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Insecurity and Power: Men and Women

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A man seems to awaken sometime in middle school or high school, when he discovers that he is smitten with the girl across the classroom. At least, it happened for me at that time, though others felt the sensation stir as early as primary school. For me it was sometime in middle school. And the desire to make my feelings known and the girl to return them with affection and affirmation became overpowering.

This is not about one girl or one story. Guys go to bed every night, thinking or wrestling with the thought of a woman or women, or maybe even an actual woman there. A large part of our emotions and thoughts is devoted to sexuality: thoughts like I can get her. There's also that bitch fucked me over, as some delve into past forays with women.

Some guys don't really operate on that level, though; they've resigned to a simple life of easy conquest and uncomplicated interaction with women. I meet them, I bag them, I partner with them, I marry them, I divorce them, I think of them. For those guys, it's simple.

For other guys, those who seem to share my circles, it's a struggle. Women are elusive and it pains us, unlike guys who just put it down to a different genetic makeup and some psychobabble they mangle to explain female behavior. I'll call them Breezers and the other type Deepers. A Breezer rarely struggles with the inscrutability of women; if he does, there seem to be social rites and forms to help him get through it: the drinking binge, the one-night stand, casual encounters, and the staple diet of pornography that becomes the main sustenance.

I am most likely a Deeper. I don't get women and I'm not ashamed of it and I don't make light of it. I find women on the whole to be insecure, sometimes driven by insecurity every day of their lives. I've spent many, many days and months and years, trying to analyze and understand their actions, words, and thought processes. This will not be an essay where I attack the subject by making light of it. This is a testament of my frustration and a public record of how and why I want to give up on them, but I can't. A large part of my happiness, present and future, seems locked into the presence of another woman in my life.

I am an Orthodox Christian and that makes it very hard to not like women, struggle with them, and often wonder about them. The Virgin Mary lies slightly off center near the very core of our devotions, liturgical prayers, and saintly intercessions, and dead center in our theology. Without the womb of Mary, there is no Incarnate Christ. Our hagiography and hymnology extols her virtues, her inner beauty, her outer radiance, her submission to God, her purity: her very example as the prime of womanhood. I look at her, Mary, the Theotokos (in English, the Bearer of God) and I'm beyond confused. I put the hagiography and Scripture in context, but still she really does take the cake. She really is this untouched epitome of womanhood. I remember conducting midnight praises in church and looking at her icon. I would think to myself, the women I know are nothing like you, St. Mary.

I've wondered why a lot of the women I've met recently were unable to be honest with me. I showed them my interest with both words and actions. I'm not one to shy away from making the effort; I don't heed blindly the advice of modern magazines geared towards men. Swingers to me is a funny film with advice you laugh at rather than follow. The principles I glean from that film and the subculture of man-power (treat 'em mean, keep 'em keen, cocky-funny) empower me more as a man: respect yourself, don't be clingy, have your own life, develop a strong personality, develop your life separate from the affirmation of a woman.

That last one hits home deeply. That, I've done. I have respected myself more lately, more this year than any other year. I've put my foot down, not accepted the things that the girls did, cut the cord, and moved on. But you're left with that hole inside and not knowing what to do with it. Women still lie to me. Women still make up crap to keep me sweet. Women still will do everything, even as far as to delude me, to avoid telling me flat-out that they're not interested. And I don't get it.

I said earlier that I haven't been able to figure out why women I'm interested in weren't honest with me. That takes me to a central truism to which many women subscribe: I don't want to hurt his feelings.

I see this truism stemming from three immovable perceptions in the minds of women. First, men are weak, emotionally frail, and driven purely by their pride. Second, the most important thing to achieve out of a situation is a simple, painless ending or dissolution. Finally, it's a woman's prerogative to choose whom she wants.

I don't want to hurt his feelings. This is essentially deception. Letting down a guy easy by giving him a staid reason for why things won't work out is dishonest. And it's demeaning to a guy to think that he can't handle the real reasons. How much more demeaning is it that women assume all men want to live in blissful ignorance in order to not to feel humiliated.

