We know the fields of electrical charges able to push and pull similar materials, as magnetism. There are many kinds of magnetism, but the most familiar is the kind seen in common household magnets. Household magnets use ferro-magnetism, but another common type is feral (or animal) magnetism. Whether it be animal magnetism or some other force, some people seem to have a mysterious power to draw others to them.
A friend, who is a couples’ counselor, says no matter how dark or crowded a room, some people will attract each other. It sounds so romantic–the thought of two people being pulled together by some unseen force, but according to this expert on dysfunctional matches, this “pull” is more like the way magnets attract similar metals…as people seeking validation or excitement are drawn to each other. According to him, this is particularly true of certain personality types. They are the “players”, excitement seekers, love chasers, and narcissists. Read the rest of this entry »
Though thousands of words are written, about how to be happy in a relationship, too few are written on how to be less-miserable. No matter how many columns are devoted to telling couples how to get along better, there aren’t nearly enough devoted to the art of not getting along.
Among couples, there are outliers who insist they never fight, but I’ve yet to meet any who exist in perfect harmony. Popular culture would have us believe relationships are mostly tranquil, full of love, sex and romance, with only occasional disruptions.
Hello? Anybody seen the magazines on the checkstand lately?
Even Hollywood’s fairytale romances often fall apart in startling displays of pettiness, scandal and heartbreak. On those rare occasions,when television and movies show relationships breaking apart, it is usually because of some big issue, yet, it is often little things which cause the most problems. Read the rest of this entry »
A friend is one of the nicest things to have, and one of the best things to be. ~ Douglas Pagels
Valentine’s Day has come and gone again. Upon learning Valentine’s Day was being replaced in some school districts by “Friendship Day” and by adults with the alternative Singles Awareness Day (S.A.D.) I was wondering if romance had finally become politically incorrect. Both sounded as desperately over-reaching as comforting a childless teacher by telling her she’s lucky to have lots of children, or complimenting a fat girl on her pretty face.
Out of context, these new traditions sounded like affirmative action for the forlorn. Lord knows, romance is often over-rated and under-practiced, but the doom of humanity seemed inevitable, if society was ready to raise frowning-eyebrows on this most basic life pursuit. As it turns out, instead of being antithetical to romantic relationships, these celebrations that might actually serve to promote them.
Most of us don’t need a therapist, as much as a friend to be silly with. ~Robert Brault
Friendship Day? I’m all for it. The ability to make and sustain friendships is integral to enjoying others. Without friendship, even the most exciting relationships often fail. Though most of us realize the importance of friendships, we don’t always take the time to develop them. Even though we want our significant other to be our best friend, we act as if friendships are spontaneous occurrences, which develop without being cultivated, but more romances are born out of friendships, than vice verse. If friendships seem easier than romantic relationships, perhaps it is because we approach them differently.
Friendships provide us a context for being comfortable with ourselves. Unlike dating, they are low-pressure. Our earliest playground bonds are built on commonalities, confidences, comaraderie, and companionship–the same things that make for satisfying adult relationships. The tendency to be lured by the external attractions of a potential romantic partner, make all too easy for one to romanticize someone they hardly know, or with whom they have little in common. Sadly, relationships based only on sizzle, usually fizzle. Read the rest of this entry »
An internet meme, suggests Christmas shopping with one’s husband is like hunting with a game warden. Shopping with The Beloved Soul Mate is more akin to hunting with a P.E.T.A activist. Bringing our different perspectives to the task, reminds me of how those committed to saving animals have trouble understanding those who enjoy eating them.
Different perspectives…I saw an example this weekend, when a child’s wish-list item was reinterpreted by a grown-up. The child had his heart set on something, but the grown-up was sure he knew better. In his attempt to buy the child something “better”, he forgot it wasn’t what the child wanted. A well-meaning parent certainly knows what is good for a child, but if Christmas were about what is good for us, there would be no spiked ‘nog or cookies.
