Battle of the Sexes

Yesterday I talked about how messy Mother Nature really is.

To sum up Her methods, she throws a lot of things together and sees how they fare in the “real world.”*

It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about species like the platypus, or making natural soap.  The outcome is messy, and as humans we don’t understand everything she does.  After all, we’re only human.

Speaking of humans, we are also a product of Mother Nature.  And therefore, we must also be a mess.

Here’s where the fun starts.  Ask a typical woman what she thinks of men, and she will tell you that, as a class, they are pretty much messed up.

Ask a typical man the same question, and you’ll probably get the same answer.

We think differently, we experience the world differently, and we remember differently.  As a result, we live together yet apart.  If we find a partner, we grow together, and yet also grow apart.

Let’s talk sex, raw unadulterated baby-making orgasm related sex.  Got your attention?

When humans are young adults, the sex drive goes into hyper mode.  Men think about it all the time.**

Young women think about it somewhat less.  But young women do think about babies.  They are genetically programmed to do this.  Young married women who want a family go into their own hyper mode.  As an old man I’ve been able to talk with some women who are unafraid to tell me their habits.  Sex every day.  Maybe twice a day.

This is a husband’s joy.  For a wife, she is working.  And she’s feeling a bit stressed, because it’s her job to collect that baby-making stuff and turn it into a screaming, teething mass of tissue.  And she’ll do whatever it takes.

Including, if month’s of making babies the old way doesn’t work, going to the doc and checking out the latest technology.

Let’s fast forward a few decades.  The baby has grown and left the nest.  The man is still around, and for the most part, his sex drive is a good fraction of what he had as a youth.

But for the wife, she’s done her job.  The sex drive is probably greatly reduced.  Let’s face it, for many women it may be gone.  For many women, it may never have even been there!  Once the hard work is over, why bother doing something a grotesque and messy as making love?

Here’s where our messy Mother and humanity clash.  For we have been made this way.  We are an experiment.  She has turned our women into beings that live longer, are generally smarter, and more attuned to sustainable living than the male half.

What does this mean for the future of our species?  After all, we left our own nest some 100,000 years ago.  As species go, we are still babies.  Does this sexual dichotomy mean that we are stronger than the dinosaurs?  Or does our declining birth rates mean that our species is doomed?

We didn’t get a chance to talk about natural selection, and that’s where things can get truly interesting.  But I don’t want to bore you, either.  I just wanted to point out that there is a battle between our sexes in the bedroom, and on the stage that Mother Nature has provided.

So, think about that the next time you are “getting some.”

 

 

* Lets be clear here.  Mother Nature, or Mom, always lives in the real world.  It’s us humans that prefer to live in a delusion.  Let me know if you want to hear more.

**  If you don’t think this is true, do your own research.  Just be careful.  Take backup!

 

Fired Up

Anyone have a boss?  At work.  Not at home, and siblings don’t count.

I mean, do you have a person at work who decides how much to pay you and whether or not you still have a job?  That’s your boss.

Maybe YOU’RE the boss.  How many people report to you?  How many people report to them?  Do you have the authority to hire and fire all those positions?

Maybe you don’t, and you dream about the power.  Like King Midas dreamt about being able to turn anything into gold.  Be careful about what you wish for.

I have this “power.”  It’s not fun.  I get to go to work and be friendly with everyone.  I get to see everyone on their best behavior.

Then I hear stories.  So and so did this, or said that.  Always behind “so and so’s” back.  Ah, the drama.  Do you like drama?

I can’t stand drama.  I don’t need to watch it on TV.  I live it every day.

Let’s make this easy on both of us.  “So and so” is officially “Sue.”

So I eventually meet with Sue and what do I do?  I’m friendly and business-like at the same time.  And watching.  And wondering.  Am I going to have to fire Sue?

Meanwhile Sue is telling me about her problems, her sick parents, her troublesome kids.  I’m sympathetic.  And I’m still thinking to myself, will I have to fire you?

Finally, something happens that everyone sees, no one can ignore.  I’m going to have to call Sue into my office and find out what’s going on.

