Heroes in Love
People in love are playful, like puppies, and a puppy is the cutest thing. Most women adore the smell of a puppy’s breath. If only someone could produce cologne smelling like puppy breath, women would follow men everywhere. Puppies grow into loyal dogs and our best friends. They play with us and protect us.
However, a puppy will wee on your carpet, it will dig out the plants in your garden and if you leave the gate open long enough, it will run after the bitch down the road. We decide that despite this we still want the puppy. Relationships are similar. There are certain characteristics about men that make them men and it may not be fair and women can’t change it. And vice versa. For instance: Men don’t do emotions. Women do emotions. If men don’t like women’s emotions, then men should date other men.
Ever heard of the expression: people fall in love, because there is chemistry between them? Not to spoil the fun, but there are specific parts of our brains at play when we fall in love. When we notice an attractive person for the first time, the left pre-frontal cortex alerts us to pay attention to this person and we experience positive thoughts about him or her. The right pre-frontal cortex – responsible for negative thoughts – is temporarily disabled. We see through rose tinted glasses and love is initially blind. Our brains signals the release of dopamine – the Aphrodite of neurotransmitters and the anticipation of pleasure – to flood the nucleus accumbens – the pleasure centre of our brains. The hippocampus – responsible for memory – records the positive memory of this experience and will recall it when we meet that person again. Add some testosterone, oxytocin and adrenalin to the dopamine and we have a potent love potion. It’s all brain chemistry.
One man said as soon as women get emotional, he leaves. No wonder he is still single at the age of 56. His interest in women is mainly sexual. Independent, adult, mature, single women do not take him seriously. If he can’t man-up to emotions, he may not be able to man-up in bed.
The majority of men are not in touch with their emotions. Ask a woman to list synonyms for the word “angry” and to arrange them in order of intensity: peeved, annoyed, slightly irritated, indignant, affronted, upset, angry, seething, furious, rage, murderous Medusa. Ask a man to do the same thing. He struggles. He is not language orientated and he is not in touch with his emotions. He can’t name them and often he cannot distinguish between them. Men have three basic emotions. He is happy – which means he is content – it is not champagne cork popping stuff, he is just happy, or he is sad or angry. Often men cannot discern between angry and sad. It is only when a major event really rocks their world that they experience or express intense emotions. Like their favourite sports team winning an international game. That causes elation. A woman they love breaks their trust – they are heartbroken. Someone hurts their children – they are murderous. One man said: “We are not bulletproof, but cowboys don’t cry.”
Besides the fact that men do not understand their own emotions, they also do not understand a woman’s emotions. They tend to react to a situation entirely from their own male perspective and they really find it very difficult to understand it from a woman’s point of view, because they are wired differently. Remember, men have cognitive empathy rather than emotional empathy.
A divorced single mother struggled financially to raise her daughter. Eventually by the time the daughter was 16 years old, the woman had managed to buy a run-down little apartment. She was very proud of her achievement. She had known many hardships, but eventually she succeeded in buying her own place, albeit dilapidated. Her current boyfriend offered to replace her kitchen cupboards. She refused. She explained she experienced his offer as undermining her independence. Kitchen cupboards were too expensive, she could not afford to pay him back and she felt she exploited him if she accepted. The more he insisted, the more aggravated she became that he had no respect for her independence or that he had no inkling of what she endured to achieve it. She accused him of trying to fix her life.
I told her the following story: A mammoth had killed the male hunter. Due to these circumstances, the woman was forced to learn to hunt for herself or perish. She struggled and made many mistakes. Initially she was not strong enough to pull the bowstring, the arrows fell short, the deer ran away. Many a night she was cold and hungry and frustrated and she cried to the full moon and raised her fist, but she persevered. Gradually she improved and she became adept as a huntress. One day she killed a bison. She danced for joy. She skinned and gutted the animal, preserved the meat in the snow, scraped the skin clean and erected a tent.
That night she built a fire and ate her fried meat. She looked at the full moon: “I am a huntress,” she shouted, “I did this! I killed the bison and made the fire and I erected my own tent!” She was so proud of herself, she danced a victory dance around her fire. The goddess Artemis was proud of her too. The next day a male hunter came sauntering by. “What’s this?” he asked her. “I hunted a bison,” she said proudly. He squinted his eyes. “So what,” he answered, “what’s the big deal? We all hunt.” “I erected my own tent, look,” she said and waved her hand at her little tent. He walked over to the tent and pulled it apart. “That’s no way to erect a tent, it will blow over in the first wind.” He took the bison skin, picked up her bow and arrows, slung it over his shoulder and said: “Come with me, I will hunt for you. Come live in my tent. It’s warm and solid.”
The hunter had no sense or understanding of the woman’s pride at her accomplishment, because from a man’s perspective, hunting is natural. It made practical sense for him to have her move into his tent. Men can’t feel the same way women feel about situations, because THEY ARE MEN. The boyfriend had no issue with her independence, he just wanted to spoil his woman and be her hero. She understood. A week later the kitchen cupboards were fitted.
Women can often fluctuate between their emotions, without even being classified as bi-polar or having mood swings. Women know what they feel and when they feel it. (Women don’t always know why they feel it.) Men don’t always know what they feel. It is not that men do not experience feelings, they do. They are just not that tuned into them. They don’t know what to do with them and when men can’t figure something out, they ignore it. They hope it goes away. Men have this amazing ability, which I call the Tupperware-syndrome, where they enclose inexplicable emotions in a Tupperware container and place it in the back of the fridge and then they forget all about it. We all know when that lid pops open due to the poisonous gasses that have accumulated in the meantime.
Sometimes they are in love, but it does not fit in with their plans and then they hope it goes away. The sad thing is, if they ignore it long enough, it does goes away or it turns sour.
One man described being in love as being “catnipped”. Anyone who has witnessed a cat under the influence of catnip will understand. “We can’t think in her company, never mind think straight. Our brains don’t work. We say silly things, we trip over our feet, and we even giggle. Often we just stay away from her, hoping it just goes away,” he said. “Don’t worry,” I answered, “most women feel the same, but they will never want to stay away from the man.”