We all know someone who would benefit from a smack to the side of the head, and while the delivery of this, might for an instance allow the smacking party to experience the joy of giving, it is hardly in keeping with the spirit of the season. If Christmas were about giving people what they needed, shopping would be easy–underwear all around! Still, some can’t resist the temptation to give others things they like or want the recipient to like. Read the rest of this entry »
In the aftermath of an event like the shooting in Aurora, many are glued to their televisions, trying to make sense of what has happened. I avoid the ongoing news coverage, but it is nearly impossible to avoid being over-saturated by the information surrounding such an event. Regularly scheduled news breaks on the radio, the news ticker on my e-mail account, or the chatter of social media, assure that I’ll learn more than I need to know.
Most in the Denver area were still sleeping when I heard the first reports of the massacre, but in those early morning hours, I learned all I needed to know: Innocent people were victims in a tragic shooting. I wasn’t interested in hearing the unfolding coverage, because in the immediate hours after such a happening, what is presented as news, is mostly speculation.
Without ever tuning into a news broadcast, my head got its fill of hearsay and unsubstantiated details–or what we used to call gossip. Some speculated that James Holmes was a right-wing crazy, others were convinced he was a pawn or operative in a left-wing plan to disarm America. Some suggested he had an accomplice, others said he acted alone. Some held him up as evidence of a Godless society, some blamed bullying or the failure of parents to raise their kids properly. Still others attributed the act to American economic powerlessness, because James Holmes failed to find a job after graduate school. Many placed the blame on the movie producers, and/or society’s desensitization to violence. People speculated on whether he was mentally ill, under the influence of drugs or just the product of too much video game violence. Most of those who put forth theories, were no more qualified than I to comment on his mental health or the cause of his actions,
Only one thing was clear.
When things like this happen, we seek to make sense of them–but things like this don‘t make sense. Something went chaotically wrong in a theater in Aurora, Colorado, when what should have been an escape into movie fantasy, became a frightening reality with few chances for escape. Knowing why it happened, will do nothing to make us feel better about this senseless attack. No law could have prevented it. There is nothing that can guarantee we won’t see something like this again, and nothing we learn will make this tragedy make sense.
Despite this, the media disseminates information in an effort to help answer questions as to why it happened. Anyone whose opinion might shed light on the event, is given a microphone. Reporters dig up neighbors, colleagues, classmates or whomever is available to comment on what they knew of the suspect.
What I find troubling (and ironic) is that the people who knew the suspect, usually inadvertently admit they didn’t know the suspect. Typical they say things like, “He kept to himself” “He was a loner.” “He minded his own business“. Then they express their shock at the actions of the person they didn’t really know, a person nobody really knew.
What we don’t hear are close friends talking about the many hours they’d spent with that person. I’ve yet to hear anyone talking about the memories and the laughs they shared, or how much they valued the friendship. We don’t hear those things, because often the person(s) who commit this type of senseless violence live in an isolated world of emotional turmoil.
James Holmes played team sports in high school, surely some of those teammates interacted with him. It seems likely he would have made connections to those with whom he shared an interest in video games, or the people in his academic program, yet sadly he lived his life in strange and solitary way. Maybe something in his make-up made it hard for him to make friends, or maybe something had caused him to be distrustful of others. He may have been a mad man or a sad man, but for some reason he felt no normal connection to the people who would become victims. He was disconnected from those around him, long before that disconnect in his head, caused him to do what he did.
We all face loneliness, frustrations and despair, but if life is hard, it is harder for those who have no one to talk them down from a tree, or off a ledge. If the world is sometimes lonely for those who have close friends and family, how much more so it must be for those who don’t. I don’t mean to be so simplistic as to suggest that if Holmes had some homeboys, this wouldn’t have happened. Dylan Klebold had Eric Harris, and both of them had other friends, yet they both felt like outsiders.
Americans live more isolated lives now, than a few generations ago. The internet, e-mail and smart phones make it easier for us to stay connected, but we often spend more hours connected to our electronic devices, than to the people around us. When I was a kid, we didn’t turn to reality TV to get a glimpse into other people’s lives. If we wanted to know what was going on in other people‘s lives, instead of inviting strangers into our living rooms via television, we’d pile into the car and drop into the living rooms of those we knew. We didn’t call ahead or set a time, we just showed up. Before there was Yahoo, there was Yoohoo, as in, “Yoo-hoo, anybody home?“.
