Note: For the third time (I guess they just don’t learn?), I was asked to be the “Guest Professor” at Romance University, an online web-site for writers and others. My “course” was the piece written below. There was and is quite a spirited discussion going on at RU and if you’d care to read some of it or join in, here’s the link. But, following is the “course” for your reading pleasure:
Today it seems there are so many changes in our home and work lives, that the sexes often are unsure of what their roles are. Notice that I used the word, “sexes,” rather than gender. To me, “gender” sounds like academics and reeks way too much of the PC police. We are two different sexes and, while this may come as a shock to those of you in “Women’s Studies” departments at our elite universities, we sexes (e.g. men and women) are inherently different! Yup, different. Like in “Black and White,” “Ying and Yang,” “Laurel and Hardy,” and “A Burger and Fries.”
Okay, maybe some of those analogies are a bit silly, but the point is that men are men and women are women. And, it’s my assertion that rather than trying to make us “equal” in our behaviors, let’s celebrate our differences and learn the best each sex has to offer! To be clear, the one area in which I support “equality” is “Equal pay for equal work.” Whether that means every woman should strive to be a fireman or every man should go to nursing school is irrelevant. In that regard, I believe it’s up to the individual.
Also, to be explicitly clear, while I think there are generalities that apply to each sex, the key word there is “generality.” Just like clichés, which only become clichés due to their relative truth, the same applies to generalities anyone or I might make about men and women. So, PC police and graduate school women’s studies professors, relax, I know there are exceptions.
To illustrate some of our inherent sex differences, I decided to eavesdrop (okay, I recorded it with her permission) on a light-shedding conversation – a conversation between a man and a woman. Just as a picture is worth 1000 words, maybe this “dialogue” will illuminate my assertion about our differences. For the sake of my wife’s privacy, I will name her “wife.”
Bruce: Honey, I just don’t see the need to make the bed every day with all those pillows. Do we have to?
Wife: Yes, because it looks better and what if someone comes over?
Bruce: Who? The pool man? These pillows just get in the way and clutter up the room when we go to bed.
Wife (sigh): Dear, just do it for me, okay?
Bruce: Okay, okay. Can we talk about this shopping trip you want me to come with you on, please?
Wife: What about it?
Bruce: I don’t want any new clothes. I’m fine with what I’ve got for our trip.
Wife: Bruce, most of your clothes should be thrown out. In fact, if you don’t go through your closet, I will and get rid of most of your horribly out-of-style wardrobe.
Bruce: Please don’t do that. I’ll clean out some of the older stuff. Look, I’m just comfortable wearing the stuff I wear. And, a lot of that stuff has sentimental value to me, just like Pete Maravich’s socks did to him.
Wife: Pete who?
Bruce: He was a basketball player that wore the same pair of socks his whole career. They were in tatters toward the end.
Wife: That’s disgusting
Bruce: Well, I don’t get why you have so many shoes and need to change your wardrobe each season.
Wife: It’s a girl thing and, don’t forget, I was in the fashion business.
Bruce: All right, I’ll go with you, but I’m bringing my laptop so I can get some writing done when you get stuck in the shoe department. You’re not going to spend that much again on shoes, are you?
Wife: You just don’t get it, do you? You bought three computers in the last two years, a big-screen TV, plus that new video player thing.
Bruce: But, all that stuff is practical and the whole family enjoys the TV and the Blu-ray player. Heck, didn’t you watch the “Sex and the City” movie twice in the last few weeks?
Wife: Yes, and you didn’t stay for more than 15 minutes.
Bruce: Ahhh, but you used it. And, sorry, those women are unwatchable. What does anyone see in Sara Jessica Parker? And, “Mr. Big?” Give me a break.
Wife: You hurt my feelings.
Bruce: What? I hurt your feelings because I didn’t sit and watch a movie with you?
Wife: Yes, you did. Don’t you remember what we learned from that book I got you to read?
Bruce: What book?
Wife: “The Five Languages of Love.” And my languages were?
Bruce: Oh, yeah, I remember. That’s one of the New Age books you so love. Your language was receiving gifts. I remember.
Wife: No, that was one of two that applied to me. The other was spending time together.
Bruce: Well, I don’t see how watching a chick-flick is spending time together. You drool over the clothes and I end up falling asleep.
Wife: That’s not the point. Anyway, we’re getting you some new clothes and I’m getting those knee-high boots I showed you.
Bruce: Why don’t you just get whatever you think looks good at me and I’ll wait at the Sports Bar, please (winking)?
At that moment, Bruce reaches over and gives his wife a big kiss. Though she clearly wants to continue the conversation, Bruce puts his hand over her mouth and with a big smile says, “Shhhh,” and kisses her again.
I hope the above dialogue made you chuckle a bit, made you reflect on your own relationship, and felt honest in how men and women are often different with neither, in the above scenario, being right or wrong.
What I’ve learned from my wife and I think she, from me, is that her strengths enhance our family unit because of their feminine origins in the same manner than my testosterone instincts provide balance for our family in the other direction.
That tension is why the sexes are attracted to one another and why it’s fun, why it’s hard, and why I got divorced once. This time, it’s going to stick.