For fools rush in where angels fear to treadAlexander Pope: An Essay on Criticism (1711)
Because I am a man, I can address what I say with some authority to man. It is man I am familiar with, from the (apparent) inside. I trust that man will find some of what I say helpful.
I trust that some of what I say may be helpful, or informative, for woman. The female is my love. As I am, I cannot speak for woman; only with woman. And I have no intention of speaking at woman: men have been doing that for most of the history of our ‘civilisation’ and she’s had enough of it.
As man, I can say that nothing – nothing – compares to the sweetness of the female, for man.
As I am, I cannot speak from experience to those men and women whose orientation is to their own sex. That is only part of life, however; the rest of what I say should resonate.
Women and men: the gendered human animals
As I said elsewhere, and repeat here, women and men are the gendered animal bodies of the species, and our bodies are pulled together by the force of sex in the bodies, whatever else they may want to do; just like all the other species are. We see that in the other species it does not seem to create so many problems.
But that gendered existence is not the aspiration, the goal, at which the individual aims.
‘Man’ and ‘the Female’: the aspiration in being
To reveal something of what the true nature is that lies behind men and women, we can look at what they aspire to be. Because in essence, it’s almost nothing to do with the bodies.
What do men have as their aspiration? Do I have to fill this in? Men in general aspire to be ‘man’. They aspire to be ‘manly’. Strong, confident, healthy, knowledgeable. Look at all the self-help courses promising such. But why are they aspiring to such a thing, when they are already men, and by their teen-age years bursting full, uncontrollably ridden by the male?
Because they are not the master of themselves, have no mastery.
Under it all, many might admit that they aspire to some level of nobility, some victory over selfish consideration. And we can call that aspiration an inspiration to incarnate ‘Man’ — with the capital M. Once in Western culture — who I am addressing — for many young boys it was an aspiration to be a knight, even a knight of the Wild West, or a Jedi knight, and that is still there in so many traditional stories. Why? Because man knows he is not the master, not Man.
The key for man as man sees truth, is something that is very akin to honour.
What do women have for their aspiration? I don’t have to fill this in either, do I? Women in general don’t aspire to be woman — they are woman. No, women aspire to be the utterly and truly glamorous magic of the ‘female’. They aspire to be that beauty, incarnate, that inexpressible but instantly recognisable essence we know as ‘female’.
That’s why there’s aisles of make-up and lipstick, and hair salons, and nail bars, and endless magazines and television programs, and influencers, all packed with models attempting to exemplify female beauty — and ultimately, necessarily failing.
They fail because all of it is actually unnecessary, because woman has the female built-in – it just needs to be permitted expression. But that requires an opportunity, and love, and a lover, to see that female which is inescapably already there — and love it.
For an example of the aspiration in action, here’s a photo taken at an exhibition of the work of Christian Dior – a man who made clothes that emphasise the female in woman. There were not many men there…
This aspiration in woman is unconscious within society but nonetheless implicit. For example, do we have womanism? No, feminism. She knows her aspiration, although men always work to pull her down with their cleverness and slyness: ‘oh it’s just banter!’ ‘Can’t you take a joke?’
The very worst thing men have done to women is to convince them they have to be more like men in order to get their fair dues. This is a form of theft, but not the first one imposed on women by men…
Women and men are utterly different
As far as I am concerned, there’s an answer to the question:
What came first, the chicken or the egg?
Women always come first. There’s no man who doesn’t have a mother.
Woman is first. Man second. Clearly, he generally doesn’t like that.
Woman is the life-giver. She gives birth.
The obvious assymetry
In essence and orientation, women and men are intrinsically different. That’s one of the things that makes it so hard for us to live together. Only love can make it possible.
Men and women are superficially not so very different as bodies. The bodies take inputs and make outputs. The primary sex organs are different, almost reciprocal; women have secondary sex organs; the joints are oriented and put together in a very different way, so one can recognise the difference in arm and leg movements at a distance and so know one is seeing a woman or a man. But both sexes have arms and legs and liver and lights, heart and head, and false self — until they don’t.
The aspirational goal, however, is asymmetric, utterly different. The individual small-m man wants to arrive at his fulfilment, to be ultimate master of his self, to be Man – whether he states it in such terms or not, the drive is there — somewhere.
Woman is already woman, she seeks to be able to express her essence — to be free to be it.
‘Man’ and ‘the female’ are not the same. They are not opposites. They are beyond orthogonal, not even in the same plane. And this must necessarily be, for them to actually be the utter difference, nothing in common, that is their essence.
So what can hold this together?
Perfectibility: women and men are the same
Please note that I am in no way deluded about men’s or women’s perfection: women and men are utterly different in their essence, but physically and societally similar in many ways, and that includes the capacity for error; but there are many more bad men than there are bad women.1
But of course, women and men are all equally convinced they are a ‘self’ — until they aren’t.
As such, they are entirely equal. And as such, both can equally benefit from the material presented here.
A thank-you to Barry Long: I knew all this before I ever ran into him, but I could state it after.