Back then, instead of feeling imposed upon, by an unannounced visit, the host would welcome the unexpected disruption. The host(s) would fall all over themselves apologizing, if they didn’t have anything to offer guests, as expressed in the very popular 1950s hit “If I Knew You Were Comin’ I’d've Baked a Cake”. Even if inconvenient, they’d insist you come in and sit down, and everyone would settle in for a visit.
There isn’t much to a “visit.” Talk, listen, talk listen. Not much else. We dropped in into see a new baby or to meet a friend’s out-of-town visitors. We dropped in on those who were going through hard times. We dropped in when we learned somebody had lost a loved one. On those occasions, we brought the cake–or a casserole, but mostly, we dropped in for no particular reason.
Visiting was a good pastime, but more importantly, it was a way of staying connected to the people in our communities and cultivating relationships with them. It was offering and getting support, without joining a support group. We knew our neighbors, and they new us. Back then, those who kept to themselves were considered to be odd or at least unfriendly. Now I live in a city, where most social visits are by appointment only, but where I come from a car in the driveway, is still as good as an invitation.
It is unlikely close friends could have stopped the thoughts in Holmes head, but what if Holmes had the kind of friends who drop in unannounced? If one person had realized how deeply troubled Holmes had become, what could he have done? Who could they have turned to for assistance? Even if one person had sensed Holmes was a time bomb with a short fuse, the authorities probably couldn’t have done much, because Holmes had yet to commit a crime.
It does no good to wonder. It is too late for the his victims, but they serve as a reminder to us all, we don’t live in a vacuum. We don’t always make the effort to get to know the people around us, but perhaps we should. If there is anything to be learned from this tragedy, it is that we need each other. We all need others to help us make sense out of what we go through, and to help us get through the things that don’t make sense.
June is over, without a single wedding invite.
There is a decade when most of the weddings you attend are those of your friends. Next, comes the decade when most of the weddings you’re invited to are remarriages of some of those same friends. Eventually you enter the decade in which the wedding invitations are from those same friends’ children.
Weddings are always the same, and always different. They are a particularly good exhibition of a couple’s tastes and personality. Traditional vows are often replaced with something custom-suited to the couple. From not-a-dry-eye-in-the-house prose to incomprehensible secret messages, wedding vows take many forms.
The most profoundly witty & sincere vows I’ve heard, were pronounced recently at the wedding, of a girlfriend, who has made her living as a very successful radio personality. She and her husband had written their own vows. She didn’t know what he would say. He didn’t know what she would say.
The groom read his sincerest thoughts with palpable emotion. The bride and all those assembled were clearly touched by his verbal declaration of love for her. Then came the response of a woman who is rarely, if ever at a loss for words. There are times when one doesn’t need to say much to have said it all, and this was one such time. She said just three little words.
Never before had those three little words had more depth than on that day. In a voice frail with emotions, she simply said, “What he said.”.
I doubt the groom missed hearing romantic bromides or pledges of undying devotion, because on their wedding day, she clearly wanted him to star in their show. To those who know the bride, there was something hugely significant in a radio host who passed up the opportunity to take over the microphone. Another bride might have been tempted to upstage her groom, but not this one. There were no promises to love, honor or obey, but there was no doubt about their commitment to each other. As with most wedding ceremonies, they wed believing in happily every after.
To those who have been married a while, the words uttered on the wedding day become vague memories. We may remember what we imagined our future would bring, or how we felt, but it is unlikely we remember the words said. No matter what kind of words were said on the wedding day, it is usually the case, that both partners are so enamored of one another,they are committed to making the other one happy. On that day, we believe we are the best person for them, and they for us. We believe they will be happier with us than with anyone else.
Day-to-day-living has a way of redefining marriage. The once perfect rapport we once enjoyed with the fiancé, becomes flawed…the easy lovin’, becomes harder to come by. Then one lonely day in the future one (or both) may find themselves wondering if they could be happier.
Marriages are stronger when we stay committed to putting that other person’s happiness above our own. Whatever issues come up are compounded when we stop caring about our partner’s happiness. As our bond is weakened we begin thinking more about our own happiness, than theirs. Eventually, the desire to be happy can become almost an act of self-preservation.