I want to ask her: “Do you want this job? Do you need this job? What are you thinking?”  But I can’t do that, either.  It’s not professional, and it leads her to the “right” answers.  No, I have to find out what’s going on inside her head, and hold her to her job description.

The problem is that the job description for managers is a lot fuzzier than for others.  So I have to hold Sue’s feet to a fuzzy fire.

I have to think about this every time I meet with my coworkers.  It makes for a very full day.  One of these days I’ll find a job without drama.  Chances are there won’t be any people involved.

 

 

New Fat Path

We’re driving over the river and through the woods to Grandma’s house for a traditional Christmas Eve gathering.

I’ve already eaten several holiday dinners every day this week.  With all the office parties, birthday parties, and generic holiday parties going on, it’s hard to even pretend to abstain.  And there’s people dropping by the office with the assorted mixed nuts, chocolates, cookies, and popcorn, and even beer! I can’t remember the last time I felt hungry.

As we drive along, I wonder what can I do?

I can say, “no thanks, mom.  I’d like a small portion.  No, no seconds, thank you.  Dessert?  No, none for me, please.”

None of these will work.  Like a game of chess I have to worry about what my words will do to my wife’s mother, my mil (mother in law for short).

I know I’m the only one with this problem, so let me describe it for you.  If I say the wrong thing while we’re at their house it could make my life very stressful for weeks.  If I really screw up I could make everyone upset, including my wife.  Chances are good that they would never let me forget it, either.  Heck, they still remember stupid things I said twenty years ago; things that I’ve long forgotten.

We’re parking the car.  What do I do?

What’s the downside?  So what if I eat too much?  You know, besides getting bloated and fat?

The burden I face is made much heavier because my wife and her mother are incredible cooks.  So it’s not that I’m turning down fast food; this is real gourmet dining.

What’s wrong with me pigging out?

As we gather our goods and start walking up the path, I think about Americans.  We’re a big country.  Not just Alaska and Grand Canyon big, we’re big and fat.  Americans are heavier than any other nation.  I don’t think that includes Canadians.

Americans are BIG.  How did this happen?

Well’ we have lots of money, so we can buy lots of food.

We make our food in factories, for the most part, so it’s inexpensive.

Generally, it’s not high quality, so when we get it served to us in a restaurant we get a lot.

Plus, there’s a good chance the food factories put extra sugar and other “ingredients” into their food encouraging us to eat more.

And let’s not forget the other side of life; the fact that we are constantly bombarded with ads telling us to eat more, and that we are glued to our screens watching those ads instead of walking around our neighborhood.

All of these are known pathways to getting fat.

I know all of these paths, and I realize that what I’m suffering from is a brand new pathway.  I’ve discovered yet another force upon us that makes me eat too much.

Guilt.

Yes, you may nod knowingly.  Guilt is the icing on the holiday cake.

No matter your ethnic background or religious upbringing, there are few young women who can go through an entire holiday event without getting a dollop of guilt from her mother or mil.  Guilt is probably more of a tradition than turkey and mashed potatoes.

Now, here I was, being guilted into eating.  How?

You see, if I say too much or say the wrong thing, I’m screwed for weeks, perhaps years.

But if I keep stuffing my face and mumble things like “thish is deelishus” or “paff vu graffee” then it’s like getting a pass out of making conversation.

Even if I’m asked a tough question I have a way out.  For instance, my mil may ask if I like her new hair style.  I’ll just stuff more rib roast into my mouth and nod agreeably.

If I hadn’t been eating I probably would have said something really stupid like “I hadn’t even noticed” or “I thought it was a wig.”

We walk up the steps and into the room.  I’m greeted by incredible aromas and a glass of wine offered by my fil.

Guess which path I choose tonight?

Happy New Year!

 

Fashion Fighter

I hate shopping.  Just do.  I don’t shop, I hunt.

I need this thing.  This store should have it.  Enter.  Target acquired.  Purchase made.  Escape!

Sometimes shopping takes more time than I’d like.  So I try to have fun along the way.

One of these ways is fighting the fashion treadmill.

But first: What the heck is fashion?

