Yesterday, I learned something new about a little manly technique known as "the thin end of the wedge."
Men have often leveraged women into doing things we mightn't already be interested in doing. They do it without thinking, at times, and other times quite on purpose. (Not that women are incapable of doing the same--I just find it interesting it seldom has ever been my experience to have a woman apply a similar wedge technique.)
For women, this is an odd era. We don't often get our needs met without struggling. In addition, there are others' needs to be met, infants to be nursed, children to be supported through every new phase in development and/or every crisis, partnering to be kept up with, and even our parents may require that we look after their needs in old age, just when our children have finally taken wing to pursue their own goals.
Throughout the history of the known world, men have often been the goal of most women. That there are fewer of them than there are of us, and that they know how some of us do struggle adds an edge towards male narcissism.
That's a word that's come up here frequently of late on OS. Narcissism. It sounds pretty heavy. It smells of the tainted thinking of the centuries, and smacks of a lack of gentlemanly intent.
When a man wants my attention, but he cannot really believe I have no interest in spending time with him right then, he might take umbrage. I have no problem with most men. In fact, I have had really good friendships with men over the years, two of which blossomed into something deeper.
When I want another's attention, but that person has entered into a discussion group with his mates, and/or with a group to which I cannot belong by virtue of innate circumstances, I will not pursue that person's thought, thereby thoughtlessly barring him from deciding with whom he'd rather share his time at that point. Apart from the fact that I do not tend to act in a rude or rash way, then, for me, any sort of brash interrupting would only embarrass me, and make me look less appealing as a friend or compatriot.
My best bet, then, is to allow that he's going to be a little busy for a while with his mind in other areas besides me or anything I might have to offer.
That's life, isn't it?
We cannot always belong to every discussion group or gathering.
So, to have men trying to invade the space of an all woman gig seems pretty lousy to me and to many of my female friends here at OS (and offline).
I set up my space around three principles: Fairness, Calmness, and Civility. When I notice somebody may not be able to maintain his calm civility towards myself and those I care for, I tend to think pretty carefully prior to saying anything. This may take me time. I reflect, being rather a phlegmatic kind of thinker. I may pause, catch my breath, allow things to percolate for while, and then pronounce my own views.
However, there often is not time enough for a phlegmatic approach, as action may be called for. Action, as of yesterday, which may be raising more than a few hackles among our male members here on OS.
Let's look into what happened. A certain member kept re-asserting his right to say what he likes whenever and wherever here on Open Salon. We women then had to keep adjusting the whole tone of our gathering around his presence so as not to seem too harsh towards him. Nobody likes to be thought of as harsh or tough towards any of the guys who have not caused a fuss here on OS. We tolerated his presence for two hours, until it became blatantly clear he could not stand to allow us to have our all-women time without his male input.
At the point when nearly all of us were getting really weary of having our thoughts interrupted by his ideals on what women as a gender should be all about (constantly relenting, allowing him to always have a say in the proceeding, regardless of any inentions which did not include ANY men whatsoever) he tried it one more time. When one of us finally could not stand one more word, she took it upon herself to steer the commentary in the direction of making him pay for his hooliganism. This involved some imaginary waxing of one of his legs, with some imaginary duct tape used to keep him still.
"We are not pleased, Mr. Fellow Blogger," we said by getting strong on him in this manner. "You were not invited. Nor was any other man invited to this shindig of ours. If we wanted male input, the event would become a coed event, thereby assuring you of a seat among women friends today at OS."
Quite frankly, that's not what our female-oriented gatherings are about.
So, what are they about? You're probably wondering.
I'll tell you.
My All-Woman events are there to lend support to my female blogging compatriots, some of whom have been having one personal crisis after another. Their lives are full of other people's needs and desires, all clammoring for their attention--that's what being a mom and/or a wife/girlfriend often can mean. We don't have enough of our own needs met for half the time we're alive, we chicks. To share with each other an understanding, a favorable intent which is all about sharing and caring and nurturing each other is then to heal on many levels. We don't want your input during those gatherings, men, because, quite frankly, we live on a different planet known as Venus, where Martians just don't get the lingo. You may try, and we honor all many of you have done to try and get with us gracefully, with a growing respect.