Even when we have forgotten the words spoken on our wedding day, we must work to remember when we placed their happiness above our own. The vows are meaningless, unless we do our best to keep them. It isn’t easy to remember those feelings and high ideals and it may not be possible to recapture the feelings we had on our wedding day, but we would all be happier if we remembered how we once valued our partner’s happiness. If only we could all at least try to remember, do you remember?
Marriage is supposed to be a partnership, a fifty-fifty proposition. It rarely is, but even when it is, an inherent flaw in a partnership between two individuals, is how to break a tie–or deal with a stalemate. There are times when compromise is the only option and times when it is the worst of options. However, many issues can be solved or avoided using a simple rule. It is the “Who Cares Most” rule.
The “Who Cares Most” rule is works best when one party has an opinion, but isn’t passionate about it. It works like this. On many smaller matters, one partner is often more heavily invested in the outcome than the other. In those cases, the other partner defers to the whims of the one “Who Cares Most”.
For instance, if a woman decides it’s time for a new shade of paint, drapes or a couch, it is likely she has her heart set on something specific. She has an idyllic vision, which is not likely shared by the man who shares the space. Though he is not nearly as committed to the outcome, he may second-guess or oppose her choices. This is when a smart person allows the “Who Cares Most” rule settle the disagreement.
Example: I recently changed the curtains in my living room. I chose beautiful chocolate velvet drapes with Beloved Soul Mate’s full agreement. As soon as they were hung, he loved them, but I found them to be oppressively dark. Had I asked him for input, he would have opposed changing them, but when I switched them out for something bright & airy, he failed to notice the change for almost three months.
The inexperienced me, might have entertained an argument over the matter, but the older, wiser me, knows he wants to be heard, even when he doesn’t really care much. After his initial protests, he almost always likes my choices. Invoking the “Who Cares Most” rule, I staged the window covering coup unbeknownst to him, without feeling duplicitous or overbearing, precisely because having the right curtains means more to me, than it does to him.
However, when it comes to autos, he cares WAY more about cars than I do. What I NEED from a car is simple.
1. Should respond favorably to a key in the ignition.
2. Must be comfortable and spacious enough to be practical.
3. Good color a plus.
Because of the “Who Cares Most” rule, I spent a regrettable year driving a Cadillac El Dorado, with a hinky electrical system. I would have preferred an SUV, but I simply wasn’t invested enough to wage a battle over it. The over-sized car didn’t appeal to me, but Beloved Soul Mate fell in love with it. I agreed to the car, because it mattered more to him & made him happy. Fortunately for me, the two-door Caddy quickly became impractical when we had children in carseats, providing a reason to sell it to another man who fell in love with it.
Using the above rule, many problems are avoided, but it is of no use in resolving the issue of how often to have sex. By this rule, the partner who wanted it most, would be allowed to control when & how to have it, but craving sex is like being hungry for pizza. When you want pizza, you want pizza; but as anyone who has found themselves in a the desperate-for-pizza-mood knows, there is great pizza and eat-it-only-in-a-pinch-pizza. Nevertheless, pizza is pizza. When we are desperate, we may settle for something that isn’t exactly what we wanted. It satisfies the urge, but doesn’t leaving us wanting the same thing the next day.
The definition of good sex, like the definition of good pizza is different things to different people. When us gals are dreaming of sex, we may be imagining something completely different from what men imagine we’re imagining. Women dream of something sweet, tender, and memorable. That isn’t to say it can’t be naughty, gratifying, monkey love, but it’s the kind of sex, that is still appealing at breakfast the next day.
Most of us are happy enough with the kind delivered in 30 minutes or less, even when we know the difference between a made to order brick-oven pie and the pizza that comes out of a freezer box. This is one situation when the “Who Cares Most” rule causes more problems than it solves, because it is rather like trying to force A Meat Lover’s Special on a vegetarian. The invoking of the “Who Cares Most” rule guarantees a stale mate.
Thick or thin–is isn’t possible to agree on everything. The compromise can be noble or counterproductive, because if one partner is continually compromising, resentment is inevitable. In pizza terms, it is exactly why you can order pizza made with half what she likes, and half what he wants. Not everything in marriage is fifty-fifty, but love-making is an area that should strive to be. If you can’t figure out how His & Hers is supposed to work, you might find yourself alone with a whole pizza to yourself. You’ll have it your way, but it won’t be nearly as fun as having someone to share it with.
