Single File: Are You Mad at Men? Part 1 of 2
DEAR SUSAN: Lately, you've been writing about women angry toward men. It's making me wonder whether I am one of them. Sure, I've had my share of disappointments with them, but how can I tell if I'm really a man hater?
DEAR BLOGGER: Wonder no more, fair maiden. Your responses to my quiz will guide you through the murky waters of uncertainty. What will you learn? Your responses will reassure you about the state of your other-gender feelings or sound an alarm that you heed at your peril. I guarantee the responses from deep within your psyche will reassure or (perhaps) alarm. Either way, what you learn from your answers can help you begin a journey toward genuine friendship with those necessary critters: men.
A) Do you find yourself using the cause of feminism or women's rights (or anything else, for that matter) as a cover-up for your resentment toward men?
B) Was your father reluctant to show you his love/approval?
C) Did your older brother leave you out of things? Did your folks show him preferential treatment because he was male?
D) Were you badly burned by a teenage crush?
E) Have men wanted you only as a sex object most of the time? Do they make you feel worthless in other roles?
F) Do men promise to phone and then disappoint? Do they promise other things and then not follow through?
G) Did your father hurt your mother in some important ways?
H) Did she complain to you about him -- and men in general?
I) Has a man abused you physically or emotionally?
That last one is a deep one, so let's rest for a while. These zingers give you plenty to mull over. But I promise to return with more queries about this other gender, the male mystery.
DEAR SUSAN: I admit it. I'm scared of men. You seem to have a handle on the subject, so give me a hint on how to get un-scared.
DEAR BLOGGER: It seems to me that the only way to get over a scare is to plunge into the thick of it. And so, hat in hand, I propose that you look through your address book (and your heart) for men you used to know or be involved with, people who used to be special to you for one reason or another. In other words, men you once felt a connection with, not necessarily romantic. Getting things started may not be easy at first, but in the end, former flames can ignite friendship quite easily. Your overture might be a humorous card or a phone call to say hello. (It's not a good idea to phone a man who felt slighted by you.) Be sensitive to his healing process; it takes time to move from love to friendship. From all I know, former loves can in the end make faithful friends, though not everyone can make the shift. (Can YOU?) So, give it lots of time. And plenty of understanding. This one project could make you so much stronger, so much more understanding of the other sex. In the end, you may realize we're all the same, with sensitivity and yearnings to be loved. That one realization changes everything, melts the fear, builds commonality. Women need to realize that men are not a different kind of mortal -- they're so much like us. After all, we're fashioned from their rib, no? Men may have a different style, different ways of expressing their emotions, but style must not stand in the way of a deep relationship. Think about it.
We've uncovered another treasure trove of "Single File" paperbacks -- in perfect condition, signed by Susan, ready to enjoy. Send $15 and your address: Susan Deitz, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. Have a question for Susan? You can reach her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.