happen. Stop trying to change the other, don’t rage at the differences, appreciate the strengths of the other, and live with the weaknesses as best you can. Find a way to translate.
Two: The blank look on men’s faces when confronted with
a) crying women or children,
b) racks of anniversary cards, or
c) clothes hampers
is a biologically based response since their corpus colossums are smaller than in women. I know “men” and “smaller” should not be used in the same sentence, but the science says it is so. It seems the corpus colossum in men gets the equivalent of traffic jams between their brain hemispheres when too much data is on their information highway. No amount of blowing horns will clear it until it is good and ready to be cleared. Which clearing, by the way, happens long after the accident is over and they say, “What the hell? Why’d the cars stop anyway? I don’t see anything! Stupid drivers.”
Three: Contrary to what men believe, women cry, not because they are irrational, but because they are processing a huge amount of information traveling between their brain hemispheres and they see the “big picture.” In other words, they not only see the accident causing the traffic jam, they feel the pain of everybody in the accident as well as the drivers stuck in the jam and they know that for years to come someone’s body is going be broken and have to heal up and someone is going have to look after them and pay the bill. Furthermore, the woman is having an emotional meltdown as she plans and thinks, “What if that had been us in the accident? How would we have coped?”
Four: From birth, girls like to feel and talk, boys like to smash and crash. Women share; men do. So women, if you tell a man you need more affection and he washes your car, he probably really loves you. Hug him and say “Thank you, you big ol’ stud muffin.” Men, if you tell a woman you need some tools and she bakes you a cake, hug her and say, “How’d I get so fortunate as to have a hot mama like you?” Then you can both, you know…feel and do together sometime later that evening or sometime, you know?
Five: Women give sex and hope for love; men give up sex for love. In other words, with men sex sometimes results in intimacy; in women, intimacy sometimes results in sex. Men miss sex. Women miss the companionship of sex.
Six: Men have hormonal cycles, too. They are much more successful in finding their way out of mazes when their testosterone is high. Real men don’t need no GPS and they usually find their way to where they’re going. In women, when estrogen levels are highest they really do have a hard time finding the car in the parking lot and figuring out the tip on the restaurant bill, but does a man care if his wife is looking at him lustily?
Seven: For the most part, when men take surveys about marital happiness, they base their answers on how well their wives are overall performing services such as looking attractive, cooking, and shopping. For the most part, when women take the same surveys, their answers are skewed by how happy they are with their husband at that point in time. If the man messed up on survey day, survey says he’s a skuzzy bum and the marriage is in danger of being over. If the man made nice with wifey, survey says he’s a white knight and she loves him beyond belief.
Eight: It’s not your imagination. The older men get, the more like women they become. The older women get, the more like men they become. It’s all in the tides of the hormones. The phrases “pushy old broad” and “sentimental old man” are not insults, they are descriptive of fact.
Nine: Long-distance runs do wonders for dampening the male libido. So get your teenage sons onto school track teams immediately. In fact, it should be mandatory, yes?
Ten: Men can handle tough pain only for a short time. Women can go years and years with it and barely say anything. Women, when your man is whining that he’s dying, he really believes he is, but he’s going to be fine. Men, if your woman says she has a little ache, you need to pay attention: She’s probably dying.
My final thoughts on this topic:
These ten points are all modified by nature, quality of nurture, and a judicious amount of free will, all of which dictates that some people just like being plain out-and-out mean, weak, lazy, and so forth. However, it is proven that men and women do not speak the same language, though they often are trying to say the same thing.
Also, it is the assigning of value judgments to male/female observation angles and the assigning of superiority of that opinion which causes many problems in communication between the sexes. Thus the value judgment “you deserve to roast in eternal fires of hell” and the reactive command to “go fuck yourself” really do not move anyone along to a solution, though it is a fact the utterers usually feel better upon verbalizing the damnation and/or instruction even as the recipient smiles coldly and gestures with bird finger while aiming car towards utterer.
Granted, this is the dark side of the matter.
But women, when you ask a man to dance and he stares at you, give him a moment to let the information clear the neural pathways. He may say yes. Be patient.
Men, honestly, will it kill you to say yes to a dance without melting down?
Lest you think I preach hypocritically to the unenlightened, let me assure you if it weren’t for the fact I was doing research, I, too, would be answering women the same way. Blank stare. Rapid breathing. Sweaty palms. But now that I have more information, I shall attempt to:
Meet The Unknown and effect Change in myself.
Chapter 21: Small Consolations
Several weeks passed during which time Lucinda and I did not know each other on the battlefield; we continued to have breakfast on Sunday mornings and coffee during the week. She proved to be a great editor; her margin notes often helped me to fill in missing information in my character studies and longer essays. My editor said my writing was getting better all the time. I told Lucinda. She thought it was funny.
We often got in debates, friendly ones of course, about the nature of expectations and assumptions within a relationship. It was during these conversations we were able to feel each other out concerning The Big Bugaboo that napped like an adult pink elephant in the room.
Sometimes, as I watched her dance with men, I got extremely jealous. One day I decided to bring it up.
“Okay, then let me ask you a question,” I challenged.
“Why is it you won’t let me hardly touch you when we hug, and the kiss remains almost like a brother, but you’ll dance with men you don’t know in such an intimate fashion I think you’re gonna be taking the guy home?”
She thought for a moment during which time I got another horrible thought and before I could stop myself, out it blurted. “Do you take them home?”
She did not answer me immediately and I thought the worst. Then I repeated that thought out loud.
“You take them home?”
Yes, while this was stated in question form, it was more definitively a statement. Again, no answer; more thinking. She held up a finger to my lips which pretty much told me to shut up, so I did and waited.
Finally, she sighed deeply and gave me a sweet, sad smile.
With my name said like that, this was not going to be good.
She set her cup down, sat straight, and stared at me again, breathing deeply in and out. “Gordon, I have not been with a man in well over a year. Furthermore, you need to understand the nature of The Dance.”
Feeling much better now that I knew she hadn’t been with anyone anytime in the near past, I relaxed into my chair and nodded.
“Everybody needs to be touched. This you know. But not everyone responds the same way. Take me, for example. I was married for a long time. I craved touch so much I was willing to put up with the bad touch my husband gave me.”
She sipped her coffee and looked at me again. “Now, did I know it was bad? Not cognitively. In my gut I knew, and it kept telling me I was being starved of the attention I needed. When I first danced with Dancing Man a year before the divorce, it was only then I knew what touch could be.”
“I want to —” I began.
She shushed me. “Gordon, Gordon, Gordon, let me finish before you say anything else.”
She sipped again and continued. “This starving woman you see before you, who is still starving but not as much, sometimes overreacts. So, put two people on the dance floor together who are both starving, can both dance well, whose hormones like each other, well…it can get hot, let me tell you. This is embarrassing to say, but —”
That’s when I learned her story.
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