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Posts Tagged ‘women’

Father’s Day weekend my daughter was at the beach with a friend, so I got to have some good father/son time with my 10-year-old Aaron.  We had a great time hanging out, playing video games, catching up on Iron Man and Iron Man 2 and eating manly food.  I took him to Outback Steakhouse for the first time, and he loved it!  My daughter did call me Sunday to wish me Happy Father’s Day, and we talked for quite a long time as she told me all the fun stuff she was doing with her friend.

Aaron will be 11 in a little over a month, and he’s got a serious crush on a gal at school and was lamenting not being able to see her all summer.  When school was winding down a few weeks back I told him that the yearbooks they got at the end of the year offered the perfect opportunity to try and stay in touch– when they exchanged books to sign, he could ask for her phone number or give her his number so they could call over the summer.  He flushed red at the suggestion, and said he just couldn’t do that.  Not that I was in any moral high ground there– being too bashful or shy when it came to girls pretty much defined my adolescence and early adulthood.  But quite a few girls I pined for from a distance and never made a move years later would tell me that they always wondered why I didn’t ask them out on a date.  I told Aaron that regrets can really pile up if you let bashfulness rule your life.

Of course, he’s only 10, but still… as a dad I want my son to have much more success with girls and women that I did, and if I can lay some groundwork now before puberty hits and all those hormones and awkward body changes surge through him maybe I can help make things a bit easier for him.

Anyway, this weekend being filled with so much good father/son time, I mentioned to Aaron that part of my job as a father is teach him and impart what wisdom I’ve gained through the years.  “If you have any questions about boys and girls, men and women and their bodies, sex or anything like that, I want you to feel free to ask me anything and I will do my best to give you a good answer.”

He nodded and thought for a few seconds.  “I actually do have a question, Dad,” he said.

My mind raced, wondering what in the world he’d ask me.

“Why do girls try to control you so much?”

I had to laugh… my ten-year-old son, asking such a question?  What sort of girls do they have at his elementary school?  Of course, this is the sort of “mysteries of the universe” question that if I had a real good answer to I could probably write some books and retire a wealthy man.  Aaron is a very bright and perceptive young man, but he’s still only 11 years old, so how to answer him?

“Well,” I said, “perhaps some try to control boys because they don’t feel strong in other areas, maybe they don’t feel physically as strong, or maybe their don’t feel like they have much say in what goes on at home, so trying to exert control over boys gives them that feeling of strength they’re missing.”

“Hmm…”

I thought a few moments more.  “Also, I think sweet guys like you and me, we enjoy making other people happy, and sometimes people will take advantage of that, so whatever girl you like, make sure that she wants to make you happy too, and that you’re not just giving and she’s not just taking.  Does that make sense?”

“Yes, I think so,” he said.  “Thanks, Dad!”

Later, I mentioned this conversation to my roommate, who’s got the experience of having three ex-wives and numerous girlfriends over the years, and he laughed and laughed mightily.  Of course, as grown-up divorced men we could certainly get cynical and dark when it comes to pondering why women try to exert such control over their men, but my son is just starting to tip-toe towards the wonders that the opposite sex hold out to us.  It’s a helluva bumpy ride that lasts a lifetime full of ups and downs, and I want to do my best to give him the tools he needs to hopefully enjoy the trip.  I hope he’ll ask me a lot of these sorts of questions in the coming years.

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So I decided to go to the party!  After 12 hours of work, I was still feeling peppy enough (after a diet Mountain Dew) to feel up to a little partying, so I took the long drive out to Powhatan County, arriving about 15 minutes before midnight.  As I drove up I noticed most everybody was outside milling about with their drinks.  A man and a woman I didn’t know directed me to a parking spot and came over to my car as I got out.

“Do you want a beer or your nipples red?” the gentleman asked me, and the woman laughed.

“Ummmm… well, I just got here so how about let’s start with a beer?” I replied to the totally unexpected question.  Nice recovery eh?

Actual real fireworks began to launch into the air.  We’re way out in the country, so I suspect the law won’t be coming ’round to stop it.  I hear a few people shout “you’re early, it’s not midnight yet!” so as I walk with the gentleman to get a beer I raise my hands.  “Thank you, thank you– fireworks are a great way to celebrate my arrival!”  I got some laughs.  Considering the only people I knew were Ellen and her boyfriend, I was hoping to hit it off with these new folks.

I came back outside with the beer, found Ellen and gave her a hug.  The initial man and woman came back around to me.  “Okay, I got your beer, are you sure you don’t want your nipples red?”  The woman giggled again, and I was just perplexed, really unsure how to answer.  She put her hand on my arm and said “Well, I can read both palms and nipples.  You can tell a lot from someone’s nipples and it’s more fun!”

