Category Archives: 2-Heroes On Their Quests

06Dec/16

Heroes On Their Quests

Heroes On Their Quests

Ancient Greek mythology relates many tales of heroes pursuing their quests. The hero Thesseus slew the Minotaur in the labyrinth on Crete. His lover, the King’s daughter and chief priestess, Ariadne, gave him a ball of thread which guided him out of the labyrinth. He promised to marry her. However, Thesseus left her on the island Naxos and sailed away to follow his destiny to become the King of Athens. Heartbroken Ariadne turned to Dionysos, the god of drink and lust, and she joined a band of women who revelled in wild orgies, drank too much and devoured men. (Thesseus later married her little sister Phaedra, who fell in love with her stepson!)

Medea also used her powers as a priestess to provide magic and herbs to the hero Jason on his quest to find the golden fleece. He married her and they had two sons. Then he followed his quest and abandoned her in favour of the daughter of King Creon of Corinth, princess Glauke. Medea killed their sons and killed princess Glauke with a poisoned dress. She also killed her brother who tried to stop her and eventually she married Thesseus’ father and attempted to kill Thesseus.

Odysseus, King of Ithica, a little island to the west of Greece, was one of the Achaean heroes of the Trojan war. He survived the 10-year war on the shores of Illium, but when he sailed home, he got lost for another 10 years. So for 20 years his wife, Queen Penelope, faithfully ruled his kingdom in his absence and waited for him, despite many suitors vying to win her hand. Noble Odysseus, we think, deserves such a faithful wife, until we read Homer’s Odyssey and learn that seven of those 10 lost years Odysseus spent in the arms of the seductress and siren Calypso. He later contested that he wanted to leave, as he yearned for Penelope. Poor Odysseus?

One of the few Trojans who survived the war was the Trojan hero Aneas. He escaped with his life and fled to Carthage, where he fell in love with the beautiful Queen Dido. They consummated their love in a cave and she understood this to be a proposal of marriage. Aneas abandoned her and set off on his quest to found Rome. She killed herself.

Get the picture? Women assume sex is a declaration of everlasting love or a marriage proposal. Also when a woman stands in the way of a man’s quest, she gets left behind, despite the fact that he may love her. Abandoned and rejected women go on the rebound, commit suicide or get very, very nasty. Women want love, men want glory. Women believe love conquers all. Men don’t. Men believe they can conquer the world.

06Dec/16

Heroes On Their Quests – Love of your life?

Love of your life?

Heroes have a quest. It drives them. Despite everything. They need to find and follow this passion, this quest. Sometimes the quest is off the beaten track, like becoming a famous photographer, or a hunter – remember Robert Redford’s character in the movie Out of Africa – but mostly it involves their career and making money. It is the number one priority. The woman or the wife is not the number one priority. She may become a main distraction for a while, but she is not the lifelong priority. She may become the end to the means – some men realise eventually to amass such riches and to have no one to share it with (or to spend it on) is meaningless and his wife or family becomes the end to the means. The quest / passion / job remains the means to the end though.

Speaking metaphorically, a man may feel that he needs a four carat diamond before he can rightfully and honourably stand in front of a woman and ask her to marry him. “What if she is the love of your life and you may lose her if you go off on this quest? What if she says she does not need a four carat diamond, she just wants you?” I ask. All the men I asked responded exactly the same… they just shrugged their shoulders. “You stand to lose the love of your life. You will never get another love like this, ever?” “So be it,” they all answer without exception. Pose this question to a woman and she will sacrifice anything and drop everything, including her panties, for the love of her life.

The right woman at the right time at the right place. The right woman, the wrong time and wrong place; no go. She may be the woman he wants to marry, but if he is not ready to get married, he WILL LET HER GO. She remembers the wonderful times they shared when they were in love, the promises he made and how all of that just evaporated one day in a flash. She asks herself: “Does he not love me? “ He does. But it is not enough. She may make the perfect wife, but if he does not want to get married, that will not convince him. She may be Miss Right, but if he is Mr Not Ready, he will leave her and avoid her, even if it breaks his heart and it certainly breaks her heart.

Love is not enough, if a man is not ready. She may sleep with him, to rekindle his feelings, and of course he will sleep with her, because he loves her and she is offering herself to him, but that will not make him stay. HE WILL STILL LEAVE. He will avoid her so as not to witness her heartbreak, he will emerge himself in work to be too busy or too tired to think of her, and the last thing she should do is run after him, or tell him he is the love of her life. He knows. He does not want to hear it. He is not ready. Hitch your horses, lady, and move on. He does not want to get hitched. IF HE IS NOT READY, IT IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.

