An Ordinary Man

Or, Men 101

Month: July, 2016

Politics Aside ….

trump wife

The Donald’s 3rd wife, Melania Trump, was (and is) a very attractive woman, as revealed by the NY Post. To its credit, the Post – which sometimes seems to favor Trump and sometimes does not –  does not shame her for having posed for these images back in 1995, which have no legitimate relevance to the upcoming election.  Bodies should be celebrated and treated with respect since we all have them, even if not quite as stunning.  But the nipple thing is truly getting to be ridiculous, unless we’re going to start doing it to men as well.

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Females Want a Provider; Always Have, Always Will

For the first time since they met, a dark look clouded her brow and he did not miss it. What do women want? There it was, right there; an unfailing provider who would never miss an opportunity to better his situation. They wanted the [high-achievers] of the world, seemingly oblivious to the fact that infidelity was often part of that package.

A sociology professor at Harvard, Alexandra Killewald, is due to publish a study in the August issue of American Sociological Review contending that while women have become increasingly free to enter the workforce and cut back on housework without fearing an increased risk of divorce, men remain liable to have their marriages break up if they do not have a full-time job outside the home. In her words, Prof. Killewald says:

“While contemporary wives need not embrace the traditional female homemaker role to stay married, contemporary husbands face higher risk of divorce when they do not fulfill the stereotypical breadwinner role.”

The finding is important in that it discredits the idea that rising divorce rates are due to the “increasing economic independence among women who no longer need a committed partner for a stable life,” according to an article regarding the study by Corey Schouten, published today on CBS Interactive Inc.’s Moneywatch.

But it comes as no surprise to Prof. Richard Wilson, the main character in An Ordinary Man, excerpted above, who teaches in his evolutionary biology courses at a small, nondescript college that human females are not that far removed from their lineage so as to not gravitate towards the better providers.  This is not a criticism, just a fact – one that can be overcome in a loving relationship by the power of our intellect and is an interesting corollary to the established idea that men can overcome their instinct in favor of having as much sex as possible.

The dainty little bow isn’t quite there, but biology, it seems, is present to some extent in every marriage.

Water is wet …

The sky is blue …

Birds can fly …

The sun is hot …

Children can damage a relationship ….

For the second time in two weeks, the popular press has carried a story about how having children can damage a relationship.  This time it’s Matthew D. Johnson, a professor of psychology and director of the Marriage and Family Studies Laboratory at Binghamton University-State University of New York, writing about his book Great Myths of Intimate Relationships: Dating, Sex, and Marriage on CNN.com.  I’m not knocking Mr. Johnson or his book, but as he says in the article, “[f]or around 30 years, researchers have studied how having children affects a marriage, and the results are conclusive: the relationship between spouses suffers once kids come along” – few things are more obvious, at least to married men.

However, he does make an important point, one that should be made: “While the negative marital impact of becoming parents is familiar to fathers and mothers, it is especially insidious because so many young couples think that having children will bring them closer together or at least will not lead to marital distress.”  In my book, fatherhood is so inconsistent with some basic happinesses that I no longer congratulate men on the pregnancy of their wives or the births of their babies; about all I can say is best wishes; I hope everything works out okay.

But, again, there is something left unsaid. In addressing the question of whether the departure of children is then good for a marriage, he makes the observation that many empty-nesters “discover they have few shared interests [other than the children] and there’s nothing keeping them together.”  As true as this may be, I submit that it is the loss of the sexual bond between parents that distances the couple from each other; simple maintenance fucks, as unromantic, quick and dirty as they might be, could be all that is needed to keep them together during their ordeal.

Just ask Richard Wilson, an ordinary man.

“… is human, has nipples”

I loved the headline of Nicole Lyn Pesce‘s article in the NY Daily News regarding the tennis dress worn by Serena Williams and applaud the tabloid for running it: Note to internet: Serena Williams is human, has nipples.

But the publication itself suffers from its own form of body-shaming by regularly running a ‘celebrity wardrobe malfunctions’ gallery in which they rather priggishly refer to the “dreaded moment of overexposure” (Ahh, wardrobe malfunctions … Thanks to shoddy manufacturing, clumsiness and the advent of spaghetti straps, nearly all of Hollywood has experienced the dreaded moment of overexposure). Really? As if showing a flash of thigh, some side-boob, cleavage, a butt cheek, or more, is something to be ashamed of when in virtually all of the cases they cite, it is an aesthetically pleasing event, perhaps even at least somewhat intended and certainly not “dreaded.”

Why pretend it is? If a beautiful body can’t let part of it slip out now and then, who is shaming who?

For his part, Richard Wilson refers to modern nipple-less bras as a form of the medieval cuirass in the novel, An Ordinary Man.

 

 

“Why men might underestimate women’s sex drive”?

I’m no social scientist but I am a man, and I happen to disagree – quite a bit – with Amy Muise, a post-doctoral relationship researcher at the University of Toronto, who is a social scientist and, for what it’s worth, a woman.

In a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Muise claims to have found that men tend to underestimate their partner’s sexual interest, especially in a committed relationship, and hypothesizes that this “under-perception might keep men motivated to entice their partner’s interest, and it may also minimize sexual rejection,” according to an article on CNN.com by Jacqueline Howard.

The article goes on to state that this is the reverse of the initial perception, early in a relationship, wherein men tend to over-perceive the woman’s interest, i.e., think she’s more interested in sex than she really is. This, she says is not a surprise, “since the goal in initial encounters might be to attract a partner, so over-perceiving their interest can help men feel more comfortable initiating a conversation or date,” whereas under-perceiving it somehow acts to maintain the relationship.

This makes no sense, and conveniently blames men for the widespread sexual dissatisfaction any married man who hangs out with other married men knows is all too common; it’s our fault, because of our perception problems ….

When I met the woman I eventually married, I wasn’t able to initiate a conversation or ask for a date because I thought she was some sex-crazed hussy; I initiated the conversation and asked for a date because I wanted to sleep with her.  Her drive had zero to do with that.  If she didn’t want to sleep with me, or wasn’t willing to, the relationship would have ended sooner.  I assumed sex would feel good to her just as it does to me, and that she’d eventually want to make me happy, just as I hoped to make her happy.  I didn’t “over-perceive” anything.

And as the relationship eventually failed, in large part because of the lack of sex, I didn’t under-perceive anything, either – she was not interested, did not provide any opportunities, did not respond to my interest, etc, etc, etc.  If you are interested in sex, you WILL make an opportunity.  She didn’t.  Here, however, Muise got it right – I began minimizing sexual rejection by simply not trying for it anymore; I found I disliked her less when I found other outlets than when I got shot down – again – after thinking she might be interested and that tended to keep the peace as we grew ever more distant.  If she were to tell Muise she had any sexual interest during this critical period, I would have laughed out loud.

In An Ordinary Man, Richard Wilson, a biology professor facing an identical situation (virtually all married men do) turned to his science in an attempt to remain sane and although he found his answer, it’s one that only solves half the problem because, ironically enough, it is the woman’s misperception of the man’s interest that needs corrected.