Equality of the sexes

sex, dating, relationship, men, women, abstinence, celibacy

I don’t believe in equality between the sexes. There, I said it. This doesn’t mean that I think men are inferior to women or vice versa. Only that I believe we are so different as to be incomparable and we were designed to complement each other like yin and yang. I read an interesting relationship post which said men desire a great battle to be fought while women desire to be fought for. What could be more perfect?

Instead of accepting these differences about ourselves and relaxing into them we are struggling to be something we’re not in the name of equality. I have no desire to fight for something to satisfy my inner warrior, but the idea of a man defending me is the best thing I could imagine. I have to say it makes me feel like a woman. Working fourteen hours a day does not. That’s why women underestimate men’s primal need to work. Any woman who’s been in a relationship with a man can attest to how much work means to him and how demoralized he gets when he doesn’t have it. Work is what makes a man feel like a man. And they love sharing the fruits of their labour with us.

I bring this up because I have decided to establish another boundary when I get back to enjoying the company of men (I’ve taken a year-long vow of celibacy if you are new here) and it’s one I’ve always believed in but been told is wrong on the basis of “inequality”: A man has to ask me out if he’s interested. I won’t do it. It doesn’t feel right to me, it strips me of my femininity, and makes me feel less of a woman. If a man wants me he’s going to have to ask. If he doesn’t because he lacks courage then I’ll be glad I dodged the bullet of a cowardly man who doesn’t go after what his heart desires.

sex, dating, relationship, men, women, abstinence, celibacy

I haven’t been asked out on a proper date since high school when my first boyfriend called me on the  phone and asked if he could take me out for dinner. Since then I have received only half-assed inquiries like ” We should grab a drink some time,” or “text me and we’ll go out” or “there’s a band playing at X club on Friday. We could go.” I realize now it was my own low self-esteem that allowed me to believe these sorry excuses for dates were anything other than me believing I wasn’t worthy of being taken out for a meal and chalking it up to “equality” or an evolving society.

New boundary: he must do the asking and being fed is not too much to expect. If he can’t afford a restaurant he can make dinner.

Kate Middleton, Will & Royal Wedding

I must admit I’m looking forward to the royal nuptuals tomorrow and will even be setting my alarm for 5 am to catch it on TV. I’m more interested in the dress than the romance, however. And the hats and the ceremony. I could care less about the romance. The royal wedding seems to be so much bigger than two people being united as husband and wife. It belongs to the world and has little to do with a private love story between a man and a woman.

And I wonder how much of the story is love and how much practicality? Which ingredient is more important? We are sold the gigantic love story with fireworks and love at first sight and huge lustful attraction. In real life, however, I”ve heard that you’ll have a better chance at a healthy relationship if you go against your “type” and instead choose someone who doesn’t make you weak in the knees. It stands to reason that the things we love straight away (songs, for instance) don’t stay with us as long as the ones that need to grow on us.

When we have a certain “type” that attracts us, the attraction is sexual, otherwise known as lust. I wrote in an earlier post about lust being a deadly sin, yet we often base our choice of a partner on this very feeling. A feeling that, arguably, we should be trying to remove from our psyche because it’s dangerous, instead we are using to choose our partners in life. May not be the wisest decision.

So far, choosing my type has resulted in only heartache. If I am to go against type, my next mate should not be interested in sports, he should be well-educated, he should enjoy dressing up, he should be honest, he should be respectful, he should be willing to cry, he should share his feelings, he should not dismiss mine, he should have good manners, and he should not drink excessively. These are all the opposite of the qualities my “type” has possessed so far. I can’t imagine why my relationships haven’t worked out well.

Pay it forward

I watched Pay It Forward last night, a film based on a book by Catherine Ryan Hyde starring Haley Joel Osment as a kid who comes up with an amazing social experiment. To fulfil a class assignment to change the world, he does one big favour for three other people (something they can’t do for themselves) and each of them does the same for three other people. As you can imagine, it gets big pretty quick. His teacher, who gave out the assignment, was a burn victim and ended up dating Haley Joel’s mom. That was one of Haley’s “favours” – finding his damaged teacher someone to love, namely his mom.

His mom is a recovering alcoholic who is not supposed to date in her first year of sobriety. Sounds familiar: a year without sex or dating. In the movies, however, recovering alcoholics always date right after getting sober and magically find exactly the right person and fall in love and have this healthy relationship they’ve never found before. I have the feeling in real life it doesn’t work that way.

And that’s what I have to be careful of – the trap of falling for the lie movies tell about the perfect person being out there waiting for you and that someone or something just needs to happen to facilitate that and you’ll live happily ever after. And that life couldn’t possibly be complete without that person. I also couldn’t help thinking that in these movies it’s always the man that’s physically deformed. We women are supposed to look past the surface but men are never asked to do that, at least not in the movies. That’s troubling to me. Is it wrong to want a handsome man? Isn’t a handsome man just as capable of being good inside as an ugly one?

