Men and Women, Pure and Simple

                                                “The best way out is always through”  – Robert Frost

I am in a mood to rant.  Greeting me this morning, when I logged on, was a message from a friend.  It was clear, it was heartfelt, and it was loving.  I found it the most refreshing message I have received  online, in a good long while.  It established the parameters of our friendship.

I look forward to that ongoing friendship.  The person is one of the most enjoyable people I’ve met, in a very long time.

Now comes the fact that I’m a man, and my friend is a woman.  Automatically, the notion that I must like her for one thing, primarily, has come up, with some people more than others.

So, let me say this:  Women are not, and have never been, one-dimensional beings.  Men are not, and have never been, one-dimensional beings.  Then, why do we assume such of ourselves, and of one another?

I am an affectionate man.  I hug my son, my brothers, my sister and my SIL’s, my nieces and nephews, and those of my friends who like being hugged.  I kiss my mother, my MIL, and a few female friends, who will remain anonymous.  Physical affection is not the crux of our friendship.  It just gives me a nice feeling, when it happens.  Yes, I had a full, intimate relationship with my wife of 29 years, and that part of our eternal bond is over.

I get in a very stormy mood, reading of how certain men have screwed over the women they say they love.  When I hear from women friends about how their menfolk have hurt them, I have to say- I wouldn’t blame any of you, if you were to lock yourselves up in cloisters, for the remainder of this earthly life.  I would miss you,  terribly, but I would understand.

I know of at least two men who have been screwed over by the women in their lives, as well.  Trying to out-callous men does not make those women stronger people.  They need to do the same shame walk that my jerkwad fellow males ought to do.

People are not for beating.  Feelings are not for trampling.  Souls are not for burning.

I love my friends.  Some are platonic.  Some are confidants.  Four, two men and two women, have Best Friend status, by my lights.  One, whom I am getting to know, could very well be my fifth Best Friend, in time.  I know, “best” is a superlative term.  I would step up for anyone I regard as a friend.  I would take a bullet for anyone I regard as a Best Friend.  You know who you are.

I mean what I say, and always have.  I have shown atypical behaviours, now and then, in wrestling with my demons and my neurosis.  A book by Justice St. Vrain, entitled “Love, Lust and the Longing for God”, has helped with that struggle.  I have always owned up to my flaws.  The reason is, that God made me noble, as He made all of us.  The introductory quote from Robert Frost defines my life path.

Every single human being has goals, dreams and life plans.  Every single human being deserves at least one friend who will support her or him in this vein.  I have people who support me, my aforementioned best friends, my son, and my newest friend.  I, in turn, support them.

We go wrong, ladies and gentlemen, when we place our own whims and wants above the plans and dreams of those we say we love.  No one wins that struggle.  Unsure of that?  Just look at the wreckage of families around you, and at bonds that have been wrent asunder,without rhyme or reason.

The key is detachment.  The means is communication.  Cling to a branch too tightly, and don’t be surprised when it breaks.  Stay silent, out of fear, arrogance or pride, and don’t complain that you are being misunderstood.

We are all in this together, through pain and joy, love and sorrow, work and play, love and heartache.

8 thoughts on “Men and Women, Pure and Simple

  1. How many times I have wished that men and women could be allowed to have solid friendships, as equals, and based on shared interests, dreams, and beliefs. I am glad you are establishing such friendships in your life, and sorry that you are having to fend off those who judge.

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    • Janet, I think you and I will agree that marriages would be a whole lot better if the foundation (friendship) were allowed to set, before the house (marriage) gets built. My friend has been through the wringer with self-centered men, so this point is underscored even more, by her experience, as by those of so many other people I have met.

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  2. I’m curious– what have you learned about balancing expression of affection and being “above reproach”? Only God sees the heart, certainly, but how do you balance friendship with women and the reality of reputation?

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    • I let my expression of affection be up to the woman, and to the occasion in which we find ourselves. Some women friends of mine prefer a handshake, and I have taught teen girls that shaking hands with a man is acceptable, and gives them an option to the seemingly mandatory hug. Hugs, though, are often what other women friends of mine prefer. Kisses on the cheek are reserved for my relatives and very close friends, and only one friend gets kissed on her lips, in private. I have a good reputation, and I seek to never to besmirch anyone else’s.

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