Deb’s Note: One friend says writing about relationships is hackneyed, another friend says writing about sex is boring. Everywhere I look, people are trying to start relationships, fix relationships or end failing relationships. Therefore, I do hereby vow to stop writing about both sex and relationships when everybody stops having them.
Another friend says there is no comparison between sex and pizza. I think she just needs to try better pizza.
Linda is a lesbian. She would tell you she prefers women, because she hates men. Several years ago, she said to me, “How can you not hate men? They’re such predators.”
Perhaps I was too busy enjoying the fun of being man-prey, to have thought of men as predators. In my experience, men were protectors, providers and heroes. Like a fish seeing a sparkly lure, I found their attractiveness irresistible. This made it easy for me to be ensnared by The Beloved Soul Mate. Alas, I am now the feminist nightmare–having been used as a vehicle for reproduction, a sexual plaything, and held hostage in the home, despite untapped career potential.
What kind of trickery caused me to believe men were amazing? There must have been a male conspiracy to brainwash me. My father and brothers were obviously in on it, because they had successfully convinced me men were strong, brave, kind, funny, generous, and self-sacrificing. I am probably suffering from Stockholm syndrome, because I have grown fond of my captor and my captivity. I live comfortably, and my needs are met. There have been times I felt I wasn’t treated as well as I should have been, but all that changed last week, when I discovered the book.
How could I have known the book held the power to change me??? The book made me feel ashamed and repentant. I didn’t realize, my faith in men had been diluted by the gospel of feminism. I’d come to accept that men are largely motivated by sex, and sometimes boorish, but I still held on to some romantic notions. Before the book, I was convinced I understood men, and was as fond of them as any female on the planet. I never dreamed I, like Linda, could be indicted as an accomplice in the crime of man-hating. Fortunately, the book, opened my eyes. The book, Why Men Are the Way They Are, which was written by Warren Farrell, a former feminist, made me realize it is men who are often powerless in our society.
Feminism propagated the idea of men as oppressors. We are supposed to believe that without feminism, we’d all be barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen. We were convinced men had all the power. They had power over our bodies, impregnating us with children, whether we wanted them or not. We were to believe men controlled industry and business, leaving women at economic disadvantage. We were told to we’d been devalued by men, because they saw us as little more than sex objects.
For decades, women fought for the right to choose between home and career, the right to choose whether or not to give birth, the right to compete for jobs and be fairly compensated for them. It was all about fairness and equality–unless one considers how women’s choices increased, but men’s didn’t.
Men are blamed for carelessly fathering children, but women get away with setting pregnancy traps. A woman on The Pill is somehow deemed more reliable than a man with a condom, despite an improbable number of men becoming fathers after having slept with women who said they were on The Pill. No matter who is responsible, men are expected to support the child.
During conception, half the genetic matter comes from each partner, but after conception, men are expected to supply the majority of the support, in return for the smallest part in decision making. The mother decides whether or not to have the child, she decides whether or not to disclose the paternity of the child, she decides whether or not the father has access to the child. She can marry the father, divorce the father, and still expect child support. A man may have slept with a willing woman, but if she should become pregnant, he becomes powerless.
For years feminists have bristled against the traditional marriage vows, which employed the phrase “love, honor and obey”, but written between the lines, is an order for men to love honor & support. Men are still expected to be the primary breadwinner. We do not think less of women who choose to stay home while men support them, but men who stay home, while women support them are seen as freeloaders or losers.
Feminism would convince us marriage is an oppressive, opportunity-limiting situation for women, ignoring how limiting marriage is to men. It is perfectly acceptable for women to reject traditional roles, but men are still defined by them. Despite economic opportunities now available, women still favor men who can provide them the greatest security–in other words, the best earners.
This sets up a no-win situation for men, who often choose between time spent at home with family, to win admiration; or time spent at work, lest he fail as provider. As a result men are often seen as vacant or inattentive by the woman who is depending on his income. While her husband is out doing what he thinks is expected, if a woman misses the affection of the husband who is largely absent, she is easily enticed by the attention of other men. Is it any wonder men die younger than women?