Easter Sunday: Rebirth, renewal

sex, celibate, abstinence, relationship, hope, men, women,

I’m always excited about Easter Sunday because it is a time of rebirth and renewal. The fact that it occurs in Spring makes it even sweeter because the warm weather is arriving, the flowers begin blooming and the circle of life continues. I have come through the first eight months of my chaste trip unscathed and having uncovered some amazing things about myself. I am no longer too bothered about attention from the opposite sex, although once in a while I am gripped with fear that I will be single for the rest of my life. Not because I don’t have opportunities but because none of those opportunities appeal to me.

I’d rather be celibate for the rest of my life than engage in online dating which seems more like online prostitution to me (except nobody gets paid). It’s far too early for me to get into worrying about what’s going to happen years down the road. I need to focus on the gratitude I have for how far I’ve come these last eight (almost nine) months of living sex-free. The lack of distraction from the opposite sex has allowed me to get to know myself much more intimately and enjoy my own company without considering whether or not I’ll meet a man.

I’m busy working on a life that is full on its own, so that if a good man enters he will be simply the icing on the cake rather than the eggs and flour. You know, you can have a cake without icing and it’s just not as tasty; without eggs and flour the cake doesn’t exist. I want my life to be a cake unto itself – free-standing and icing optional.

Can Men and Women Be Friends?

meg ryan, billy crystal

If you’re old enough to remember When Harry Met Sally, you’ll recall Billy Crystal insisted that men and women can never be friends. In my experience he’s right. Every time a man said he was my friend, eventually he would come onto me or profess his true feelings. It’s left me feeling disappointed and also mistrustful of men and their motives.

Now that I’m practising a year of abstinence, I have had the pleasure of conversing with men without anyone going home with anybody else. Because of my past experience, however, it is difficult for me to relax into a platonic chat with a man because I keep waiting for the moment when he reveals his true motive, or I”m worried that I’m going to give him the wrong idea and somehow signal to him that I’m interested when I’m only interested in what he is saying.

The other day, I was talking to a fellow at work with whom I’ve enjoyed some nice conversations. We were chatting away after a big meeting when he mentioned that he feels very comfortable around me. Oh oh, I thought; here we go again. I couldn’t get away from him fast enough. The fact is I have no idea if he was just being friendly or if he meant something more. I will never know because since that moment I have stayed as far away from him as possible.

If I were honest, I would have asked him flat out what he meant–and I would have my answer. Instead I used my cowardly old behaviour of avoidance, much the way I did in high school when I broke up with a guy by ceasing communication. I don’t have the guts to tell you we’re though so I’ll just stop talking to you. How cruel and insensitive. But I didn’t see it that way. I was selfishly concerned with my own feelings and, truth be told, I didn’t want to commit to a break-up.

With regard to my workmate, if I had expressed to someone how I felt about them (whatever the intention) I would be very hurt if they began avoiding me without explanation or addressing the concern. So why do I treat someone else with that lack of respect? The way I treat men is something I need to work on if I expect them to treat me better, too.

Can men and women be friends?

Lust, Fear and Duty: Buddha

“There are three impediments to enlightenment: lust, fear, and duty.” -Buddha

That’s a quote from my morning meditation that gets delivered to my inbox daily. Lust is treating another person like an object rather than a human being so it’s obvious how that keeps you in the dark. Lust has become an accepted part of our culture, even celebrated. I didn’t see anything wrong with it until I gave up sex and found that my lust was keeping me trapped in a lower form of living. Unenlightened.

Used to be if you caught a guy staring at your ass he was in trouble. Now we encourage it with words written across our behinds and tight lululemon pants that are designed to make your ass appear attractive to the opposite sex. Used to be that pornography was a dirty secret that no one would admit to partaking in because it as an embarrassing sign of a soul sickness. Now, it’s as mainstream as any sitcom. And more than ever, women are contributing to their own demise. Before, we could say porn stars had sex on camera for money and that way we could somehow grasp how a woman could so debase and humiliate herself. Now we have Girls Gone Wild where they do it for free!

Fear is the opposite of love. Fear is what stops us from going to that uncomfortable place where we grow and become the best person we can be. Fear keeps us stuck. Fear keeps us safe but in the most horrible way. Fear makes you wonder what you could have been if only. Fear makes you envious of others who are fearless. Nothing good ever came from fear.

Duty is doing something because you “have to”. Duty is obligation and it takes the joy out of everything. I believe duty is related to the attitude with which we approach a task rather than the task itself. If we can find a way to accept or even embrace the task at hand it ceases to be a duty and becomes fulfilling. Duty is something for which there is no payback; something you do and get nothing in return. Like the punishment I heard of a soldier being forced to dig a hole six feet deep only to have to fill it in again. Devoid of purpose.

Lust, fear, and duty. I want these all out of my life. Starting with the first one.

