The stench of overcooked soul-searching, Part 3

This is it for the psycho-culinary disaster, I promise. For now.

I’ve spent ample time here listing my own inherent design flaws, but I suppose it’s only fair to admit that these potholes pepper only one side of a two-way street. Figuring out why people behave irrationally is a challenge even for those who don’t have their heads in the intoxicating clouds or in their own madly clenching and unclenching asses, and my bean is ever shuttling between these two vacation spots.

That brings me to the unfortunate distaff co-stars of portions of my would-be life.

Women are normal most of the time, but when they’re not, they’re uniquely bizarre and incomprehensible (to be sure, they say the same about us even though I reckon we’re about as complex as Silly Putty). I don’t have a preferred “type”; I’ve dated women born anywhere from 1964 to 1983 and have even had romantic doings with Canadians. But, ignoring the fact that behaving like a poorly trained chimpanzee is apt to elicit the same basic range of behaviors from all people, these unfortunates have several traits in common.

If I may generalize:

The double-X crowd manages relationship upheaval in ways that often appear incoherent, and when faced with their partners’ problems women appear to experience an immediate halving of whatever intelligence they brought to the partnership. They are, almost to a one, unbelievably blind when it comes to not recognizing when a relationship or a person is beyond salvage, and display an insectile stubbornness when it comes to resurrecting and repairing hopeless bonds; their energetic efforts to this end represent, at least on the surface, some of the most pathetic, mindless, and pointless exhibits in the entire human freak show.
In endeavoring to repair the irreparable and faced with someone they’re certain doesn’t love them anymore (even if this happens to be a guy in a deep coma who refuses to return phone calls), women babble and consult and weep and scheme, sometimes all at the same time, and invariably chalk up both their bizarre admixture of behaviors and the bitter or sour fruits of these actions to some occult concept of “love.” At the same time, women — especially the smart ones — seem amazingly unaware of when they’re simply too good for someone, or, in a related vein, when a dude isn’t good enough for a ten-penny strumpet.
I mean all of this in the nicest possible way. If I was 100 percent certain I was seeing things correctly I might not drone on about them. And believe me, I consider women, in general, to be better people than men judging by most criteria, not that this generally does much good. That’s why it’s strange that I have bothered to such an extent with their company (most of my close friends are women), because I get along much more readily with scatterbrained, lackadaisical shitbags.
Like dissolves like. Opposites attract. Pick your cliche and fill me in when you’ve figured it out.
Yet even as I use words like “bizarre” and “incoherent,” I know that all of this is elegantly simple in the context of selfish genes. As Stephen Pinker and countless other life and social scientists have pointed out, males compete but women choose. In terms of ultimate (evolutionary) rather than proximate (at the level of conscious intent) aims — and it must be remembered that these are distinct when discussing such schemes — a woman becomes involved with a male she fundamentally views as both genetically sound and likely to stick around to raise any offspring that result from the union; this is her genes’ way of “trying” to assure their maximal propagation.
A male, on the other hand, need not be concerned with anything other than inseminating as many women as he can; in this framework, cuckolding is not a moral transgression but a damned good thing (if you can get someone else to raise your offspring while you go and create more offspring, good on ya) and there’s no reason to be overly concerned with whether women you wind up with seem to be friggy in the head. This would seem to help explain why women are typically “fixers” and are, depending on your level of cynicism, either more loyal or more foolhardy than fellas when it comes to standing by mates who are plainly failures in some way.
I’m wary of overestimating the contribution of genetics to the way we act, by the way, so I don’t look to evo-psych for full explanations, only for clues. After all, we have deftly intervened on natural selection and related matters; what better example could there be than contraception? Besides, even if evolution explained everything, what of it? Taking the opposite view, what if nurture were fully responsible for how each of us behaves? We are what we are regardless.
At any rate, I speak loudly here from loud experience. I’ve had what I would call significant relationships with four women in the past dozen or so years; about the only things they all have in common is above-normal intelligence and a strict blindness to the fact that I was never going to be anything besides a mercurial, windblown serial dolt. I suppose some would call this optimism, but I have other terms for it.
Anyway, for feebs like me, the gestalt is nothing worth exploring at length and leads only to pain and injury. I am not quite so cynical as to posit that it’s like this for everyone, but I’m also not harboring a sufficient level of denial as to pretend everyone can, or should attempt to, be a good companion to someone given enough sacrifice and effort. Even if resigning myself to comparative isolation ultimately leads to territory unexplored or some demonstrable lack of fulfillment, I’ll at least have lived honestly, in the sense of not denying who I am and what I’m about and striving to not drag others along for a bumpy ride.
One last thing, though. It may appear that I’ve done nothing bitch about the combined ineptitude of myself and other people, and that regardless of the throwaway self-flagellating remarks I’ve made, I’m upset primarily because I think I’ve been consistently wronged.
In fact, the opposite is true: I can only marvel at having been treated with the generosity and respect people have shown me over the years. As humbling and, yes, vexing as it is to see people extending favors time and again to a mirthless douchebag who will never quite fit in, and as much as I can find fault in others for failing to abandon an obviously porous ship, it has happened a number of times.
At one point in my life I gave away, shitcanned, or otherwise blew virtually everything I owned, fully intending not to be around to deal with the consequences. By all rights I should have wound up on the streets or worse. Somehow this didn’t happen. People have a way of gathering chimp-like around the fallen and hurting in their midst, but it doesn’t happen for everyone. Regardless of what I decide to do with my remaining trips around the sun, it’s as important for me to remember this as it is for me to be cognizant of the things that for all practical purposes have removed me from certain nonessential aspects of the human circus. I like helping people even if I allegedly don’t want any lasting part of them. And if I pretend otherwise, we all might as well just give up right this second, because the terrorists will have already won.

  1. #1 by VJB on April 24, 2007 - 1:19 pm

    Amen, brother…wish you well. I’ve been married 38 years, but daren’t turn my back. I’m clueless too.

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