The lightbulb went off.  Not nipples red, but nipples read, as in the past tense of read.  Ah, English can be such a damned-able language sometimes.

I laughed and explained how I misunderstood what they were asking– how I assumed they were basically asking if I wanted someone to tweak my nipples until they were red in color, and was wondering just what they hell sort of party I’d come to?  We all laughed, and it was pretty obvious that everyone had been “celebrating” for quite a while before I got there.  I had a lot of catching up to do.

“So,” the woman said.  “Want me to read your nipples?”

“I reserve the right to answer that once I’ve had more beers,” I replied.

After that first beer though I switched to liquor.  There was no way I could catch up to the general level of inebriation by drinking beer unless I was willing to rewind the clock 25 years and shotgun them, and I’d brought vodka and bloody mary mix to indulge with.  There was even a veggie tray I could use for celery stirrers!

I got my first bloody mary drink fixed and initial sipping done when the countdown on the TV said it was 2013.  Everyone cheered and started kissing everyone — ooooh, my kind of party!  Ellen looked around and then shrugged.  “Well, since my boyfriend is no where to be found, you’ll do!” and gave me a kiss.

Nipple-reading gal — who’s name turned out to be Tammy — came over to me.  “I’ve got this mistletoe following me around,” she said, gesturing to the imaginary evergreen hovering over her head.  “Well then, we better do something about that,” I said, and kissed her too.  60 seconds into 2013 and I’d gotten kissed by two women.  A damn fine start to the year!

Over the course of the evening — which lasted until 5am or so — I got to know Ellen and her boyfriend’s friends and really enjoyed hanging out with them.  They had that nice easy rapport of folks who’ve been friends a long time, and yet were also very friendly and open to this stranger from Ellen’s past.  I’d brought some fixings for B-52 shooters (a layered drink of Kahlua, Irish Creme, and a dollop of orange cognac)  and that made a pretty good ice-breaker for those willing to give it a try.  I brought the drink for nostalgia’s sake, because back when Ellen and I dated I used to make them for us at parties.  Everyone who tried them liked them.

I found it pretty easy to be comfortable with this group of friends, and tried to make sure to join in as many conversations as I could.

“I must confess to being a nipple reader myself,” I joked at one point.  “However, I must also confess it’s been a while so I’m probably a bit rusty…”  I got some laughs.  It felt good.

The party finally started to wind down super-late.  We’d been hanging out in his huge garage in the back of the property, and it had rooms attached to it that included a “mother-in-law suite” where one couple bunked down, and another room with two double beds where Tammy and her male friend both grabbed a bed.  My crash place was on a futon in a little den area near the bathroom (which seemed like a decent place to be).  I was having a tough time getting comfortable when suddenly I noticed that Tammy had walked in.  She waved.  “Hi.  I’ve slept on that futon and it’s not very comfortable.  I’ve got room if you want to sleep on a real bed.  Think about it, I gotta go pee.”  By the time she was done I had my pillow and clothes and ready to take her up on the offer.  Alone on an uncomfortable futon or beside a woman in a real bed?  Was there any question?  We get over to the room and her friend is snoring away in the other bed.  We snuggle up together, chat for a little while before sleep overtakes us.

I remembered to drink some Gatorade before bed, so when I woke up 5 hours later I didn’t feel too bad.  Everyone was slow moving, but eventually got in gear enough to go ahead and drive on home.  As I made my way back to my side of town, I couldn’t stop smiling.  I’d had such a great time– meeting some cool new people, had a lot of laughs, got some New Year’s kisses and went to sleep snuggled up with a woman for the first time in… well, too damn long.  If the way you start the new year can be indicative of how the rest of the year unfolds, 2013 is shaping up to be quite nice!

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pinkett smith

My friend Molly put up a meme on Facebook that was taken from Jada Pinkett-Smith’s Facebook page that I thought was pretty powerful.  I’ve always liked Pinkett-Smith, she’s always struck me as a very strong and smart woman (in addition to being beautiful).  Even though she’s physically so small, especially compared to her hunky husband Will Smith, I’ve never gotten the impression that she takes the back seat in their relationship.  They seem like they have a partnership of equals.

Here’s what she wrote:

“How is man to recognize his full self, his full power through the eye’s of an incomplete woman? The woman who has been stripped of Goddess recognition and diminished to a big ass and full breast for physical comfort only. The woman who has been silenced so she may forget her spiritual essence because her words stir too much thought outside of the pleasure space. The woman who has been diminished to covering all that rots inside of her with weaves and red bottom shoes.