I don't want to hurt his feelings. The most important thing to achieve from a situation is for both parties to move on. Make it simple and painless after you've come clean. I find women whom can't confront the reality that they don't want to date you anymore to be cowards. They're cowards who, in wanting this "painless" ending, are sadly protected by a like-minded society. "Take care of you, girl." "You deserve so much better." "You did the right thing, it's your choice!"

I don't want to hurt his feelings. Is it really your choice? Is it really your prerogative? Does choice come at the expense of a guy's self-respect? Does your prerogative mean that the man's right to be informed is denied? This boils down to a question of whose rights are more important, his to be informed and to be respected, or hers to choose?

I don't know if this question has ever weighed heavily in a woman's mind as she's dodging your phone calls or shooting back tepid, one-word answers by text message. Facebook has made it even more simple (and ultimately painful) to see how a woman deals with a situation like this. People can spend hours and hours shooting out pointless status updates, but they will conveniently ignore your wall post or private message. You don't even have to be watching the newsfeed. It happens; girls are "busy." People are "busy." Selectively.

Are women evil? Not all and not fundamentally, but I'm in the process of coming to believe that a large part of their insecurity morphs into a drunkenness with power, realizing that they have a choice of men at their behest. I don't think many women choose to be like this. However, over time, after being screwed over by a string of guys, the power to injure and deceive becomes infinitely more attractive. Those women who do want mates find them. Those who don't, those who don't really want one, really don't want you. When I meet a girl and I like her, and I want to pursue her, one thought starts to drive me: are you a liar? Are you dishonest? Will you fuck me over? Perhaps Deepers have a lot in common with women; we're both very insecure. We both eye each other with the same longing for companionship and then assail each other silently with our fears.

Yes. I'm an injured guy, a wounded Deeper. And the purpose of this essay is not to be a soapbox to attack women because I can't do it otherwise. I could go out now and injure a woman. I don't need to hide behind a blog and the written word to vent. All I need is to reach a intellectual and emotional state where acting out my unbridled hurt and anger is completely valid to me. It's an illusion that only a select few men can come over themselves to hurt and injure women. All guys can do it, no one is immune from this supposed moral no-no. We think that we can protect ourselves with our backgrounds, upbringings, or religious convictions. We think that we're fundamentally different from sexual deviants. Guys who beat their partners are guys who drink beer and pay taxes and wear trousers. Nothing really differentiates me or the next guy from a wife-beater or a serial rapist; the latter two simply act on their convictions about women. What most guys do is perhaps restrict themselves to the odd dark thought or two, or the customary woman-bashing in the company of the lads.

I remember a girl I once loved. She was engaged, but had asked me to spend time with her one night. She was drunk. I knew what would happen; she would call me. Seeing her fanned old flames. So, I went to see her around 2 AM and we talked. And in the morning, when I woke up next to her fully clothed, I was somewhere between bliss and anxiety, knowing that this moment would end soon. I could never have predicted that it would end because I wouldn't sleep with her. She went quiet and asked me to leave. And that was it.

She very clearly chose her rights over mine.

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About Mina Demian

  • Sarai

    Bleh – I couldn’t get through some of the article because the floodgates opened. Then when I had enough time to snort it all back inside, I felt and can still feel an enormous pounding of rage.

    It’s NOT like that for ALL women. Some women never have someone calling them or chasing after them, buying them presents and treating them like they are special. Did *you* ever look at *those* girls? Did you know that they existed or was the world consumed by the girls who wrapped you around your finger.

    Or perhaps, and more likely, the mean girls knew how to play the game better. They were accustomed to being treated in a certain way even though they knew they didn’t deserve it. For them, rewarded predatory behaviour is like earning a salary for paying you attention. It’s true – I’ve heard women who say this. I’ve heard women say the only reason they hooked up with someone was to get stuff out of them.

    I think this is a very well written article *because* it stirs up these violent emotions – you’ve spoken honestly from your point of view and drawn from your own experience so much so that every single person who has written a comment has succumbed to the same thing.

    They read the words and in some way they place themselves into the story as one of the participants, justifying their point of view the same way you have justified yours.

    It’s not universal. It upset me because you sound like the flip side of women’s magazines. They all talk to their readers like they are in relationships and like they are, in fact, entitled to treat men exactly as they damn well please. But mostly it upset me because I’m bitter in a similar way but for different reasons. Obviously.

