Between the Wall Street news and US politics, I have been in search of some levity. And I found it at Defending the Caveman, a one man show at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, CT.
Originally on Broadway, this show was both highly entertaining and amazingly insightful. Taking things to the most elemental levels, Defending the Caveman shares a theory to explain the difficulties men and women have in communicating with each other. The basis? Men are Hunters and Women are Gatherers. Just as I have been saying for years, it’s in our DNA.
So what does this mean? Men are very focused on one activity at a time, because that is what successful hunting requires. This explains why men can’t watch TV and TALK to us at the same time among other things. Yet, women are skilled at multi-tasking from eons of taking in everything around us to gather the food we need. (I always add watching the children too.) The survival of the species depended on each gender using their respective skills to their fullest potential. That has created our problems in relating to and understanding each other today.
The one man show includes many poignant and hilarious examples of how this plays out in modern everyday life. From the way women have conversations and "gather" details about each others lives to the way men come up short with any scoop after their own exchanges. It also impacts our fights – they seem to recover much faster from disagreements. The vignettes were all very funny as well as shockingly accurate.
But the part I found most enlightening, was how the show got started. Taking us back quickly to the 50’s and 60’s when our financial independence, women’s lib and s-e-x-u-a-l revolution got started. Bringing us through the 80’s where wonen really got a strong foothold in business equality and started demanding that men become more sensitive. Then moving into the time when, as the actor pointed out, men became ass-h-les. He literally said that. During the 90’s women’s attitudes towards men shifted dramatically.
I have wondered where the root of this being disgusted with men took hold. I have noted this outlook in so many of my clients. Many women today don’t respect men or really even LIKE men anymore. How many of us prefer to simply do without a MAN? It’s the "why bother" attitude that is so incredibly prevalent today.
According to Defending the Caveman, this transition took place in the 90’s. Maybe this is a reaction to the surging divorce rate. Maybe it’s related to competition between men and women and the glass ceiling. Maybe it’s a natural part of our transition during this continuing evolution between the sexes.
No matter the root cause, the results are obvious. Half the adult population is single and according to the AARP relationship study conducted in 2005, only 16% of singles care to do anything about their solo-status.
As a gender, if we continue down this path, we may be looking at a future that is not so bright. So what can we do? Well, go see this show. And really LISTEN to the differences that are pronounced and not changeable. Men will always be men. Women will always be women. But to continue to build families and lives together, we need to really "get" that our differences are inborn and genetic. Becoming more equal will never make us more similar.
From my experience as a dating coach, women say they want men who are more sensitive, yet they want men who are strong leaders, confident and good decision makers. To foster this behavior, can we also ask them to be sensitive like us at the same time? Remember, men are best doing one thing at a time and doing it really well.
I am not being facetious. I think it’s time women consider that recognizing what each s-e-x is skilled at and understanding what is realistic to expect from men, can helps us start to relax, respect and enjoy men once again.
I am not suggesting that we allow them to treat us poorly or accept sub-standard behavior. I am just suggesting that we cut them some slack in certain expectations regarding their ability to be like us. ..
If you are looking for a loving relationship with a man, the very first step is to make sure you LIKE men. Not that you are switching sides. But you can’t want to be with a man and not like or respect them at the same time. It’s just not possible. The men can sense your feelings, even if they don’t know it consciously. THEY KNOW.
Give this some thought. I share my revelation with you because I have first hand experience with it. I am a product of competing with men in the workplace during the 80’s. I got my MBA and went to work in a Fortune 500 company. When I was done in 1990 and started my freelance business that continues today, I was fully entrenched in my "Men Suck" campaign.
At the end of the 90’s, I woke up single and distressed on my birthday and set myself on the journey to find love. One of the first things I had to deal with was my total disgust and dislike of men. When I made that attitudinal shift, everything else started to open and soften.
I encourage each one of you to give it serious thought if you want to find a good man to share a loving life, You will most likely need to begin with recognizing that men and women are not alike. If women continue to judge men by this feminine measuring stick, I can guarantee the process will be so much harder.
My goal as a dating coach is to encourage you to get out there to find the love you want and deserve. Good men exist in the world and there are plenty of them. My coaching question boils down to: "Are you open to seeing that as a realistic possibility?" I sure hope so! And I bet that you can make this shift!
Wishing you love!