It’s culture.  It helps define ourselves within our tribe, our generation, our clique.

If my peers and role models are wearing sweaters with yellow tassels, then I’m going to have to wear yellow tassels.

If the fashion models in Paris are all wearing pink leather boots, I’m going to do my best to be the first one on my street with pink leather boots.  No matter what.

All the boots and sweaters that I bought last year are out of style.  Throw them out!

I’d rather move than show my buddies that I’m out of style.  I’d rather die than show my friends I’m out of step with fashion.

These are the thoughts of today’s typical young woman.

How can I justify such a sexist statement?

By showing you some rock-hard data.  For instance, how many billions of dollars are spent each year advertising “style” directly to young women?

A lot.

How many chain stores, fashion brands and accessory items exist specifically catering to women, young women?  How often do these stores adjust their inventory so that they remain in sync with the latest fashion trends?

A lot.  And at least 4 times a year.

Which brings me back to the whole purpose of this story.  I hate shopping!

One of the things I do to amuse myself during the agony of shopping is doing my best to fight the fashion treadmill, in any way.  For instance…

I was out shopping for gloves today, and overheard a father-son team bantering about how nice a certain charcoal-gray hat looked.  The father was trying it on.

As fashion police, his wife chimed in with…

“No one would ever wear that to work.”

“I would,” I say to myself, still busy looking at gloves.

Her husband responds.  “I would.  It’s comfortable and looks good.”

“It doesn’t fit the style of your overcoat,” she says.

I’m thinking, “But it will keep him warm and dry and looks pretty good.”

I move closer to the group as potential backup for the embattled male ego.

The wife delivers a second punch.  “No one really wears those things,” she says.

My opening!

“I do.” I chime in quietly, uninvited, and acting demure.  I’m looking at the other hats.

She lets me into the conversation!

“You do?” she says, giving me a polite smile.  I can see that I can’t push too much – there are daggers buried in those looks!

The husband looks genuinely pleased to see me come to his aide.  He is fondling the hat.

“Sure!” I repeat to her, though not too eagerly so that she sees through my ploy.  I continue.

“I have two stetsons very similar to this.  One brown and one black.”

“And you wear these to the office?”

“Most certainly.”

I smile and retreat.  I’ve given him all the help I can safely give without getting either of us in deep trouble.

I find my gloves and get out.

Ah, another male ego supported in the wilds of nature.  And one small push against the evils of the fashion treadmill.

I feel satisfied!

 

 

Dancing?

I think I’ve finally figured this one out. Why do humans dance?

I’m pretty sure that it’s only humans. At least, after all the hours I’ve seen of wild animals doing their thing, none of them have ever gotten up and boogied. Of course, who knows what happens late on Saturday nights when all the cameras are gone, right? Maybe there are rabbit raves? After all, where do all those rabbits come from?

I’ve never been a good dancer, and I’ve never understood why people dance. As a nerd I can blame my computerish tendencies. I can also blame my lack of skill, balance, and coordination. As you can tell, I’m pretty good at rationalization. I can also blame the fact that I learned to dance in the 80s, when disco was big. That alone may have traumatized me.

But why do others like to dance? I could never figure this one out. Every now and then I’d ask someone, usually a dancing partner. At which point they would promptly dump me. I never did get a good answer.

Anyway, after all these years, I think I got it.

People dance as a way to show that they are in touch with nature, deep nature. That’s it.

What is deep nature? It’s the rhythms permeating our lives; rhythms that are so old and so deeply entwined in our being that words are inadequate. Deep nature is life itself, and death; deep nature is breath itself, and the beating heart. Deep nature is hunger, sleep, love, and fear.

You probably already knew this, most people do. Some of us don’t, and we stand at the wall wondering what all the undulating is about.

Dancing occurs in all cultures, to many different beats, in many different forms. It changes slowly between generations, because the beat of nature for your generation is slightly different than it was for mine. Your dancing reflects that.