I am sure the men, who restructured our societies from cultures that honored woman, had no idea of the outcome. They had no idea that eventually, even men would render themselves empty and longing for meaning, depth and connection.  There is a deep sadness when I witness a man that can’t recognize the emptiness he feels when he objectifies himself as a bank and truly believes he can buy love with things and status.  It is painful to witness the betrayal when a woman takes him up on that offer.

He doesn’t recognize that the [creation] of a half woman has contributed to his repressed anger and frustration of feeling he is not enough. He then may love no woman or keep many half women as his prize.

He doesn’t recognize that it’s his submersion in the imbalanced warrior culture, where violence is the means of getting respect and power, as the reason he can break the face of the woman who bore him 4 four children.

When woman is lost, so is man. The truth is, woman is the window to a man’s heart and a man’s heart is the gateway to his soul.

Power and control will NEVER out weigh love.

May we all find our way.”

~ Jada Pinkett-Smith

Now, for as long as I can remember, I’ve been drawn to strong women.  My mom is strong, my sister is strong, so I grew up admiring strength in women.  I’ve never quite understood the attraction to a woman who’s subservient to her man, but I just figured, at some level, I wasn’t really manly-man or macho enough to have that swagger and urge to dominate.  I didn’t really see it as a weakness within myself, rather just as being a bit different from the archetypical male.

But Pinkett-Smith’s words here make me think that perhaps it’s that swagger, that urge to dominate, that can be a real weakness, especially when it pushes men to put women “in their place,” to be quiet, submissive.  How is man to recognize his full self, his full power through the eye’s of an incomplete woman?  These men tear women down to cover their own weakness, and end up diminishing themselves in the process.  And perhaps being drawn to strong women, that finding their strength attractive, is in fact a real strength within myself.

My muse Rachel touched on a similar theme in her recent blogpost “Head for business, bod for sin.”  She was reflecting on the struggles that women were going through in the countries of the Arab Spring, how there’s been a back-lash against women, pushing them to cover up and hush up.  She goes on to reflect on women’s struggles here in the States, and her own struggle as a smart woman in a body that’s stereotypically not taken as serious as she deserves.  It’s a good read, you should check it out.

Rachel concludes with:

“Well, I am upending this story.   I am about to conquer the world in my short, round, curvy, fat-assed, curly-headed body.   If no one lets me have a seat at the table cause I don’t seem to portray certain things-  well, watch me build my own table.”

Now, what kind of man doesn’t want a woman like Rachel, or Pinkett-Smith, by his side?  Who doesn’t want to tap into that strength and vitality to help you conquer whatever stands in your way, to build a life worth living, sharing, and celebrating?  Because a man worthy of the love of such women is a worthy man indeed.

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I recently saw this picture meme floating around Facebook:

I’m sure quite a few men out there think this is pretty funny.  To the losers out there, it’s the perfect sour grapes defense:  sure, the “hot broad” may not pay me any attention, but she sucks in bed anyway so I’m not really missing anything.  To the “playas” out there, the ladies-men, they laugh and nod– since I’m god’s gift to women, it doesn’t matter how hot the woman is, she’s not going to keep my interest for long because no woman can measure up to my awesomeness.

Us Beta Men though… we don’t think this is funny at all.  In fact, we think it’s a rather embarrassing example of the male psyche, the need to diminish and belittle women to cover up a man’s own inadequacies.  It’s the sort of thing that women see that confirms for them that men are all dogs.

But not all of us… some of us, we see that picture meme, and we follow it up with this picture meme:

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This past weekend my dear sweet cousin Sharon came to town.  Her husband Eric coaches youth soccer and their son Ian plays on the team, and they had a tournament that, as luck would have it, was about 10 minutes down the road from me.  They live bout five hours away and, since I don’t trust my old car to make such a long trip through mountains, I don’t get to see her and her family much at all.

When I think of the awesome women in my life, Sharon is right up there.  We were quite close as kids and I saw her grow up into a smart, funny, and hard working woman.  She met her husband at law school, got married, and they have two sweet children.  She’s a breast-cancer survivor, does work for a non-profit helping the homeless find homes, and raises foster-kittens to place with loving families.

Saturday my kids and her kids bonded and hung out, thick as thieves– our daughters are close in age, and our sons are even closer.  Sharon and I spent a lot of time catching up, laughing a bunch, and reminisced.  One thing that brought me a lot of joy was hearing her talk about how wonderful her marriage is and how much she loves her husband.  It wasn’t boastful, and she didn’t go on and on about it– but rather just took a few moments to give her man some props while we were talking about life.  “He makes life fun… and I get to have this the rest of my life!”

