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" In earlier times, masquerades were sensual, festive gatherings in which participants wore masks and costumes to conceal their normal identities, and so freed themselves to be whoever or whatever they wished to be. We look here at something similar, in which egos, proprieties, and nature herself combine to conjure various myths and fantasies about ourselves that are easily mistaken for realities. .
In "Relationship Masquerades," Driscoll teams with Nancy Ann Davis, PhD, who is also his wife, to clarify our stranger fictions. Some of the material is good natured fun, while some is extremely important to getting along together. The material speaks to both sides of relationships, although some sections will be especially important to men.
We all know that young men are more interested in casual sex than are young women, but the difference is larger than most of would expect. Typically, men understate their sexual interest while women overstate it. A man tries to convince a romantic prospect that he is attracted to her for her personality, her intelligence, her beauty, and so on, and not merely interested in her for sex. She takes the opposite tact. She does well to convey that she loves sex, all in good time, and that she is not interested in a man merely for his money or social position. Imagine it were otherwise. Out on a first night together a fellow is infatuated and tells his prospect that he loves sex and that he can hardly get enough of it. Not only is his comment inappropriate and unappealing, but many women would find him a bit creepy. Again on a first night together, imagine an attractive woman compliments her fellow but confesses that she has little or no interest in sex and never has had any. Not surprisingly, he begins to think of her as plain, and not worth the chase.
So in our modern courtship, a man is more appealing who underplays his sexual interest, while a woman is more appealing who exaggerates hers. We see here that the ordinary inclination to make a good first impression can easily contribute to the misunderstandings between the sexes. Together, we create a colorful masquerade, in which we talk casually or dance closely cheek to cheek but are not exactly who we appear to be.
In one of the most familiar relationship patterns, women complain and men withdraw. But why? Research by John Gottman and colleagues show that men are considerably more stressed in arguments than are women. Does that surprise you? Women are seen to be more willing to initiate conflict, to escalate it, better able to handle it when it occurs, and quicker to recover from it.1 Men, in contrast, seek to avoid conflict, try to contain it when it occurs, are less competent in handling conflict, and take longer to recover from it. Men, who are more stressed by conflict, tend to placate, concede, or withdraw. The view that men tend to dominate in personal arguments is a comfortable fiction.
Among its various meanings, "chivalry" refers to the inclination for men to support women, to champion their causes, to uphold their honor, and to protect them against other men who would harm them. Some consider chivalry merely a flimsy folktale constructed to mask the subordinaÂtion of women. Yet we can all identify striking instances where men and women alike appear to hold chivalrous standards, acting to support women and to hold men accountable.
An illustration or two should suffice. A man and a woman are in a nightclub, and they quarrel. If he throws an ounce of whiskey at her, it is clearly an assault, and an undercover policeman would arrest him on the spot and jail him. If she throws a splash of whiskey at him, it is merely a rebuff or perhaps an expression of exasperation. Who would want to jail her? Surely, anyone who did would not be welcome back at the nightclub. Men who understand temperamental women gain their admiration, and perhaps their sexual favors as well, whereas men who oppose and offend these women are treated accordingly.
Men can be easily bewildered or angered by such standards. "Relationship Masquerades" exposes the illusions, and so gives you a fighting chance to find your way through them.
"Relationship Masquerades" can be downloaded at Smashwords and is available through e-book retailers everywhere. It sells for a modest $2.99
Again and again, we find ourselves in a fantasyland, up against a vast sea of sympathy toward women and harsh criticism towards men which is way out of proportion to our true qualities. Why the bias? Where does it come from? And what are we to do about it?
"Chivalry" refers not just to the quaint customs of medieval knights or to the various superficial courtesies toward females.Some consider chivalry merely a flimsy folktale constructed to mask the subordinaÂtion of women. Yet we can all identify striking instances where men and women alike appear to hold chivalrous standards, acting to support women and to hold men accountable.
Four in 10 American children are born to single women, and fathers are too often considered optional. Fatherhood provided a cornerstone for every human civilization but is now being shredded, like the proverbial goose that laid the golden egg.
The authors caution that we can no longer afford to so misunderstand our opposites. Each misunderstanding is a potential troublemaker, lurking in the shadows, ready to trip us up or send us the wrong direction down another dark alleyway. Once we see what we ordinarily overlook, we can plan ahead and program in the brighter futures we would wish to see. We will find the answers behind the masquerades, amidst the real men and women we ought to recognize as ourselves."