Monday, April 04, 2005

EOTM: Escape from the Dating Trap

Men and women today are trapped in a cycle of manipulation and counter manipulation which few of them understand. Throughout the 20th century, all reality and substance have been slowly leached out of everyone's lives and have been replaced by addiction to, and narcotization by, an unfufilling cycle of acquistion, achievement, and disappointment when that which they acquire and achieve fails to fill the emptiness inside. Then a new cycle begins to acquire more and achieve more in hopes that it will be enough, followed by a cycle of even more disappointment when it fails to be. In the process, both men and women have been stripped of their humanity and turned into objects to be acquired, then disposed of.

The devastating effects of mass media have created homogenized caricatures of men and women which do not reflect the reality of any woman or man, yet which both sexes have been subtly conditioned to expect of the other. Trapped in sets of roles and expectations of appearance, mislead about what the other sex wants and expects, completely lacking role models except the fictional characters fed to them under the disguise of "entertainment", people are leading fictional lives and choosing fictional mates. When the day comes that one or both can no longer maintain the fiction, or one either discovers or reveals the degree to which their shared fiction departs from reality, the result is emotional carnage and hate. We see more of this around us every day than we ever see of real love.

The societal pressures and demands for pairing and mating, combined with the biological pressures to do the same, are slamming men and women up against each other and have trapped both into living scripts which are fallacies and fantasies and have no relationship to real lives. These scripts have extensively defined, restrictive, and unrealistic roles and are enforced by an inflexible set of social "rules". The dating script traps people into trying to be different than they really are and expecting the other to be different than s/he really is. When the deception is finally revealed, everyone feels betrayed.

In order to escape from the dating trap, which I call the "first stop on the train to stupidville"; one must avoid being railroaded by social expectations, or deluded by wishful thinking which cannot separate fantasy from reality, long enough to understand who s/he really is and what s/he really wants and whether the other person is likely to have what you want and want what you have.

The moment two people enter into a social relationship called "dating", they become trapped into social roles which were historically adaptive, but have not changed in adaptation to a changing environment. At that point it is too late to be talking about expectations, because they have already been built. The very use of the term "date" or "dating" carries with it all the baggage of expectations that this is a "special" kind of friendship or relationship. "Specialness" is the most addictive drug known; once addicted, like any other addict, the "Specialness" addict will sacrifice all self, all integrity, and all other relationships to keep getting a "Specialness" fix.

As the "old" social roles and structures have been eroded by the changing realities of the 20th century, most notably the protector/provider roles for men and the materially-dependant/nurturer roles for women, both sexes have struggled to forge new roles out of the wreckage of the old. Neither have suceeded very well nor are faring very well. The rage and hatred which is the inevitable result of frustration and betrayal are mounting. We have reached the point of "Counting bodies in the gender war", as a woman journalist recently put it.

The white flag of surrender is not possible. The chilling suggestions that cloning makes it now possible to create a race with only one gender are among the most frightening statements ever made. Like the nuclear weapons stalemate which threated to end the human race for much of this century, the nucleus of the cell stalemate will bring the race to the brink of total destruction.

Men and women alike must step out of the trap which keeps throwing them up against each other in the growing cycle of frustration, rage, and hate. We need a demilitarized zone where we can sit down at the peace table and negotiate a peaceful resolution to our differences. We need delgates to a peace process which neither denies the war, nor believes that it is inevitable. Once conscripts, we need to become diplomats. Once foot soldiers, we need to become negotiaters. Once fools following rules which do not serve us, we need to become enlightened and realize that rule-ish is foolish: so we must create new roles which do not follow the old rules.

The cycle of blame must stop.

Most web sites I see are mostly about throwing the grenades of blame into the emotional life of the other gender. Unfortunately, most men's issues sites are devoted to throwing back the grenades that feminism has thrown at them, and a tragic number of the women's sites are devoted to throwing more grenades.

For anyone ready to become a draft resister, a conscientious objector, in the new "Emotional and Gender Vietnam" - listed below are some Radical Alternative Raradigms, based on Reason, Accountability, and Purpose.


Reason Accountability Purpose

”The Rules” are for Fools!!!

Healing for Men