A few notes about my last post (the one on Maureen Dowd): I didn't mean to suggest that there were any character traits, let alone major virtues, that are the exclusive province of men. I just read the comments Dowd quoted, about men not having any occasion to display their manliness etc., and thought: they seem to have something in mind, and it would be churlish to reply: so I take it you've stopped being an exhibitionist? or something like that. What is this something? Apparently, it seems to have to do with things like strength and courage. But why would anyone think that there is no occasion for strength and courage, rightly construed? I was assuming that any decent version of manliness would not actually be defined as "what women are not", but would involve some positive ideal worth pursuing in itss own right, whether or not women were doing something similar. Debitage suggests that I am wrong:
"The macho impulse is a drive not just to do things that are intrinsically good for men, but to do things that distinguish men from women. This is why so much of machismo is wrapped up in policing border-blurring behavior, such as homosexuality and uppity women. Therefore it's only manly to have strength if women are typically weak. If women can be strong too, men will have to find a different reason to be strong (and plenty of such reasons exist)."
If so, then I agree that men should give up on this whole set of motivations. No one's psyche should actually require the weakness of others. I was hoping that there was a better way to respond to the guys Dowd quoted; but if I'm wrong, well then, I'm wrong.
(I also did not mean to suggest that my being single was the result of my not being pert, winsome, etc. (Wouldn't it be convenient to think so!) I tend to put it down to a combination of My Many Faults and the vagaries of my personal history. I'm just not in a good position to be a counterexample to Dowd's thesis, is all.) (Also: I should know better than to write posts while I'm rushing around getting ready to catch a train.)
All that said: the comments on that thread have now turned to a discussion of these comments:
(a): "Those of us who aren't bastards typically find that most women take no romantic interest in us"
(b) "As a lesbian, of course, I have no direct interest in this matter. But I can tell you that the straight women of my acquaintance say the worst turn-off is a man who makes a big point of how much of a nice, non-sexist guy he is, and then expects women to be grateful and appreciative of this. A remarkable number of men don't seem to have grasped the point that women don't like to be told, either explicitly or implicitly, that they should be grateful to men for treating them like mature adult human beings."
My take on this question below the fold.