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January 05, 2007

Sex in Suburbia

This is a reprise of a piece I wrote last year on a private site. I rediscovered it thanks to TigerHawk, who was kind enough to include it in his list of 2006's favorite posts.

I've always been unaccountably fond of it too. Over the holiday my youngest son shocked me by asking me to gather up my favorite posts. I was shocked - and touched - because my children don't read my writing. Neither does my husband. So over the next few weeks I will be going over about 2000 posts in my archives. I'm not sure I'm a terribly good judge of what my 'best' work is. I only know which posts I am fondest of and for some inexplicable reason, this is one. I hope you will forgive me for bringing it home to VC.

At any rate, do check out TigerHawk's year-end list. TigerHawk is one of the few blogs I consider a must read, and I was honored to have the chance to post there for a while in such distinguished company.

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"Keep thinking of yourself as a soft, mysterious cat.. . .Men are fascinated by bright, shiny objects, by lots of curls, lots of hair on the head . . . by bows, ribbons, ruffles and bright colors.. . .Sarcasm is dangerous. Avoid it altogether."
Oh dear...more advice I've never followed.

I suppose I got the first part right. The "soft, mysterious cat" part.

I once asked my husband why he fell in love with me. I hoped, I think, to hear something like, "You have an interesting mind", or "You never bore me", or words to that effect. His answer crushed me. He said, after much reflection, "You are unfailingly kind."

Wunderbar. That sounds like a recipe for someone who gets replaced at 46 by someone with far fewer miles on the old odometer. Very likely less kind, too. Not that he would do that sort of thing, but that's the sort of thought that pops unbidden into my head all the time, prompting that wry little half-smile that makes him ask in mock exasperation, "All right... what are you laughing about now?". In high school a guy I dated used to call me Mona Lisa. He said when we broke up he used to fear I was laughing at him, each time he saw that smile flit across my face.

I told him him was mistaken. I was almost always laughing at myself.

Maureen Dowd is musing about sex and feminism in the NYT Magazine. I like her so much better when she's apolitical. When she's not trying to be a man in a man's world. I think, sometimes, that this is where the hysterical brittleness comes from. She's so much more relaxed, when she is just herself:

Throughout the long, dark ages of undisputed patriarchy, women connived to trade beauty and sex for affluence and status. In the first flush of feminism, women offered to pay half the check with "woman money" as a way to show that these crass calculations - that a woman's worth in society was determined by her looks, that she was an ornament up for sale to the highest bidder - no longer applied.
You have got to be kidding me. In a world where everywhere you look - magazines, television, movies, billboards, newspapers, even adverts we get in our junk mail, is sex -- how on earth could any woman fail to get the message? Women now have money, education, and some measure of power, yet the predominant images of us are not ones that reflect this 'new reality', whatever that may be, but an increasingly retrograde vision of femininity. One that is airbrushed, perfectly made up, surgically-enhanced, scantily-clad, and eternally hovering at an impossibly delectable nineteen years old. One that no woman with a job, a brain, or any adult responsibilities at all can possibly compete with. Not that this stops us from trying. Or from feeling inadequate when we fail.
At a party for the Broadway opening of "Sweet Smell of Success," a top New York producer gave me a lecture on the price of female success that was anything but sweet. He confessed that he had wanted to ask me out on a date when he was between marriages but nixed the idea because my job as a Times columnist made me too intimidating. Men, he explained, prefer women who seem malleable and awed. He predicted that I would never find a mate because if there's one thing men fear, it's a woman who uses her critical faculties. Will she be critical of absolutely everything, even his manhood?

He had hit on a primal fear of single successful women: that the aroma of male power is an aphrodisiac for women, but the perfume of female power is a turnoff for men. It took women a few decades to realize that everything they were doing to advance themselves in the boardroom could be sabotaging their chances in the bedroom, that evolution was lagging behind equality.


