Recently I came across Morris’ six-part BBC series The Human Sexes and I have been watching it. And I realize that, if you listen to ALL of what he says, not just selectively, he makes a lot of sense. The male of the species was never designed by nature to be what women today expect him to be. In primitive cultures the women were the hub of society and everything that had to do with so-called civilization revolved around them. They kept the home and the neighborhood, reared the children, raised the vegetables, cooked, visited with neighbors, and generally kept the tribe happy, contented and prosperous. The men went off into the jungle and hunted. They hung out together or by themselves, peed (standing up) in the bushes, killed critters and carried home the meat. They had a good meal that wifey prepared, checked on the progress of the kiddies, spent the night trying to make more of them, and left before dawn to go kill more stuff. Everybody was happy. He didn’t interfere with how she ran the house and the village and she didn’t worry about what he was doing off galavanting in the woods. This worked just fine for a few thousand years.
But, as civilization progressed the natural order got screwed with. Men came into the village to set up shop but the only way they could succeed at that was by locking wifey in the house. That’s when all the trouble started. Nobody needs me to go into the history of the battle between the sexes but here we are in the 21st century and things are still confusing and stressful. Half of all marriages end in divorce, cheating is now practiced by both partners and women are doing more and more of it, spousal abuse is on the rise, and there are millions of single adults still trying to find a mate. It’s very weird. Our primitive fore-parents would think we were all nuts.
One of the things women often say to me after reading my short stories and novel is that they love the men in them and wonder where I ever met such interesting men that I can write so lovingly and appreciatively about them. Well, I’ve spent a lot of my life around men and I really like them. I had three really great brothers growing up. We fought as siblings will do but they were always nice guys and I got to see the other side of relationships through them --- the excitement of falling in love and the heartbreak when it didn’t work out. They are men like any others --- good in some areas, weak in others. I also had a bunch of really nice uncles. My Uncles Buddy, Custy, John and Tommy were all special men in my life and I’m grateful for that.
Plus I spent most of my working life in male-dominated businesses, Houston Natural Gas/Enron in Texas, MITRE and two fiber optic manufacturing companies here in New England. Well, like I said, men have never been a big mystery like they are to a lot of women.
Recently I was talking to a woman friend who is divorced for the second time and has been going out with men from an online dating service. She is disappointed in the fact that they seem like great, desirable guys at first but then turn out to be less so. They are in their fifties and sixties and having a ball with the super-abundance of females available to them through the internet. They have learned to play the game perfectly, they say all the right things and are masters at being cute, charming, sincere, and alluring --- and they are that way to LOTS of women. That’s the problem.
So I think Desmond Morris may have had it right. When men are young and they have to choose between scattering their seed and pair-bonding to make a family, they are capable of making the choice but once the family imperative is gone they may well revert back to that primitive behavior.
I’m writing all this because I think we just expect too much of one another. We lead lives that are so far removed from what nature designed us for and, while we are evolving slowly, we are also living too closely bound and too fast for our own good. I like men but I’ve never wanted to own one. For me that is a healthier way of life. I don’t know what the answer is --- I never do but I think we have to pay attention to guys like Morris and realize that very few of us actually intend to hurt one another. We’re all playing a game we don’t really understand the rules of --- especially because they are changing day by day. Relax. Be nice. Get to know yourself.
Thanks for reading.