March 12, 2008

Dr. Helen on Male-Bashing.

I generally agree with the good doctor on these issues: not only is there way too much male-bashing out there for my taste, but I'm sure there's a lot more than I actually see, because I self-select against it; I don't much care for sexism in either direction.

I'm not an authority on gender relations, since I haven't seen any healthy marriages up close in real life.

There are, of course, four leading men in my life: my father, who loves it when I pick on him, because what is bullying behavior from his wives is just cunning when it's his older daughter tearing him down (yes—I don't do it often any more; I know it isn't healthy); my older brother and real father figure, who withdraws from me, judges the hell out of me, and loves me secretly far more than he will ever let on; my husband, whom I tend to either cater to or take for granted—but love desperately, all the same (and if only that were enough to sustain a relationship—it's "necessary, but not sufficient"); and my best friend Count Linguist, who is often accused of being "gay-like" because he's a die-hard nonviolent intellectual—though he is as brutal verbally as any serial killer is in the blood-and-guts realm—and, oddly enough, he is the strongest person physically I've ever met, if one were simply measuring raw upper-body power.

All that said, I do think people need to let off steam, particularly when they feel dominated by their spouses—which, let's face it, everyone is. Marriage is never easy, and it certainly isn't for wimps.

But there is a point beyond which one shouldn't go. If you're blowing off steam, you can make a couple of pointed remarks about your spouse the way one might talk about upper management (or the Board of Directors, or the stockholders, or any "ball and chain") at a company for which you work, and at which you largely like to work: "God love 'em; they aren't perfect—much as I sometimes wish they were. I do, however, respect the good in what they are accomplishing."

There are certain things that are simply beyond the pale: suggesting that your husband or boyfriend isn't a "real man" (which, of course, he would be if he only did what you want him to do, all the damned time), suggesting he's a little boy for having any human emotions, or holding against him whatever intellectual limitations he might incur as a result of being male. (This is often combined with taking advantages of the areas wherein his brain provides benefits to the household or partnership: "You're so absent-minded, Honey; here's the map, by the way. You navigate." Not cricket, people.)

I wouldn't know about the last, precisely. My mapping and spatial relationship skills run, as withmy-anything-mathematical, to either very good, or very bad. (Like my parallel parking, or my restaurant arithmetic/tip calculations. I'm either on, or completely off.)

But between two people each person will always have strengths and weaknesses, and it's just as well to acknowledge one's weaknesses on those occasions when one is trumpeting one's strengths.

Otherwise, male or female, one risks turning into a monster.

Posted by Attila Girl at March 12, 2008 07:22 PM | TrackBack
Comments

Thank you.

You would be surprised however at how much that is "beyond the pale" is routinely employed by some women when tempers flare.

Posted by: Desert Cat at March 14, 2008 10:27 PM


The deal is, mutual respect. Even when we're yelling at each other.

If I ever feel like we've actually gotten it right, I'll write a fuckin' book about it. ;)

I just wiii not talk down to him. (Though there's been some spirited discussion as to whether I once rolled my eyes when he said something so outrageous, I felt that it was beyond the pale. I didn't roll my eyes, though: I rolled my whole fucking head. Subtle distinction.)

Like I said, one day I'll get it right. If it happens early enough, Book Deal! Later on, I just die with a smile on my face.

Posted by: Attila Girl at March 15, 2008 01:06 AM




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