Monday, May 01, 2006

Man lifts or man shadows?

In response to CA's thread about "Man Shadows" and their bad effects upon women, including sailing women, one opinion was written that the urge to explore and sail the bounding oceans could be genetic. Maybe.

But how do you tease out which part is genetic (average strength, muscle mass, perhaps pre-wired mating behaviors) or just plain old socialization? Is spatial visualization hard-wired or influenced by testosterone or is it something that's learned? Did millenia of guys going out hunting-gathering and women spending most of their productive lives in child bearing and rearing leave a genetic imprint?

Or is a lot of it learned? Is it "mere" tradition that could be swept away as old roles are discarded? How many role models have sailing women had compared to males? How many families would have done what Tania Aebi's dad did and give her a boat when she turned 18? How many families still wouldn't encourage their girls to have much to do with sailing?

Also, a whole 'nother discussion could be about the destructiveness of men shadows depending upon whether a man's influence is aligned with a woman's goals, aspirations, and welfare, or is simply a selfish ego trip or attempt to dominate and manipulate or make up for a guy's own inadequacies.

And, even if the alignment is good, when does pushing / cajoling / cheering / support go over some line and become unproductive or harmful? And how does even the best-meaning and emotionally sensitive and supportive guy in the world accurately determine where that line is and avoid trespassing?

Maybe a guy who means well and wants to help will inevitably have to cross the line, if only slightly - and be corrected quickly (firmly but gently out of deference to fragile male egos) by an assertive woman - in order to "calibrate" his position. And they'll have to do it again and again as both members of a couple learn and grow and discover new interests and develop new abilities and face and solve new challenges.

If the effects of men shadows are like those of a leading boat's bad air, is it possible that one of the good guys could communicate well enough with a woman to create the opposite of a man shadow - - a "man lift"? (And no, not the ones you rent at construction equipment supply houses.)

So, what would be your criteria for a man to share a "man lift"? Is it even possible? How do you tell a man when he's over the line and not helping or if his help isn't helpful or wanted? Diplomatically? Or do you tell him at all? Is it something he maybe doesn't learn until about the time you dump him? When is a guy's "help" or "support" oppressive or stifling? How do you tell the guy when you just need some breathing room and a chance to work out things on your own or maybe just be listened to without the guy thinking he's obligated to mount a rescue or engineer a list of solutions? Guys, how well do you think you know when you're help isn't helping? Or do you find out too late?

If there are "man lifts" can you give an example of one? When has a man's support been appropriate and helpful without going over the line? Or, when might a guy's support have been at least close to meeting the test and mostly useful? Have any couples had success in getting the guy trained to provide a lift more often than a shadow?


At 6:28 PM, May 01, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like CA's been bitch-slapping you again! I shared my man lift this morning. Actually, if the lighting is just right, I can see a shadow behind my man lift! It is, however, tough to get that shadow, when she always has to have the lights turned off. They're gonna be mad at you no matter what. Just have a little fun with it, and show them a good time. Save all the psychological BS for your next lifetime. We could be sailing instead! Or perhaps, it's just penis envy...

At 5:40 PM, May 03, 2006, Blogger Pat said...

Poor Anonymous just doesn't know the joy he could find in mutual surrender to a wise, benevolent sailing goddess. But, he's young; maybe he'll learn.

At 9:51 AM, May 06, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow..."wise, benevolent sailing goddess", huh? Doesn't seem to fit well with "Black Magic". Wouldn't the "Enchanted Sorceress who lurks in the Man Shadows" be more appropriate? You've gotta look at the big picture here. Yes, young... Old enough to have seen it all, and YOUNG enough to see it again. :) "Mutual surrender"? Are you holding out on us? Is there some kind of black magic, sadomasochism going on here? I hear S&M is big these days...


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