Friday, August 10, 2012

Date Like a Peacock

While some have short memories, Ma (okay, make that Babi) can recall a time when females were in hot demand. They went to work, they can bear offspring, still make it to a sale, and what did the men bring to the table? Bachelors were sweating as they anxiously attempted to prove their worth. 

The current state of affairs is unnatural, even at a primal level. When viewing the animal world, it is most often the females who are pursued, wooed with a fierceness that sometimes leads to suicide on the male's part.
Check me out.
And it is not even as though these females are glamorous. Nature made them plain and camouflage-friendly to ensure their avoidance of predators and hunters, whereas the males can have such garish accoutrements that are akin to a bulls-eye on their back to attest as to their heartiness. 

As a bored female inspects her suitors with a critical eye, the males sing and strut, perhaps even dance, as they strive to win the prize. Sometimes, if there are too many suitors, males will fight until they are bloody.
Elephant seals will tear each other to pieces.
After all this effort, maybe the female will be kind enough to put the male out of his misery, graciously selecting him from the lineup.

The market these days has eligible women trying every which way to draw the gaze of the eligible man. We doll ourselves up, even though it may make us vulnerable to unwanted attentions. We acquire gainful employment so as not to be a financial burden, nay, even aspiring to "breadwinner" status. We are capable and competent and college graduates.

And yet the quarry is unmoved. He yawns, waving away the female offerings, no matter how they bat their eyes and flip their hair, not even bothering to look up from his iPhone. Many of today's bachelors are seemingly disinterested in the opposite sex, the masters of cool, whereas everything we know of the natural world proves such detachment to be impossible.
"Are there any real men nowadays?" Ma sometimes opines. "I mean a real man."  A real male—I mean, man—would have no qualms smiling roguishly across the room at a selected quarry, sashaying forward with a weak pickup line, willing to jeopardize his ego. Pretty much every animal out there works that way. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. 

Yet today's female usually has such shoddy self-esteem that if a man sought her out, she wouldn't find it flattering. She would seek out a fellow who ignores her rather than introduces himself.
I thought I would never experience my status as it should be in the animal kingdom, except for one special evening, at a wedding of a family acquaintance.

My male launched into the waltz that is the mating ritual: He goofily played with the children, glancing in my direction: Look, I'm great with kids! (There are monkeys that do that; babysit to impress the ladies). By every bracha, he hurtled to his feet, donning a variety of reverential expressions as each rabbi shuffled up to the chuppah. In the hallway he drew himself up to his tallest, throwing his shoulders back, attempting to display his healthy prowess, as well as the flattering cut of his suit. 

And I remained the unruffled peahen, supposedly unimpressed via my aloof demeanor of his prancing overtures, casting from time to time a discerning glance. 

My necessary early departure from the festivities halted his energetic presentation. Despite my acquaintance with both sides of the nuptials, he has not sought me out; the chase is over. And perhaps if I should ever come across him again, he would be peering at his smartphone in blatant indifference while I fiendishly cavort in a lame effort to draw his attention. 


Mighty Garnel Ironheart said...

We live in a hypersexualized culture in which women are judged entirely by their external appearance and where an intelligent, self-confident woman with a life and interests of her own is considered threatening.
In addition, guys have been trained to have unrealistic expectations of landing that perfect size 0 with the big doe eyes who will have nothing else to do all day but serve his every whim.
Not approving of this, just pointing it out.
As a result, guys can afford to be a lot more choosy. Why go to the store to buy the milk when lots of milk might just try to deliver itself to your house?

Princess Lea said...

Er, that wasn't my point. My position is rather that today's male is not as secure as previous generation's, and so fearing rejection he does not put himself out there.

Women were always the pursued. But since now men are chicken, women are now the ones going out there, lobbing a guy over the head with a frying pan, and dragging him back home.

My proof? If a man is checking me out, he usually has kids. Or he's 15 years old. It rarely is the single eligible guy.

FrumGeek said...

"A real male—I mean, man—would have no qualms smiling roguishly across the room at a selected quarry, sashaying forward with a weak pickup line, willing to jeopardize his ego. Pretty much every animal out there works that way."

But we are not animals, and we must strive to be above that. Do not compare me to an animal, please. (As it is, while I have plucked up the courage to attempt a pick up line on a girl, it isn't easy to gather up the courage to do so, you're often looked down upon for being too 'forward' (b/c that just isn't how Jews do things), not to mention rejection, or even perceived rejection can really hurt. It's a lot easier to sit back, go through my stack of resumes and choose from there.)

Maya Resnikoff said...

One of the early things that I found attractive about my husband was that he made it clear that he was interested in me, from the beginning. It made me feel really good about myself, and my chances. The thing is- working his way up to doing such things took him a lot of work and energy, and if we'd met earlier in our lives (by just those few significant years- he was about 30, I was about 25), that wouldn't have happened.

Princess Lea said...

FG: Ben Teima: "Be brazen as a leopard, light as an eagle, quick as a gazelle and strong as a lion in performing the will of your Father in heaven." (Actually it's not an eagle, it's a vulture according to Rabbi Slifkin, but eagle does sound more poetic).

Animals have a wealth of middos to teach us. While they may not have our intellect, they are still capable of inspiration.

I don't expect the world to change from one dinky blogger post. But for a single man to show some interest in a single woman isn't so terrible. Not all of you guys wear wedding rings, so we often look stupid for taking the initiative.

MR: We really have to give people opportunities to come into themselves. Rarely are we fully developed in our early 20s.

tovah said...

So, were you interested in this guy or not? I'm dying to know. If you were, I hope you get another chance with him. If not, you'll probably run into him about a million more times. lol. That's the way it always happens.

Princess Lea said...

I decided that I prefer a man with a little more dignity and containment. But it was still fun while it lasted.

tovah said...

LOL Containment. He was working his little heart out for you. Poor guy, probably really hates kids too.

Princess Lea said...

I laughed out loud! "Ugh, its nose is running. But chicks dig men into kids."