Saturday, January 13, 2007

In the Company of Women

From older blog 12/22/06

I never hated girls. Oh I played at giving "cootie shots" to immunize us boys from the girls, but frankly there was nothing girls could give me that I wasn't actually pleased to get, from kisses to kicks in the shins. I have always loved girls and been happiest in their company.

Green grow the rashes, O;
Green grow the rashes, O;
The sweetest hours that e'er I spend,
Are spent amang the lasses, O.
(Robert Burns)

G.K.Chesterton, who was a man's man and dearly loved the comradeship of his male friends, wrote that men were made civilized and human by the women they love. And he knew it was hard work for the ladies, and he was grateful. I know it was hard with me.

I find that I lower my guard and share my thoughts most easily with women, probably because they are less guarded than men. The chief sharer, of course, is my dear wife. But even with women who are just acquaintances or even strangers in a check-out line, I feel an ease of sharing thoughts and feelings. Being a man who likes to talk about feelings (a rare enough beast) I have found women to be the easiest company.

But beyond the ease and openess, there is also a loveliness about women that I still find amazes me as it did when I was five years old and I loved every little girl on the school bus (many of them let me kiss them) and every little girl in class. Women are beautiful, and the older they get the more beautiful they become. I'm grateful that is so, as I grow older myself. I know many men seem fixated on girls in their early twenties - I don't understand this, because the most attractive women have always been the ones around my age, from five to forty five. Part of me is always a little more alive around the ladies.

So I'm happy that women share their thoughts and feelings as they do, and that they seem willing to do so with me. Out with some women friends from work recently I was surprised how the conversation changed when the last male left beside myself. When I asked the ladies why they felt OK discussing (with me participating) thoughts about how men treat women, the most outspoken laughed and said, "Because you're one of the girls." I laughed, too. I felt this no threat to my masculinity (I might have years ago, but lately I feel my maleness and my attractiveness as a man are comfortably in my control) and I took it as a compliment that I was able to hear and share things most men find uncomfortable. My life is richer for it.

Robert Burns felt so too.

Auld Nature swears, the lovely Dears
Her noblest work she classes, O;
Her prentice han' she try'd on man,
An' then she made the lasses, O.


Anonymous said...

I've been thinking that you remind me in some ways of MathMan. Your ease with women is evident and in that way you are very much alike. He, too, is comfortable talking about his feelings and the feelings of others and I think that he is much more careful around men when it comes to that kind of thing.

I like to watch him interact with other women. He's more at ease. I'm not sure he's aware of it.

I'm glad I read this post. It explains a lot about you. And how nice that with age, we can become more comfortable with ourselves. I know plenty of people who continue to fight themselves, to try to be different in more socially desired ways.

Steve Emery said...

Thanks for reading this. I'm pleased with this post because it does capture some of the more complex feelings I have about women, men, and my place among them. I worked at expressing them in various ways unsuccessfully before arriving at this.

I'm aware, too, that much of my comfort with women is due to my dearest. She's done a good job coaching and coaxing me - out of bad habits and into better ones.

From what I've read about (and by) Mathman, he does seem pretty at ease with feelings. It's not a common trait among men, in my experience.