Wednesday, 15 August 2012

The Battle of the Sexes

Like many young people in the UK, I used to go out on a Friday night with my mates, to drink a few beers, have a few laughs and sometimes occasionally meet a few women as well.  For me now, this is a thing of the past; of course it would be nice to meet someone to fall in love with but I think trying to meet someone in a dark, sweaty, loud club full of strangers is probably not the best way to rekindle romance in anyone’s life.  But you may disagree!



One of the things I remember plainly about such evenings is that women, not always but sometimes, could be really unpleasant and offensive just because you might have tried to talk to them; I never understood this, why someone should get aggressive or angry merely because you spoke to them in a pub or nightclub; to me this was just a natural way of getting to know people; or so I thought.  You learn a lot about people when you encounter them in situations like this; you learn that people can be very superficial, very false and completely different than if you met them on other occasions outside the often false environments of loud pubs and nightclubs.



There is in Britain a definite battle of the sexes, a constant kind of tug of war, and I don’t fully comprehend why but it is there.  You see it manifested on a Friday and Saturday night in aforementioned pubs and nightclubs, and you see it in all kinds of ways, usually downplayed and with perhaps a humorous element attached to it; but it’s still there.  British women seem to hate British men, and would rather go abroad and find a continental lothario than have anything to do with a British man, and British men would rather meet a Thai or Russian bride, preferably in their twenties, to marry and sweep off their feet, so to speak.  Underpinning much of this is hatred and that cynicism that human beings have to something or someone they find too familiar; familiar can become boring and old hat, and new and different is refreshing and exciting.  Until reality bites, perhaps.



Unfortunately, I found myself on the end of such hatred and such treatment many times, in a way that was somehow to be expected, that we were all playing some vast game where people could be cruel to each other for no particular reason, but which was accepted by all involved.  It doesn’t help the fact that many young British men and women are half drunk when they encounter each other, meaning that they aren’t really being themselves but are hiding behind a mask or a false persona.



As you can gather, this battle of the sexes upset me on a number of occasions and I still feel resentment towards some women even now, though by the grace and mercy of God I have many female friends, both online and in the real world, who I both love and respect.  It is easy in situations like this to develop a siege mentality, to assume that all women, or all men, or whoever you see as the enemy, are only out to upset you or be cruel to you or to harm you, emotionally or otherwise, in some way.  When we do this, we can go down a false path, and then because we hate, we become part of the problem ourselves.  I still struggle with these issues but I pray that God puts me right basically, and teaches me to understand that there are good, bad and even indifferent people in every walk of life, whether men or women, Black or White, rich or poor, from North, East, South or West, people are always going to be people in all their diverse variety; if you’re lucky, you meet nice people, if you’re unlucky you might meet a not-so-nice person.  The secret is not to take it to heart or to assume that everyone you might deem the enemy is going to be unpleasant or hostile; the dangers of thinking like this are obvious. 



For the Christian, there is of course an added element to this old story; we are not meant to live in a world of hostility and resentment, nor are we to partake in what the world partakes in, which is anger, jealousy, revenge, hatred, animosities, racism or prejudices of any kind no matter what we’ve suffered in our lives.  We are meant very much to be in the world but not be a part of it, quite simply.  Instead of the battle of the sexes, I could have talked about racism or class prejudice, hostilities between the Catholic and Protestant communities in Northern Ireland, or the Palestinians and Israelis in Israel, the problems between any two or more groups of people in fact anywhere in the world where each group might not see eye to eye, for whatever reason, and however serious or even trivial the conflict or resentment might be.    



If we want to make headway in the world and we want to end the battle of the sexes, or any other conflict big or small, we have to be the change, we are the ones who have not to partake of it; in the end for the Christian, the buck stops with you.  Whatever other people do, or don’t do, we have a duty to live as Christians and serve a God who is utterly fair and utterly impartial; He won’t take sides against our ‘enemies’ but He will uphold us and show us mercy if we have been wronged.  If you have been wronged, then turn the other cheek.  So, the battle of the sexes will very probably continue but our place as Christians is merely to follow the Golden Rule, to treat other people as we would like to be treated ourselves; in this small way, we don’t add to the misery and chaos of the world.

