Do You Actually LIKE The Opposite Sex?

Great women? Heaven. I know many, I’m getting to know more, and I love having women in my life – as friends, as confidantes, as supporters, as community.

I have always been fortunate in the company I keep, and some of my women friends, despite years and distance, have been part of my life for decades.

I also love men – in relationships and as friends. I appreciate our differing perspectives, that our strengths and weaknesses are complimentary, that our physiques and physical capacities are as well.

We’re gloriously different.

It makes the world so much richer.

And more challenging.

As a woman, I know I’m different from a man. I like it.

As a woman, I’ve yet to figure out the inner workings of a man; I doubt I ever will.

As a woman, I fight stereotypes; I’m certain men do as well.

Women, Appearance, Self-Esteem

Some of my challenges have been eased by physical attributes. Some have been worsened.

Eased? I was pretty enough, not beautiful, somewhat on the nerdy side. I could “brighten” and use my looks when I needed to, or disappear into a crowd just as readily. Frankly, I find that versatility helpful.

Worsened?

For parts of my life I was overweight enough to render me invisible, to lose confidence, to feel undeserving. I got over it. I also got in better shape.

For another thing, I’m small. Early in my corporate career, my stature was problematic. I had no “presence” – critical if you’re to exert a leadership role, to negotiate, or to persuade. I quickly learned to overcome my size when I began public speaking. I learned to project – loud and clear – to very large audiences. I opened my mouth and let smarts, voice, and words achieve my intentions.

Girly Girls, Manly Men

Other ways in which I’m not who (or what) I appear to be?

First may I say it annoys me that we use the expression “girly girl” while we don’t have “womanly woman” in common usage? Manly man? Nothing diminishing in that phrase, is there. Ah, language and its subtle messages, for better or worse.

Back on point – I’m not a girly girl by any stretch, yet I love being a woman.

I love the way my body language alters when a gentleman arouses my interest. I adore my flirty lingerie and my sexy shoes, and the trappings of dressing like a feminine woman. I’m delighted when engaged in the playful banter that is part of the courtship dance. And I love that I feel with a woman’s heart and a woman’s introspection.

I’m aware these are stereotypical elements of “womanliness,” and a haphazard and disparate sampling at that. Yet each is part of who I am, and the “woman” I enjoy being.

In other areas, I’ve been told that I skew male – funny, since I gravitate toward a more “manly man” who may in turn skew female in a handful of areas.

My masculine attributes?

My determination is often (wrongly) associated with men; my tastes in fashion and style tend toward clean lines and sleek surfaces (deemed “masculine”); my approach to language – when it suits me – is direct, and occasionally directive.

That we label these preferences male or female amuses me. I consider them personal, not a matter of gender.

Language is power; We all need our power

Yes, there’s nature and nurture, but in that nurturing (and all the cultural influences that surround us), we’re socialized to speak as men and women, and persistent issues of (diluting) language concern me.

Weak language undermines the message we deliver. And women are socialized to couch opinions in careful or questioning modifiers. Women qualify; men make their points.

Is this always the case? Of course not. And I’m thrilled that I can communicate with the delicacy required in tricky (emotional) situations, as well as more directly – erasing those competence and confidence-reducing terms like “a little” or “just” or even “in my opinion” – unless the softening of my stance serves my purpose.

Manly? Womanly?

The bottom line is my commitment to picking and choosing what suits me as an individual – habits, attributes, language – regardless of whether it is thought of as manly or womanly, none of which diminishes my pleasure in being a woman.

I like my sex – and interacting with both men and women.

I like men – the way their perspectives and approach challenge me to question my own – at times to revise, and at others, to hold firm.

I like that many men I have known appreciate a woman’s perspective; their eyes are opened, their take on issues modified, in light of what women more naturally bring to the table.

I like that men and women communicate differently; I believe we can learn from each other, and appropriate techniques from the opposite sex to better meet our objectives.

Gender Futures

Do we still have considerable ground to cover, when it comes to the Gender Wars?

We certainly do if we’re talking about peaceful coexistence in marriage, as well as divorce. We certainly do if we’re talking about employment opportunities, family-friendly employment structures, pay parity, and persistent cultural misconceptions on both sides of the divide. Expectations of men and women – sexually and on the home front in particular – remain a tangle of contradiction and condescension, on the part of both sexes.

