Sunday, August 18, 2013


            The movie starred Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt. My wife and I loved it. “What Women Want” is a very enjoyable romantic comedy about a male chauvinist pig who can, all of a sudden, hear what women are thinking. It also caused Laura and me to do some thinking about the battle of the genders. So far there is no clear winner, but women seem to be ahead on points…at least that’s what they’d like us to believe.

            Now before any feminine hackles start to rise, let me say that I’d like to see women win the fight, especially if they could do it in the next thirty seconds or so. I’m sick and tired of it all. I would readily admit defeat just to stop all the carnage, but unfortunately, my personal surrender would have no effect on the battle as a whole. I’d break ranks and run away, but that’s tough to do when you’re surrounded. I’ve tried screaming “Please don’t hurt me, I give up!” but the noise of the American Women’s Battle Cry drowns out my feeble shout. You know it. Many of you even utter it from time to time.

Men just don’t understand us!”

            Ladies, you’re right. We don’t. We absolutely, positively, do not understand women. The statement is a generality that is completely correct, as long as it is not applied to specifics. When it is applied to specifics, it is as absurd as any other sexist, racist, hateful utterance on the planet. Tell me men don’t understand women all day long, I have no problem. But if you tell me that I do not understand women because I am a man, smile.

            Even though I freely admit my guilt and complicity in the ongoing conflict, there are some double standards that irk me a bit. If a woman says “my husband just doesn’t understand me”, the rest of us, male and female alike, are supposed to look at her sympathetically and say “aaawwww”. If a man says “my wife just doesn’t understand me”, the rest of us look around for the poor, unsuspecting barfly he’s saying it to. Which brings me to another point. Be advised, I’m using the term “I” in the broadest possible sense, as a generality applying to men as a group, not to any specific man.

            If it is true that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, then women are not from Venus and Mars. If I do not understand you because we are from different planets, what the hell makes you think you have such a firm grip on what makes me tick? Answer: You don’t.  Difference? I don’t expect you to understand me, and when you don’t, I don’t worry my pretty little head about it.

            There is a great deal of psychobabble out there on how little boys are programmed to be warlike, sidewalk-spitting, crotch-clutching, beetle-browed clods, and more than a little of it is true. Little girls are programmed, too. They are taught to keep some mystery in a relationship, to not give too much of themselves, emotionally or physically, away. They are also taught that they will have to suffer in one way or another at the hands and will of men. Then they are given various visions of prince charming, or vine covered cottages, or perfect picket fences, and told to aspire to them. Women have been taught fear and fantasy. Just like the guys, gals, you bought into the bull. We have all been misled, all of us. Let me say that again. ALL OF US.

            We have had stereotypes thrown at us from earliest memory, and our internal computers were programmed, whether we liked it or not, by generation after generation of people whose only qualification to be parents was the fact that somebody could get somebody else pregnant. We are, for the most part, composites of what we have been told we should be, what we have emulated from experience, or what we have run from because of fear. Even in our overreactions to sex, ours or somebody else’s, we are not consistent. Homosexual men, for the most part, get along with women fine, even love them dearly. Homosexual women are often antagonistic to men, especially those who strive so hard to appear male themselves.

            Let’s get back to the original question. What do women want? I don’t know, and neither do most women, for the very reasons I mentioned earlier. I suspect, in their heart of hearts, it’s much simpler than we have been led to believe. Fortunately, in my life, I have enjoyed association with a number of remarkable women, and what they seemed to most desire is also what most men want, when all the B.S. is scraped away. Love. Men and women don’t have to understand each other to love each other. Parents don’t need to understand their children, or children their parents. Love soars above all that.  It’s up to us to stop pointing fingers and making demands, and realize that while men may never understand women, and women may never understand men, a person can at least come close to understanding another person, even if one is male and the other female. When the generalities are dropped, it ain’t them against us any more. It’s just the two of you, each with the with the standard issue BS that comes with the respective gender, and each with plenty of love to go around once fear gets out of the way. It’s all part of a plan that we understand even less than we understand each other.

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