I wonder about this a lot. My daughter in law is extremely smart. So is my son, and she managed to snag him neatly. But the thing about her is this: she's a blonde and when you first meet her, her intelligence is not immediately apparent. She has a rather kittenish manner. It's something I recognized about her right away: she conceals her intelligence in social situations. I recognized it because from the time I was in second grade I quickly learned to do the same thing if I wanted to get along with people. I put myself down. A lot.

I've often thought that was why I was so successful with boys. I think women who never learn to moderate that quality are at a huge disadvantage in life. The same qualities that come across positively in men: keen intelligence, initiative, aggressiveness, are generally perceived negatively in a woman.

We don't want those things from girls. We want softness, fluffyness, giggles. What my mother-in-law calls (and I detest) "perkiness". Good God. The only place I want to see perkiness at my age is when I look at my breasts, thank you very much.

On the other hand, I look at my younger son and his girlfriend. Though she doesn't look a bit like me, personality-wise we're a lot alike. She's ferociously intelligent, a PhD candidate right now at a very good school, easily his intellectual equal and that is obviously one reason he's interested in her. But like me, she's a bit of a child-woman. Fiercely independent in some ways - she'll just take off without him, which causes fights - she's also incredibly loyal and soft-hearted and he's every bit as protective of her as my husband is of me because in many ways she needs protecting. Like me, she's not always clued in to the real world.

Mo Dowd asks: So was the feminist movement some sort of cruel hoax? Do women get less desirable as they get more successful?

I'm not sure it's that simple. I think men have a very basic desire to be needed. Who wants to be in a relationship where you feel superfluous - whether you're a man, or a woman?

Women often leave relationships because men can't, or won't, tell them they are loved. They need to hear it said. Men often think it's enough that they come home every night, that they don't cheat, that they put food on the table; but women want to hear the words. A man thinks, "I wouldn't do those things if I didn't care." But a woman wants, needs to hear the words, "I still love you". "You are still beautiful to me, even after all these years." She wants the tangible demonstrations of affection: flowers, a card, or sometimes just a phone call in the middle of the day or a email, or to see his eyes watching her face during a football game when she has taken special care with her appearance, just for him. These things matter.

And men need to feel needed too. They need to know that what they provide: the security of a home and a future for the family, is noticed and cherished. All those hours of overtime, and planning, and promotions: they are worth something. I tried, for a few years, to get my husband to consider retiring to a less stressful job, using my income as a supplement. It took me a while to realize, and I still don't understand it, that he takes great pride in the fact that he is able to support me. And he does it better than I could - I don't dispute that fact. Although he welcomes my income and he is proud of my acheivements, I don't think he wants that role taken away. That's not why I married him. But it seems necessary to him. It grieves me considerably. He is more to me than some meal ticket.

But I can understand it in a way, because I feel the same way about our home. It has been my domain for over 25 years, and I tend to get downright territorial about changes to my little decorating schemes. I was absurdly pleased, a month ago, when a neighbor came to my door selling chocolates and said, "Are you an interior decorator?". I'm proud of what I've done with our house. That is "my contribution" to the marital equation, and I tend to resent it when he dares to opine. I've gotten much better. He chose the oriental rug in our living room, which would have been sacrilege a few years ago because I have to redo the entire color scheme around it. We're both getting more flexible. We have to be - we fight more too, now that the kids are gone. We do a lot of things more now.

So funny, the difference between the Washington Post Magazine and the NYT. As I was sitting on the sofa watching the Giants crush my Redskins (not wholly unexpected) my husband wryly handed me this piece. Skimming through it, I almost inhaled my Bloody Mary at this line:

At 14, I was visiting my great-aunt -- Jackie's aunt -- Ellen, when a cousin stopped by to say that she was moving to Washington to live with her boyfriend, the father of her baby. Aunt Ellen was livid. "You move in with a man, you ain't nothing but an unpaid ho," Aunt Ellen told her. "Hell, the only time you a paid ho is when you get married."
"I thought you'd like that", he laughed. And later...
From an early age, I began to understand (abstractly) that sex was currency. Legal tender. Negotiable for all debts public and private. Still, it didn't become personal until later.
Well no kidding. My amusement became more pronounced as I read on. The author began to describe 'trading' sex for vacuum cleaners, nights out with the girls, the loan of a generator from her spousal unit... Jesus Christ.

