Modes of Failure Today

I will relate a little anecdote I heard, that pertains to our interests here.

Our protagonist is a smart, successful corporate woman type, who is coming up on her fortieth birthday unmarried and childless. After dismissing children and family for a long time as secondary, she is now panicking as women often do around that time. Of course she has not been celibate: rather, she has had a long string of boyfriends over the past twenty-five years. All of these relationships were failures.

Looking back on these men, she put them in two categories:

  1. Men that she liked, and were worthy fellows, and who she thought might be a future husband, but they fought constantly. Eventually they would break up.
  2. Men that she regarded as immature children, and who she felt she should send back to their mothers for more training.

Now, these men had already passed whatever hurdles this woman had, her “standards,” to become long-term boyfriends in the first place. So, none of them were schlubs and losers. They must have possessed some initial attraction.

It has been asserted that women have two natural modes, that of the wife and that of the mother. The wife subordinates herself to and cooperates with the husband. The mother takes a leadership role, but tends to then regard her subordinates as “children.”

Whether this assertion has validity or not is a good question. It certainly seems to work well here. I don’t know all the details of all these relationships, but from my standpoint, it looks like this:

  1. Men who took the leadership role, or at least, did not subordinate themselves to this woman. They would not allow her to tell them what to do. Since the woman would not subordinate herself to them, but insisted on “getting her way” (making the decisions; i.e. taking the leadership role), they would end up fighting ceaselessly.
  2. Men who were probably not much different than the first category in their general characteristics, but who would allow the woman to make the decisions, even if only as a way to cease the endless conflict. The woman, taking the role of the “mother,” would then regard these men as basically children. They would thus not fulfill the role that she sought in men, to act as the leader.

This woman ended up being artificially inseminated, and became a single working mother.

This is why I say that men must take the leadership role. Even as they fight ceaselessly for power, women will not tolerate a man that concedes to her leadership. There is no “partnership.” You can’t run a relationship, with two people, by committee. There is no majority. Eventually, there will be a difference of opinion. One way or another, the difference will be resolved: someone will get their way, and the other must acquiesce, or the relationship ends. It can be over a very minor issue. One person wants to eat Chinese food and another wants to eat pizza. If a woman insists “I must have pizza or I will make your life a living hell,” then a man might naturally say: “OK, it’s not really that important to me, let’s eat pizza, although I think we should eat Chinese food.” The woman has made the decision. However, a man, in a leadership role, can take a woman’s view into account. For example, he can say, “I prefer Chinese food, but since you really want to eat pizza, let’s eat pizza.” Seems similar, doesn’t it? But in this case, the man makes the decision to eat pizza, to satisfy the woman’s interests, because men like to do that. Men like to please women, and if women make it easy by saying what will please them, all the better. (“Velvet”) If the man had said instead: “I know you like pizza, but we had pizza last time so let’s eat Chinese food,” then the man has considered the woman’s preferences, but has made the decision that the pair will eat Chinese food. (“Steel”) The woman must then acquiesce to the man’s leadership, and not try to fight and battle until she gets her way, and the man says: “OK, you can have your way.” Even though this is a trivial issue, a woman actually hates this, and it has significance beyond merely what to eat that night. In the case of our forty-year old single career mom, it was a dealbreaker.

In short, a man should treat a woman as a woman, not like a man. If two men were arguing over where to eat, and one said: “OK, it is not that big a deal to me, let’s have pizza,” it would indeed be not that big a deal.

Indeed, between two men, an egalitarian “partnership” is the norm. Let’s say that there are two men who agree to cooperate together. They might share a practice in plastic surgery, or they might like to go fly fishing together. In these cases, if there is not an overt employer-employee relationship, a loose egalitarianism is the norm. There may be a mentor-student relationship. One man may acquiesce to another’s expertise: let him choose the wine, since he knows more about it. There may be recognition of superiority: he is much better at fly fishing than me. Probably any man would be repulsed at some cooperation between two men, in which one took the overt leadership role, unless that was defined in the beginning (as for an employee for example). Even if a man is an employee — if one man hires another to do the gardening — he is not regarded as a child. But, this model doesn’t work for women.

Published by proprietor

Happily married, with children.

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