That’s the message repeated over and over in almost every medium across the country and perhaps the world. Prime time television shows starring husband as buffoon. Commercials presenting helpless and haplessly incompetent fathers. Magazines, movies, mainstream media, and even “bona fide” scientific studies all paint a picture of men as inept, clueless fools and insensitive louts. When man stands alone in this unflattering portrait his image appears less than stellar, however, at no time is his cluelessness more apparent than when he is posed next to a woman. This is where the real analysis begins. Where the natural tendency to compare and contrast kicks into high gear. Where the compare is given a cursory glance then abandoned by the wayside and the focus quickly turns to contrast.

He is from a different planet. He is living in a different era. He has a different brain and different chemistry. His brain is located in his penis and he follows where it leads. He has no brain at all. He has different needs and most certainly has only one thing on his mind – ALWAYS. He doesn’t listen. He doesn’t understand the problem but he wants to fix it anyway. He IS the problem and he has no interest in fixing it. He thinks but doesn’t feel. He feels but can’t share. He can’t communicate. He’s brutish and much too chauvinistic or he’s weak and much too sensitive. He’s too focused on his career yet he’s an irresponsible child in an adult body.

Is all of this true? Is any of it? The most likely answer is…maybe. Depending on the artist and whether the portrait is painted with a broad brush these generalizations can certainly seem to make a great deal of sense. Even when looked at individually these statements have the potential to be true for almost any man depending on a specific relationship with a specific woman at a specific point in his life. The portrait is a moment frozen in time. A snapshot. The truth is that men AND women are both human and both living on Earth. And all of us are subject to human weaknesses and human strengths.

Men and women learn how to relate to the opposite sex first by observing their parents or other adults who serve as examples, some good, some not. These observations serve as a basis but from this point on usually it’s all life experience and trial and error. Sometimes luck intervenes and produces a happily-ever-after but judging by the 50% divorce rate in the U.S. it seems the odds are about even that it could be a not-so-happy ending. The lives of two or more people are at stake when a relationship fails and that is a lot to leave up to chance. The issue isn’t whether men are jerks or clueless or whether or not all those stereotypes are true. The issue is that guys need help learning how to relate to women. Not only do they not have access to the right information but they’ve been trained to believe they don’t need it. In the words of Gordon Clay of Menstuff.org, "Man's inherent nature is to be curious, gentle, intimate, responsible, enthusiastic, sensual, tolerant, courageous, honest, vulnerable, affectionate, proud, spiritual, committed, wild, nurturing, peaceful, helpful, intense, compassionate, happy and to fully and safely express all emotions. When will we stop training him to be otherwise?"

To be continued...

4 comments:

Malach the Merciless said...

Nice stuff

Paula R said...

Great post here, Bruce! I can't wait to see how things go here. I hope both men and women weigh in here. This blog sets the stage for some great research if you are a romance writer.

Peace and love,
Paula R.

Bruce said...

Hi Mal. Great to see you. I wasn't sure if any of the old gang was still hanging around the old shop. Thanks for coming over.

Bruce said...

Thank you Paula!