I wouldn't put it that baldly. No wonder men think women are mercenary. No wonder women think sex is all men want from us, when it's so easy to get what we want by just giving it up. My God, what a tangle.

I once read somewhere that if men and women really ever understood each other, it would profoundly sadden us. Maybe I look at the world through rose-colored glasses. It wouldn't surprise me to find that was so. The thought often occurs to me. But it's hard enough for two adults to get along in a marriage. Especially in today's world. Especially if the woman is working. It places strains on your relationship. But if you screen out all the race and class BS from the WaPo piece, could it not be that sex is just how we come together again as people? The one place where everything isn't a battleground (except, perhaps, in play)? Where we let go of what society expects of us for a space and become something much more basic; more primitive? Lowering for a brief time the barriers so carefully erected against an insane world and allowing ourselves to be carried away?

It is that last that is so intoxicating, but also what I instinctively still fear. There is something in me that understands Maureen Dowd, strangely enough. Something in me that secretly sympathizes with her when she's being bitter. Yes women use sex as currency, oftentimes, because it often is all we have to barter. It is, often, all that is valued about us. That's what causes all the feminist angst, the anger and the bitterness. We have so much more to offer as people. Why doesn't that count for more?

Unfortunately, bitterness is such a turnoff. Men don't like it. It's really not Ms. Dowd's intelligence that is offputting, I suspect, but her sharpness and her anger. People (and men are people) like people who like them. But she is proud. She wants to be liked - and admired - for her better qualities. Not for her perkiness. I understand this feeling. It's not as though I haven't had those thoughts. It's just that they are pointless.

She hasn't learned to hide her feelings. But more importantly, I think, she hasn't learned to compromise. In the battle of the sexes, men tend to want to be on top. At least sexually. And there is something primal in women that finds this quality very attractive. But at the same time, there is something in me that doesn't want to submit, which was my first thought when reading this comment from a prior post:

To me, what's sexy during sex is feeling vulnerable, being able to yield, let the walls down...
I agree, but I'll be damned if I don't fight it every single time. Why is that? Subliminated post-feminist anger? Heh... I'm smiling again. If you can laugh at yourself, you never lack for amusement. The thing is, I sympathize with Maureen Dowd, but lack of moderation is her downfall. Because I can see the other side too. I can see a man's point of view, and that precludes the kind of sullen, bitter rage that is such a buzz kill. That is why we come together. To remind us that neither side has a monopoly on rightness, I think.

We women get so angry that we are, more often than not, the ones to yield. I get angry, sometimes. But someone has to yield in the battle of the sexes. Maybe we do it because we can. Or because we secretly want to. Or because we enjoy pleasing.

Who knows? I certainly don't. I do know that the process is, more often than not, enjoyable, and that a bit of a struggle certainly makes it more entertaining. And sometimes we get angry just because someone is telling us we are supposed to keep score. And I think that is misguided. The truth is that we often want different things, and the even more unpleasant truth is that for women, what we want often includes making those we care about happy. Which means, in the end, that if we are keeping score by men's rules, as Ms. Dowd seems to want to do, we will always lose.

Perhaps what we need to do is throw the scorecard away and go by what makes us happy. And stop worrying about what other people think. Now there's a radical concept. Revolutionary, almost. Call it post, post-feminist.

Posted by Cassandra at January 5, 2007 12:29 PM

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Comments

" It's something I recognized about her right away: she conceals her intelligence in social situations. I recognized it because from the time I was in second grade I quickly learned to do the same thing if I wanted to get along with people."

I'm obviously not as smart as you. It took me until I was thirty to learn to do that. :)

Posted by: Grim at January 5, 2007 03:38 PM

I guess I still don't do it... Conceal my intelligence, that is.