Author Warren Farrell says just as men objectify women as sex objects, women objectify men as “success-objects”. Is it any more sexist for men to pass over women who aren’t attractive, than it is for women to disqualify men who can’t provide them the level of security they desire? Farrell suggests that if the male fantasy is sex and more of it, the female fantasy is stuff & more of it–or as he says “better homes & gardens”.
I once was blind, but now I see. The book changed me. Reading Why Men Are the Way They Are, I was surprised and saddened to consider society’s contempt for men. We should be glad boys are taught early to keep their feelings inside, and not to pick fights with girls, or we’d have seen a revolt by now. Every chapter gave me more reasons to admire men and made me wonder why I’d never heard of this book. Perhaps the book, like men, fell victim to political correctness, as it exposes how feminist notions have put us at odds with men, making men vulnerable, distrustful and afraid of commitment. (Unless you, like Linda, hate men; this is not a good thing.)
Deb’s Note: This post doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of the ideas put forth in “Why Men Are the Way They Are”. There was so much in it, even though I’ve just read it, I plan to reread it soon. I would recommend this book to every man and woman. Women will understand man and appreciate them more, men will appreciate feeling understood. Below are links to some good interviews with the author, but I wholeheartedly recommend this book and can’t wait to read his other titles, including “The Myth of Male Power”.
Perhaps, you’ve wondered if you were addicted to love. Admitting you have a problem is the first step, but don’t check yourself into rehab just yet. You may be a relationship junkie, but it is rather unlikely you are addicted to love.
We all want to be loved and appreciated by others. Love is as almost as vital to our existence as food & water. We crave affection, in the same way we crave certain foods–including some that aren’t good for us. Food is absolutely necessary for good health, but eating more food doesn’t make us more healthy, and eating the wrong foods can harm us. A doughnut is food, but it’s hardly the best thing for the body. Similarly, though love is vital to our emotional wellness, unhealthy relationships can leave us love-starved and stunted. What often passes for love, is no more substantial than a diet of doughnuts.
Seeking validation through serial relationships, can be addicting. Falling in love causes a rush similar to that experienced by users of drugs like cocaine or ecstasy. There is euphoria, energy, jitters, sleeplessness, rapid heartbeat, sweaty palms and of course impaired judgement, as the brain becomes awash in chemicals like dopamine, adrenaline and phenethylamine. In this state, it is easy to overlook warnings of a doomed relationship.
Alas, the last doughnut in the box,is never as good as the first. What starts out as delight, often ends in regret. The post-relationship hangover is inevitable, and to addicts, the cure of choice is more of the same. Relationship junkies quickly seek out another relationship, guaranteeing a repeat of “I’ll never do that again” history.
Love isn’t necessary to keep a couple together. Kids in common, codependency, or finances can do that, but they aren’t enough to keep both parties from becoming miserable. We want to believe love is always sweet and satisfying, but despite countless platitudes, poems and love songs to the contrary, it can be downright unpleasant.
Philosopher Buber said, “Love is not the enjoyment of a wonderful emotion, not even the ecstasy of a Tristan and Isolde, but the ‘responsibility of an I for a Thou.” Love means giving up what we wanted, saying we’re sorry and doing things we hadn’t planned on doing. It means letting go of what we’d imagined to accept reality. It can be exhausting and unsatisfying.
Love is hardly addicting. Those who have been challenged to love someone with an addiction, mental impairment, disease, or even just a disagreeable personality, are more likely to yearn for relief, than more of the same. Falling for someone who appears attractive is an easy, fleeting and addictive state of mind, but loving requires ongoing effort. It may be easier to develop an appetite for Krispy Kremes, than cauliflower, but those who embrace that which seems less satisfying, may ultimately find themselves more satisfied.
Men and women are not the same. One needn’t look further than the way we speak for evidence. When a woman communicates, she is conveying feelings she wants understood. Women rarely communicate as succinctly or as plainly as men, but to a women every unnecessary word is necessary. Because of this, you can be reasonably sure if a women hurls an insult your way, she means it–at least in that moment. Of course, women are apt to change their moods & minds, at which point, most will regret having said unkind things. It’s a girl thing…we don’t like to be perceived as mean, so we do our best not to insult people–unless they really deserve it.
