Posts Tagged ‘women’

Anyone who has read my blog for a while knows of my feelings about the fairer sex, about the ethereal magic they can cast around us like a veil of early morning fog, about the sublime notion of capturing lightining in a bottle, the sole genie that embodies all three wishes.

Painting is not one of my favorite tasks but with my iPod in my pocket it makes things much more bearable—until just the right song or two randomly get sent to my headphones. Two songs that rarely ever fail to make me pause, to transport me, if only for a few minutes, into a state of heart that at once tugs and takes you by the hand. “Come with me,” they say, “it’ll only be a few minutes.” And so I go, slipping into the softest spot my heart holds.

Brad Paisley’s Waitin’ On A Woman is one of them. A little tongue-in-cheek, but underneath lays a golden kernel of truth, one which speaks to the silken alchemy and inner divination women possess. This one smiles and beckons, then squeezes tight toward the end. If you know the song then I’m sure you can understand the sentiment.

Buy Me A Rose by Kenny Rogers has long had its way with romantic nature. This one always reminds me that gold may glitter but nothing that glitters is near as precious as that which we can’t see.

Two simple songs . . . two more insufficient attempt to convey one of man’s greatest puzzles.

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Soul Mates painting by Rahul MalpaniMythology is rich with allusion to the bond men and women share. Many cultures have myths depicting an initial male/female pairing which produced mankind. In others, such as some Hindu myths, man and woman are initially one entity, not so much human as an essence, which eventually splits in two—those two halves wind up in a life long search for one another to attain the completeness they once shared.

Ever had that feeling after seeing, or just being in a persons presence, that there is something deeper that resonates more than you could possibly describe? A yin to your yang? Moon to your sky?

Greek mythology tells us of Orpheus, a man who so loved his wife that he traveled into the underworld to petition Hades, god of the underworld, for the release of her soul. Orpheus, perhaps the best lyre player in the Greek pantheon, was said to have learned his skill for playing the lyre from Apollo. It is told that as he played for Hades the normally immovable god was moved to tears. So enchanted was he that Orpheus was granted his wife’s release, but only upon one condition: he could not look back to see if she was following until they had completely exited. Orpheus, during the arduous trek back to the entrance, had plenty of time to convince himself that Hades was tricking him. He kept his eyes forward until almost the very moment he reached the exit, but having not heard or received any sort of sign his beloved was behind him he turned to look behind, only to see his love be dragged back into the underworld forever.

We’ve all felt that at some point, right? That tragic heartbreak. Each of us, at some level, knows that gut wrenching feeling that feeds on an almost never ending series of questions and self-doubt—What if I would have not said a word? What if I had remained calm? Why didn’t I act differently? Orpheus’ loss is perhaps a direct metaphor for our own regrets.

Carl Jung believed that later in life, once we are past young adulthood, we spend the remainder of our lives trying to understand, to get in touch with, our unconscious, that we make choices based upon this drive to become more familiar with a part of us we know little about. Is that place where our better halves reside? Why do they seem so utterly elusive?

A fascinating correlation, and certainly not anything resembling an answer—this very connection Jung attributes to the inner part of one’s personality is known as the animas for men, the animus for women. It is possibly the deepest part of us, the very core of what we strive to understand and connect with; for men, our feminine side, our animas; for women, their masculine side, their animus. Perhaps this very concept is why an individual so deeply resonates with us. Perhaps they are most closely connected to our core than others.

The question then seems to be: Are they—our soul mate, if you will—impossible to find? Should we simply settle for something good instead of great?

Or are they—as I believe—simply within reach and waiting for our touch, and we for theirs.

Contemporary romanticism or fallacious mythology?

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Pandora One of my readers and I were bantering back and forth via e-mail one day. The subject of restoring mankind back to its idyllic, almost pastoral origins was raised, couched within the construct of myth: “Maybe we can start life all over again, make it better the second time around; no eating of apples, get rid of the snakes. Pandora’s box stays closed.”

My reply? Let’s save that for the end of this post. I think it is better suited there.

Soon you will see the review of a book I recently read, The Greek And Roman Myths: A Guide To The Classical Stories by Philip Matyszak. Ever since reading the Iliad in high school I’ve been intrigued by Greek mythology. The Greek and Roman Myths happened to coincide nicely with the e-mail supposition above. I have also been taking a course on myth throughout human history; interweaving the book and course made the posit of a human reboot intriguing.