Does that mean everything must be a fight? That we can’t hang on to a sense of humor? That we can’t speak out for equity and options – respectfully?

It’s a tough road, yes.

There’s no single right answer, no.

But I’ll choose to respect and love individuals – enjoying my appreciation of the opposite sex. Liking men, and happily saying as much. What about you?

  • Do you like your husband or wife, your boyfriend or girlfriend?
  • Do you like the men you meet online or the women you chat with at the local coffee shop?



© D A Wolf

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Comments

  1. I have so many women friends that my life is really full. I also love men. I used to have so many men friends but now that has narrowed to a few great ones. Great article.

    • BigLittleWolf says:

      I’m so glad to hear that you, too, still love men!

      With everything we read (and even say) – often focusing on the challenges we have to overcome – we forget that are great men and great women who continue to enjoy each other, and our differences. Simply because we seek to make things more “equitable” doesn’t mean we seek sameness in the sexes. On the contrary – how dull (and sad) would that be?

      Thanks for weighing in, and for the reassurance.

  2. I think it comes down to personality for me — I generally don’t try to peg specific attributes to any gender. If it turns out the conversations I enjoy more happen to be with men more than women, I chalk it up to the people I happen to know at the time, not a personal preference for men over women (interacting in person, that is). When it comes to the blogs I read, though, I think I skew more toward women’s writing because of subject matter more than the way the subjects are discussed.

  3. I really LIKE men. A lot more than I LIKE women. Maybe that makes me a jerk, but I don’t know.. I still have women friends, it just happens that women in authority figures and myself are like oil and water. I guess I take it a bit better from men.
    But I’m also.. oftentimes… the girl who doesn’t get along with anyone’s husband. So there’s that role, too.

  4. Pj Schott says:

    I like anyone civilized enough to be classified as an honorary animal. male/female makes no difference. As far a house with a member of the opposite sex … Don’t believe men and women were meant to live together.

  5. BigLittleWolf says:

    @CT – Interesting about skewing toward women’s writing. That’s a whole other (intriguing) conversation…
    @Lindsay – Thanks so much for the feedback. And when you don’t like a friend’s husband, what does it do to your friendship? No impact? Less time with the friend, or time spent differently?
    @Pj – You make me laugh! I just need that metaphorical (and actual?) “room of my own” – and I enjoy living with a man. (Don’t even care about the toilet seat… ) That said, dogs and cats are pretty great, too!

  6. I have some great women in my life; wonderful, wonderful wonderful. I have to keep great company because it challenges me, inspires me and keeps me sane. As I have gotten older (I’ll be 40 in Oct) I have found that the number of women I have in my life has decreased for one reason or another.

    I love and have always loved men. I have a couple of really good male friends, some of them have dwindled due to life circumstances, they moved, gained a family, etc… I’m grateful that my ex-husband and I are good friends, that helps in raising our son and he can benefit from both genders and see that his parents are friends.

    Overall, both sexes rock and are a great compliment.

  7. I knew there as a good reason why we get along so well! In so many ways we’re cut from the same cloth. While my girlfriends fill a certain need deep in my soul, friendships with the other side can be equally rewarding. I submitted a writing sample to an online gender indicator and was told it was a high probability I was a male writer. Go figure. I, too, am not a girly girl by any stretch of the imagination, but LOVE being a womanly woman…except for those hot flashes and night sweats. But other than that, I’m perfect! ;-)

  8. To Women, As Far as I’m Concerned

    The feelings I don’t have I don’t have.
    The feeling I don’t have, I won’t say I have.
    The feelings you say you have, you don’t have.
    The feelings you would like us both to have, we neither of us have.
    The feelings people ought to have, they never have.
    If people say they’ve got feelings, you may be pretty sure they haven’t got them.
    So if you want either of us to feel anything at all
    You’d better abandon all ideas of feelings altogether.

    – D.H. Lawrence

  9. I’m with you BLW in truly liking women and men alike, in all their differences… (especially the dear friends and kindred spirits one is blessed to meet in all sorts of corners of experience). What I’m really working on, which is easier right after yoga, and harder in traffic, etc., is loving those scared, unhappy and hurting folks that seem to make life harder for others (particularly kids) when in truth they need liking, loving and true understanding, when it truth they are simply ourselves in all our multiplicity, or so I’m sometimes supposing.

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