A conservatory of Ldotter blogs.

Monday, January 31, 2005

I love women. . .

. . .I really do. They can be simultaneously the most calming and exciting presence in a man's life -- at once reassuring and maddeningly inscrutible. I love women, but they are completely beyond my intellectual grasp.

Here I am, a single 35 year old male with no kids or nasty divorces in my past, pretty good employment prospects (though, I'll likely never be wealthy), a sense of humor, a car, my own place (if not exactly a luxury condo), and the women around me seem to just love me. I've managed to live all these 35 years without having a single restraining, or emergency protective order placed upon me, and have never spent more than a few hours behind bars.

One would think that's a good thing, right? Wrong. Because, if a man is still single at the age of 35, self-answering questions start popping into the minds of women. "Thirty-five and never been married? Gay or psychologically stunted." The gay question isn't in doubt in my mind -- I've never been sexually attracted to a man in my life, whereas I find myself sexually attracted to several women everyday. The psychological stunting question, however, is a different story. I do question whether or not I've missed some important stage of male development that enables men to not so much "understand" women, but rather to ignore what they say. Because, in the end, it's what women say that always seems to be my undoing.

Actually, it's not what they say -- it's the fact that I believe what they say. It's been my experience in dealing with women that most of what they say they're looking for in a man is simply not true. For instance, if a woman says she wants a man who is kind, smart, funny, and understanding, what she really means is she wants a drunken dullard who treats her like a dog. As I said, that's been my experience.

Not that I'm trying to make the case that women are "liars," per se. I think women honestly believe the words they say when they say them. For instance, I know women who are absolutely convinced that platonic friendships with men are impossible, and they may be right. I don't have any expriences that indicate otherwise. But, all the while they're saying that these friendships are unworkable, they're busily going about building this "platonic" relationship.

Then, when the friendship develops into something more -- or a man develops feelings beyond the purely platonic, the woman is proven correct. And that makes it easy for her to say, "I told you so," when the friendship hits one of those rough spots that universally strike human relationships. So, the lesson that men are supposed to take away from the experience is that, indeed, platonic relationships between men and women are unworkable. How does this indicate that women say things that simply are not true?

Well, once women have established that those types of friendships can't succeed, and once they've decided that they've made their point on the matter, they start calling on the phone for friendly, platonic chats.

Some of my more jaded and cynical fellow men are utterly convinced that what women really want from men is money. I'm not so sure that's the case, since I've been passed over in favor of men who are self-centered, drunken dullards who stay unemployed anywhere from four to six months out of the year. Granted, I don't have much money, and I can't really be sure about it until I do. But, it seems to me that, on balance, the guy who is supposedly bright, likeable, funny and broke with prospects for the future would be more appealing than a chronically underemployed, besotted horse's ass.

At this point, I'm entertaining the notion that what women want is exactly the opposite of what they say they want. There's an axiom that gets bandied about between men when they're experiencing women problems: "Treat 'em like a queen, and they'll walk all over you. Treat 'em like dogs, and they're yours for life."

For the better part of my life, I've rejected that notion in favor of the belief that everyone is entitled to be treated with respect, and that if you extend that respect to someone -- male or female -- you get the same thing in return. And, I've always been of the belief that any relationship worth pursuing begins with mutual respect.

These days, however, I can't help wondering if I'm just naive and, as I said before, stunted. I've known too many men who, in a world where things make sense, would be as perpetually single as I seem to be -- yet, despite their obvious shortcomings, always get the girl. I've seen too many women get into relationships that are so glaringly unhealthy as to nearly warrant law enforcement intervention, despite having better options eagerly waiting to be taken. And, regretably, I'm beginning to entertain the idea that, in fact, women do like the abuse.

I'm willing to consider other explanations, and welcome any input I can get. But, unless someone says something to completely turn my thinking around, the next time a woman tells me I'm a great guy, I'm going to respond with, "Shut up, stupid." That's sure to win her over.

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