Every intellligent man I've ever talked to has denied that there are any differences between the genders that are truly worth mentioning. The funny thing is, every intelligent woman that I have talked to has denied that there would not be some very significant differences. It seems to me, that women in general have a broader scope of vision that encompasses viewpoints connected to emotions and intuition. It seems to me, that the old adage that women are caretakers and therefore tend to be more compassionate still stands true despite some attempts at greater equality between the sexes. Equality is also a funny thing because in my country, it means that men don't open doors to women or help them out when they are struggling with their baby carriages. Some more intellectual people try and reach the true essence of equality that would allow both parties to have an equal say in matters of the heart as well as matters of day-to-day practicality. I read somewhere, that Swedish women are the happiest women in the world. They have the most freedom to do what they want and also have the man's blessing. They don't seem to mind too much that it's at the expense of the old fashioned courteous ways that make a woman feel like a woman. Subject not closed as yet, it seems. See an early blog on the issue of true equality from a spiritual point of view.
I recently became aware by talking to various people that I need to try and empty myself of a lot of indoctrination that has happened over the past years. I need to hold on more to my quest for real honesty and authenticity and not the make belief kind of truthfulness that abounds. It's not very easy because there are many counterforces that try to allure a person into a dishonest position. If people you engage yourself with are not on the same wavelength, you'll have even more trouble in this regard. This is anyway a very real and important issue for me right now. Men have tried to undermine my strength because they were weak individuals, society has attempted to squash me and force me into a category of second rate citizens (they obviously have no use for me so why bother?) and spiritual people have been very fervent in handing out advice as to how I should live my life. I have been observing and digesting and trying to figure out what all these people are about. I see very little altruism in this world. I honestly don't think altruism is in the eyes of the beholder, though beauty is, and therefore we have a saying that stresses beauty. I see a lot of inner beauty in human beings almost as if I can't help it, but reality proves to be different. I feel very strongly, that it's a case of confusion, frustration and ignorance that covers up the inner light. On the rare occasion when I see kindness, I light up as well. To be complimented for one's kindness is a beautiful thing and something I am always very grateful to hear. But when is it only a compliment meant to allure you to feel more for the other person? In the real world, you may be able to tell quite easily. In the cyber world, this may be far more difficult. People are not who you might think they are, though that granted you can indeed in my opinion use discernment and see some portions of the truth. Virtual contacts is a great way of exercising discernment.
So how does kindness relate to equality and gender issues? Well, it seems to me that it's very difficult to be friends with a man. In the past, it has worked well for me because there has been this unspoken agreement that nothing else is going on or ever will. I have been fairly sure of what I've wanted and I've also been able to read the men sufficiently to know what they want. Usually, they express romantic interest very quickly or then not at all. In my more adult years I have met only one guy who came onto me after we'd known each other for quite some time. But I did suspect him of fancying me all the same.
In recent years, I've had to rely on internet contacts in order to have a social life. I have believed in various compliments regarding my talents or kindness. It hasn't always occurred to me that there might have been an ulterior motif such as getting me to be supportive of them. Women beware! If they claim to be terribly interested in who you are, please practice caution. Unfortunately, most of my experiences with men who were interested in me were pretty bad. A couple of Asians wanted to come and meet me almost without any preliminary contact at all. A German guy who was very much into some spiritual guru was prepared to cheat on his wife and "keep" a woman in Helsinki that he visited quite often. Well, that's what I figured out later since his first explanation was simply that the marriage wasn't going well at all. He wasn't quite sure about me though, so he grilled me for a couple of months and wouldn't agree to meet me. I was curious and since we got on well I somehow felt interested to meet. The waiting was very stressful on me though. We met once, I gave him all sorts of viewpoints I think he needed to hear, and he told me that it would be hard to live with me because I "notice everything". He was nice enough but had I had the experiences I have had now I would have bid him adieu in a week's time within knowing him. My choices are sometimes a bit odd, I do admit that. Whenever I feel a connection with someone, I am prepared to make a lot of efforts in order to get to know them. Now the succession of experiences that followed included an Italian who called whenever it suited him (he was obviously not interested and that caused some negative reactions in me), some really perverted suggestions, and the return of my ex that involved a 24/7 waiting period to hear from him in one way or another. He was in Helsinki while I had already moved away to a town 2 hours away. After that was over I waited for an American guy to show up here in Finland but he chickened out. Soon after another American came onto me online and made all sorts of promises that I only later found out that he wasn't able to keep. I was waiting for his phone calls every day. Eventually I had to go to America myself in order to meet him. Well, it was yet another disaster lasting three months, after which I was still waiting for his calls for a number of months and then for my things that he is not able to deliver. And all this is only for starters; there's more but I will refrain from boring the reader. I do also have a condition that causes very low stress tolerance but along with all this constant waiting on men, their visits, calls and decisions, wore me out completely. I obviously had to stop being so desperate, haha. But anyway, you get the picture? For some odd karmic reason, I've had to WAIT a lot. For men. I guess they do need to retreat into their cave every so often, though that's really a best case scenario.
Now, with all the virtual messaging going on I do feel somewhat desperate to talk to and actually get to meet the people I am talking to as fast as possible. This is obviously difficult if the geographical distance is great. Yet one can always hope, and maybe even plan it. This is especially true in the case of the opposite sex. Now why would this be?
