Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Reflections on Manhood

Yes, I know, not really a topic I have any personal experience to refer to on. But I just finished a book called Self-Made Man by Norah Vincent, which was extremely thought-provoking. She spent a couple of years pretending to be a man in a variety of situations (in a bowling league, as an internet dater, in a monastery, as a door-to-door salesman), and wrote a book about her experiences. It has a lot of really bleak things to say about the way that men interact with each other and with women.

I'd like to think that most of the men of my acquaintance do not resemble the men in her book, in terms of their drives and conflicts and emotional life, but I believe enough of what she says in her book to be certain that I'll never really know.

And her descriptions of women and their various dating neuroses are certainly easy to recognize in the real world.

What I find most interesting is how much trouble I am having holding on to any of the reactions (fears/discomforts/recognitions/agreements) I had while reading the book. It's like something that your brain doesn't want you to see, so you simply can't see it despite how often your eyes scan the area.

My work intranet site has a puzzle posted at the moment where you are supposed to count the number of f's in a sentence wwhere most people can't see the f's in the word 'of'. Heaven knows I couldn't see them, and I went over it multiple times because I'd seen a similar puzzle some time earlier and knew there was a trick to it!

I'm going to have to try to go over it again and extract something I can hang on to before I return it to the library.

I must say, although my talent for forgetting the details (or for that matter the summaries) of books and movies does come in handy in that it allows me to read/watch the same thing over and over again with just as much enjoyment as the first time, I'd like to learn how to hold on to this information long enough to discuss it with friends.


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