He makes life fun… and this is someone who’s been married for at least 15 years and maybe longer (I can’t recall exactly when they got married), and were together for some years before that, so that blush and rush of early love has certainly worn away.  No, these are two people who have put in the hard work of being dedicated to making the other happy.  Fun– that’s the spice of life after all!  And while fun is easy when you’re just getting to know each other, when you’re together for years and have busy lives full of kids and work and obligation, it takes effort, imagination, and resourcefulness to keep fun in a relationship.  And when your partner knows you’re putting in that effort, imagination and resourcefulness to make her happy… that shows her just how much you love and value her.  And if she’s a good woman she gives it right back to you.   (more…)

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While I am a liberal (and declare as such over on my About page) I don’t really use this blog as a forum for my political views.  After all, celebrating what I as a man love about women isn’t rooted (ahem) in my political beliefs, and men of all political stripes can agree on many ways we think women are awesome — though I’m pretty sure that liberal men in general tend to be more appreciative of the feminine.

Still, if I’m going to be honest and true to the purpose of this blog, then occasionally I need to get a little bit political.  I’ve done it a couple times before (…She’d Speak Liberal, …She’d Be Passionate About Politics), and today marks another opportunity to do so.

While the results of the Presidential election in the U.S. justifiably got the lion’s share of attention, what really put a smile on my face was how great the polls were for women.  I tend to think a lot of what is wrong with the U.S. can be traced to the fact that our government representatives don’t do a very good job of actually representing We The People, and the most blatant example of that is the fact that over 50% of our population are female, but only a tiny fraction of our representatives are women.  November 6, 2012 changed that a little bit in the right direction.  Some bullet points to illustrate:

  • The Senate will have at least 19 female members when the new Congress convenes, which is the most in history– and if Heidi Heitkamp holds her lead in North Dakota — NORTH DAKATA of all places?! — then that’ll make 20.  Twenty percent is still shy of 51%, but it’s progress, and I suspect they will provide a decent firewall against the right-wing’s anti-woman agenda.

    Photo credit: Tim Pierce

  • New to the Senate is Elizabeth Warren, who takes Ted Kennedy’s seat from Massachusetts back into Democratic hands.  Ms. Warren is a warrior for working class Americans, the godmother of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau,  and a Harvard Law Professor.  She’s smart, unabashedly liberal and proud of it, and not afraid to speak truth to power — which is something that is sorely lacking in Washington and the media.
  • Also new to the Senate is Democrat Tammy Baldwin who won the seat from Wisconsin and becomes the first openly gay Senator of either gender.  Not only is it great to have another woman in the Senate, but having a gay person in such a high-profile political position I think goes a long way towards hastening the erosion of opposition to gay rights in this country.
  • Deb Fischer won her Senate contest, joining Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, and Kelly Ayotte as Republican women.  It’s actually a shame because the Republicans lost two women so their numbers actually shrunk, but I think that the Republican party can use all the women they can find to hopefully increase the overall bank of common sense!
  • New Hampshire’s entire Congressional delegation and governorship is held by women!  How’s that for awesome?

In my opinion, a big reason for the election of a lot of Democratic women came in part because the Republican brand got tarnished quite a bit by the GOP’s “War on Women” — something that Democratic opponents certainly played up, but ultimately it was a self-inflicted wound by too many people in the Republican party saying and voting in ways that were hostile to women’s rights and a woman’s point of view.  I know of several women in particular who until fairly recently were pretty well a-political that got extremely upset by what they were hearing and made certain to voice their discontent in the voting booth.  I feel confident that their displeasure was certainly heard by the smarter operatives in the Republican party, and I suspect there will be a course correction.

Wherever she might be, my ideal woman may not be as in to politics as I am, but I feel confident that when it comes to victories for women this past week, she’s smiling as much or more than I am!

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I have to say, it’s about damn time…

While it’s a great honor and special privilege women have being able to grow a new human being inside them, creating that special mother/child bond, it also involves a lot of physical and emotional stress on top of the lifelong responsibility.  Without getting too deep into the political weeds surrounding the Affordable Care Act, this part at the very least is a slam-dunk/no-brainer.  Women should have the ability to control if and when she wants to reproduce no matter where she is on the economic scale and no matter whether she’s employed or not, and when she does decide to have a child she should be able to get the care needed to ensure our new fellow human being is born healthy and ready for a productive life.    The independent, non-partisan Institute of Medicine says paying for these services will save money and lives down the road from all the health issues and unwanted pregnancies they will prevent.

Not to mention of course, for every woman on birth control, there is usually a man involved who’s quite happy about the situation!

So, on behalf of the male population, Happy August 1 everyone!!

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