But is interrupting us in the middle of our fun respectful? No, it is not. It is rude, pure and simple.Had you merely come by to say, at outset, and prior to things really getting underway, "Have a nice time, ladies! See you tomorrow!" or words to that effect, then we'd know you really would not be trying to horn in on our time.
I do not want this to happen again. I liked this male blogger at outset. Now, I'm quite frankly not certain how to view him. I do know one thing: It gave me no pleasure to have to begin deleting his content from the comments queue. In fact, I found it an odious task. Nor did I enjoy having to delete any of his male compatriots' content, but I did it, and I'd do it again if given the same choice.
Because this is Chick Territory only one day a week. Women may join me for free or very low cost films of higher quality than the average, and they can trust I'll let them be themselves, no matter what. They can share their ideas and feelings, if they care to, or leave their worries at the imaginary door marked "OS Foodie Tuesday Chicks' Night In Palace". (It's an imaginary suite, but we call it our Palace just because.) Maybe they need a little time away from a boss who's given them the runaround, or just a break from having to be a mom, or maybe even just a place to veg. Even if it's only for 5 minutes or so, maybe they can breathe a little easier afterward. No man to have to negotiate with. No man expecting us to be what they want us to become.
And, men, may the Powers That Be bless them, seldom do get what we really want. No offense, guys, but that's how it's panned out for those of us in this group, and with nearly every other female whom I have ever had the chance to get to know at all intimately.
To pretend otherwise is to argue for an untruth.
The fact remains, we did not invite men to our semi-private gatherings because we are interested in being ourselves amongst those of our kind who understand us best: other women.
Now, there may be chances for coed parties in future. Quite frankly, I am not in the mood now to even go there. Running a coed blog party takes a lot more effort than a simple Chicks' Night In gathering of souls. And right now, my life is full of plans and dates and money difficulties and problems getting around town, along with wildfires cluttering up the atmosphere with heavy toxins. I do not need a further hassle or more difficulty. Stress has been greater for me lately that usual, owing to my imminent move. They say moving, weddings, deaths, divorces, and births are the top stress-inducers. Add to that my health condition AND a local wildfire, and all I want is some down time with my female peeps, and no pressure to conform to anyone's idea of who I am or how I should or shouldn't proceed.
That was my preogative at outset. And this is my blog, not any man's. At least one of you men is in the habit of leaving just the one positive comment, not engaging us in conversation, along with his kind rate. (Actually, there are two who have only ever left just the one comment for one party) which did not seem an intrusion. Most of the OS men are confident we'll return refreshed from each all-female gathering, so they tend to stay away and allow us our time. This portion of OS maleness deserves my applause.
I only posted this due to the fact that I could hardly stand how things were another minute. I began to dread having my friends over for movies and goodies, all because I knew I would have to constantly be watchful against gate-crashing partygoers without the right credentials required.
Do I have to spell it out in blunt terms? Such terms make a woman like me feel put out, as I'd prefer to be on good terms with all my friends here at OS, and not just the female variety, either.
Here are those terms:
Any man caught leaving a comment during our Chicks' Nights In had better keep it brief, as in a brief, positive statement, and then disappear. Anything beyond that will be summarily deleted. As you were never invited, and are not welcome for the duration, be careful what you do. Should you, in protest, take on a false feminine disguise (as in an alter ego account at OS) expect that to get seen through pretty rapidly.
You have all been forewarned.
Now, kindly leave us alone during our gatherings. Were you truly and sincerely interested in us as people, posting my intent need never have happened. As it is, you have shown us your disrespect for our fun and our private world as separate beings. We don't need men in order to have a good time. Does that bother you or something? Then think only this: What have all the men's clubs, throughout the millennia really said to womankind? "Stay out! We don't want your input."
We rely on each other to be understanding as only one's kind can be. No man that I know of really gets this. But maybe they could, were they to try hard enough for it.
A grown up viewpoint is always nice, one that says, "I'm glad you're having a nice time, guess I'll let you alone to contuinue doing so."
Now, gents, have we finally got your attention? And are you actually going to respect our choice to have our own womanly conversation go on uninterrupted? (This will be only during Chick Time in my blog, mind you)
I dearly hope so. But if not, I can always delete your every comment and blog happily away as though those words of yours had never been posted in the first place.