I think it's quasi impossible to engage in an interesting conversation with someone of the opposite sex without considering the element of romance. However, since I'm rather realistically minded in this sense and have never felt love in cyber space, I find it very hard to understand how troubling this is to other people. A recent incident left me completely upside down when my vision of a truly honest and interesting quest for authenticity was interpreted as a desire for romance. Let me say this about myself and many other women; we do want to feel appreciated as women and it can be a great starting point for friendship that can eventually lead to something more. However, if we feel appreciated only for our brains (or I do anyway) then it's kind of a turn off. Most of the time. It's not that I am aiming at a romantic outcome. I just don't want to be treated by a man like a person without a gender. On the other hand, I also don't want to be accused of looking for romance just because I'm expressing interest in a man's intellect and personality. Oh, I know this is confusing and I've been struggling this weekend to make sense of it all. It's all the more difficult because of the elusive concept of equality. What exactly does it mean? Nobody knows but those who are intelligent feel it's important. I think that if it's very clear from the start that the connection is only based on friendship and will not go further, then there is no problem. This is very difficult to establish in the virtual world, however. It is just way too easy to fantasize, or to misunderstand and twist another's efforts to be genuine and open. It's even more confusing when the genuinity and openness, as well as kindness, is being encouraged, but there are no signs that there could ever be a meeting in real life. I mean, if someone is at least a little interested, they would agree that meeting would be a goal to work towards, right? Surely it's only normal that one would express some frustration if this is not possible very fast. So how do you deal with such ambiguities?
Because of a great confusion on this level in regards to an internet contact I had a forceful emotional break down that brought up all the bad experiences I've had in the past few years, as well as my fear of rejection that popped up all of a sudden. My gutfeeling was telling me that I was in yet another situation of waiting. The messages were not clear regarding the expectations on the relationship in question and I felt that I had to play by someone else's rules, though later on when it was already "too late" I learned that I had had some kind of expecatations (I'm aware of only one, which was to be heard and understood just like he did!). I am simplifying the situation so as to stick the issue that my blog is about. I have to say though, that as a result of my strong reaction, suddenly it seemed that neither my kindness nor my feelings were that imporant to the other person anymore. A female friend suggested to me this is to be expected. When men run into trouble, they avoid it. They don't even want to consider the possibility that they may be losing an extraordinary person, a "one timer". They tend to think in terms of the here and now and what makes them uncomfortable is what needs to be eliminated. I'm sorry if this sounds terribly stereotypical and men are welcome to disagree, but this assumption is based on years of experience and talk with other women. In this case my emotional break down was apparently reason enough to cause division. No matter how much I tried to explain the reasons and how they had little to do with the person in question, there was little receptivity as if the knight's shield was up to prevent any arrows from hitting the wrong place. I do wish that men would realize that women usually are much more emotional and not be so scared of it. We really can't help at times that we don't have a choice in controlling our feelings.
Meanwhile, as I'm waiting for some kind of response that may or may not come, I'm really cooling off. Whereas some things obviously turn guys off, some things turn women off. Somewhere deep down the knowledge that someone wasn't all that interested in talking on the phone and meeting up, hurts the woman in me. It seems to me, that I was asking for answers when I shouldn't have, because the other person needed space. Personally I have trouble dealing with feelings that are left hanging in the air and in fact don't tolerate that in a relationship. This is maybe part of my personal shadow but if I'm willing to talk to about it, then one would hope the other person who acted as a trigger would be willing to help work it out or just be supportive. In my case this didn't happen and I never got any other answer than "it was too much". Suddenly my openness becomes a toxic need for attention. I learn in retrospect that I have expected too much - well... I think that's very relative from person to person. I'm not perfect, yet I do need to try and understand... how do you when you don't get a straight answer? Seems to me all this person wanted was help on his own path, since my kindness was welcome to the extent that it supported this person's understanding of himself. And that's from someone who hated narcissism (which could very well be a sign that he in fact has a shadow side that is narcissistic). Sure I may have misinterpreted... I was also reprimanded because I try and analyze this person. I'm trying to understand this guy but am not getting response, so why should I not try and analyze? There's this thing called a woman's intuition, too... Warning signs come up when you hear word's such as control and reticience plus a bunch of excuses why things have to be a certain way and they have to think about proceeding or not rather than wondering what we can do. Honestly? I think this kind of behaviour is selfish and rude, even though they may be coming out of a person's denied shadow side. Remark that though I was very upset I didn't yell or demean this person. Men alway say yeah yeah they do want to grow - but how often have I actually seen it happen unless it was completely on their terms and thus just a repetition of what they've already decided about themselves?
Considering how much effort I've put into so many bad relationships, courtships, contacts and dates, it's no wonder that the lack of that little extra can make the whole thing fall apart. It seems to me that men and women feel differently about the romantic aspect of a relationship or the expectations that could lead to one in the end, but we sure both need encouragment of some kind to keep going. I can't really explain why this is - maybe there are exceptions but I truly wonder?
One thing I've gained during my emotional break down, however, was the insight that I will continue pursuing uncompromising honesty, absolute truthfulness and authenticity no matter what people say or do to discourage me. And I mean that society supports shallowness, but also that some people discourage you indirectly by simply misunderstanding you and not agreeing to explore these issues on a really deep level. I had a vision of what it could be between two people and how much one could grow from an interaction based in honesty (the kind kind, of course) and true equality, but it didn't materialize. Perhaps it was all my fault - who is to say? I will try and contemplate my strategies, of course. Avoid men who right away think that I am in love with them, and stuff like that... (haha). All I can do is hope that I will find new people who understand and don't shy away because the going gets a little rough. What I do hate are people who promise to be there for you when times are difficult, yet take off as soon as it doesn't suit them. Maybe I'm too hard on people who feel uncomfortable about some issue of mine, but frankly, I've never even heard anyone say that before. People like to project outwards what they have already established about themselves, but when something interferes with their self-image, they run. Intelligent men like to talk about equality, but where is it when truly needed? I see men usually wanting the upper hand. What is true compassion really about anyway?
Artwork: "Bus Door", digital photograph by author, all rights reserved, 2009