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at January 5, 2007 04:00 PM

I'm sorry to hear that, dear.

Posted by: Grim at January 5, 2007 04:07 PM

Cassandra,
I have to take exception to this: "I've often thought that was why I was so successful with boys. I think women who never learn to moderate that quality are at a huge disadvantage in life. The same qualities that come across positively in men: keen intelligence, initiative, aggressiveness, are generally perceived negatively in a woman."

I find (and most men I know also find) "Keen intelligence and ESPECIALLY initiative" as two of the most attractive qualities a woman could have. As for aggressiveness, it has its place for both men and women and is a turnoff to everyone when inappropriate.

My wife and our 4 daughters (19, 17, 12, 10) exude those qualities. The only reason men are not attracted to women like Ms. Dowd is because she is the type who walks around demanding respect without granting any. That is not intimidating it is arogant and rude.

Posted by: Sluggo at January 5, 2007 04:16 PM

Im my case it was a far simpler task, there being far less to conceal... hence the ease with which I finished the job. :p

Posted by: Jamil Hussein at January 5, 2007 04:17 PM

Let me take exception as well, but to something else.

I thought "unfailing kindness" was a far greater compliment than you appreciated. Unfailing kindness means the absence of cruelty, which is the worst thing to bring to love (although, I was reading just today, a very useful tactic for seduction).

Kindness, mercy, and forgiveness must surely be the most desirable qualities in a lifelong mate. At least, they are certainly the qualities in a mate on which I would most heavily depend.

I think it was a very high compliment indeed.

Posted by: Grim at January 5, 2007 04:21 PM

Grim,
You are very right!

Posted by: Sluggo at January 5, 2007 04:28 PM

Grim, I think I wanted to be told I was interesting, or wildly exciting (!) or something. Somehow "kind" just didn't fit my romantic notion of myself :p

Maybe if I'd asked another question?

I don't know that I am the easiest person to live with. But it is probably true that I would never hurt anyone.

And Sluggo, I don't think I meant that you have to play dumb -- moderate is a different word than suppress entirely.

I have just been struck by how often I have been in a room with a group of guys and hear them talking about another woman who I didn't think was doing anything wrong but they think is "too pushy". It annoys me, because she invariably isn't doing a single thing they don't do.

And now working has probably turned me into that person. I've always been forthright but now I am even worse :) It's just that as I've gotten older I just wish that, within reason, people would say what they really think. It saves so much time and I can't stand people who are always playing games.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 5, 2007 05:02 PM

Doubtless you were interesting and exciting, Cass. But, as you said, the question you asked was, "Why did you fall in love with me?"

It's hard to imagine a better reason than, "Because you were so very kind." How could you not love such a person?

Posted by: Grim at January 5, 2007 05:15 PM

Cassandra,
You said: "It annoys me, because she invariably isn't doing a single thing they don't do."

You get two reactions from guys when women "do things they do" and both of them are negative (you get treated as one of the guys or you get labeled as "too pushy"). Sometimes it is a result of trying to fit in (if I was a woman(work with me here, I know its a leap) I wouldn't respect a guy who tried to fit in by acting like one of the gals).

Don't confuse the behavior of men (when operating in groups of 3 or more) with a man. Much of our behavior around other men (and in the presence of women) has a lot more to do with d@#k measuring than how the women are acting or their qualities. We can be vicious cavemen ;)

Posted by: Sluggo at January 5, 2007 05:29 PM

When women quit thinking of sex as currency and have some self respect then men will understand. There is no bitterness that has to be attached to that. Being gracious about it has its attractions too, because women can win respect without having to put out. Isn't that what the knights of old believed, lived and exemplified?

Being independent is a blessing and that is part of the 'more' we offer...I guess it goes hand in hand with men pursuing the elusive prey and then working to keep her.

Posted by: Cricket at January 5, 2007 05:31 PM

Good post Cass, I read it yesterday over a TH's.
I am so glad that you didn't give up on VC, as I have enjoyed my time here immensely.

