Friday, June 8, 2012

Pray for Rain

There's a decent little piece over at Crisis on how men should behave.  There've been better bits of commentary on the current existential crisis of the eternally uncertain male-female entente; but this one was thoughtful, reasonably mild, and written, thank heavens, by a man.

Thank heavens, 'cause I hate to think how much worse the comment thread would have been if a woman had been the author.  A sampling (yes, I have chosen the most egregious four, but I haven't edited them in any way—caveat lector):

David: All well and good to beat men over the head for not acting like gentlemen. It is no less important that women act like ladies. No, I don't mean like submissive and helpless little waifs. Far from that. But I meet too many women who like to "have it both ways," and in social situations, often succeed in getting it.
     A priest-friend of mine used to teach at a Catholic high school. He said that the girls presented greater disciplinary problems than the boys. If you have to ask why, I can't explain it to you.

A Man Musing: Oh wow!  I am really appalled at the misandry both openly and inferred in this article.  The ridiculous assertion that boy mature slower than girls has been disproven time and again.  Boys mature in some ways faster, some ways slower.   Girls mature in some ways slower than boys and in some ways faster.  
     Message to both boys and girls should be about treating EVERYONE with respect not based on their sex (Sexism) and diffferences (Bigotry) but based on the individuality of each person and their value to God.
     IF you want to change the rules and civility in dating then change the bias of family courts against men, repeal no fault divorce.   Dont lecture boys about how to date, let a boy be whoever he wants to be, but rather teach them the real dangers and unequity in the dating and marriage decisions, there is a reason that most divorces are intiated by women, it's viewed as socially "standing up for yourself" and often (although not always) accompanied by a nice financial reward! 
     The hookup culture has been created by the above problems.  If anyone wants to change how boys date, then make marriage something that actually means something rather than merely a bet of at least 50% of your net worth that the other person is going to keep loving you forever.

Paleoliberty: I'm afraid you are putting the cart before the horse. Men really haven't changed that much at all over the past 50 years. Women, on the other hand, have changed drastically. Postmodern young women have lived their entire lives in a culture that glorifies female sexuality and "empowerment". The result is two generations of young women who are selfish narcissists (Lindsay Lohan? Paris Hilton?). They disparage the idea that caring for a family should be a legitimate life goal. Such things as learning to cook or doing simple housework are seen as beneath their dignity.
      But even more removed from reality is this statement: "It’s harder now to claim that what young women are looking for is marriage – they’re not really allowed to say that out loud or even admit it to themselves – but what they do tend to be looking for is stability, commitment." You don't get out much these days, do you? Have you seen the way young women dress today? Hint: It's a minor clue as to how they behave. Having tossed aside the idea of chastity, young women flock to service handsome jerks, eschewing the company of "nice guys." Should we then be surprised that "nice guys" are becoming an increasingly endangered species? Guys will behave the way the sexual marketplace demands.  If women desire shallow sexual relationships with alpha men...then that's how men will behave. But it's not something that is being inflicted on unwilling young women. Judging by their behavior, it's what they actually prefer (much to the dismay of the shrinking pool of "nice guys").
     I'm not sure if this can be repaired. But if so, it must begin with the young women. They must be taught to value positive traits in men, not to lust for the bad boys. And they must relearn the idea that one of the highest ideals of womanhood is to care for and nurture her husband and children, and that these ideals do not equate to slavery and oppression.
     It's a long road, but it starts with changing the women.

Mars96: Once upon a time, the man was the king of the castle and lorded it over his spouse. Society  encouraged and perpetuated this dynamic. For a brief  period, known as courtship, the man would assume an almost subservient position in order to woo his chosen one. Once that was accomplished he resumed the behavior of the dominant member of the relationship. Women could influence indirectly and ,of course , it was more nuanced than this, but in general the man ruled and the woman's role was subservient. There came a time when women's resentment of this situation reached a critical mass resulting in a revolutionary spirit of overthrowing the existing order, ie. Betty Freidan. Slowly, women came to believe that they were men's equals and insisted on being treated as such. But the trajectory of that new found "liberation" and" empowerment" didn't settle upon equality but rather shot well past that. Women today believe that they are smarter than men and therefore justified in seeking always to control the relationship and decision-making. They are not above using their widely recognized capacity for anger to that end. Men are left to be the new doormat or eschew serious relationships altogether. Especially when the new, liberated, "trampy" women striving so hard to establish their "equalness" give their sexual favors away zealously.

Alright, I broke my language rule in posting all that.  I hope the gentlemen *ahem* don't mind.  I'm starting therapy now, and may have forgiven myself by Tuesday.

In reading these comments, I was strongly reminded of a line which my brothers quickly learned and (thank heavens) just as quickly forgot, while watching Shrek II.  From the mouth of the not-so-Charming:

"FYI—not my fault!"

This should be a picture of Charming, but it's really Kirk Douglas.  You may thank me later.

Why do people always take these gender-specific critiques personally?  Why, when the flaws of one half of the human species are described, do certain portions of the other half leap to reassign the blame to where they think it should belong?  (Of course, both men and women are guilty of this.)  This is not a game, mon freres.  (It really went against the grain to use the phrase for this crowd.  Hard against it.  Perpendicular.)  We are not in a competition to determine who is most at fault for the social morass we are all forced to inhabit.

This is not to say that there should be no competition between men and women.  Competition between men and women is awesome!

 "Anything you can ..."  Oh, wait ...  Sorry, wrong picture!

No, that's also the wro—hey, don't get any ideas!

"Oh no, darling! I will do the dishes tonight; you two can watch TCM together ..."

That's how the competition should look.  None of this "s/he started it."  We should be striving to outdo each other in virtue, not descending into petty tit-for-tat at the intellectual level of a kindergarten playground squabble.  A real lady is a lady even in the company of boors.  A real gentleman is a gentleman even in the company of feminists.  This is what Christ calls turning the other cheek.  That is all.  And the following ... is a true story.

"The Ballade* of the Gentle Stranger"  *Ballade: a distinct poetic form at which Chesterton excelled.

I’d have adored the melancholy Dane,
The sort of man for whom sweet ladies cry;
And if that downing sort were easier slain,
I’d catch a pessimist amidst the wry,
To make him laugh, myself to satisfy;
But gloom, however brilliantly arcane,
Cou’n’t hold a candle to the passerby
Who held me an umbrella in the rain.

The eager sort—less witty and urbane—
Than Sir Sophisticated Sour—whose tie
Comes bowed; who’s extroverted, slightly vain,
But charms in that it’s obvious; who’ll pry,
With brief but flattering absorption, why
One thinks, does,—this or that? His splendors wane,
When in conjunction with the stranger dry,
Who held me an umbrella in the rain.

The philosoph; the scientist; the brain
That turns a poor sartorial choice an high,
Heroic trait; the funny man, who’d sprain
His ankle for a laugh; the one who’d die—
In verse!—for to forestall a female sigh:
Of all the men who’d save—but cost—us pain,
Not one’s a gentleman quite like the guy
Who held me an umbrella in the rain.

Prince, flattery can set my heart a-fly;
Attentions, make and take their loss and gain;
He wanted nothing in his chivalry,
Who held me an umbrella in the rain.

In real life, you see, people are almost always awfully nice.

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