Friday, December 30, 2011

Is it just because I'm a guy?

Scene in a movie where a girl is taking off on her boyfriend, yelling, calling him contemptuous names, gesticulating up close, shouting, taking everything he says in his defense and turning it into an insult, all the while following him around the room as he attempts to move away from her...and when she corners him and he finally explodes and pushes her, she acts as if some incomprehensible evil has appeared out of nowhere and he is An Abuser of Women.

What the hell did she expect?


Anonymous said...

This is the cost of the honour culture imposed on boys, not to articulate their feelings, not to talk about their stuff, not to be verbally adept in deflecting criticisms. A guy is train'd never ever to say "when you call me -- you hurt my feelings, I feel sad" etc.

(Don't admit to any anger, though, when the possibility is that confession might be used to convict you of obviously being an angry white male who can't accept discourse that uses 'white privilege' and 'male privilege' to implicitly convict you of personal karmic inheritance for the blame for slavery, the holocaust, etc. Admit only to irritation maybe, and maintain that you take your anger out into the outdoors and walk it off or jog it off. No big deal.)

Pure format: the drill sergeant who uses total insultingness on troops in basic training, and the berated soldier must shout his total agreement with the sergeant. ... I remember frequently being commanded by authorities in childhood not to defend myself from criticisms by them. Girls also experience the duty of compliantness in self-image as imposed by authorities, but they are not punish'd or shamed for feeling sad, hurt feelings etc, -- or not so much. They can gain verbal versatility much greater than boys' and maybe even usually have greater understanding of feelings and verbal communication (including condemnation).

Women's repertoire in criticizing men is actually very slight, and easily dissolved in polite ways as taught by Manuel Smith, "When I Say No I Feel Guilty" (also supremely useful for women, imho).

Once a guy accepts that he isn't going to get sex for the foreseeable future, the woman who is criticizing him relentlessly in this way has little no no leverage, unless she is very adept at going after his weakest points (which will have been determined in childhood for him by his authorities, male and female). Shrugging is usually sufficient defense from tirades. Accepting definition as "not a good person" is usually much harder for women, being feminine, to accept, so I suppose they ought to think carefully whether to use the tirade on guys, since counter-criticisms are likely to be felt much more intimately and are thus much more difficult to shrug off.

I frequently remark to a female conversation partner of mine by telephone how sad it is that ageingness provides the usual lesson in withstanding criticisms of this sort. On the one hand, our intrinsic other-pleasingness which really is so charming and fine and lovely a quality, is easily exploited by authorities. For years and years and years during childhood and adolescence and young adulthood we will try to do whatever is expected of us in order to be deem'd good -- even when the expectations are vague and we must do a lot to figure out what definite deeds and attitudes are required.

But then one starts to not have enough energy for all that effort-making, which so seldom results in rewards. Maybe there's one key time of exhaustedness during which an authority figure e.g. parent or boyfriend or girlfriend or spouse 'goes off on' you, and you don't have the energy to scramble around trying to re-earn tentative approval from the criticizer, and you discover that there's no particular cost involved in accepting unreaqsonable opprobrium. Alas, what one can see at age 53 is invisible at age 15 or even 25 and on. And no 53-year-old advises that the trick is not caring. When one lacks the energy to scramble for approval from unreasonable authorities, one begins to see the "wisdom" of self-sufficientness.

Presumably a 'good self image' involving approval and affirmation from others is better, richer, than solipsism. But lots of times solipsism is preferable, and in any case the only available way to good self image. ... And preferable to pushing anyone in retaliation, which is illegal besides, and even more hitting anyone.

All the foregoing unpickwickianly meant.

Anonymous said...

Men know at the biological level that when you turn and walk away, you are signalling "this fight is not over but I'm giving you an out before it gets worse." Men KNOW this. Women straight up don't, and keep pushing.

Anonymous said...

Dear Fellow-Anonymous! But when the guy leaves, then the 'fight' is ended anyway, right? You could say that she has keeps pushing until she has push'd him out the door. Isn't that okay?

He could turn to some sort of counsellor or advice giver for instruction on how to ask her to keep such interactions helpful etc, rather than a tear-down session. ... No doubt unless she is angling to divorce him she doesn't wish the relationship to get to the point where he sarcastically asks her to compose a list of qualities and habits he must have in order for her to bestow approval on him, to which list he could compose a list of stuff about her that he can't stand and wants her to change. And then they could both be totally indignant that the other expects him or her to jump through various hoops etc and then maybe just maybe approval or acceptance will be tentatively granted. Since in point of law and rights no one "has to" give approval to anyone else, and in point of reality no one is owed or entitled to anyone's approval or respect, a relationship can rocket superfast to rancour and recriminations.