Keep it up!

Posted by: unkawill at January 5, 2007 08:04 PM

There you go depressing me again, Cassandra. ;)

Posted by: FbL at January 5, 2007 08:09 PM

What can I say? It's a gift :)

Posted by: Cassandra at January 5, 2007 08:18 PM

Yes. I think that particular gift is called "the Black Spot."

:)

Posted by: Grim at January 5, 2007 08:21 PM

*sigh*

I am going to drown my sorrows.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 5, 2007 08:27 PM

You guys make me laugh! (though I could use some sorrow-drowning liquid round here. On second thought, that's probably a good thing, haha!).

But back to the subject at hand...

I've always thought that at a fundamental level, sex is about surrender for the woman--whether it's a woman with a powerful sex drive or one who is more low-key. As far as the physics go, there is inescapable vulnerability--an invasion on the part of one to the other, even though it's a welcome invasion.

This particularly struck me when I was recently watching an old CSI episode with the BF a few weeks ago. It revolved around a rape case. That was the first time I've ever watched anything like that with a romantic interest sitting next to me. I suddenly somehow keenly felt in ways I never had before how much trust has to be involved for two people to truly let down the walls in sex. The juxtaposition was just so jarring, and it was an interesting reminder that while this man snuggled next to me could overpower me in an instant, he would never do such a thing. But strange that that little frisson of fear apparently had been lurking in my subconscious...

Posted by: FbL at January 5, 2007 08:40 PM

Oddly enough, that's what the post a few before this was about, I dimly recall. It's been a long time.

But it's true. I remember talking about it. I still have a hard time with that whole aspect of things, even in a trust relationship, because, probably, I have a strong personality and part of me doesn't particularly relish that part of things. And yet part does.

Makes life interesting, doesn't it? Good thing my husband also has a very strong personality :) Poor man. Pray for him.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 5, 2007 09:00 PM

Ah, so that's what this is really about? You're afraid of us.

And well you might be. I'm a man, and I'll tell you to learn to kill men if you want justice. It's a sorry world, but that is surely the first lesson for anyone who is interested in justice. If a man is interested in it, he must learn to kill parts of himself. And those men who won't learn, sometimes you have to kill all of them.

Posted by: Grim at January 5, 2007 10:41 PM

Grim, you're always such a sunny guy, with all the upbeat optimism and such. Cheer down, for once, okay?

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at January 5, 2007 11:17 PM

I'm sorry, Don. As I was just telling FbL, I find myself in an unusually good mood today.

Posted by: Grim at January 5, 2007 11:30 PM

I dunno. I've worked with and under women smarter than I and very assertive. No problems. It was how they did it that mattered, not the gender. Then there were those that I quit jobs over because their attitudes just made working with them impossible.

Also, ime, the reputation matters too. A new guy/gal promoted to be above his cohort is always going to get hacked behind their back. Regardless of gender. You gotta earn the right to tell people what to do.

I've worked under guys that everyone made fun of behind their back and undercut at every oppurtunity. A few women where that happened, and boy did we get into trouble for it.

I had coaches I talked all kind of smack about. I hated them. Some of them I still hate. I still do hate Paul Anderson with a passion. They ordered me about, and were men. There were others I took those orders from as a treat---also men exclusively--like Peter Anderson and Tanara Chan. The difference: the latter group earned my loyalty and subservience either initially or by living up to the rep that granted them that ability to order me about while the former assumed it and never did anything to prove they should have it. Many women, ime, do the assume---as do many men, but we never hear much about how they're heckled and ridiculed---and can't figure out why things are so wrong and getting worse. They think that just because they were promoted they have earned the rep to give orders when they haven't earned it. 'But it's just something that's supposed to be accorded me because of the rank.' Then why do 1st Sgts get more respect and have more real pull than newly minted 2nd Lts? That may be what the writen rules say, but the world often works by the unwriten rules. Lots of ladies never figure that out and find themselves falling short of their potential because of it. I didn't until I was into my late 20s---so it isn't gender based.