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Case example

One man was an ardent sportsman and trained for the Olympics. He met a young woman who stunned him from the first moment he saw her. She lived in another town. He did not pursue the relationship, for he was focused on his training and could not afford the effort of maintaining a long distance relationship and train for the Olympics. She carried on living her own life. Six months later, they met up again. He realised she was the love of his life.

Guess what? They dated for a year and he broke up with her because the relationship was getting too serious and he was pursuing a gold medal. Again, she did not wait for him. She carried on with her life. Did he miss her? Yes he did! Did he kick his own butt for losing her? Yes he did! Did he saddle his horse and go looking for the love of his life? No. A year later he ran into her for the third time. By this time he had earned his gold medal. He felt worthy of standing in front of her and asked her to be his wife. They are still happily married today.

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He can count himself lucky and favoured by the gods.

06Dec/16

Heroes On Their Quests – Free spirits

Free spirits

Men need to hunt, to seek, to embark on a quest, and eventually to leave a legacy. Some of them develop the common sense to realise there need to be people or just a person to appreciate that legacy, whatever it is, else it would be lost and turn into dust and that would be a sorry state of affairs. It may also be more meaningful when there is a woman who accompanies him to witness his journey, inspire him, record it, appreciate it, see it, praise him and to believe in him. Sometimes these women may be free spirits themselves, who can align their own destinies or purpose with his without smothering him, dampening his spirits or tying him down.

Some woman can be the wind beneath his wings, and not the ball and chain around his ankles. These are the independent women all men say they yearn for, but whom few men can actually truthfully handle. These are the women who embrace their femininity, who do not want to be the better man, who do not regard praising him as the hero as a denigrating experience. These are women who are in touch with their inner goddess and celebrate the liberation of a man being the man. They are not helpless, needy, dependent, greedy, devious, cynical, or manipulating, but they do need heroes. Real heroes, who man-up to the challenge of being her man. These women are not interested in relationships with immature men. They are not out to catch men. In their view a relationship need not necessarily lead to a life long commitment, but it does need to be a solid relationship and it may even last a life time.

I digressed but now I return to the point that men will give up the love of their lives to follow their quests, that love is not their main priority. “They got married and they lived happily ever after”, is the ending of women’s fantasy fairy tales. “Riding off into the sunset on his trusty steed”’ or “going down in a blaze of glory,”’ like Butch and Sundance is the ending of cowboy novels. (If you don’t know who Butch and Sundance were, you may be too young to read this book.)

I pause here to allow this phenomenon to sink in….

The men answer they may lose the love of their lives when they are not ready for her. She may marry another man. He may meet and marry another woman and secretly always pine for his lost love, thinking she is better off without him. Very noble. I am sure Queen Penelope felt the same.

The point is a man wants a woman who can align with his quest. Aligning with the quest does not mean hijacking the quest, or abandoning hers to sheepishly follow his. He needs a woman who understands the importance of the quest. It makes him the better man and she needs to inspire him to that pinnacle of manhood. She needs to understand this need of his and not stand in his way or fight it or criticise him or blame him for striving towards it. He certainly resents her nagging him to do something else, like marrying her. Usually this quest is represented by his work, but it may be an ambition or a passion or a secret dream like sailing the seven seas.

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Case example

A CEO of his own company takes his wife to dinner in a fancy restaurant. His cell phone rings. “I have to take this, there is a crisis at the workshop.” He spends a good 20 minutes on the phone on the balcony of the restaurant. She sits alone at the table, waiting. When he returns, she has either left the restaurant or she is furious and starts bickering, or she has the icy sullen face. He is definitely not getting sex that night.

Men want women to understand that that 20 minute phone call is what pays for that fancy dinner. Women want men to understand she would rather have a hamburger at Wimpy and his undivided attention for one night. The woman who does not complain, but orders his favourite meal, or asks the kitchen to keep it warm for him, is the one who understands the quest. She gets him. He will make it up to her. Maybe with a holiday in Santorini. Sounds fair to me.

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06Dec/16

Heroes On Their Quests – His turf

His turf

It is not a good idea for a wife to work at her husband’s company. Work is the battlefield where men earn their stripes. It is the stage where he earns the money to provide. It is an integral important aspect of his life. If he owns the company, then it is also his domain. It is the last place where he needs a woman to boss him around and to tell him what to do. He is the boss. He may discipline her as he does any other employee, and boy is he going to pay later tonight for humiliating her in front of everybody. Unfortunately very, very few and virtually none of the wives can actually get it right to be just another employee at her husband’s company.

