Tuesday, April 18, 2006

We're Different. Still.

Okay, men and women are different. You know it. I know it. So why do we assume one is better than the other?

Men tend to be more focused on one thing at a time, while women multi-task. Yes, there are obvious exceptions to this, but as a generality, it holds true. We look at one thing at a time. This is not better, and not worse, just different.

A girl got really upset with me recently in an argument, because there were certain behaviors she said were disgusting, that I didn’t find disgusting at all. She said that you could tell how a guy would treat a girl by how his friends treat girls. This is not my experience at all; men don’t pick their friends on that account. In fact, I can’t think of any two male friends I have that have the same attitude towards women, other than we’re all horny (we are men, and that equals perpetually horny). She then said that a nice guy would walk away from men that were commenting on a girl’s physical attributes as if she were “a piece of meat.” I laughed.

This is something I’ve heard women complain about a lot (not all women, some like it) – they say “we’re not a piece of meat, don’t look at us like an object!” This is somehow assumed to be wrong, disgusting, filthy, etc. They say “We’re more than our bodies – you’ve got to look at the whole picture.”

Why? When we’re checking out a girl’s ass, or nice cleavage, we’re not evaluating what she’d be like as a girlfriend. We’re not wondering if she’s our soulmate. We’re thinking about her body. And I don’t see why that’s wrong – we’re not groping her. We’re not invading her privacy. If she finds it offensive, then she doesn’t have to date us, sleep with us, even talk to us. But looking and commenting – it’s a free country (used to be, at least), and I honestly can’t find any harm in it. Can one girl tell me what’s actually wrong with it? Saying “it’s wrong” doesn’t count – I want a reason. Saying “it’s objectifying” doesn’t help, either – what’s wrong with that? Saying “it’s demeaning” is void, unless you can tell me WHY it’s demeaning.

By now, many women reading this are offended. But what it seems like to me is a classic case of women judging men by women’s rules. Unless you can tell me WHY you think it’s wrong, other than “it’s just wrong,” it doesn’t count. Just because you “feel” it’s wrong doesn’t make it wrong. Just because you “feel” it’s disgusting doesn’t count, either. There has to be an objective reason, or it’s just personal opinion. Opinions are great to have, until you share them.

I was reading a fantasy book by a female author today. There are several female authors that I truly enjoy reading, but when they talk from a male perspective, it’s hilarious. For one thing, the hero always hates being stared at by women, because he wants girls to notice him for who he is, not how stunningly handsome he is.

Bullshit. Guys don’t mind girls checking us out. We love it. And if you think we’ve got a great ass, we don’t mind if you grab it, either. Just don’t pinch it – that shit hurts.

The way we figure it, you’ve got to start somewhere, and looks are a great beginning. If you want to know our personality, we know you’ll get there eventually. If, after knowing us for years, you don’t care about anything but our looks, then we might be offended. But that’s usually not the way it works.

While we’re on this subject, I see these girls in super-tight jeans, so low-cut you can see butt cleavage, showing off the tattoo on the small of their backs, with wonder-bras and a low-cut shirts… I’m sorry, but they have no right to complain about being looked at like pieces of meat. Most women’s fashions are designed to make girls look as sexual as possible – and they complain because we look at them sexually!

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying men haven’t always looked at women this way… But it’s sure as hell not a one-sided deal anymore. Women ask to be looked at. If you can’t admit this, you’re in a dream world.

Women – you want to figure out how a man treats women? Watch how he treats women. You want to know how he’ll treat you on a date? Go on a date. Want to know how he’ll be in a long-term relationship? Get in a long-term relationship. Anything else is pure speculation, and almost guaranteed to be 100% wrong. If you judge him by his friends, you’re completely off base. Is a man who looks at women sexually offensive to you? Become a lesbian. We all do it. Some hide it, some are discreet, some are blatant. We all do it. It’s who we are.

Before I leave my soapbox, I’m going to go on about monogamy.

I’ve stated before that it’s not natural for men. And if you can’t accept this, again, you’re in a dream world. Some men can do it, because of love. There are several girls that I’ve dated that I would’ve given up all other women for, because it was worth it. But that doesn’t make it natural.

That’s not the point I’m about to make, though. My point is this – guys are going to get sex somewhere. It’s just the truth. And if you’re not giving it to him, don’t be upset when he’s getting it elsewhere. Yeah, you think it’s disgusting, and personally, I hate dishonesty of any variety. It’s one reason I remain single. But if you’re not in the mood for over a month, then either he’s frustrated and unhappy, or he’s looking elsewhere.

Guys do get in relationships for many reasons. Sex is not the only one. Companionship, friendship, support, these are all vital. But as my brother once said “Sex can’t make a relationship, but it sure as hell can break one.”

