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The very fragile, excessively powerful, and complex male ego August 10, 2006

Posted by fajita in Family Science, Gender, General, Marriage.

I am going to make gender generalizations in this post. I know I am doing that. Please don’t comment and tell me what I already know I am doing. Also, this is a post geared toward couples, but can be generalized beyond that  audience.

A single word or tone or facial expression can send a man into a hole so deep you’d have better luck finding Osama. A man’s ego is vulnerable, especially (but not exclusively) to a woman he finds value in, such that he could be crushed, even by accident. Crushed meaning he gets into a rut wherein he never accesses his emotions.

The very same ego that could be crushed by the tone of a woman’s voice, can also drive the man perform some of the most heroic, selfless, and bordering on miraculous acts ever imagined. It is this same ego that when faced with peril, impossibility, or certain doom, says, “Like Hell…” and runs into the flames.

The complexity comes when trying to understand how to deal with this incredibly powerful and sensitive force called the male ego. This has mystified women for centuries, and I suggest will continue to for centuries to come. It’s not as mystifying to the men themselves. It’s not that they have themselves figured out, but it is harder to know that there is mystery when you are the mystery.

For the women out there, I wish I could give you the key to the male ego. I can’t. But here are some guidelines.

1. Your efforts to control it, manipulate it, or co-opt it will fail in one of two ways. A) You will subdue the man and thus make him a worthless patsy (don’t badger him). B) You will piss him off and invite his power to be asserted upon you. Let me make a little point here. When a man does violence against a women, it is always his fault. What I am talking about is an unnecessary pattern that can lead to unnecessarilly inciting rage.

2. Affirmimg without partonizing is a tightrope act that is worth the effort to perfect. The male ego is fuled on affirmation. However, it must the right kind of affirmation. Like in the horrific and terryfying movie, How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days, naming his penis a cutesy name like Pooky is not the kind of affirmation I am talking about. You are grateful for his efforts, amazed by his strength (whatever kind of strength he has), and perhaps even very subltly (a little hint of being) turned on by it.  

3. If you think the male ego is all about sex, you’re wrong. Sometimes sex is all a man has to fall back on because he has no other outlet for his expression of power – besides anger. When you find a man finding meaning in his work (though not workaholic), a passion for his art, a vision for his children (but not crazy sports dad), or something that engages his ability to matter, then is he going to want to have lots of sex? Of course he will still want that. However, since he has many outlets, there is a different meaning to the desire. He does not have to rely upon sex and sex alone for satisfaction in his life. Sex then can carry a healthy level of life satisfaction and love expression.

So, here’s the guideline: support your man’s outlet, even if you don’t like it (unless it’s immoral, illegal or unethical).   

Well, that’s enough for today. Tomorrow we’re going to talk about sexy women. Seriously.


More Pressing Issues? July 14, 2004

Posted by fajita in Family Science, Marriage, Uncategorized.
1 comment so far

With the vote on a gay marriage ban in the senate now concluded, and defeated, we can get on with the more pressing issues. That seems to be the mood of opposers of the amendment. I guess I should apologize for caring about a moral issue. Poverty of all kinds wreak havoc on the fabric of our society. Finanacial poverty is a problem, environmental poverty is a problem, but so is moral poverty. Homosexualty is an issue of moral poverty.

The problem, however, is complex. We (the United States Government, churches, etc) have lowered the bar on marriage so far that any justification for banning same-sex marriage rings hollow. Adultery is winked at, divorce is epidemic, and the grwoth of cohabitation is outpacing every other kind of family construction.

We microwave outselves into marriage, consume it, and dispose of it. We treat our marriages in the same manner as we treat a frozen dinner. On what grounds do we have the moral credibility to do this?

I believe it is a moral issue, but who can stand for preserving marriage as between a man and a woman in a convincing way? Mother Teresa, where are you?

This is the Second Civil War.