Andrea decided to allow me to come on as a guest contributor on her blog. She also gave me relatively vague subject matter, that being the subject of the opposite sex. Narrating my perspective for the first time in the form of an article rather than the form of advice, I find it’s not so simple to dispel any sort of wisdom, or even a proper evaluation on relations as mystifying as those between man and woman towards a general audience. It is much easier to just listen to someone.
But knowing each other for some time, she and I have had opportunities to engage, reflect, and discuss our experiences over the years. More recently, I had an exchange with someone who shed light on what it means to be a guy – more specifically – a cool guy. It has come to my attention that boys like to generally regard themselves as ‘cool’, or at least aspireto be. The phrase “be cool” appears as a state-of-mind or a philosophy. To be cool is to be unaffected. It is aloofness. It is maintaining objectivity and a level head, and ultimately it is a state of control over oneself. This quality of ‘coolness’ as it applies to boys can be extended infinitely, in all directions; it is multi-dimensional and multi-layered; it is not limited to age, space, or geography. Every guy wants to be cool, because it implies a nomadic lifestyle. The advantages of being cool involve the ability to replant, survive, and thrive anywhere. It is liberation.
For women, being cool is something different. Women are inherently cool. A woman is born cool. For a certain amount of time, we are granted powers of detachment from both our environment and our relationships, primarily because our worlds remain internalized: biologically, everything takes place beneath the surface out of sight. We gain perspective. But the time expires, because we know that we eventually, the function that our bodies are biologically designed to perform (that of bearing and birthing an infant) will lead to a separation between us and what comes into existence inside of us. As a result, our world is both expanded and hampered.
Therefore to be cool as it applies to women becomes the ability occupy multiple time and multiple space (that of real space taken up by our physical body and that of hypothetical space which will one day be filled by the infant). We must perpetually formulate and evaluate scenarios. We must calculate. Not only does our biological responsibility not permit detachment, it inspires the contrary. To be ‘cool’ becomes a constant state of being in-tune and self-aware.
Rather than approach this as an issue of inferiority and superiority, I would like to resolve that I am not framing this as an us-versus-them argument. There are differences between me as a woman, and you as a man. But I would like say that in the end, it is only miscommunication will be the death of us.
So let me be clear from the beginning: I am not trying to trick you into a relationship. I am not looking to be assured that you file me away into your ‘wife-material’ folder. I am not trying to manipulate the situation to enable me to reach a state of ultimate control. It doesn’t always have to be a power struggle. But you have to stop acting like it’s all so casual – I am too old for this. If you wanna spend some time, take me out on a date. We’ll eat some food, watch a movie, make out a little. It’s supposed to be fun!! Do not proceed to project your fears of commitment on me. Do not proceed to corner me into playing the role someone who needs more than you are willing to give. I will not be planning our future over dinner and I have no intention of measuring you up as a possible suitor. I’m just trying to gauge how potentially regretful I am about to become when I listen to you talk through one appetizer and one entree.