In an ideal world, when one partner is unsatisfied (and yes, I know several cases where it’s the woman who’s unsatisfied), they would talk it over, and resolve the problem. But more often, one of the couple will use sex either as a weapon, or a reward. Keep in mind, if the price is too high, you can’t blame a guy for going to a lower bidder.

Disgusting? I know many girls that will say so. Some guys, too. I’ve never done that, and never will, because I believe in honesty, and I’d sooner dump a girl than stay with one who’s trying to manipulate me through sex. Many guys don’t think it’s worth the trouble. Especially if they’re married. And let’s face it – how many married couples do you know with an active sex life? If you can name more than five married couples you know (really, really know) who are having sex more than once a month… You’re way ahead of me. I can name three. And that’s out of… Well, I know the details on around thirty. Maybe that’s an insufficient scientific sample.

Girls wonder why men are so scared of commitment, why we don’t want to settle down. Chew on these thoughts for awhile before you wonder. Unless she’s the most incredible girl he’s ever met, and he can’t possibly be happy without her, marriage is a losing proposition for a guy. Most of the things a girl offers a guy, either he doesn’t want, or she’ll quit doing once he’s married. And if it doesn’t work out, he’ll lose most of what he owns.

Do I sound bitter? I’m not, really. I’ve only let one girl screw me over, and I learned my lesson from that. Do I sound cynical? I am, but not from my own experiences, but from watching everybody around me. Do I sound like I hate women? I don’t – I love women, and the majority of my friends are women. But it’s frustrating to watch women judge men by women’s standards, immediately assuming that if a man doesn’t live by a woman’s rules, he’s either a pig, or immature. I’m growing more and more offended as I notice the culture around me saying it’s wrong to be a man, and that a societally acceptable man acts like a woman with a penis.

The few women I’ve truly cared for were not that way. They were different, and saw men as men, and women as women. No excuses necessary, no judgements, just amusement and sometimes exasperation.

Women, accept that men are different, and you’ll be happier. Don’t judge them by what you would do in their place – the Golden Rule is crap when it crosses genders.

Men, quit trying to be women. You won’t be happy, and you won’t make your woman happy. Don’t pay any attention to what the radio, TV, and the movies tell you women want. Act like a man, and you’ll have no problems in that regard, except with bitchy women you’d be better off without, anyway.

Soapbox off. Stepping down. Talk to you all soon,


Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter - or Why I Am A Christian

These are definitely interesting times we live in. Misguided Christians, steeped in ignorance, advocate the teaching of belief as science. Misguided scientists, jaded to belief, try to tear down the faith that has been one of the hallmarks of Western Civilization. I can’t really figure out what religion has to do with the physical world, or what science has to do with the spiritual world. Sometimes, it has the feeling of one group chanting “There are no trees in the forest!” while another group replies “There are no forests around all these trees!” Millions of people believe the blatant fiction of “The Da Vinci Code” as fact, while disbelieving the Theory of Evolution. Millions of people claiming to follow a religion of peace advocate the slaughter of their enemies. And I’ll let you guess which religion I’m talking about – there’s more than one right answer.

Some would say these are the end times, that all the prophecies that Jesus (and John) gave us are coming true. It’s possible, but I doubt it. My take on prophecy is that we’re not meant to understand it until after the fact. I’ve read the Old Testament many times, and it truly seems to prophesy a military leader coming to free Israel. Jesus fulfilled all the prophecies, but in completely unexpected directions. Only in retrospect could we understand. God is mysterious. Prophecy seems to have two objectives; one is always to direct (usually chastise) God’s followers in an immediate manner… The other is for the future, so that when the prophecy is fulfilled, we’ll know it was part of God’s plan.

I don’t claim to have a deep understanding of all religions. I’ve looked at some others, like Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism (more a philosophy), but only to see if their general principles appealed to me. There were nice touches in each, but Christianity drew me back. There were two reasons for this: Jesus’ death, and Jesus’ Resurrection.

There is a dilemma involved with most religions, a paradox that most try to resolve; either we are flawed, or we are perfect. It’s hard to argue that we are perfect, but if we are flawed, then we do not deserve the reward of a perfect afterlife. Most religions give a set of commands that you follow to deserve this reward. My problem with this was that no matter how many commands you follow, you still cannot achieve perfection. Some believe that you are given many chances in many lives, each time learning a lesson, each time coming closer to spiritually ascending to the next level. My problem with this was that simple mathematics and population statistics make this hard to work with (if you don’t understand, email me, and I’ll give details).

Christianity teaches that God is perfect, and that He (I don’t believe God is male, but there is no gender-neutral pronoun that fits – I’m not going to call God an “It”!) created us with free will. By free will, we choose our paths, and when we make mistakes, we become flawed. (Yes, I know some branches of Christianity teach that we are made already flawed, but they usually use tradition and doctrine to support this, as there is not any direct evidence of this teaching that I’m aware of in actual Scripture.)