MoDo(the Dodo) makes a huge mistake: she treats men as a monolith(oh, so a director who is used and thrives on people doing what he wants, when he wants, and people being intimidated by him is intimidated by a woman he can't intimidate? Who'd a thunk it! But we all aren't such narcissists as that.). I'm not much like Grim or like unkawill--though still very, very male. That should tell you ladies something about those stuuuped magazines(their writen to get you one type of guy and that's it. So don't get pissed off at men when the magazine doesn't get you the guy you want.). To assume that which would earn you Grim's heart or his respect would work on me is a gross error. There's no one size fits all sol'n, but we often talk like there is don't we?

Shaking the booty ain't going to get my attention. Micro-minis are going to get you a hard time selling yourself to me, or just ignored entirely. Skimpy business ware is actually a major down grade when I first meet you. And I'm not all that rare, though kinda rare. I tell The Wife constantly, 'If women don't want to be treated like sex objects they shouldn't act like one. Don't get pissed that we do when it's what you want. And don't get pissed when it's not exactly when you want. This is a multi-player game after all.'(which should not be read to men that wolfish behaviour is always excusable or 'she was asking for it'. I'm just highlighting that there's multiple people at work, it's a complicated system, and one in which the individual actually has very little control over what others think and feel.)

I'd say Modo(the Dodo) never could grasp that last bit. She wanted to be adored as a goddess and be vulnerable, and always when she wanted. Any man who acted such would be left by the second date--which amazingly MoDo seems to have had done to her in spades. The woman is wickedly smart and doesn't hide it. Which gets guys interested---really ladies, it does. She's not hard to look at, and if you look at her promo pics and bookjacket covers she isn't hiding that either. Which get's guys interested. But then she ruins it by being the jackalope from 'Sleeping with the Enemy'---all my way and you better do it or I'll punish you.
She assumed that because she was smart she was therefore granted superiority and a certain amount of control(and is pissed when some rail against it). Oh, and the limp wrist who was intimidated by her? Please, not all of us are like him. I'd be intimidated that she's famous(me being very unfamous) but after that lost its novelty she'd find I wouldn't put up with her imperious attitude. Jess found out the hard way that just because she's smarter than I doesn't mean she's better than I, and has never made the mistake ever again.

I'm really annoyed that your DIL and you(Cassie) tend to diminish your intelect in social situations. That actually pisses me off to be honest. I don't want to talk to a freakin' barbie doll(perkiness. Feh.), and I doubt anyone else does either. What you may actually need to do, without toning done the brain power, is to stop being so farkin' critical. Smart women, ime, tend to do that, in spades. They're great with language and so can hide their venom well so they think they can get away with it. Well, we get it, even if we can't compete in that realm, and that's a real turn off. Just as the guy who is hyper critical is often considered a bore.

I don't mind fighting with women, verbally, about anything in public. I have problems with their assumed superiority though---but then, I'm just one type of guy and men aren't some monolithic group.

Posted by: ry at January 6, 2007 12:07 AM

Nice contribution, Ry. Thanks for making me think.

Posted by: FbL at January 6, 2007 12:14 AM

Am I the only one who noticed that Cassandra's post on sex was first and foremost on TigerHawks list? And, after reading through his list, it looks to me like the only other mention of sex comes in a post about "apparent" abstination. (Granted, I've not read through every single post on the list, so there may be posts on said subject that I am not immediately identifying.)
Still........one can't help but wonder....., could this solitary inclusion be Freudian?

*Grabbing silly string from Cricket and blasting away while dogding incoming marmoset*

Posted by: Sly2017 at January 6, 2007 01:18 AM

Quoting Grim: "Kindness, mercy, and forgiveness must surely be the most desirable qualities in a lifelong mate."

I keep trying to comment on the above quote but all I can come up with is light of the wisdom of his statement is AMEN.