10 comments:

  1. Hi Tim,
    what you have said is lovely, and I believe spoken with all honesty. Things have changed in general in the world. In the sixties I suppose I was a bit of a 'toughy', able to take care of myself verbally so I did not see much of a threat with other people of my own generation. However, the pubs and clubs were more meeting places where girls found boys and vice verca, but there was still a form of 'romance' if you like, where girls liked being 'chatted up' by boys, but boys and men also treated the girls as they knew they liked to be treated, at least that is what I experienced in my teens. It didn't mean that we didn't drink or stay out til the early hours dancing, but there was definately no 'battle of the sexes' that I remember. I do believe that things are darker now but I also believe when we are 'in the Lord' we are in a different world and all things are possible. I believe that there are a lot of nice people around and I would encourage you not to be put off by bad memories. I do absolutely believe that, as you say in your final sentence. 'treat other people as we would like to be treated ourselves; in this small way, we don't add to the misery and chaos of the world'

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    1. For a long time now I realise, this issue has affected me and upset me even though I haven't really gone out 'on the town' for many years now. I tried to be honest rather than nasty. Maybe I have been unlucky but I certainly think that even the worst of experiences makes you a wiser person; hopefully anyway!

      You wrote: 'I believe that there are a lot of nice people around and I would encourage you not to be put off by bad memories.' That's something always to remember. If we leave the unpleasant people to go off with other unpleasant people, then all the nice people will go off with other nice people!!! That's all we can hope for.

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  2. Hi Tim,
    I know exactly where you are coming from.
    When I was in my late twenties, and still single, there were two young ladies who teased and were downright nasty. One of their favourite games was to shriek and run out of the room if I showed interest, particularly in the idea of dating.
    And yes, all this happened in my local church. So much for me having a speech impediment and a low standard of education.
    Incidentally, one of the girls left the church and disappeared altogether, the other married someone else, but not long after, divorced, and I never saw her again.
    Fortunately for me, I began to enjoy my singleness, playing sport, learning basic computer programming, then world backpacking, until I met and married Alex in 1999.
    An excellent post.

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  3. I'm really sorry you had to endure such vileness Frank, but I expect it made you a stronger and wiser person; eventually. It's certain that whoever we are and whatever background we come from, not one of us likes to be treated like a jerk or messed around by people in any way. These were church people as well! The mind really does boggle. Perhaps they have also wised up a little; who can say?

    You have landed on your feet now Frank; I aim to do the same myself; some day.

    I wrote this post because it has been on my mind for many years; I think I have had a problem with women, even though I have many women friends, for many years. In everything, we need balance. Certainly there are bad and nasty people out there, of all colours, creeds, nationalities and sexes, but there are also decent people too of every persuasion. I'm learning, albeit slowly, that you can't go around with a bad attitude, even if you have some reason for it, because in effect you can become part of the problem, as I was. I need help from God for this. Thanks for the story Frank.

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  4. Tim
    just had to say that I love what you said about the unpleasant people and the nice people, it really made me laugh, but it does seem to be that way sometimes. I don't think with your personality you have a problem with women. I think you may have been put off by a couple of 'problem 'women. Speaking as a mum of a 44, nearly 45 year old who's first wife died about 11 years ago, life can rekindle itself even when you are in your 40's.

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    1. I think you're right Brenda. I have endured one, or two, 'problem' women in my time! I pray now for better days. '...life can rekindle itself even when you are in your 40's.' Yes, I certainly think it can.

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  5. Hi TC - nicely done.

    Been there, done that and realise how empty and vacuous it all was.

    I think the problem with pubs and clubs as meeting places is that people of both sexes tend to put themselves up on a rack as if they are items to be bought from the window of a shop. I dunno about you, but I was always the one with 'closing down sale - everything must go!' marked above his head.

    A cattle market like that is no way to start anything meaningful, since everyone is acting and playing a sort of game.

    My honest take is that the battle you describe has been one where some women have aspired not for equality, but dominance over men and the reduction of men to the status of second class citizens. This means taking all of the rights that come with equality while not accepting the responsibility that comes with it.

    I should stress, some women and not all are like this.

    I often refer to feminists as 'female supremacists' or joke that they are to men what the Ku Klux Klan were to black people. This is of course half in jest, but the point is valid IMO.

    Guys need to be strong enough to say - equality is fine, but you can't be a princess anymore, no more being looked after, no more special treatment, no more men holding doors open for you, we're equal now and you're big and ugly enough to take care of yourself.

    I'm all for genuine equality, with neither sex dominating the other.

    Daz

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  6. 'Been there, done that and realise how empty and vacuous it all was.' That just about says it all really.

    It is, and always was, a cattle market; and as you say very often an empty and vacuous experience. Even if you do meet someone, it usually ends badly. Well it did for me anyway.

    Yes, in a nutshell, some women want it all ways; equality when it suits them, and then back to helpless little females when it doesn't. Out in the bad ol' world, there is a lot of resentment and anger and sometimes people use other people to relieve themselves of this; men do it women sometimes, and women do it to men sometimes.

    True equality between ALL people is the ideal we should hope for, but what with class, racism, sexism, ethnic differences, regional differences, national differences and so on, I can't see it happening any time soon. But a decent person should hope for respect and give it freely to others.

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  7. thanks for sharing.

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    1. You're very welcome! I hope you liked it.

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