“Men and women cannot be friends…”
I was talking to my girl friend the other day (we shall name her Emily) trying to dissect the reasons why she keeps getting involved with the same kind of men. They usually consist of ones who are already in a relationship, who are married, or the ones that are so emotionally detached- yet ironically act so intimately involved.
However, that is where it all starts—the intimacy behind the actions is what gets Emily attached. The intertwining and cuddling of the bodies after sex, the slip of the fingers embracing the hands, the light and gentle kisses grazing the forehead, and the rest is history. Yes, all of us women are aware of these intimate gestures that gets us going. It is almost in these gestures, do we find the closest thing that we can call a “definition” of the relationship we have with these men.
I’ve noticed a universal trend that many women are constantly trying to define the relationships they have with men, and the occasional ‘vice versa.’ That is what we do in order to gain some type of control over a situation that seems so mysterious and ambiguous— that we are constantly aroused without questioning “how” or “why” we got to this point to begin with. So that begs me to question, why do women settle for the man who is just looking for a good time without having to settle?
This problem leads me to introduce, “The Hero Symptom.” Jane Austen hits it right on the nail when she created the spunky and quite nomadic Elizabeth Bennett—a woman who pretentiously holds her ground in a man’s world. I’ve read the book, I’ve seen the movie, and not once did our Elizabeth physically succumb to the temptations of the dark and handsome Mr. Darcy. My argument here is simply that she did not use sex, or was victimized by sex in pursuit of her happily-ever-after. Yet, she was able to “change” the originally pompous and arrogant Darcy. Therefore, isn’t that what most women want? –To be the sole reason why a man changes? Is this why we stick around, hoping and yearning for our time and emotions invested to finally pay off? If Elizabeth Bennett could do it, why can’t we?
Not to turn literary critic, but Pride and Prejudice was written in the Romantic Era for a reason. Romance will not always work out in a cynical and romantically- deprived world. Men will not change, unless they want to—not because they have to. Neither do men want to be saved, that goes against their whole genetically masculine code. Bottom line, men just want women to accept them for who they are, and women need to learn to accept what they cannot control.
It is nothing short of new knowledge that America has the highest divorce rate—world wide. It’s rather depressing. But I find that what is even more depressing, are that these statistics do not even factor in every other couple who stays together in a loveless marriage, or a marriage full of infidelity.
I am a strong believer in that every person is “a product of his/her environment.” With that being said, let’s draw a scenario. We’ll call these characters Dick and Jane.
We’ll start with Jane since I’m feeling chivalrous. Jane grows up with loving parents. Essentially, she’s what you may consider to be, daddy’s little girl. Then one day, Jane overhears her mom and dad arguing at the age of 9, and this goes on for the next 3 years of her life. Out of nowhere, Jane’s dad packs up, leaves and never comes back. Jane grows up, becomes a successful and independent business woman. She learns that she never has to rely on another man, especially after witnessing what her mother has been through. But, however fabulous and social her life follows, she is always alone. Why is a successful and attractive woman single? Well with Jane’s background, her father left both her and her mother at a young age. She never grew up with a steady paternalistic influence. Jane’s mother reduced herself to drinking and having random sex with different men. What are the chances for Jane to meet a man she can fully trust and believe, while maintaing her sanity and being completely secure with herself?
I’ll keep Dick’s story short. 5 tequila shots, 2 bottles of wine, and 3 beers preceding 9 months—Dick is born out of wedlock. Father pays child support for 7 months, meets another girl, skips out of town with her, and never sees Dick and mother again. Dick grows up a handsome and successful business man. He sleeps around with women and leads the bachelor lifestyle without ever wanting or remotely caring for a commitment. Then…::drum roll:: Dick meets Jane. How will their relationship turn out?
Where I am getting to is that divorce and infidelity is a socially demented cycle. Children will not grow up and learn how to love until their parents do, and their parents before them, and their’s before them, and…well you get the picture. The world is filled with Dick’s (pun quite intended) and Jane’s. It’s almost nearly impossible to tell them apart because so many people are knocked sideways with infatuation and passion, that intimacy and common sense is lost. People are either getting divorced or they break up. And those with utterly broken hearts are left feeling jaded and cynical. Then another cycle spins.
Moral—if you can’t commit and have insecurity issues, don’t blame your daddy issues. Blame yourself for not taking that step to break the cycle.
This past weekend I attended this hip and trendy rooftop bar lounge, 230 Fifth on 27th and 5th Avenue in New York City. The atmosphere was relaxing and the view was glamorous, both scenically as well as socially. (Nearly took my breath away) But let us not stray too far from the subject of this post.
I was approached by this random man who simply grabbed my hand mid way through the crowd and asked me for my name and I gave it since he asked me nicely. Now the sequence of events that followed afterwards were unexpected. He gave his name, he smiled and said, “I hope you enjoy the rest of your evening,” and walked away. I was surprised that there was no quick and quirky flirtatious one-liners like, “Has anyone told you how beautiful you look tonight.” Even if not that, I was surprised he didn’t offer an act of gesture that would lead to a possible furthering of his intentions like, “May I buy you a drink?” Nope, he just walked away.
Now I’m not one to chase but later that evening I ran into him again and initiated conversation with this man because, well, he left me curious. It turned out that he worked for a company that specializes in the scene of social dating, and had 13 male clients with him that night in which he spread out among the crowds to let them “work it,” to the best of their abilities. I did not know this existed in real life! I thought these business tactics were only found on your local television shows or chick flicks. As far as I was concerned, I thought he was lying to me about his profession, only to come and find out that one of his clients approached my girl friend.
Every move that happened between me and this man, as well as his client and my girlfriend was nearly and identically “manualized.” As soon as the attention was acquired, talks of what you do for a living, where you’re from, what brings you to a place like this, where do you live, etc. was manipulated towards the common interest that surrounded the woman. (Considering that women usually love talking about themselves) It was funny to me because personally, that’s how I would generally hit on a man.
When you’re talking to a member of the opposite sex (or same sex whichever you prefer) you would usually try to make it as much about that other person, as possible. It makes them feel good about themselves, as well as encouraged to feel good about wanting to share it with you. Then physical light taps on the knees/ thighs, the turn of your chest, the engagement of eyes, starts setting up the subtle hints of attraction. For example, this man complimented my earrings, then lightly touched them only to give opportunity to bring his hand down, gently brushing the side of my cheek. He then talks about how these reminded him of his sister’s. It was subtle enough for me not to make a big deal of it because I didn’t feel uncomfortable at all since he was able to tie his intention of touching my earrings to comparing that of his (younger) sister’s earrings, which almost naturally brings out a sensitive and possibly innocent nature of him. However, on his end, it was a bold enough gesture that he got to touch this random, pretty woman’s face without getting slapped in the process.
This whole thing was of course discussed to further context between my girl friend and this man. He shared with us, his out going nature is something his company is trying to bring out in his clients. To be able to openly approach a woman with confidence, showing no fear, is a beautiful accomplishment. If only all men, knew this route, less women would feel the need to walk away or worse.
It occurred to me just how hard I’d been fighting, and all of a sudden, it was no wonder I was exhausted.