I think most of us have at least heard the expression of ‘Pandora’s Box.’ Here’s an interesting tidbit: The Greeks of antiquity would never have used a box for such a thing; according to the ancient myth the gods sent her to earth with an urn.

The myth of Pandora begins with Prometheus and Zeus. The king of the gods had decreed that mankind—as Prometheus had recently created—were forbidden to have knowledge of fire. Long story short, Prometheus tried to pull a fast one and snuck fire to his creations hidden in a hollow reed. Zeus caught on when he saw the stars reflecting the light of fire on earth below in human settlements. He was furious. For starters he chained Prometheus to a mountain and sent an eagle to eat his liver every day. Being immortal, Prometheus’s liver would regenerate overnight, and he would suffer the torment all over again the next day.

But this wasn’t good enough for Zeus. He was really pissed. Clearly, it didn’t take an Olympian god to see that mankind was prepared to make all kinds of trouble now that he had fire. Zeus asked another god, Hephaestus, to create a woman. He wanted something evil to befall humans to balance out the gift of fire . . . the way he saw it a woman was just what the doctor ordered. Until Pandora, all humans were male. Hesiod, in his book Theogony, misogynistically refers to the ancient time of life without women as the “Golden Age.” Things were perfect; men ate what they wanted, did what they wanted, had very little to fret over. Life was good.

Zeus had bigger plans.

Now, remember, the pantheon of Greek gods contained goddesses as well—female deities, and these feminine divinities gave to Pandora many a gift for mankind so as to soften the impact of Zeus’s fury. These gifts were carefully placed in an urn, and were not to be released until they could be properly trained by Pandora to benefit humanity.

But Zeus, per usual, had an ace up his sleeve. He gave Pandora a gift of his own—an abiding sense of curiosity

From the book:

Hardly had Pandora arrived on the earth, when she opened the lid to see what the urn contained. Immediately the creatures in the container flew out, and being as yet untrained to serve humanity they became instead despair, jealousy and rage, and the myriad diseases and infirmities that inflict humanity, All that remained was hope, which became trapped under the unbreakable rim of the urn, and which mankind was able to train and make a friend, as the other ‘gifts’ in the urn had intended to be, though in ways which we cannot now imagine.

So there was Zeus’s ‘gift’ to mankind. According to Hesiod, the party was over.

Pandora went on to have a daughter named Pyrrha—incidentally, the root of the word we now use to convey the idea of a large fire, a “pyre.” If you recall, fire started all this.

There are myths aplenty throughout recorded history which allude to a similar fate for man. In many myths male gods become a means of restoring fertility cycles to goddesses, who themselves were responsible for assuring plentiful harvests of crops. Slowly, though, male gods began to subjugate their female counterparts, and the feminine deities gave up a lot of their power to the ever-renewing pantheon of gods, regardless of culture or evolving society.

Could we possibly find a way to assuage Pandora’s curiosity if offered a second chance to do it all over? Would we want to? Think about it.

In Egyptian mythology there is the story of Isis and Osiris. At one point Osiris (Isis’s male consort) is killed by his brother, Seth. Later, Osiris’s son, Horus, has a fierce battle with his uncle and eventually defeats him. Wanting revenge for his father’s murder, he brought Seth before his mother, the Pharaoh Queen, and asks what she would like him to do with Seth. She gave the matter grave thought, and eventually told Horus to let him go.

Isis understood that the cosmos requires a balance between good and evil. There must be Yin and Yang, black and white.

In light of such considerations, how could man possibly turn away as divine a gift as woman?

Many cultures believe that humans were initially one asexual entity which eventually split in two as male and female, which helps explain how some of us feel about finding (or having found) our “soul mate,” that singular person who seems to make us feel ‘whole’.

How can we make subservient, or even place beneath us, that which was meant to bring us such wonder, such passion, so close to touching Heaven itself with our mortal being? How could we not melt in our embrace of Pandora . . .

The Old Testament tells us that God created Eve out of Adam (notice the placing of man over woman again, as well as the similarity to the two-from-one type of creation myth?). He didn’t want Adam to be lonely. Just as Pandora affected mankind so too did Eve, who eats from the Tree of Knowledge and gets humans banished from the Garden of Eden for eternity, with the added onus of mortality.

