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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Vagina Men/Landmark

Today Wednesday.  Not yesterday.  For some reason I had it in my head yesterday that it was Wednesday and I actually went to my writing group and at 7:05 wondered why I was the only one there!   Guess cuz I'm not feeling well, I'm a bit foggy in the head as well as the lungs.  At the office with dawg.  Feeling a bit better than yesterday.

The best part of my day yesterday was reading Debra's Good Friday sermon which was inspired by some of my blog posts (the ones about being the most human human).  Here is the link.  Go to the sermon for Good Friday.   I enjoyed it immensely even though I'm not religious and was so proud to be quoted!    Another good thing was that I took the plunge and signed up for The Landmark Forum. If you don't know about this group it's kind of hard to describe and if you Google it, there are mixed reviews with some people expressing concern that it's cultish.  These are the former EST folks and the seminar I signed up for is a 4 day intensive workshop where they essentially sleep deprive you, break down all your defenses, turn you into a blubbering mess and then reconstruct you in their image.  Can you tell I have some ambivalence?   Friends I respect have gone through the process and come out the other side stronger, more self aware and eminently more effective in managing their lives.  These days I feel I have little to lose and I'm open to new ways of being - I NEED a new way of being.  I will surrender myself at the door, do all the exercises, share my most troubling issues, deface myself if necessary, suspend judgement, etc.   This will be a departure for me - drinking the Kool-Aid.  I'm not a Kool-Aid drinker!  I'm the one who yells, "Don't drink the Kool-Aid!" I'll probably come back like a Stepford person and the rest of my days will be evangelizing about Landmark.   If that happens, I forgive you in advance for not continuing to read this blog!

Last evening I had an exchange with a fellow I dated once - remember "Nice Dave"?   He said he wanted to be friends so I hit him up on text.  He was driving back from an exciting first date with someone he was very attracted to.  I counseled him to play it cool, to keep her on edge, not over-communicate, make her sweat it out a bit.  He was skeptical that this is really what women want.  I assured him it is. Maybe it's counter-intuitive to a nice guy like Dave to keep a woman guessing - he kept saying he wanted her to like him and he was afraid if he ignored her (as I counseled) she would look elsewhere.

That got me thinking about vagina men.  First heard that term from Kaveh - think there was a book of the same name.  It's a crude expression, right?  The thinking is that Western men have become emasculated due to a number of factors, modern culture, feminism, economic hardships, and the loss of omnipotence that came from having faceless enemies (cold war, terrorism, etc). Think Alan Alda and Phil Donohue as the poster vagina men.  There is a backlash against these overly sensitive men who end up being more like our girlfriends than satisfying partners.  Most of the men I've met on the Internet dating site fall into this unfortunate category.  Maybe it's rare these days to find a manly man, one who respects the boundaries between men and women, who embraces his role as protector and defender.  I for one, need a man who will say "no" to me from time to time.

So when I Googled "vagina men", looking for the book reference, I found an alarming site that described the toppling of the World Trade center as a castrating event for Western men.  The author went on to say that what was left, the fiery hole in the ground, was representative of current modern culture - a smoldering vagina.  Wow I hated this analogy!  The smoldering vagina represents the insatiable consumerism of the west, the hole that gobbles everything in sight.   This is woman hating imagery for sure!  One step away from Peter Peter and his pumpkin chastity belt, right?

Where is the truth in all of this?  I think it's a strange and interesting time for men/woman dynamics. There is the recent friction over reproductive health that has many women hopping mad.  I liked the placard of one protester that read, "Women brought all politicians into the world.  In 2012, women can take them out!"  Women are pushing back, challenging laws that require for example, a vaginal ultrasound prior to getting an abortion.  Some female legislators have, tongue in cheek, proposed laws that would require a man seeking medicine for an erectile dysfunction to submit to an invasive prostate exam as well as undergo psychological counseling to ensure the malfunction was not a psychological problem.  The sexes are facing off again in this political year.

It will be telling to see how men and women in this country relate in years to come.  I'm hoping the pendulum swings to the center.  Think there are more and more women like me who want equality of the sexes in the courtroom but still want their men manly.


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