Western Relationships: One Cup of Selfish

one cup of selfish

Lamu, Kenya

“Western couples seemed chained – body and soul – to each other, and the older they got the stronger the chain. Africans, around since the dawn of civilization, didn’t appear to be coupled at all.
Lamu, an exotic mostly Muslim island on the north east coast of Kenya, was not unlike the world of the giant eland—extended family living close together and men and women hanging out separately.
Back home, men and women hung out together in consensual partnerships, but clung to Old World ideas of ownership that left little room for mistakes. The result was if we did make a mistake, we were then exempted from the “lifetime commitment.”
Maybe a new concept of living together has developed… Birth control and equal rights, complexity, with divorce and adultery part of the fabric…advertising and movies soak men in female sexuality, then require fidelity of them like it’s some sort of test….” Breaking Free – Denis Hickey

In the world of Western coupledom, women are increasingly turned off by men, as masculinity is slowly being eroded. It seems that men are considered awful just for being men. Are we to blame for 4 billion years of evolution that worked because the male wants to have sex with the female? Lust and desire are primary drives in men with children being the result. Good or bad – what is, is – you can’t expect men to deny their essence; their very nature. I realize it makes us look bad but it’s like a baby – we don’t blame them for shitting in their own pants.

Why women put up with us – stay chained to us – heaven only knows. Deep down, perhaps they think that they can change us, but leopards can’t change their spots, and many leopards are quite attached to their spots. I admire women’s steadfast tenacity, but I think this is one battle where loss is inevitable.

There is no shame in men finding women (or men) attractive, so why are we the bad guys, the ‘horn dogs’, the perverts, the walking hormones, the ‘think with our dicks’ brigade? Firstly, this powerful desire has kept humanity afloat for eons, with all the countless children produced. Plus, there is a real chasm of difference between a man who finds a woman attractive and a man who treats a woman as a sexual object. But, for many women, this chasm is a thin blurred line; a swirling mix of pornography and sexualized behavior. Admittedly, in essence, this is true.

And yet, is looking at the breasts in a Gustav Klimt or Reubens painting so different from looking at real breasts? To me they are both art, one in paint or pastel and one written in DNA. To a woman, this is classic sexual objectification, fragmenting the identity of a woman like a Maya Deren movie.  To me, treating an image like a sexual object is totally different from treating an actual woman as a sexual object. Perhaps these are weasel words that men hide behind to make excuses for their voyeurism.

This curse on relationships is prevailing, even looking at another woman is ‘cheating with your eyes’. The chain is often snapped in two by the flouting of these unspoken rules. Is there room to loosen it? To let men look without reproach, in a ‘window shopping only’ kind of way?

Being too closely ‘chained’ together could cause real heartache for both parties as there is no room to breathe. Women are threatened by their men looking at other women and the mass media just makes them more insecure by bombarding them with skinny images and men with sexualized ones.

Most men don’t want to hurt their partners, and although roving eyes are not the same as roving hands, it is a selfish stance that causes untold arguments and builds up deep seated resentments.

One cup of selfish anyone?

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