I usually stay out of the publishing business's scrum for cash which basically is the most accurate way to describe the "self-help" genre. The start of each month seems to unleash a brand new, and benighted, array of counter-productive offerings which center upon romance. Unfortunately for me, an advertisement for Terrance Real's The New Rules of Marriage: What You Need to Know to Make Love Work caught my attention. It contained a glowing recommendation from the sinister bell hooks and Ballantine's promise that the work delivered "a long overdue message that women need to hear: You aren't crazy-you're right!" This caused me to part with much needed cash in the hopes of issuing a counter-statement.
My rash purchase would be somewhat comical if the "women aren't crazy - they're right" mantra did not now form the basis of our entire culture. The author was previously unknown to me, but a quick search indicated that he is much esteemed by the mighty Oprah Winfrey, America's greatest proponent of emotion-based reasoning. Supporters like Winfrey and Hooks tell us a copious amount about Mr. Real.
Buying the book was a good bit easier than consuming it. The New Rules of Marriage is as perplexing as it is annoying. The first question I had was what to call Terrence Real. What was his background? The jacket did not really say. I searched online and could not find out much about his history. I emailed the support at his website and queried them about the matter. They did not directly answer me but suggested that I refer to him as "Terry Real." Well, a better descriptor, and one in keeping with his squishy perspective on the sexes, would be to dub him, "Mr. Terry," which is precisely what I will do here.
The enduring theme of this work, which promises so much to women, revolves around men being to blame for the failure of modern relationships. It seems that we have neglected to alter ourselves to the necessary extent. If we did then we could better meet the needs of the liberated woman. Mr. Terry notes in the opening chapter that, "Newly empowered, women across America turned to men and began insisting on levels of emotional intimacy that most men - raised under the old regime - were not readily able to meet."
Further he notes, "What most of the men I work with don't 'get' is that their relationship job description has changed ... The refrain I hear over and over again from dissatisfied women is 'I don't feel like I have a real partner.' A partner who shares in the details of domestic life and in her concerns about the kids. An intellectual partner who cares about what she thinks and supports her development. And most of all, an emotional partner who shows interest in and appreciation for her feelings and who has a few feelings of his own to bring to the table." In other words, women want more so the direct sex must give it to them.
Based on this presupposition, Mr. Terry swoops in and offers up his services as an "intimacy coach." The new rules are a process and curriculum whereby men and women can save their unions provided that men learn to act more like women. He even goes so far as to recommend that males abandon objectivity when it comes to dealing with their wives. Mr. Terry's edict will horrify those who are proud of their logical faculties: "You can be right or you can be married; what's more important to you?" With throwaway lines like that it is easy to discern why Mr. Terry is so admired by the fair sex.
What makes Mr. Terry's background an issue has nothing to do with status and everything to do with the faulty assumptions which embody social constructivism. Male nature is neither an outcome of regimes nor media slant, it is a result of biology. Over the course of the last decade the social constructionist perspective has been rendered obsolete by science. Women and men are known to have disparate biological imperatives and goals in life. Advocating for one sex to obliterate their concerns and proclivities in the hopes of making things easier for the other is both absurd and despicable. More importantly, it cannot work anyway. Societal cheerleading will never succeed in getting men to purge themselves of their essence ... which is what makes them men.
The poverty of his initial assumptions renders Mr. Terry's book a sham. From seeds fertilized by irrationality no healthy flora can grow. There's not much to be salvaged here. This is a methodology which asks half of its adherents to behave in ways contrary to their makeup. Getting men to verbalize their thoughts and emotions is pointless, foolhardy, downright goofy, and a waste of time. After all, talking about emotion is as useful as singing about electrical engineering.
If women want to wile away their 25,000 to 30,000 days on earth in the pursuit of discussing feelings then I am only too happy to respect their diversity, but I will never feel the need to follow their example. Foisting the habit of verbal emotional processing upon others is akin to placing heroin in another person's B12 shot. It's dirty, cruel, vindictive, and it encourages others to dwell in the same blind alley you do. We only have one life. If some people want to devote theirs to rehashing emotional piffle then so be it, but to convince others to do the same should be regarded as a spiritual felony.
Obviously, logical thinking is what makes us uniquely human. The willful abandonment of rationality is a declaration of war on both humanity and Our Creator. Any relationship which requires one to dumb himself down to the level of a mollusk is not one that should be preserved. Mr. Terry's willful abandonment of objectivity during conflict resolution showcases just how much this author's "knowledge" has been contaminated by political correctness and the myth of female supremacy.
Mr. Terry's approach enables and encourages women to be irrational. Perhaps Mr. Terry regards emotion, which is based in the pre-mammalian portion of our brains, as being integral to our humanity. If so this is not only highly disturbing but misogynistic as well. Deeming women as being indifferent to truth or objectivity is the most sexist of propositions. Can women think logically? Absolutely, and I know this to be the case because I recall many an intelligent female beating the stuffing out of my partner and I over the course of several inter-collegiate debates. Women, just as men, should be held to a higher standard and not be given a pass when it comes to rationality.
The plain fact is most of us are born emotional thinkers. Emotion over reason seems to be the default position, but it is an aspect of childhood which many of us eventually overcome. Hark back to St. Paul's Hymn to Charity: "when I became a man, I put away childish things." I ask the reader, what could be more childish than renouncing objectivity and truth? Habitually examining one's surroundings through the blood-stained lens of emotion is the mark of an inferior or of a child who never wishes to grow up.
Preventing one's affectations from poisoning cognition should be everyone's lifelong project. It is a meticulous undertaking, but one that enriches both civilization and individual existence. Regardless of age, all persons should be encouraged to evaluate reality devoid of a jaded personal filter.
Of course, there is much to disdain about The New Rules of Marriage, but what offended me most was its pervasive celebration of inequality amongst the sexes. Women want more out of relationships today so ... men must give it to them. Why is that the case? In every equitable transaction, the side who asks for more must offer more in exchange. This leads us to ask, what do modern women offer men that is superior to what their predecessors proffered in the past?
Take your time mulling that one over because the man who enters into a marriage contract in 2008 faces far more risks than he ever did at any other point in history. In all likelihood, his wife will be infinitely more sexualized, far more materialistic, blatantly more narcissistic, and far less motherly than any woman who bonded with his ancestors. Given this eventuality, is it any surprise that modern men are increasingly reluctant to commit?
Twenty-first century women not only fail to render a quid pro quo they also - by demanding that men retain their traditional function as objects of status and wealth while also adding new requirements such as males be Chatty Cathy's and neatly-trimmed launderettes - have inflated their price beyond what the market can possibly pay. Today's woman may describe herself in glowing terms, but a look at the chassis should alert potential customers that what is labeled a Lexus was actually made by Daewoo.
Asking men to alter their consciousness in the hopes of accommodating women is preposterous. Such a wish should reveal to the direct sex that society's advocacy for equality was a ruse all along; nothing but a dense smog concealing a desire for female supremacy. Rather than internalize these New Rules men should memorize a more imperative injunction: Caveat Emptor.
Bernard Chapin is the author of Women: Theory and Practice and Escape from Gangsta Island. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.