    That place exists within me and guess what – it’s still surrounded by love.

  • mofowa

    interesting read. even more interesting that i decided to read the comments before i read the piece. i think as i guy I can understand where you’re coming from, but i don’t necesaarily agree with where you’ve gone. that is to say, i understand the cause of your emotions and your state, but don’t agree with your conclusion of women’s insecurity and lust for power.

    you make a couple good assertions in your piece, but still the wrong conclusions. yes, women are insecure. men are too. pretty much all men and women have been hurt or broken at some point in their lives. yes, women tend to be insecure due in part to some guy in her past that has screwed her over, whether in a romantic relationship, someone in her family (parent, uncle..), a role model, or even society’s expectations. guys are also hurt in a similar way.

    however, it is not this insecurity that begets drunkenness with power. what you may label as such, is essentially a guard that has been placed to disallow a similar hurt than she has previously experienced. while it might be frustrating and infuriating for us guys to penetrate this guard, this has likely become her default and she is not looking to be shunned for it, but rather to be loved and cared and for someone to understand where she’s coming from and how to relate to her even in her state of hurt. i will admit, you don’t always see this clearly in women, but if you get to know her deeply, you will typically find that there is a degree of past hurt and brokenness that causes her to act as she does.

    so why doesn’t she just say so? you must know that women’s minds actually work very different from guys. this has been shown in countless scientific surveys. while a guy might put 2 and 2 together to make 4, a woman will take the 2, add in some prior knowledge, remember what you said a couple years ago, minus the coeffecient of the weather outside, think of a time when she lost a friend, subtract your previous ability to absorb what she tells you, consider why if you add 2 you may or may not get 4, then perhaps come up with the same conclusion. fact is: women’s minds work differently from guys. there are many times that women tell guys things and it registers to us completely different than when she tells other women. while guys must realise that women work and think differently, women must also realise this and understand why most guys need things told to us in a straight forward manner rather than a roundabout way.

    essentially, most of us -guys and girls- have been hurt in one way or another. The way we choose to deal with that differs greatly. Yes, there is a role for frustration and sometimes properly-channeled anger when it comes to our feeling towards the opposite sex, i think even more importantly we must learn to see where they are coming from and to love even more deeply because of that space.

  • Sorry dude.

    You have alot to learn about women. As do I. You’re pretty ignorant. As am I.

    I read this entire article, and to me, you seem to be a guy who resents the fact that women are not interested in who you are.

    Newsflash!!! Not every guy is interesting and deserves love. Take insecure guys. Generally insecurity is a red flag that women tend to avoid, and you my friend seems very insecure.

    Google “insecure men” and see the dangers of an insecure man. Insecurity in itself is just plain dangerous, and you wonder why women are dishonest with you? Hey do they know you wont stalk them or threaten them if they are honest to you?

    Modern society likes to teach us that we all deserve a happy ending.

    But reality teaches us that freedom to get what we want is limited, and some of us will just have to settle for less or nothing at all.

    What decides who will settle for less and who wont? Who knows, God? genetics?

    In this life, we have to accept ourselves for who we are.

    Even if some of us are scumbags that are lucky to even be alive or a part of society.

    I may sound very bitter and resentful myself, because my situation with women, and people in general has been poor.

    But I don’t just throw the blame on women, I don’t throw the blame on myself, I don’t throw the blame on anyone or anything.

    Life is difficult, some of us get what we want, some of us don’t. I hope I do, I hope you do too.

    btw, swingers do have a few interesting points, and it’s true that women secretly love players more than lovesick average chumps. Generally, women want players and attractive males to become sincere and trustworthy and love only them. But life don’t work that way either.

    Life is difficult, you’ll learn that when your brain hurts.

  • Thank you to all whom have commented. I really appreciate the feedback and am humbled by the amount of thought and time spent on them. As a general note, the part about the Virgin Mary is meant to be a passing story about a more fundamental wrestling with feelings of contempt towards woman. I’m not suggesting in any way that I compare every woman I meet with Mary.

    @Shari: You mention the types of woman men choose and I think there’s some truth in that. I’ll keep that in mind for the future.

    @Joanne: You’re onto something there about possibilities being potentially limited. I’ll also keep that in mind.

