Thursday, March 8, 2012

Letters to a young man 11

Hello my friend. Every now and then, I have a moment of clarity, or I might say an enlightened moment. In these moments, it's as if I'm hovering above the fray of life, above all the din and distraction and seeing things clearly. Do you have these moments? I suspect that you do.

One such moment came recently when I was at work, a place largely comprised of women. There are men, to be sure, but it's one of those places where the women out number the men. This can be a challenging environment for a man, especially a man who embraces and lives his masculinity. It's tempting at times to let all of your testosterone fly out and fly off the handle, and tell some of these women to simply shut up. Yet, this would not further my cause, nor my situation, as it were. So I have often wondered how I might be shackling myself when I purse my lips and bite my tongue.

And it was in this moment that I mentioned that I had a realization. As men, we should be above the fray of women, and all of their cares. True, we may find ourselves under their thumbs, but have men not always faced this? When there were queens who ruled, were men not subjugated? And if you think how we live and work, surely we do not have it so bad as those before us?

Yet I digress from my main point, which is that as men, we should be above the fray of women. We needn't sink to their levels, their gossip, their cares, their insecurities, we needn't worry ourselves as they do. We have no cause to wrestle in the grime that women love to muck about in. How often do we hear them gossip? How often do they ramble on and on about trivial things? Are we not men? Do we not forge ahead and stand silent in the face of these womanly worries? What need have we to descend to their level? It is they that should aspire to ours, my young friend, and many do aspire. Yet they that are wise women know that we will always be different. They embrace what is good in them and understand the difference between men and women. And so should we.

As you walk about, keep your eyes and ears open. When you see women gather together, notice how they talk with one another. Notice their body language, and unspoken language. See how they compete with one another, how they size one another up, plotting at every turn to undo the others. One mouth issues the praise, and the same mouth later issues the curse. This is the way of women. Let us be men, for we are better than this. I know that women will writhe and grit their teeth and say, "Oh, but I'm not like that!", and indeed some are not. But it is a rare thing my friend, for women must be this way to survive, for they are always dependent on their social standing and situation; without these, she is nothing. As men, we are best when we act with honor, and courage; when we speak truth now as well as later; when we hold ourselves in good esteem and know our faults and weaknesses; when we help our fellow men; when we treat others decently; when we help women who so desperately need our help. In so many ways, to be a man is to rise over the muck of life and to embrace self-control.

Let us value women for their positive characteristics, and let us value ourselves for ours. Let us not sink to what is beneath us.

Farewell for now.

My book on stoicism.