More women dance than men in our culture; not surprising because women are more closely tied to nature. Do we need music? No, but it certainly helps, as music reminds us of the beating of natural rhythms, like our heart, the tides, seasons, or the sun and moon. Do we need a partner? Again, not really, but if dancing is about communicating our ability to feel nature, then a partner is required, for who else are we talking to? The more people the more the need to dance. The greater the celebration, such as a wedding or even funeral, the more need to dance.

So the next time I see the group get up and sway, I’ll do my best to join in. I may not feel the forces that they do, but at least I can try undulating a bit. I just wish my relatives wouldn’t laugh so much!

Sex and Society: Who are You?

Sex is such a ‘hot’ area within our culture it’s difficult to know when to stop.  There are many other aspects we could touch upon: gender issues, cross-gender issues, our responsibilities to our society, parents, peers, children, mates.  The fundamentals underpinning many of these issues are the same fundamentals that drive many problems today, such as: What defines the successful life?  What does it mean to fulfil our individual roles as a man or woman, both to ourselves, and our society?

There are no easy answers to these questions.  That’s why most people turn to their religion or other mystic source.  Our religious leaders have been addressing these issues for thousands of years, some successfully.

It’s time for science to lend a hand.  That’s why I write, and why you read.  There is a way for us to look at these problems in a systematic fashion that forges understanding and progress.

It has to begin somewhere, and that beginning is yourself.

Who ARE you?

Do you see yourself as a sexual being, a political being, a biological entity, or something lesser, or greater?  Where do you see your lifeline going?  In that great tapestry of ALL LIFE, which thread is yours?

There are two young women out there who started this series, and I hope that they survive the tumult of today’s society to become happy, productive human beings.  I fear that their misunderstandings and our lack of general knowledge of behavior will instead create bitter and under-performing individuals.

These two women represent millions of other young women who have not had the courage or the opportunity to raise their voices.  I also write for them, and hope for them.  I certainly hope that you will find some time to help them, in your own way.

 

Sex and Society: Virgin Whore Dichotomy

Two web articles started this whole Sex and Society ball rolling for me. [1, 2].  Lauren and Liz bemoaned the fact that their behavior resulted in surprising social reactions.

Lauren decided to become a porn actor in order to pay for her schooling.  Liz advertised herself as a sexual object available to the highest bidder.  What could go wrong?

When Lauren’s peers found out what she did for a living, she was attacked in ways that let her know that she was no longer thought of as a “nice” girl.  Liz became the object of too much attention, her pornographic “selfies” became internet sensations, and her body attracted a Japanese millionaire offering 800,000 dollars for one night of sex.

The angst Lauren and Liz felt before was that society has already pigeonholed them into simple categories.  Both, before they were outed, were “virgins.”  An unacceptable category for many men, because they represent something to be attained and conquered.  Virgins are also unacceptable to most women, because peer pressure forces them to want other women to be just like themselves.  Many (not all!) women think “if you aren’t just like me, then you can’t be my friend.”

The whore is another world, at the opposite end of the spectrum.  Men appreciate whores for being available, but at the same time know they will make poor long-term mates.  Women can despise “whores” in the sense that they offer up sexual services competing with their own.  Therefore they not only demean themselves, they also lessen the value of all other women by association.

How does one negotiate being a “nice” girl?  You have to walk the invisible shifting line.  If our culture was well-defined, that line would be visible and solid.  In our nebulous dynamic culture, a young lady finds herself stumbling, running into trouble and obstacles at every turn.

The nice girl must play the game of being both a virgin and a whore.  She must be a whore to the extent that she can compete with the real whores.  She must also be a virgin to the extent that she can prove she is a valuable long-term mate.

In terms of behavior, there is only one way to play this game.

Don’t. [3]

[1] http://www.xojane.com/sex/duke-university-freshman-porn-star

[2] http://sexhealthandalittlepolitics.com/2014/02/

[3] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086567/quotes

Sex and Society: Pornography 2

The young lady mentioned in the last post wants the right and freedom to create pornographic films.  Speaking personally, individual freedom to choose one’s fate should be considered one of our greatest freedoms.

But any freedom must be combined with the responsibility to understand implications.  Her ‘freedom’ to create pornography ripples throughout our society in ways she may not appreciate, or understand.