And yet . . .

Adam lives his mortal days in the presence of a creature whose very existence balances a great number of other woes and misfortunes. Epimetheus, the Greek version of Adam, winds up with Pandora, and despite all she has done for (or to) mankind they become ancient Greek mythology’s first human couple—one in harmony, each meant for the other.

I hope you have read this far to get to my response to the supposition that started this post. I replied:

“Pandora would be ever-present in the guise of woman, would she not? Potent, magical, irresistible. Man would only suffer the weight of loneliness without the silken luster of woman.”

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Mysteries of the gender gapDecades have been spent researching and observing the dynamics of gender. There exist countless volumes, articles in scientific journals, and years of time spent in conferences dedicated to trying to understand what drives men and women together—or apart. There’s not much that hasn’t been scrutinized in order to bring concrete understanding to this important facet of human nature. From the early (and almost draconian) study of phrenology—the study of skull bumps—to present day neuroscience, we’ve make phenomenal progress towards improving our understanding of such a complex, often mystifying, and lively subject.

By way of example, a recent study conducted by a leading university (I don’t want to tempt the Gods of Litigation) found that a womans tendency to find a man attractive varied most during her menstrual cycle. It was determined that when a woman is ovulating she prefers a man with rugged, rnasculine features. However, when she is menstruating, she prefers a man doused In petrol and set on fire. Guys, I know that sounds harsh, but think about it, we’re being given a heads-up. It’s like God throwing up a huge yield sign that only we can see.

Enter Resol, Inc, until now a quiet little company in Etibem, Kentucky. They plan to introduce what they call an MRK, a Male Resource Kit. This package is puported to funnel years of professional study of gender behavior into an easily digestable and quick course of study, much as Rosetta Stone has done for language learning. As a matter of fact, Resol has leaned heavily upon language interpretation as the cornerstone of the MRK.

Below is a small sampling of what the kit offers:

Interpreting Feminine Linguistics via Writing (example: personal ads)
40-ish: 49-years-old
Adventurous: Easy
Athletic: No breasts
Average looking: Ugly
Beautiful: Pathological liar
Emotionally secure: On medication
Free spirit: Junkie
Friendship first: Former “very friendly” person
Fun: Annoying
New Age: Body hair (often abundant) in wrong places
Open minded: Desperate
Outgoing: Loud and embarrassing
Passionate: Sloppy drunk
Voluptuous: Obese
Large frame: Amazonian or bordering on obese . . . or both
Wants soul mate: Stalker

I understand this sounds incredibly, well, let’s just agree that it’s not what we Americans cherish as being politically correct. On a less stringent note, they also include what they’re calling the Estrogen-To-Testosterone Translator:

Yes = No
No = Yes
Maybe = No
We need = I want
I am sorry = You’ll be sorry
We need to talk = You’re in trouble
Sure, go ahead = You better not
Do what you want = You’ll pay for this later
I’m not upset = Of course I’m upset you moron!

Initially I was very skeptical about the veracity of such a product, even that any company would have the oysters to offer something like this to the public. What won me over? Look at those phrases highlighted in red above—those are ironclad! Seriously.

Ladies, the company would also like you to know that they haven’t forgotten you. They also intend to include with the kit what they term a “helpful” guide for women “to better understand the man in their life.” Near as I can tell, this is exponentially smaller than the aforementioned female dictionary:

I’m hungry means I’m hungry
I’m sleepy means I’m sleepy
I’m tired means I’m tired
I have a headache means I have a headache
Nice dress means Nice cleavage
I love you means Let’s have sex now
I’m bored means Do you want to have sex?
Can I call you sometime means I’d like to have sex with you
Do you want to go to a movie? means I’d like to have sex with you
Can I take you out to dinner? means I’d like to have sex with you
Those shoes don’t go with that outfit means I’m gay

As of this writing there have been no advance test market results released. I’ve written to the company and suggested packaging the product in a shapely container, replete with a skimpy bikini. Men are attracted to such visuals like a moth to a flame . . . or a bug zapper.