Men don’t measure their words as carefully as women, and are therefore more apt to say things they don’t mean. (This is especially true of men dealing with difficult women.) Men think nothing of exchanging insults. Male jesting is a sport–a kind of jousting to determine who is most manly. Men can swear at each other, call each other vile names, impugn each others’ masculinity, then laugh it off over beers.
This is not true of women. A woman who has been insulted, will likely spend the next week stewing. She may feel compelled to share her tale of woe with anyone who will listen. Not every woman is as sensitive, but if a woman is hurt by a careless remark, it has the potential to ruin the relationship.
I didn’t fully understand this, until after I became a parent. Watching the way girls and boys play with each other, I’ve learned how differently males & females use words. In a game, if a girl misses her friends are there to encourage her, but a boy misses and his friends will have a hearty laugh at his expense. They will call him any number of names–a disproportionate number of which, will suggest he is a lesser male or even a homosexual. Contrast that with women, by trying to remember the last time you heard women call each other “butch” or “dyke”.
This inherent tendency of men to want to remind other men, of their position in the pecking order, which has given us the currently running Ad Council campaign admonishing people too stop using the term “gay” as a derogatory term.
Thanks to this public service announcement, we now know trash-talking is fine, as long as we use the right words. Clearly, it is okay to take cheap shots, as long as we don’t use any term, which could be offensive to those not being addressed. The message is clear, political correctness is more important than civility or good sportsmanship. As an avid NBA fan, let me be the first to thank pro-athletes for schooling the rest of us in proper decorum.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand the message, but the label” gay” is one chosen by gays for gays to replace other more derogatory terms. The n-word is far more offensive, because it has never had positive connotations. Which makes one wonder why it has been popularized by those, it was most intended to insult. Then there’s the word “retarded, the popular use of “retarded” as an insult, is certainly as offensive as carelessly using the g-word or the n-word. Can we expect the Ad Council to develop a campaign to stop people from using the word which is clearly insensitive to the developmentally delayed?
Whether it’s the a-word, the b-word, the c-word, the d-word,or any other, what offends us, is largely a result of who we are and where we’ve been. With the exception of the frequent and thoughtless use of the n-word, which I always find offensive, I pay more attention to what people are saying, than the words they use. English has an abundance of offensive words, but polite words can be just as insulting.
For instance, there’s this guy I always see on TV. There are plenty of people who suggest that he’s gay or bi- or something. I don’t buy into those rumors, but he strikes me as the quintessentially ineffectual male. He used to be against gay marriage, but recently, he changed his mind. Now he supports gay marriage. Whether you support or oppose gay marriage, it is likely you feel strongly about it, but I get the impression this guy doesn‘t care one way or the other. In other words, I think he’s being spineless. (If I say spineless, does that insult others who don’t hold the courage of their convictions? Is it insensitive to mollusks and other invertebrates?)
This guy has been in The White House for almost a full term and NOW he‘s coming out with this new stance? A while back he had support of both houses of congress, and NOW he‘s for gay marriage? It seems clear he has no intention of promoting gay marriage, in fact, he’s clearly stated this is for the states to decide–which is especially ironic coming from a man who has shown he doesn’t particularly respect the sovereignty of the states.
Whether or not he’s saying what you wanted to hear is inconsequential. He has waited until he won’t be can’t be held accountable. If he’s reelected, his rhetoric is likely to be as meaningless as any other politician’s campaign promises. It’s lame duck politics. (If I say lame, does that insult the crippled?)
Talk is cheap. His words are meaningless, because they don’t reflect his intent.
Nothing has changed. Those who oppose gay marriage can breathe a big sigh of relief and those who support gay marriage should breathe a big sigh of contempt.
No matter how you feel about the issue, you should be insulted, because this is little more than a poorly veiled attempt to win votes. It is insulting, because it makes no difference whether those votes come from gays, lesbians, blacks, Hispanics, women, the poor, or any other disenfranchised group. He doesn’t care about these groups, he only cares how they vote.
(If I call him a pansy, does that insult flowers?)