Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Self-Made Man Has Trouble With Women!
Here Instapundit discusses Norah Vincent's book, Self-Made Man : One Woman's Journey into Manhood and Back . What really caught my eye was the excerpt he posts:
Bisexuals know that hurt gets inflicted by both sexes in equal measure if not always by the same means. But for these women -- who had never dated other women, and thus never been romantically hurt by them -- men as a subspecies, not the particular men with whom they had been involved, were to blame for the wreck of a relationship and the psychic damage it had done to them.I don't know about the bisexual part but the "pass my test" part sure sounds familiar. Usually the prize for passing the test isn't that great. We all should try to ensure we're compatible with someone but it's rather condescending and arrogant to think someone has to pass a test to have the possibility of a relationship with you. If I want to pass tests, I'll go back to school. For some women the test is ongoing. If you flunk the test after matrimony, you lose half of everything you worked for.
It's hardly surprising, then, that in this atmosphere, as a single man dating women, I often felt attacked, judged, on the defensive. Whereas with the men I met and befriended as Ned there was a presumption of innocence -- that is, you're a good guy until you prove otherwise -- with women there was quite often a presumption of guilt: you're a cad like every other guy until you prove otherwise.
"Pass my test and then we'll see if you're worthy of me" was the implicit message coming across the table at me. And this from women who had demonstrably little to offer. "Be lighthearted," they said, though buoyant as lead zeppelins themselves. "Be kind," they insisted in the harshest of tones. "Don't be like the others," they implied, while having virtually condemned me as such before hand.
How many times have you heard a woman tell a man, "You just lost some points."? In the words of comedian, Greg Hahn, how many points did I start out with? And, I want to transfer my account to your younger sister.
A little anecdote, I once knew a man who owned a service station situated just off of an Interstate exit and thus was quite valuable. He was a nice but rough-hewn, mechanic kind of fellow which is what you would expect from a service station owner. Once upon a time, he had been married for 3 months. Upon the divorce, he had to pay his ex-wife $100,000. This was pre-1980. Quite a bit of money for that time. Obviously, his ex-wife hadn't made any sort of significant contribution to the value of his service station. His take on the situation was this, "I could have had a $1,000 whore every night for three months for less than that."
I'll have to read this book.
It is indeed a good book--I am reading an advanced copy and we will hopefully be interviewing the author next week for a podcast to talk about being a woman and living as a man for 18 months.
I really don't know why women would have to live as men in order to get inside their skin. I wish both sexes could have more empathy for the other.
I agree completely.
Years ago, I read "Black Like Me." There seems to be something to really putting yourself in the other's shoes (or as close as you possibly can) that adds to the perspective.
In this case I'm interested in a woman's perspective of the male experience after having lived it for a short while.
I see your point. When I have dated, etc. I've never viewed it as a "test" but as a getting to know you situation. But I have heard people, primarily women, make references to "passing the test" and "points." I am certainly interested in whether or not another is compatible with me. Maybe I'm mincing words, but I like to look at it as more of an exploration with greater openness to qualities that may not be on the question list of the test.
In the perspective of what you're saying, I see a lot of superficial "testing" as well as an attitude of "if he passes the test his reward is getting to have a relationship with me". A lot of take and little give. It never seems to strike some that they may be lucky to be having a relationship with someone. Of course, this can be true for either gender. I've known plenty of guys who judge women almost strictly on looks. They usually pay dearly for it.
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