I began blogging on Facebook and because I was active my profile got sent around. At the time I had a reasonably good profile picture of myself. I began receiving a flood of friend requests from single males recently for what I suspect may be made ignoble reasons. I replaced my profile picture with one of me and my husband and a big family shot at the back. Needless to say, the male attention diminished.
It made me ponder about the dynamic between men and women. There is something about the inevitable attraction or need for members of the opposite sex to impress each other. One must be blind to ignore that in general, this plays itself out differently with men and women, obviously varying depending on age, circumstance and other extraneous factors. The stereo-type notion supports the view that men are more driven by lust (for want of a better phrase) and women by romance. This may be a result of socialization or innate nature, and there are many opinions about that. Although women are becoming more assertive, it appears that men still largely assume the role of the hunter/ pursuer by wooing, and women the role of the “hunted”/ pursued. Unlike traditional prey however, women in this scenario hold the power to accept or reject their male counter-parts advances. This is in keeping with the physicality of the two genders whereby the male is the ‘giver’ and the woman the ‘receiver’ in sexual encounters. Although I have thoughts about the source of these basic notions, what provokes my attention today, are the deeper aspects of this male-female interaction. I watch people all the time and examine their and my own behaviour, in an attempt to deepen my understanding of our species. Personally, I seem to illicit what can objectively be termed as ‘interest’ from members of the opposite sex.
When I was younger, I would often receive aggressive pursuits from males, and being an intense person (shaped very much by my childhood molestation), I was often aggressive in my reaction to these pursuits. I watch their glances and read their reactions. As I grew older theses interactions changed and as a middle-aged woman, I often experience admiring glances with a decided deference and distance. It is almost as if they know from my presence and the energy around me that I am not approachable. I oddly get some interest from younger males, who either are unaware of my age or sometimes embarrassingly try to hide their interest (I still get surprised by such attention and often can’t help looking surprised). I also observe male reaction to other females in the surroundings, and there is similar ‘interest’ in them. The women on the other hand, mostly do not react, show mild irritation or are flattered but rarely return the attention. If they do, the interaction becomes subtle and more personal, with constant glances back and forth between them. This ‘mating game’ seems to occur irrespective of whether either of them has a wedding ring which visibly shows their marital status. These are general observations and certainly are not applicable to all males and females I observe. On social media and the like, males who see my picture (the reasonable one I had posted before I changed it), without having met me, or not having met me for several years, very often make bold moves by commenting on how I look or how I used to look. My immediate reaction is one of ‘distaste’ or ‘anger’, especially if they know that I am married with 3 children. One of my friends can’t understand why I don’t just receive it as a compliment. Don’t get me wrong I am human and as vulnerable to flattery and attention as anyone else. However, when the pursuit crosses the line of respect, I feel objectified and I experience inner turmoil. Unfortunately, I have not overcome this trigger, because of my own gender battles and perception of males, which is part of my growth path (perhaps a discussion for another day).
Notwithstanding my personal angst, I am intrigued by how many ‘non-single’ people find no problem with pursuing other interests either in the form of flirtation, pornography for some, or extra-marital indulgences. Having discussed the difficulties in relationships in some of my earlier blogs, I wonder if it is because people are searching for ‘more’, or if they are simply searching for love. Whether they express this through lustful pursuits or the need for deeper romances, is it not all a search for a deeper connection with a human being and not finding the totality in their current relationships, the search or ‘hunt’ continues? For others, there may be no hunting or extraneous affairs, but a dedicated attempt to change their partners to suit their specifications (this aspect was covered in previous blogs). It is natural that people find other people attractive, whether they are married or not. However, finding someone attractive and pursuing every object of your attraction are very different phenomenon. Imagine if everyone pursued and acted on every attraction they had by sleeping with that person, what chaos would ensue. Not only will partners and spouses be affected but so will children and families. A commitment in a marriage (whether monogamous or polygamous – again another debate for another time), must surely be respected? To me these are part of natural laws. The scriptures of most religions advocate these boundaries. The scripture that I aspire to follow, advocates lowering one’s glance to avoid the potential of escalating romantic advances in situations where there is attraction between strangers. Why, one may ask, is this necessary if people have a right to their own choices, to look and/ act on it or not. Sure, but the force of sexual energy is sometimes overwhelming and is a tough barrier to overcome.
Even the most devout, sometimes find themselves overtaken by carnal distractions. We are humans, searching, vulnerable. So yes, we have a choice to exercise caution and to use the appropriate tools to employ such caution when needed. Personally, I rarely find an overwhelming attraction to anyone these days and by the grace of God, I have no desire to search, but on the odd occasion that I find the pull of carnality, my first port of call is my husband. Another tool I learned from my religion that has assisted me.
Perhaps we were created to attract each other so that we may gain a higher understanding of our differences and similarities, and find a way to overcome distraction and nourish our souls? I feel like our souls pull us in one direction and our bodies and ego in another. Perhaps the illusive all-consuming love is not to be found in our relations with each other but in our relations with the Divine, and when we unlock that love, we will be able to love human beings without fear. We will be able to love… Perhaps if we find pure love, our vane pursuits would find less prominence. I leave with those thoughts today. With love Radia