First, the impact upon her life.  Today she finds herself ostracized by her peers, even villainized.  Whether or not you approve, what this means is that her circle of friends becomes defined by what she does, and how she appears.  Should she choose to start a family, that family’s chances for long-term success will be influenced by the man she chooses.  If he’s not a porn actor, will he be so forgiving to understand she shared her vagina with many others?

The impact upon society is more nebulous.  It’s likely that she has weakened the links she had with her own parents, her siblings.  It may be that those links were never there.  She has helped further the illusion that women are to be used, dominated, and desire nothing more than the physical act of sex.  No, she is not the first to do so, and will not be the last.  But each woman who elects to send this message is complicit in its continuance.  To try and stand up later and claim that such a message demeans women is the same as declaring alcohol to be satan’s drink, while holding a cocktail.

I do not say that pornography is bad, or good.  It simply is.  This young woman also, simply, is.  That she chooses to make pornography is her choice.  That society chooses to condemn her is its choice.

How do you, choose?

 

Sex and Society: Pornography 1

We’ve been discussing sex and society in general terms.  Society needs order, but it also needs children to continue more than one generation.  In Western civilization everyone wants liberty and the right to determine their own destiny.  At the same time, women want equality and empowerment over their biological fates.  As a result, individuals have fewer babies, society passes laws that discourages sexual freedoms, and conflicts result.

Most traditional societies have solved this problem using a special set of rules that we call “culture.”  Part of a traditional culture is to frown upon, or place an outright ban upon, pornography.

What is pornography?  Justice Potter Stewart summed it up best when he used the well-known phrase, “I’ll know it when I see it” back in 1964.  This is the best definition because pornography is a form of entertainment whose purpose includes sexual excitement.  If you get excited, you’ve got porn.

This also means it’s impossible for a society to create a definition that satisfies everyone.  In our “free” society, a young lady writes that creating porn films satisfies her need for self-expression.  However, she is surprised when she’s attacked by her Duke classmates.

She claims a right to create a pornographic film.  At the same time, she has forgotten that she also exists within a society that sets its own expectations upon her.  By breaking those social expectations, she encounters resistance.

Does she have the “right” to be a pornographic actor, as a legal adult but under the age of 20?  Does age matter?

Are we even sure that what she is receiving from others constitutes vindictive behavior?

I’ll know it when I see it.

 

Sex and Society: Sex and Women

Gentlemen, let’s talk about ladies.

Who am I kidding?  As a guy, this will be guy talk.

Boys, if you’re listening (and I know you’re not), consider this a dope slap.  You complain you can’t figure women out?  That’s because they’re (generally) smarter than you are.  Don’t argue, that’s another column and I’ve got tons of evidence against you.

Here’s another fact.  They are great to have around.  In fact, if you’re looking for a life partner, there’s none better.  If you’re a guy looking for a guy, we’ll talk about that later.

Here’s another tidbit.  Keep it in your pants.  Talk to it on your own time, but don’t force it on her.  Here’s why.

You want to have sex.  I know that.  You know that.  Heck, the whole world knows that.  Here’s what you don’t know.

She doesn’t.  Not really.  Not deep down.

She most likely wants a relationship.  Marriage.

She wants to know you’re going to be there for her when times get bad.  When she gets old and wrinkled and baggy.  When she’s sick, or thick with child, or goes crazy during menopause.

What?  You didn’t think about all those things?  That’s because you’re a guy and thick between the ears.  You probably think you’re beautiful and never going to be ugly, or baggy, or bald.  You may even think you’re hot stuff (you’re not).  Even if you’re a billionaire, you’re still an idiot compared to the average woman.

Right now our society is messed up.  No one has any rules for meeting and staying with “Mrs Right.”  In some countries your parents make the arrangements while you’re a teenager.  And guess what?  Lots of those marriages work out fine.

So here’s the deal, dude.  Be a gentleman.  Look for someone you can love, long term.  It’s your job to make every date, every night of love, and every other life event come naturally.

Unless of course someone else does all your thinking.

Who could that be?

Zip it up.