I just read a provocative New York Times column by Camille Paglia called, “No Sex Please, We’re Middle Class,” which struck this man as very true and very sad. Have we sunk to androgynous roles as men and women? Are you having sex? Are we (you?) having less sex? Are we men falling down on our jobs in making “it” happen?
Without going into my bedroom, as my wife would NOT appreciate it, I can only speculate about others. And, my speculation is there’s much truth in the fact that our lives are so equal, so focused on work and family, that the time for sex and the energy required often get put on the back-burner, behind the kids’ needs, our social networking, work we take home, and more.
I admit it; I like going away without my wife sometimes. And, I suspect she feels the same? She occasionally wants to visit her parents, who live out of town, without having to worry about me. After all, I am a helpless male.
Let’s face it; we sometimes like separate time and even separate vacations. I ended up being alone over Christmas for ten days and while I missed my family, I loved answering to no one. And, for my wife, I know she needs that separate time, too.
There was a recent Pew Center study (http://bit.ly/PewCtr) that revealed how much more equal income has become between the genders. In more cases than ever, more women are working and more women are earning higher income than their male counterparts. While I believe totally in equal pay for equal work, I do question the impact on relationships when the woman is making more than the man.
With each generation becoming more accustomed to gender equality, I feel it will eventually settle into a comfortable reality that men and women will accept. But, for now and maybe longer, the inherent gender differences may remain and be a problem between couples when the woman is making more than the man.
There was a popular feminist slogan in the early days of “the movement” that went something like, women need men as much as a fish needs a bicycle.
Thankfully, we have moved past the radical nature of early feminist’s beliefs to a middle ground, though you’d never know it if you looked at the courses and syllabuses in Women’s Studies departments at colleges.
But, most men and women, especially moms and dads, understand that equality doesn’t mean we’re the same. We all tend to agree that equal pay for equal work is the way it should be, but in other areas our gender needs are just different. We are built differently, so get over it.
Our teens love to surprise us with their latest brilliant idea and my 16-year-old didn’t disappoint the other day. Almost literally waiting at the door for my return home, he accosted me with the urgency only a hormonal teen can bring. “Dad, I hate high school and want to drop out and do independent study,” he declares.
I think I would’ve preferred, “Hey Dad, whas up?”
We sat down and he began his pitch. The fact that all this followed a recent social disaster at school he quickly dismissed as irrelevant. His rationale was that he is totally bored in high school, his teachers are boring, none of what he’s learning interests him, and he’d rather go back to home-schooling or “independent study,” as they call it at his high school.
Sexting, texting, e-mail, Twitter, MySpace, NetFlix, Facebook, formspring (not a mattress company), “smart” phones, iPads, iPods, laptops, etc. That’s the world our kids live in. And, it’s moving faster everyday! Can we trust our kids with social media?
For me, it was a library card, and a book, on a roller-skate, which my friends and I would use to go down the hill where we lived. Oh, we also played a made-up game we called “Mongoose,” in which we hit a ping pong ball back and forth with two books, the object being to do it as long as possible. We had a phone, but its use was limited. TV was only on weekends. And, there were just three networks and not much else.
That just ain’t the world no more! With the recent spat of texting related violent incidents, I’m beginning to question what boundaries we parents should consider for our kids, especially our teens, with these social media devices. My 16-year-old got into a mess of peer trouble with an impolitic facebook post. It was stupid, but not that big a deal. At my urging, he even publicly apologized (and in a well-written, not too self-deprecating fashion – I was impressed).
I just returned from a magnificent trip to the Canary Islands, Morocco, and Portugal. Last year, I visited Africa on my honeymoon. Both trips were exotic, both trips had their highs and lows, and both trips taught me yet again the universality of parental love. I re-learned I’m just a guy who loves his kids more than he ever knew he could.
It doesn’t matter where you live, how much money you have, what you do for a living, we all care about our children. My kids worry about having the newest cell-phone, trendiest clothes, and other really important stuff while the kids in the medina in Fez, Morocco were worrying about selling their cart of cookies or looking for a hand-out (that they really needed).
As if it hasn’t been while, I may make a tiny mistake. Consequently, my wife and I do go to a therapist, on that rare occasion I may make a minuscule gaff. Naturally, my wife flubs up several times – an hour.
Joking aside, we do have our “stuff,” a word that will forever be enshrined in my mind with the late, great George Carlin (google him and “stuff” if you’re soooo old as not to remember that famous routine of his). Maybe I’ll just provide it for you and save your lazy butt the effort? Should I? Okay, if you insist, here it is: George Carlin/Stuff.