Speaking of drowning your sorrows, I just finished my first Sam Adams Black Lager and would highly recommend it as savory way to accomplish your goal.

Posted by: Russ at January 6, 2007 03:01 AM

Cassandra,


I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed this post when I read it over at Tigerhawk's. I especially enjoyed the comments from the folks I refer to as the "happily married". Tigerhawk was right when he placed your post in his year end round-up - it was one of the best things I've read.

Posted by: Country Squire at January 6, 2007 09:05 AM

Thank you. That was a great discussion - I remember how much I enjoyed it at the time.

Sly... :p I imagine, knowing TH as I do, that the "Sex" in the title came across more as "SEX!!! when he was scanning the list of January posts. The male mind is a dangero...err... wonderful thing.

Plus for a long time we've had a running joke about "Cassandra's sex posts" - he loves to give me a hard time about that.

He's a good guy.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 6, 2007 12:58 PM

I'm really annoyed that your DIL and you(Cassie) tend to diminish your intelect in social situations. That actually pisses me off to be honest.

I think women are bigger 'adjusters' to their environment, simply by nature, Ry. We tend to size up the situation and adjust ourselves to it, like chameleons. And if you are (or delude yourself that you are) stronger or smarter or for whatever reason likely to be perceived as threatening, you tone down whatever aspect of yourself you think is going to arouse antagonism.

Actually I find that the best men and women in life (and this is just my opinion) are very well balanced between male and female traits. Which is not to say that the men aren't manly and the women aren't womanly, but they feel comfortable enough with themselves that they don't mind 'borrowing a trick' from the other sex's bag o' tricks to get the job done. I've seen some men, especially very tall or big ones, do the same thing to calm other people's fears and it's not always a bad thing.

It just makes me mad sometimes because it takes so much energy. But then much of getting along with other people involves being sensitive to your surroundings and trying not to rub people the wrong way, and that invariably involves compromise.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 6, 2007 01:05 PM

Plus for a long time we've had a running joke about "Cassandra's sex posts" - he loves to give me a hard time about that.

Um.......I'm not gonna touch that...errr...go there...with a ten-foot....oh, helk, I give up...No, wait! That would be submitting!...I'm so confused.... >;-)

Posted by: Sly2017 at January 6, 2007 02:31 PM

From ry; "I'm not much like Grim or like unkawill--though still very, very male." Thanks for the mention ry, but I think that we are very much alike indeed. I couldn't find a thing to disagree with in your comments,Except"I don't want to talk to a freakin' barbie doll(perkiness. Feh.)"

I like perkiness in ALL its forms, variety is the spice of life.

"I dunno. I've worked with and under women smarter than I and very assertive. No problems. It was how they did it that mattered, not the gender. Then there were those that I quit jobs over because their attitudes just made working with them impossible."

I haven't worked for anybody smarter than me since I was in the Navy and I have never "QUIT" a job nor been fired. Although I have fired people who exhibited poor attitudes, including some of my 54 nieces and nephews

Posted by: unkawill at January 6, 2007 06:04 PM

I have for my entire life been razzed by both men and women for being smart (whatever this actually means. In my case it was good grades, a good vocabulary, bits of trivia expertise). Of course, this typical response motivated me to conceal my intelligence. I was actually told to do this when talking with clients with less education by my superior. I was terrible at it until I had kids. They have no egos to bother and will just ask you what you mean.

I don't think I'm arrogant about what smarts I have which would be a turn off in a man or woman, and I wouldn't be attracted to a guy who didn't appreciate it. I know a guy who's arrogant and his first wife was an "admire him" type. His reason for divorcing was "shallowness". Well, duh! It might be pleasant for a while, but then you get tired of the inequality. I agree that catagorizing all men or all women one way or the other can be dangerous.

Posted by: baberuth at January 6, 2007 09:11 PM

this typical response motivated me to conceal my intelligence. I was actually told to do this when talking with clients with less education by my superior.