Window shopping and men

men, dating, relationship, women, celibate, abstinence

I attended an inspiring networking event tonight. The best part is I got to practise connecting with women and ignoring men. I am beginning to feel what it is like to have my lustful urges toward the opposite sex wane. There were a number of handsome men in the room, and I feel totally different about that today than I would have just a few months ago (even one month ago).

Like window shopping, I can look at something beautiful and not feel I have to have it. Handsome man: hmm, looks nice, yes…next? Such restraint is a breakthrough for me who used to have an internal GPS set to the most handsome man in the room. And who expected nothing less than to have him as soon as possible. As if he is a possession or an object that you buy at the store. No, he is a person and for now I’m just looking.

The Truth About Online Dating

That about sums it up

In the last post I touched on the topic of online dating, something about which I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking. I thought “that’s not for me,” but didn’t consider why not. My gut reaction yesterday told me the truth about my feelings which is that online dating is yet another way contemporary society makes it easy for men to score.

Before, I avoided online dating because I felt it took the romance out of meeting someone, removed the role of Fate, and the thrill of a chance meeting across a crowded (bar) room. I had assumed that both men and women who engaged in online dating would have similar intentions and motivations–namely a busy schedule combined with a sincere desire to meet a compatible partner.

The first mistake here is assuming that men and women ever have similar intentions. If my own experience is any litmus test (and it may not be) about one man in 25 is interested in anything other than getting sex as easily and as quickly as possible. What better route than online dating? And in our present culture that says two dates is a reasonable amount of time to wait before doing the deed, they don’t have to wait very long at all to get what they want. Then, we have a bunch of women scratching their heads wondering what happened when he cools off immediately after “heating up” and the men calling us crazy for having feelings for them.

It really is a man’s world–today more than ever.

Real Men Don’t Buy Girls

The misguided “Real Men Don’t Buy Girls” series by Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore had its heart in the right place but the delivery fell flat. The one-minute video spots featuring such celebs as Drake, Justin Timberlake and Bradley Cooper is being panned for being unduly irreverent about such a serious topic as child sex slavery.

My own outrage stems from the fact that we need PSAs about this topic at all! Am I to glean from this news that men I might know would actually participate in such crimes? Am I also to glean that it might be okay to these people to hire women for sex? I understand that underage age sex slavery is a completely different issue than adult sex workers, but I hope we are all in agreement that paying WOMEN for sex is also wrong.

Just the other day I was talking to a friend who is also practising a period of celibacy. She told me that for many ordinary folks the idea of using the services of a prostitute is considered quite acceptable. She gave the example of a friend of hers whose husband was caught after having made an appointment with an escort (she answered his cell phone to hear an automated message confirming the appointment). After first denying the service, he finally confessed, telling her it was no big deal because she only gave him blow jobs.

Online dating is another quick fix for men in which they can log on and look at pictures of women without having met them, pick what they like and get a date just like that. And this has become the acceptable way to meet a mate in our “busy” times. Even before I took a vow of abstinence I had an issue with online dating thinking it was too clinical and calculated and took all the spontaneity out of meeting someone. Now I dislike it because it lines women up like chattel and gets men off the hook from having to do the work of courting. All they have to do is click and pick. It makes my stomach turn and makes me stronger than ever in my conviction that I am not settling for any half-assed, lame-assed, bogus excuse for a courtship. Let the wooing ensue.

Modesty and abstinence

sex, abstinence, modesty, celibateToday I was thinking about the road I was going down before I decided to remain celibate for a year. It was a dangerous and dark path involving sex without love or even like, multiple partners (not at the same time, although having two men at once was a strong desire of mine), and an unfortunate incident in which I actually had sex with two different men on the same day. Modesty was a foreign concept to me because I was so detached from my body that I just didn’t respect it or care enough about myself to think it was worth protecting.

About two months into my celibate year, I went to Vegas (I know; it was a work trip) and at the airport when I was going through security, the officer asked me to remove my blazer under which I was wearing only a very skimpy tank top–more like an undershirt. Before, I wouldn’t have thought twice about taking off whatever they asked me to; I just didn’t care who saw my body. After just two months of abstinence, however, I had become reacquainted with my body and something inside me said “no, I’m not exposing myself to these strangers” (especially in such a horny city). So I had to be patted down by a female officer. I apologized and told her I wasn’t trying to be difficult but I just didn’t feel comfortable removing my jacket, and I couldn’t believe it was me speaking the words. She didn’t mind at all and said, “That’s why we always give you the choice”.

I think it was at that moment I decided to adjust my mode of dress to one that did not draw attention to my body. To get away from the tight jeans and short skirts, strapless dresses and revealing ensembles which were designed to attract men. I began wearing long blazers that covered my backside and decided no more strapless or sleeveless anything, no skirts shorter than my knees, no cleavage, and nothing backless. Basically, I was taking back my body and declaring it private rather than public property. It’s taken some getting used to as I used to get a lot of my validation from the way men appraised my physical self, but now I”m happy to say that’s not where I derive my value anymore.