The same applies to children working for their parents, but sometimes to a lesser extent. The wife may not boss her husband around at work, but other personnel know she is the boss’ wife. If she is 5 minutes late and he ignores it, they cry foul. Sometimes she is sweet and nice and hugs him. Men cringe at this. It makes him seem weak and vulnerable, not the boss. Sometimes she thinks and behaves as if she is the boss. She even talks about “our company”. She may be the beneficiary of the profit of that company, but if he is the boss, then it’s not her company. Taking or even just talking co-ownership of his company makes him seem incompetent. It’s deadly. Don’t do it. It is his quest. He leads. Support his quest, share it if you may, but don’t hi-jack it.

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Case example

One woman complained that her husband volunteered to work extra shifts on weekends. She did not like it because she wanted to spend time with him, but she understood he did this to increase his income. She accepted it. One Sunday afternoon when he had the day off and they enjoyed a snooze, they were interrupted by a call from a female colleague at work, who needed assistance. He had to be the hero at work and if he said no, he would be the anti-hero. She wanted her husband to be her hero and stay with her. She did not want him to be the female colleague’s hero. Now we have a conflict of interests here. This can easily develop into a power game.

If she had insisted he stayed at home, she would have been doing that thing where women tell men what to do. This would have alienated him. He would probably have gone to work, just to prove to her that he is a man who can go where he wants to. And he may have stopped at a pub on the way home, because he wanted to avoid the sulking wife at home. Alternatively she decided to accompany him to work and made him a happy man while he was driving there. Just to remind him where his priorities lay and to show support for his quest. I did not say it is fair, but he was reminded that he had married the best girl in the world. And the female colleague got the message that this was a happily married man.

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Often working women give up their jobs to become stay-at-home-Moms. Some of them have the luxury of au pairs and housekeepers who mainly drive the kids around and tend to the house. The women become bored and lonely. They envy the men their exciting lives, surrounded by other intelligent, dynamic people, who dress up in suits in the morning. The women cut their hair in short functionable hairdos and wear ridiculous Capri pants that reach halfway down their calves and flat sandals that show off their pedicures. But they long for the hustle and bustle of working life, of making deals and they resent the high-powered women colleagues or pretty sales reps with their long hair, who cross the paths of their men. The wives do lunch with their equally bored friends, they have their nails done, their eyelines tinted, their eyebrows plucked and they have set appointments at the hairdresser every week.

They frequent coffee shops, chatting to the baristas, ordering designer cup cakes, reading novels or fashion magazines or updating their Facebook, just to escape their homes. (Very few of them actually read the newspapers in these coffee shops.) Eventually they become bored out of their skulls and then they begin to deliberately pick fights with their husbands at night. Just to get his attention and because they envy his power-charged, interesting life. They sabotage the men on their quests by sending them hundreds of emails or smses or whats-apps during the day, demanding his immediate attention to an irrelevant problem. If he does not respond, she throws a tantrum, accuses him of not loving her, or having an affair with a colleague or causes some drama for him to resolve. JUST TO GET HIS ATTENTION.

These women are not aligned with their men’s quests. When I suggest they get a job, they all answer they do not need to work, because the husband supports them or the husband would not approve of it. These are the women who grow emotionally and financially dependent on the man, and then punishes him for it. Having to keep her entertained after a long day on the battlefield drains him. One woman answered: “If he buys me a coffee shop or something, I would not be able to travel so much.” She travelled abroad at least three or four times a year, at his expense, without him. She attended cooking classes in Tuscany. If he was not home by 8pm at night, she chucked the food in the dustbin, because he did not appreciate the effort she made to cook it! If these women refuse to work, why don’t they get involved in charity? the men ask. Why can’t women find something meaningful to do with their lives? the men want to know.

Men appreciate women who have a passion or an interest of their own. It makes the man very nervous when that passion or interest is him. A man does not want a woman’s whole life to revolve around him. It ties him down. It overloads him with expectancies. It is too much. However, once he marries her, he does want her to take care of the household requirements, pick up the mail and do the groceries, collect his prescription medication and dry-cleaning, tend to the kids’ extra curricular activities, send flowers and a birthday card to his mother, take the dog to the vet, need him like a hero and please just maintain her own interest as well. He also wants her undivided attention when he is present. I did not say it’s fair.

A last word on quest: When the three goddesses Hera, Athena and Aphrodite presented the Trojan prince, Paris, with a choice of the throne of Asia and Europe; wisdom and the acclaim of being a great warrior; or the most beautiful woman in the world Helen, to become the love of his life, he chose Helen. The mighty city of Troy was doomed for his choice of love over power and glory, and he was branded a coward among men. When Achilles was given the choice of a long and happy family life or a short life crowned by eternity of glory as the greatest warrior, he chose the latter. That is why men regarded him as a Hero.

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