This makes sense to me, and seems to follow a logical and true path. I am a firm believer in action resulting in consequences. Sin is when we willfully reject God, who is Love, and instead harm others for selfish reasons. Sometimes the harm is immediate, sometimes it is hidden, but when we cause harm, there is always sin. The consequence of this is separation from God, separation from He who is Love, Peace, Hope, Truth, and all that is good.

Once you’ve made a mistake, you are no longer perfect. No matter how many rules you follow, no matter how many wonderful things you do, you are no longer perfect!

God knows I am not perfect. I have hurt people. I have put my needs and wants above others. I have done this in the distant past. I have done this in recent weeks. I try not to, I work very hard at it, I agonize over it. And I fail.

This is where Jesus comes in, and separates Christianity from all other religions. He, being perfect, agreed to take on the spiritual consequence of our sins. All the hurt, the pain, the loss, the sorrow… the sin. And it killed Him.

This alone would make Christianity noble. It’s a good part of the story. But it is not the best part. The best part is that He rose, and conquered Death. And that victory was not for Himself, for God is not selfish as we are. That victory applies to everyone who accepts it.

As a Christian, I do not have to be perfect. I will never be perfect. God knows this. I don’t deserve an eternal reward – it’s being given to me. I don’t deserve forgiveness – it’s being given to me. Free of charge.

So why do I still strive for perfection? For one, out of gratitude towards He who saved me. For another, because I have learned the closer to God’s path I walk, the greater my time here on earth is. The more Christian a life I lead, the more fulfilled and joyous a life I lead. And as I realize the magnitude of His caring for me, the greater I care for those around me.

Easter is a rather amusing symbol in some ways. It undeniably has been altered from a Pagan fertility rite, and not even altered all that much! (look up the Easter Bunny and the colored eggs sometime, if you don’t believe me). But when you get away from all the pastel colors, and the chocolate, it’s still a reminder of the most important event that has ever happened in human history.

There is no time that I’m more likely to be moved to tears than when I contemplate the suffering of Christ, most often during Communion, or on Good Friday. And there is no time when I feel the joy and triumph of being a Christian than on Easter Sunday. In the words of Wesley:

Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!
Earth and heaven in chorus say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply, Alleluia!

Love's redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids him rise, Alleluia!
Christ has opened paradise, Alleluia!

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once he died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where's thy victory, boasting grave? Alleluia!

Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like him, like him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

Hail the Lord of earth and heaven, Alleluia!
Praise to Thee by both be given, Alleluia!
Thee we greet triumphant now, Alleluia!
Hail the Resurrection, thou, Alleluia!

King of glory, soul of bliss, Alleluia!
Everlasting life is this, Alleluia!
Thee to know, thy power to prove, Alleluia!
Thus to sing, and thus to love, Alleluia!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Men and Women

Occasionally I have been accused of being sexist. This is probably because I am. I didn't used to be, but life is rapidly making me that way. However, I am not a believer in one sex being superior to the other; actually, it's more a struggle to decide who is more evil. The jury is still out on that one.

That brings us to today's topic for conversation; Men and Women. Let's start with Women.

Women are like

...the stock market
They're irrational and can bankrupt you if you're not careful.

They take too long to warm up and a better model always comes along once you've already got one.

...Saran Wrap
Useful but clingy.

Fun to pet and ride but a pain to feed and clean up after.

...parking meters
If you don't feed them with enough money you face serious consequences.

...fax machines
Useful for one very specific purpose but otherwise just high-maintenance paperweights.

...political campaign contributors
If you let them talk about themselves long enough you wind up in bed with them.

They're always cold and never seem to have a beer when you need one.

...blue jeans
They look good for a while but eventually they fade and have to be replaced.

...country western songs
They're annoying, they all sound alike, but if you really listen to them you'll get depressed and drink a lot.

So, there you have it. What, there's another side? Let's hear it.

Men Are Like

... Bank Accounts.
Without a lot of money, they don't generate much interest.

... Blenders.
You need one, but you're not quite sure why.

... Chocolate Bars.
Sweet, smooth, and they usually head right for your hips.

... Coffee.
The best ones are rich, warm, and can keep you up all night long.

... Commercials.
You can't believe a word they say.

... Computers.
Hard to figure out and never have enough memory.

... Coolers.
Load them with beer and you can take them anywhere.

... Copiers.
You need them for reproduction, but that's about it.

... Curling Irons.
They're always hot, and they're always in your hair.

... Government Bonds.
They take so long to mature.

... Horoscopes.
They always tell you what to do and are usually wrong.

... Lava Lamps.
Fun to look at, but not all that bright.

... Mascara.
They usually run at the first sign of emotion.

... Parking Spots.
The good ones are already taken and the ones that are left are either handicapped or extremely small.

... Popcorn.
They satisfy you, but only for a little while

Any questions, ladies and gentlemen?