I was told to do that by a (male) teacher in 8th grade because he said that was why I was having trouble getting along in my new school (and was being bullied, too). I had gone from an east-coast private religious school where excelling was admired to a Southern California (still private religious) school with a "laid back" attitude.

The next year I went to another private religious (boarding) school where I was admired for my intellect, but it still complicated peer relationships somewhat. Fortunately, by the end of my Sophomore year I'd gotten good enough at "managing" it that I had lots of friends (including the "popular kids") who liked my personality and appreciated the help with their schoolwork. Still, I wonder if that's why although I had lots of friends, only one guy in high school ever tried to date me...

Posted by: FbL at January 6, 2007 11:25 PM

"Still, I wonder if that's why although I had lots of friends, only one guy in high school ever tried to date me..."
(Hands Fuzz the Rally Monkey)
Don't agonize over this, Fuzz. It isn't worth it.

You have The Guy now, and that's all that matters, hon. Don't forget that.


"We tend to size up the situation and adjust ourselves to it, like chameleons."
But why? I guess I just don't understand womenfolk. I can understand working to not be abrassive, but acting dumber than I am simply to not 'offend people'? I don't get it. Unless you're one who lords it over people, and you don't sound like it. But then again, my SO's career prospectus never relied on not ruffling feathers either.

I simply don't get it. You're trading one type of unhappiness for another. No net gain seems to be had. I simply don't get it, someone care to explain to The Mayor of Simpleton---me-- how this works out positively or at least neutral?

"I haven't worked for anybody smarter than me since I was in the Navy and I have never "QUIT" a job nor been fired. Although I have fired people who exhibited poor attitudes, including some of my 54 nieces and nephews"

I may not measure up to some around here, but I'm good enough for me. There was a rather long explanation to go along with that.

I decided to forgo it. Nobody tell John of Argghhh that I passed up a chance to be all wordy, okay?

Not necessary. If some think lesser of me because I quit jobs or was fired from one, so be it. I can't stop them(however much I may want them to not think less of me). I am who I am, and I've done what I've done.

Posted by: ry at January 9, 2007 01:59 AM

I tried to trackback using your trackback URL, but Movable Type said it couldn't be found. I cut it and pasted it right.

Posted by: Tony at January 9, 2007 10:50 PM

I'm sorry Tony - when I returned to blogging I disabled by trackback routine because it was becoming the target of too much SPAM and I couldn't afford the time I was spending on weekends to deSPAM it.

I also disabled my outgoing trackbacks, but briefly reenabled them during Project Valour IT. I need to go in and disable that too - I'm sure I'm violating some blogospheric etiquette thingy but to be honest I've never understood the whole trackbacks/traffic thing. I wish I hadn't had to disable them, but I need to spend less time on the site and more with my husband on weekends, and that is something that is important to me.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 10, 2007 08:58 AM

I wish I hadn't had to disable them, but I need to spend less time on the site and more with my husband on weekends, and that is something that is important to me.

You certainly don't have to apologize to me. I just thought that something was going wrong that you didn't know about.

The reason for the trackback was that I didn't want to fill up your comment section with text, and felt it was easier just to blog it.

No harm, no foul. :)

Posted by: Tony at January 10, 2007 09:50 PM

“He had hit on a primal fear of single successful women: that the aroma of male power is an aphrodisiac for women, but the perfume of female power is a turnoff for men. It took women a few decades to realize that everything they were doing to advance themselves in the boardroom could be sabotaging their chances in the bedroom, that evolution was lagging behind equality.”

Unfortunately this primal fear is a rational oner. I know plenty of men with an equally smart or smarter wife, but in most cases their women initially hid their intelligence. It's a horrible feeling to feel like you must hide part of yourself to be liked. I've definitely fallen into the trap and played up the dumb blond thing, but in generally I hope for the best and am straight about who I am, even with regards to what's in my head. Then again, I'm still single.

Posted by: Jennifer at January 22, 2007 07:12 PM

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