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I work full-time, so between that, my son’s baseball, reading, book promotion research, and writing I don’t watch much television. Having said that, I have always enjoyed the Olympics, so I try to make a little time for watching them. Last night provided me with one of my favorite Olympic moments.


I haven’t been able to watch much, but I catch updates on the radio and during the early evening broadcasts of the events—so I’m not unaware of Lindsey Vonn. Having been hit in the shins a number of times by a baseball I can attest to the pain factor—and hers is much worse than mine ever was. So to watch her race downhill nd take her first gold was nothing short of inspiring.

Yesterday wasn’t as good for her. She caught her right ski tip on a gate, her ski binding released as the ski turned wildly, and down she went. She appeared to be physically unhurt as she glided slowly down to the bottom where the three medal contenders waited.

She first hugged her USA teammate (and eventual silver medalist) Julia Mancuso, then hugged the bronze medalist, Anja Paerson of Sweden. As she approached the woman who would take the gold, Maria Reisch of Germany, you could hear Maria ask—in plain English—”Are you okay?”

Lindsey assured her she was, then said “Great run!” And hugged her. At that moment I wasn’t aware that the two had become close friends, but that doesn’t diminish this olympian display of humanity and grace.

In a later interview, Maria said she hoped she and Lindsay would split the total gold medals between them, two each. As much as I’d like to see Lindsey glitter with gold, I can’t help but want to root for Maria too.

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Upon occasion I have paid my attentions to couples whom I admire from history, notably John and Abigail Adams and Andrew and Rachel Jackson. Both strong, intelligent women whose husbands relied upon for their astute and valuable counsel. Sadly, Andrew Jackson lost his wife just as his first term in office was to begin. President Jackson was also quite fond of Rachel’s neice,Emily, and her husband, Andrew Donelson. The couple served as Jackson’s erstwhile family while in office, with Emily doing a remarkable job of handling all social matters for the Jackson White House. She, too, was slef-assured and equal to her husband in many ways, providing Jackson with an unerring familial compass in lieu of his much grieved wife.

But it has occured to me that there is another couple, of similar mettle and constitution. A couple much closer to the people, in some regards. He of worldwide reknown as a lovable prankster, and she as the long sought after partner-in-crime. He’d come close a couple of times, only to be foiled by some kind of trickery, susceptible to the whims and caprices of his heart like any other male.

I refer to Bugs and Lola Bunny.

She being equal to the task of handling Bugs, always clever and quietly supportive of her man. Bugs saw past her pulse-racing facade and fell for her inner character. Lola even bals him out when things look to be at their worst. We are not surprised, then, to see Bugs’s heart pound with pride against his chest.

It seemed a miscarriage of cultural romanticism to not have Bugs and Lola somehow remembered in the electronic annals of our society. They may be celluloid and ink, or today more pixellated than they’d ever dreamed of becoming, but I respectfully submit to you that they’re really not all that far removed from us.

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The Sorceress

The Sorceress

I really should be doing other work, but I have been waylaid by one line in a song I was listening to, which gave me pause because of its resounding veracity:

“I’m gonna call up that old boyfriend who says he still has it bad for me . . .”

Seems a pretty innocuous statement, and certainly not outside the realm of lyrical content. All music is, at some level, an expression of the soul. But look behind the words. If I had to study and ponder the words to have been stopped in my work I would have considered myself a brick or two shy of a load. Thing is, it isn’t something that I haven’t thought about before, but hearing that line instantly threw a switch in my brain, as if a small Pandorra’s Box had been opened in my head.

Women hold within them an inexplicable power over men. Make all the fun you want, cast aloft your slings and arrows . . . but you know I’m right. There must be some latent pixie dust, a tendril of passion and wanton emotion that we breathe in when we’re within proximity. I certainly believe that women look to men for strength and security, and yet they have the power to usurp those very qualities which Nature, and Nature’s God, imbued us with. A woman has the innate power, without so much as a word, to bring the strongest of us to our knees.

It’s not just a biological craving or need (although I’m sure there are plenty of guys not ready to admit to anything other than that). You have a magical way of quietly wrapping yourselves around our hearts and caressing our guarded souls with your silky embrace. Some of us have a hard time showing our feelings because we’re scared of the power they possess. Looking in a womans eyes brings that power to life.

Woman is indeed Heaven’s magic made flesh.

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