    @Emily: I can assure you that I’m not using this essay as a way to get dates. 🙂 You may not believe me, but yeah.. I would have been able to handle the truth. I’m just writing from a certain place in my life right now, which is not the only place I exist from. I hear what you’re saying about how girls are brought up by their mothers.

    You offer a lot of insight and advice, both of which I’ll be ruminating on for a while.

    @STM: Thank you for your pragmatic, no-nonsense advice. Given what I’ve written to the other commentors, I’ve much to take in.

    In closing, again, I thank you all for your feedback and I’m glad, regardless of the outcome to me personally, of the reactions the essay has elicited from all you. Please do look out for my upcoming essays and do let others know about this essay. I hope to learn a lot in writing this series.


  • Very cool, STM. But I wouldn’t expect anything different from you.

  • STM

    Here’s my experience. Women like men who don’t try too hard.

    Be yourself. Too many blokes IMO like to act as though they’re something they’re not. Women pick up on it. I’ve had many of them tell me that. Putting Blokes into categories into isn’t going to help either.

    Getting yourself likeable – and balanced – is the hard bit, though.

    If that means being an unreconstructed male, with the soft bits built in, then we’re all winners. No point being a fake. You are what you are. Women have in-built radars when it comes to spotting fakes (you know, those guys who for instance will bang on about about how they’re feminist literature and what have you, or who’ll offer a shoulder to cry on when their real motivation is something else entirely. The world is full of bullsh.it artists amd women usually have the bullsh.t alert detector switched to “Extreme”). Men and women ARE different, but not that different.

    There’s nothing more attractive to a woman than a man who comes across like they don’t need another person in their lives to be happy and comfortable.

    What comes after that is a bonus. That’s when you need to care about having a woman in your life.

    And yes, I couldn’t think of anything worse than having a woman in my life that I was comparing to Mary.

    Perfection is best left to the saints. Us near mortals need to practise forgiveness on all levels, especially when it comes to a partner.

    Those who can’t have no right to expect forgiveness from another.

    (Personal xpetrience: Having an Aussie accent helps in the US when it comes to attracting women; in Australia, however, which is where I choose to live, or in the UK, for instance, it doesn’t work. So all the normal rules apply).

    And I can only say Midiane that it might not be the fault of the women in your case, but the fault of what you’re doing and how you’re behaving. Many millions of other blokes can’t be wrong.

    I look out the window every day and see a million men and women who have partners.

    It’s a bit like learning to drive I guess. You think you can’t do it when you start, but the evidence is there that it’s possible every time you see a car going up the street.

    Or surfing a crowded break … where the more you stress, the less waves you get.

    Women aren’t frightening. They’re just human beings who look different.

    And most of ’em look a lot bloody nicer than blokes.

    Be yourself, mate, stop aiming for the Virgin Mary and stop trying so hard or you’ll end up a lonely old fella.

  • Emily

    It’s been a long time since I’ve read something that smacked of such self-entitlement and self-pity. While you are feeling sorry for yourself and labelling all women as liars and cheats, you are giving out the message that you are insecure and desperate. That’s one thing that’s putting women off for a start.

    As for lying to men, being blunt often comes at a cost. A few days ago a young man walked straight up to me in the street, cutting across me, paid me a compliment and asked for my phone number. Although I was flattered by what he said, his body language had been invasive. Given that he’d been prepared to step into my space to begin with, how sensible would it have been to be frank with him? For all I’d known he was playing the numbers game and had approached women and been rejected all day. So I did what I usually do, smiled and said thank you, but explained I was married. Extreme perhaps, but given your blog includes these words, I don’t think a woman can be too careful:

    “I could go out now and injure a woman. I don’t need to hide behind a blog and the written word to vent. All I need is to reach a intellectual and emotional state where acting out my unbridled hurt and anger is completely valid to me. It’s an illusion that only a select few men can come over themselves to hurt and injure women.”

