War Between the Sexes
“Only the dead have seen the end of war.”
I haven’t written a submission in a while, but I am a daily reader of this site. What often strikes me as I read of others’ (mis)adventures, exploits or tales of woe, is that it seems that many writers are forgetting what I believe to be a basic truth. A truth that when realized, understood and embraced, will actually set you free. Free from the hurt of a relationship gone bad. Free from the pain of money lost to, or stolen by, someone whom we thought we could trust. Free from guilt or embarrassment for letting our natural desires lead us where they may. That truth is this: We are at war, gentlemen. We are at war with our own natures, with father time, and yes with the women we love / lust after and desire with every ounce of our being. Prepare to defend yourselves.
This is a war that will never end, not until we breathe our last, shake off this mortal coil and fade into memory. But fear not, for all is not lost. What Plato meant when he wrote the above (or didn’t write, depending on your source) was that mankind would continue to be plagued by warfare. But the war between the sexes is different, because it is this very warfare that brings us life, instead of taking it.
Every time we meet a new woman a new battle has begun. We eye our opponent, taking her measure. After the initial evaluation of her physical attributes and desirability, we began to assess her fitness as a mate, whether long-time or short. If it is a short-time encounter, we question whether she is trustworthy. Will she run off with my money, electronics or other valuables if I bring her to my room, we ask? If it is a paid encounter, will she perform as promised and accept compensation in the agreed upon amount? If all goes well, we might begin to ask ourselves if she would make a suitable companion for the longer term. Someone we can travel with while in country and in whom we can invest significant amounts of time and money. The first skirmish of the war is complete. If she has managed to ingratiate herself into your life, I would say that this victory goes to the fairer sex.
As we spend more time with our opponent, many men begin to develop feelings akin to love. Whether this is real or not, I cannot say. What is real love? I am not sure, but to paraphrase the U.S. Supreme Court “you’ll know it when you see it.” (They were talking about obscenity, but I think it equally appropriate here). As the feelings deepen, so does the danger. The danger of falling so hard and so deep that escape seems impossible. We begin to feel attached to our lover, concerned for her well-being and envious of anything that takes her time from us. Nietzsche said something about men wanting both danger and fun, so for that reason he wants women. This is because women provide both of these so beautifully. Nothing is more fun than spending time with a woman who brings you laughter and love and warmth, and nothing is so dangerous.
If you’re lucky enough to have found a woman to love, whether girlfriend or wife, the battle only begins anew, and in earnest. She will be intent on making changes to you, even though you are perfect just as you are. She said so, didn’t she!? Some changes will be subtle, such as your mode of dress, style of haircut or footwear. Some will be significant, such as the frequency with which you visit the pub, socialize with your friends (without her) and how you spend your money. This is where the battle gets bloody. You have two choices, resist change, stand your ground and fight back or surrender to your enemy. If you resist, most likely the relationship will end. Whether you end it because you’re tired of the constant badgering, or she ends it because she finds you too stubborn. In the end the battle is over, but both sides have lost.
Now I am not suggesting you roll over and let her control you, but I believe a more tactful and cerebral approach will leave you as victor to enjoy the spoils of war. Let her have her way, within reason. Let her think she is winning. As long as you know the truth what does it matter? I know what some readers are going to say. “I’m not changing for anyone. I will do what I want when I want. MaiTaiTime is a pussy.” Maybe you’re right, but consider this. Is it really a change if she prefers you in nice sandals instead of plastic flip-flops, or a pressed linen shirt instead of a beer singlet? Do you lose, because you drink a little less and eat a little more healthily? Think about it.
In closing, I would offer this. You can stand on the sidelines, refuse to engage in battle and avoid being hurt. You’ll never feel betrayed if you never trust. You’ll never have your heart broken if you never love. There is only one problem. You are a warrior, born to engage your opponent in this war of the sexes. You might get hurt, but then that’s the only way you’ll know you are alive. I have some good news for you and some bad news. The bad news is that this war will rage until the day you die. Fortunately, that’s the good news too.