I’ve been pondering lately what it means to be a woman. Some might think I’d have a grip on this, given how long I’ve been one, but there are times when the convolutions of gender are illusive.
On one hand, reflections of my womanhood are simple and typical; I love my kids, only feel comfortable with body hair from my eyes up, enjoy chilled white wine and am okay with crying my eyes out when prompted to do so.
On the other hand .. well, I’m confused, because on the other hand is the OTHER gender and the spanner interaction with that half of the population throws into my works leaves me at a loss … of a whole bunch of stuff. As some have gathered, yet another relationship has ended, this one after almost two years, and I’m trying very hard to figure out what portion of this painful termination I could ever have hoped to control … after all, life is supposed to be a learning experience … and how much woman-ness vs man-ness influences processes.
So … do I just know how to pick ’em, or were men put on this earth to disappoint? Is it the woman in me that forces me to demand sweet things bring joy with the calories and not be fatal? Does the other sex have as little control over a compulsion to put the “man” in manifest destiny?
There’s no shortage of information on the biological imperative, that overripe old plum (and here I can’t help but envision a scrotum … sorry ’bout that) insisting men are driven to conquer, and conquer often. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve been told I should understand “a fuck is just a fuck, but love is love”, well, I’d be able to fill a sack that could leave a nasty bruise upside a head.
A quick search leaves no doubt that I’m far from the only person pondering, as questions like “Can you love someone and cheat on them?” are asked, and answered, often … and not just in the depths of a soul.
Does it make sense for guys to go along with the idea that they will never have sex with anyone else ever again, when the biological imperative of the male is to mate with as wide a variety of partners as possible.
At the same time, the biological imperative of the female is to find a man who will stay with her and provide for her children, and a man who is mating with other women may be tempted to instead provide for the children he has with one of those other women.
So what is love? Love is the insane state of the male to agree to violate his biological imperative to meet her biological imperative. So by this definition, if you’re willing to have sex with another woman, you can’t be in love, but OTOH, if you’re willing to give up the opportunity to have sex with other women, you’re insane.
Citing the Coolidge Effect, it could seem we … women, that is … are doomed to disappointment.
Human males experience a post-ejaculatory refractory period after sex. They are incapable of engaging in sex with the same female after ejaculation and require time to recover full sexual function. In popular reference, the Coolidge effect is the well-documented phenomenon that the post-ejaculatory refractory period is reduced or eliminated if a separate female becomes available. This effect is cited by evolutionary biologists as a reason why males are more likely to desire sex with a greater number and variety of partners than females.
Considering that a great deal of the research establishing this “well-documented phenomenon” was based on studies of rats … well … you get my point.
In case you don’t, it’s this …
Humans have … theoretically … evolved beyond the base drives of rats and dogs and pigs. Men have managed to learn not to pull down their pants and shit every time they feel the need (although peeing can still be a bit of an issue), and most can walk down a street without threatening every male passing through “their” territory. Men can create beautiful music, art, literature, spiritually project themselves into dimensions of peaceful contemplation of the wonders of the universe, plumb the depths of grief and comprehend and incorporate the emotions of those around them.
So, is it simply a blood flow problem? Does even the most insignificant penis require the full essence of a man to stand at attention? And must that attention preclude every other important detail in a life? (When it comes to human bodies rather than celestial, “waxing” has such different connotations for men and women.)
In the words of the immortal Dorothy Parker:
Woman wants monogamy
Man delights in novelty.
Love is a woman’s moon and sun;
Man has other forms of fun.
Woman lives but in her lord;
Count to ten and man is bored.
With this the gist and sum of it,
What earthly good can come of it?
What earthly good? Indeed …