Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Trouble With Men: Not Even Folly

I first read Lubos Motl use "Not Even Folly". This is my silly twisting of the titles of two recent anti-science books for my own purposes. I like to do that sometimes. ;-)

A while back my good friend came over and we got to complaining about our husbands, but they should rest assured that we don't usually talk about them. Life isn't all about them, you know. She's a little younger than I am, and I see her going through very similar experiences I had at that age. Well, the experiences are similar in theme, not necessarily in details, in that I recognize the emotions and thoughts she's having. She seems to appreciate my empathy and acceptance of things that she worries are wrong or questionable. I like to reassure her that what she's going through isn't abnormal (why do we worry so much about abnormality?) and that she will get through it. (Lately it seems I've become everyone's surrogate mother. Not that I'm complaining, well, maybe I am a little. But, you know, I'm more than just a mother.)

So anyway, we both had been having kind of shitty times for similar reasons: husbands being asses. Why is it that as soon as you think you're making progress with a man he gets some weird mental tic or something? Both of us had been enjoying some times of equilibrium in our marriages until these men had to go and be emotionally abusive and neglectful. WTF? Can't you men control that kind of thing? How long does it take for a man to finally figure out that women aren't men and don't want to be treated like men? (Well, my friend and I don't.) I know that it takes a lot of energy to properly deal with a woman, but we do make it worth it. If they didn't really want to invest energy into maintaining our relationships then they shouldn't have promised that they would.

My experiences (and those of my female friends) over the years have given me plenty evidence that men are kind of dumb. Now, I know men can find things to complain about with women, but this is my blog and my post and I'm a dictator here, so please refrain from bringing up some petty crap about something women might not be good at. That's just a defense mechanism men use that is another clue about how dumb they can be. Men can't really distract us from the point we're making about how dumb it is to neglect or take us for granted by talking about how we don't know how to change the oil in the car or some other stupid little task. What I'm talking about is how to make a relationship work well for both sides.

I guess if you wanted to extend that oil change analogy then men should be the ones who keep the relationship working smoothly by keeping the "lubricant" (and that's not meant as some kind of sexual innuendo, well, I guess it could be ;-)) clean and fresh. The lubricant in this case is the care and concern and other emotional expressions that keep a woman's mental machinery working well. Yeah, I think I like that comparison because it really is true. Men who complain that their wives don't properly maintain their vehicles (which is a man's job in the first place) are usually the very same ones who don't keep their wives' mental/emotional machinery maintained.

Sometimes on Sundays I'll scan the religious channels to see if there is an interesting sermon. I don't like going to church, but sometimes I do like to listen to a thoughtful, intelligent sermon. One day I heard a sermon about the subject of marriage and the roles of each spouse. I can't remember who was speaking, but he said something that really stuck with me. He said that when he sees a woman who looks haggard and worn out he knows it's because her husband hasn't been doing his job of taking care of her. He went on to describe how the job of the husband is to provide for his wife and family. And by "provide" he explained that it means more than just bringing home a paycheck. Women are the "vessel" that will become too worn, cracked, or even broken if not properly cared for.

Ever since hearing that sermon when I see a woman who could be cruelly described as "letting herself go" (we've all heard that comment, "boy, look at her, she's really let herself go"- meaning that she doesn't look good at all) I wonder what kind of man she is married to and how he hasn't done his job as a husband. To extend the car metaphor even further, when we see a "ragged out" car we can usually be sure it's because it wasn't properly maintained or was even kind of abused. So when you see a "ragged out" woman don't automatically assume that she has "let herself go" because what you are seeing is the result of many years of not getting the mental/emotional maintenance she needed. Have a little compassion for someone who has struggled to take care of herself while putting everyone else's needs above her own (much like surrogate mothers).

Okay, so what's my point? Well, it's that the trouble with men is they don't usually put enough time and energy into maintaining their most important relationships. Women aren't like banks that you put deposits into for later. We really are more like cars that use the deposits and need them to be replenished regularly in order to function well. And that is not even folly and today's Sunday Sermonett. ;-)

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