Dismissing them as vagina screechers. Saying that Trump got more fat women up on their feet and moving about with his election than eight years of Michelle Obama’s haranguing ever could. Pepper spray in the face deemed a “participation trophy”. Too ugly to sexually assault. Time they go home and make some sandwiches.
And these were just the ones that made it onto social media, by public figures of some sort or another, who then had to face the social media shame for having been seduced by the siren keyboard to reveal a bit too much of the soul.
Surely, the vulgarity and boorishness in the locker rooms and bars exceeded these relatively genteel, if politically incorrect, put downs on social media. Boys will be boys.
Some of this stuff–a lot of this stuff—would make comic gold for some edgy comedian or cartoonist. Vagina screechers immediately conjured in my mind an old hag—someone like the old woman in the shoe in the children’s nursery rhyme, screeching orders to a brood of snot-nosed, ruddy-complexioned, ill-behaved minions–except with a furry vagina doing the talking, and not in the service of tending to children but of excoriating the world. What’s not funny about that?
Many of the marchers wore pussy hats. Or, one word, pussyhats, a new one in the vernacular for a new thing in social commerce, basically a pink beanie/toboggan-style hat with cat’s ears stitched into the top. The hat, and particularly its mildly vulgar name, symbolized opposition to Trump’s “grab ‘em in the pussy” comment made in a videotaped conversation he had with Billy Bush, host of Access Hollywood at the time of the tape, and a nephew of the 41st President and cousin to the 43rd. Curiously, in the outrage that ensued after the video surfaced, nobody seemed interested in capitalizing on Bush’s name, which is another mildly vulgar means of referencing a woman’s vagina. They didn’t claim to be wearing “Bush hats”, but could have been. But then, since there is such a thing as bush hats, the appellation would lose its punch. Besides, it wasn’t another Bush who was elected. It was Trump’s pussy-grabbing self.
What did the marching women want? Not even a fictional woman whisperer like the character played by Mel Gibson (in the aptly-title movie, What Women Want) could have figured this one out. Were they simply mad over their candidate’s loss? Did they see it as an affront that such a viscerally disgusting man (from their perspective) could be elected? Did they think Trump’s boorish personal behavior would translate to misogynistic public policies? Was it just a ginormous temper tantrum thrown by the losing side of an American electorate that has become ever more spoiled and infantile with each passing generation? Did they feel the government had somehow failed them by allowing the election of such a repugnant man?
I don’t really care what those women wanted. Life is not lived walking down the streets with a gaggle of pussyhatted women carrying signs saying nonsensical things like “The Future is Female”. Life, for a man, is lived in individual relationships with women (among others). What does a woman want from a relationship?
The church hired a relationship specialist to preach Sunday morning. The wife insisted I attend with her. This would mark the second time in the last few months that I’ve been requested to attend a relationship seminar, although the first one, “Women are from Venus, Men are from Mars” billed itself as an off-Broadway play, and it was nothing of the sort. It was an infomercial for the bestselling book of the same name. I won’t watch infomercials at home. But I paid (!) to watch this one in person? We left, at my behest, after the first ‘act’.
But, two times in just six months or so? I wonder, is my marriage in trouble now the fledglings have fled the coup? Do I care? Its purpose has been more or less fulfilled. By my reckoning, now is the time to sit back and enjoy things. So yeah, probably.
The preacher-turned-relationship guru was much better. Of course, he hadn’t the necessity of competing for my patience and attention with things I’d rather have been doing on a Saturday night, like nothing (but there’s a lot to be said for nothing). Which is what the Mars/Venus guy was faced with. It was Sunday morning. I would more than likely have been at church anyway, or feeling guilty for having skipped it (Protestants can guilt just as prodigiously as Catholics). I would more than likely have been listening to some other preacher de jour standing in (auditioning?) for our retired pastor while the church continues searching for his replacement. This was way better than a substitute would likely have been. This guy actually applied a bit of biblical wisdom to the problem of what women want, at least out of a relationship with men. And of what men want out of a relationship with women.
Women want love. Men want respect.
Or, to use his biblical reference, from Ephesians Chapter 5, verse 33:
…each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
If a woman doesn’t get the love she seeks, she withdraws respect. If a man doesn’t get the respect he seeks, he refuses to love. Chicken and egg problem though. Who gets the love/respect cycle started? Of course, at least in the beginning, it’s the man. He professes his love for the woman; she accepts by reciprocating, an act of respect for his feelings. If she doesn’t, there’s a fatal failure to launch. Sad.
But a failed launch does not a relationship problem make. It is only when the cycle of love and respect has been initiated, and has subsequently enjoyed at least some time of humming along quiescently but then sputters and dies, that there becomes a relationship problem. Who then breaks this suffering-laden cycle of pain, where no one gets what they want? Who gets the partners trading again in the love/respect coin of the realm? Is it up to the man to again offer up his love?
Forget all that. Where’s a Buddhist when you need them, to tell you that the wanting is the source of the pain?
Women want love. Men want respect. But how about no one gets anything? Quit looking to marriage for happiness. Quit the incessant market trading of the double-sided coin. Suppress the hedonism and narcissism and selfishness. Marriage isn’t about getting what you want. It’s about building something bigger than yourself. It’s about making a family that can help provide the people belonging to it what they need to survive, and women don’t need love and men don’t need respect in order to survive. Consider it a happy accident if anyone gets what they want out of it. Find happiness within.
Or, if you prefer, a wife is shown love by the efforts and faithfulness the husband shows to the marriage. A husband is shown respect likewise. It should not be a game of trading one for the other. Water the marriage and family with love and respect and watch the garden bloom. Some happiness should be found in that. But what do I know? I’m no relationship guru. I’m just a guy as confused about things as Mel Gibson (in real life, not in the movie).
I don’t know nor care what the Women’s March on Washington participants wanted. I might know something of what women want from a relationship. But don’t much care about that, either. Maybe that’s why I keep getting dragged to these relationship seminars.