"Fights" between spouses or relationship partners vary greatly. I've no notion of the context of the movie scene described by Ex Cathedra, but obviously in reality once one person is 'going off on' another there's a history. Going off on someone doesn't help the situation, but presumably the vituperation is motivated by some sense that the vituperation is just. Maybe there is a basis in reality or maybe the basis is only frustrated expectations that weren't made clear and the tension just kep building.

I do think oftentimes women enter relationships or get marry'd with an expectation that the guy will change -- a lot. Religion and culture encourage women to think this. To some extent it is a necessity of family life as the foundation of civilization that the woman's expectations be granted the moral high ground.

For instance, if as it seems from various mainstream journalism I could refer to, the sexual enthusiasm that women will show in order to make a relationship transition from FWB to marriage is too gruelling for a woman to keep up for the duration of the marriage. Everyone understands this somehow, I guess, but maybe some guys don't get it. Anyway, women expect that after marriage the guy will gradually accept less and less sex. That is, he will change in a major way. So if he continues to guilt her about not having sex much any more compared with when they were only dating, I guess eventually she might 'go off on' him -- retaliating as it were by listing off all the ways that he is a damn disappointment to her too.

Anonymous said...

The only authority I know of who seems to me honest on this particular matter is Dr Laura who says that women should have sex with their husband even when they don't want to. All other therapists and clergy I know of say that the proper mix of therapy and prayer and spritual this and that will bring around every marry'd couple to a sex life that is plentiful enough for him and yet not a chore for her.

But I think if there were reliable ways to arrive at this harmony, we would all know of it by now and the problem would disappear. But mainstream journalism and my own intuition suggest to me that this isn't so.

I think though that 'our culture' shouldn't leave women in the lurch with this problem, though I mean, marry'd sex as usually a chore, and indeed a really irksome even disgusting chore. Presumably there are techniques that "high class call girls" know of in order to have sex with disgusting clients and even seem to really really enjoy this -- maybe some kind of zen meditation that enables them to zone out to a distant planet but seem to be really climaxing rapturously. Dr Laura should urge our culture to provide women with such instruction.

I specify 'high class call girls' because that seems now to be nearly a legitimate career path for young women, and it is perhaps within possibility that "our culture" offer such training to everyday girls en route to relationships and marriages -- included in "pre-Cana" at the RCC?

For my own part, I wonder how guys can enjoy sex when they perceive that it is unwelcome to their girlfriend or wife. Besides that it's immoral (violates golden rule).

And both cynically and therapeutically: why arrange for there to be a moral high ground in a relationship or marriage whereupon the wife stands or sits simply in order to receive listless sex when she is pressured into it?

Admittedly, "our culture" prevents awareness of this reality -- I know that the unwelcomeness of unwelcome sex (sex that is done merely in order to maintain a relationship or to bring a relationship from FWB to marriage) wasn't part of my understanding of sexuality. But once the reality of this reality did occur to me, since then I haven't pressured any relationship partner into unwelcome sex so far as I could ask and intuit. (A slight difficulty in that the guy must seem desirous of his partner for her good self image while readily accepting refusal.)

Doesn't seem to me any particular 'virtue' is required for this decency, because I can't see how sex could be enjoy'd when one perceives that the partner isn't enjoying it. This should be obvious, but from my own inner experience I can say that it isn't. Maybe because marriage etc is promoted to boys from the beginning as for their sexual fulfilment, and because of subsequent quasi-feminist agitprop that it is demeaning to girls and women to assume that they don't enjoy sex every bit as much as and as often as boys and men.

Anonymous said...

Nevertheless, this may be unrealistic of me. And accordingly I arguefy that our culture ought to provide girls with whatever skills "high class call girls" have available for bringing their disgusting clients to jouissance without the client suspecting that he is disgusting to her. This both as a professional advantage to the high class call girl (the client can preen to himself that he is an amazing lover etc; thus will pay more money, give extra gifts, etc to this sex worker) and as a psychological advantage (she can zone out and not feel much disgust).

I assume that such techniques are available because women can do high class call girl work for sustain'd periods of time. We suppose that street prostitutes are basically nervous wrecks etc, and accordingly i can't suppose that their skills for pleasing customers and for zoning out from disgust are suitable for recommending to the daughters even of our best families.

My minimal hope would be that a wife could at least not feel totally contemptuous of her husband in his de facto wish for her to function as a high class call girl for him, on grounds that in other ways he is a good life partner, fellow-parent etc.

Or if we must be egalitarian, then we could propose also 'escort' guy skills be taught to men in pre-Cana, on grounds that sometimes women feel that there isn't enough sex in their marriages. I assume that somehow -- I really can't guess how. really. -- escorts can get aroused for clients (women and gay males) who disgust them. Women can pretend to enjoy or even, faute de mieux, simply let the guy use their body for sex. But the escort has the task of erection. How? Presumably there are skills. There MUST be.

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