    You also seem to expect that a woman be constantly available to talk to you when she wants, but how would you feel if the tables were turned? Men are the first ones to complain of being crowded, and with good reason if the woman won’t give him his space. The right of the woman to withold the real reason why she’s not interested may seem dishonest to you, but do you really think you could handle the truth? The tone of your blog indicates that you couldn’t. An indirect “I’m really busy these days, but thanks for asking” may well be a lie, but how much more riled would you be if a woman told you she wasn’t going to date you because she didn’t fancy you? Most women are brought up to let men down gently, myself included, because our mothers realise two things. One, that there’s no need to hurt a guy’s feelings and two, because you may not know what he’s capable of. A woman’s ‘right’ to lie may simply be a case of her protecting herself from a guy who doesn’t get the message.

    As for the girl you woke up beside, maybe you were strung along. Unfortunately it happens to most of us, women included. It sucks, but you just have to put it down to experience. Next time you meet someone who you believe is playing you’ll be able to be frank with her and set your boundaries because you’ve learned and yes, she will respect you for it. If you don’t then it’s a bit like complaining about fairweather friends; I’m sure Jesus* would agree, in his own words at least, that when you let people take the piss out of you then they usually do.

    Frankly I’m appalled at this blog, but I’ve come this far so I’ll finish. Seek out some therapy. That’s not meant to be patronising and you can address your issues in a safe space with someone who is trained to handle them. And cut back on the pursuing aspect – if a woman likes you let her come to you as well. It’s a huge, HUGE myth that we like being pursued – most of us don’t and have developed a range of language to limit the blow to an over-zealous suitor.

    * Disclaimer: I am a total atheist, but respect your right to your beliefs. One thing though – measuring women to Our Lady is always a non-started.

  • I’m with #1. You must be in some circle if these types of women is all you can find. Don’t pigeonhole us into one or two categories, you’ll find it limits the possibilities.

  • The primary mistake anyone of either gender makes when entering a relationship is seeing each other as something other than a person like themselves. Yes, women and men are psychologically different, but this is mainly the consequence of socialization, not biology.

    This article is highly self-centered, and I don’t believe the author is aware of it. The assumption is that he operates from the superior, more honest, and noble perspective and the women he encounters are less so on all points than he. Most men gravitate toward particular types of women and that is often the root of the problems they encounter with them. If you choose women who lie to you or are insecure, then you need to choose another type of woman. And there are other types of women, but they’re likely being rejected as unappealing for one idiosyncratic reason or another.

    I’ve been married for 20 years, and my husband and I are delighted to be together to this day. We’re both scrupulously honest (something I manage despite the encumbrances of my gender, at least according to the writer of this piece). Also, frankly, all people are insecure, men included. The main difference between men and women is that women tend to seek out and reassure men through their actions before the men express those insecurities and men tend not to be aware unless told or indicated that a woman has an insecurity he needs to help her deal with.

    The bottom line is that we get the partners we deserve. If you get women with issues, then you’re choosing the type of women who have issues. It doesn’t mean all women have issues.

  • @klondikekitty: Perhaps we do… I don’t know if I’ve fully give up, although some days I get very close to it. I’m glad you could put this essay in perspective, really am. And also glad that it’s managed to hit a nerve.

    @Jaimie: yeah… most do, although like I said, Breezers may find straight-shooting hard to handle.

    Thank you both for your comments. Do pass on to your friends and family; I’d like to see what others say.

  • I don’t think women understand men, either, Midiane. We sometimes think we do. I think a huge problem with dating is that women aren’t honest with men from the get-go, simply because it’s HARD to remember that men tend to value straight-shooting over subterfuge. That isn’t an excuse to stop trying to remember, but I have to be reminded all the time of that.

  • klondikekitty

    As a woman, I tried not to take offense at this article, which seems to state that most women are self-centered bitches who take advantage of men and use them till they get tired of them. I am not one of those women, so I won’t take this article personally, but I think you must be meeting the wrong kind of women if you think that most of us are that way. I love men, love being with them, love all the different ways they show their affection and try to attract my attention. I have been married several times and am now contemplating divorce one more time, because I seem to attract the wrong kind of guy, too. Maybe the two of us have more in common than you think, but I have not given up on men, and I refuse to categorize them into a generic group, because they are all different. I have learned many things from the men I have met and loved, and I am never sorry for having let myself become involved with them, even if the relationship ultimately ended for one reason or another. Hang in there, and don’t give up — one day you will meet the woman who is perfect for you!