I was at my Aunt Karen’s last week and I asked her how large her nice, ranch-style home was. She had to holler to her husband, Buz, who shouted back without hesitation: “2,650 square feet.”
That got me thinking . . . that it would be pretty boring to be a man. Always thinking logically and knowing the square footage of things. Liking to put things together, take things apart, and always measuring things. More interested in action movies than chick flicks. Preferring HGTV over movies.
I’m glad I’m a woman. I think emotions are fun, even if they cause me grief sometimes. In general, small dramas are exciting. Being sensitive is better than its opposite. I like people, feelings, and estrogen.
I had a transsexual client a few years back who was changing over from a man to a woman. She shared with me that the transition from testosterone to estrogen became an emotional roller coaster. Logic, detachment, and concrete thinking suddenly gave way to sensitivity, crying spells, and an inability to let sleeping emotional dogs lie.
After that, I felt like I understood myself, and women and men, much better than before. We’re obviously hardwired. But despite that hardwiring, in healthy people and healthy relationships, we seek a balance.
In all my couples counseling sessions, I tell my clients that men have to become more like women, and women have to become more like men.
I emphasize that we’ll never turn people inside out, but healthy men become more nurturing, more sensitive, and more attuned to the emotions of others. Healthy women, on the other hand, become more logical, more rational, less sensitive, and less emotional. Some women, and some men have obviously already found this balance within; but in general they don’t show up in my office for couples counseling.
And so the answer to our title question–why can’t men be more like women, and women be more like men is this: In healthy people they are!
And so life goes on. My husband loves being a man, sharing fishing stories with the plumber, measuring things, keeping his tools handy, and being logical and detached, although I can’t imagine why. Now if only one of those tools would lash out at him every once in a while–now, that would make life exciting . . .