I think about gender every day. It is everywhere. Tonight I am supposed to write a paper on how the female gender is treated in the Middle East. I am having trouble. Not because there is not enough to be appalled at. Because of course, there is. It is horrific the stories of stonings, how women are traded like mules, genital mutilation, rape, etc. etc. It is all horrific.
But somehow it feels disingenuous to get overly righteous about how women should be treated there, ignoring the fact that we have not figured out in our own world how to bridge the gender gap. Pointing out the obvious with too righteous a finger somehow makes me feel guilty about the transgressions more subtle that may come from my own person.
And I find it impossible to discuss gender without understanding my own interactions. Having just emerged from a failed marriage some few years ago, and a few failed attempts at establishing relationships since then, I have started to question what exactly I am doing. What do I want? What is it that I am doing in engaging in intimate relationships?
And I don't know: outside of the fact, anyhow, that I am attracted to women. But we get together to satisfy more than just sexual needs. Or else things would be much more simple. Are we looking for mothers and fathers? Are we trying to procreate, albeit on a subconscious biologically inspired level?
For me, I can say that at least on the conscious level, I am wanting companionship. The thought of being alone while old sounds terrible. The thought of wasting my youth alone also sounds terrible. But also terrible have been the relationships that make you feel more alone than when alone. Have we all not been there?
It seems like no matter what happens I am unsatisfied. The only thing that gives me hope is that I know I have rushed into most relationships. So I have not tried being patient yet. I have not taken my time yet. And of course this is the hardest thing in the world to do, when I find someone I like.
Of course there is the whole 'finding someone you like' thing. The ones I really like are always unavailable. Funny that. Do I do that on purpose? No. I don't think so. I just have impeccable taste, and because I always choose the good ones, they are usually snatched up already. Damn.
I don't know how I got from the beginning of this topic to where I am now. I guess I am questioning my proximity and understanding of the opposite sex. I know I don't generally like very many men. And all my closest friends are women. I *think* I understand women. But do I really? Maybe not. Or maybe the issues I am having with my relationships have nothing to do with the opposite sex, but my own. Maybe I don't understand my own gender.
That is more likely. I grew up with no dad, an abusive step father, and no positive male role-models.
There is one man in my adult life that has become a positive role model. A gay man in his late 50s. He is a poet. He moved to NY just a few months ago and I miss him terribly. He used to read to me for hours: the friendship was great because he loved sharing, and I loved listening. There was no sexual relationship. He was more like a big brother, or maybe a father. He still is important in my life. We write letters, real ones. He has given me hope in my gender.
Do I need a straight man for a proper role-model?
Back to women: I suggest that most if not all the abuses of the female gender is rooted in the misunderstanding and lack of knowledge about one's own gender. The fear generated causes men throughout the world and history to treat the female gender the way it has. This is presumptuous of me. But I am going with this idea for now.