There is a dangerous myth permeating our society, a myth which I suspect has been around for a long time. It has to do with what men can reasonably expect from women in terms of romance, marriage, and sex. Men are led to believe that if they overcome all sorts of difficulties and trials set up for them by an implacable woman, her heart will melt and she will be become fully theirs. We see this theme played out over and over again in our arts, literature, popular media, and culture as a whole: "Oh, what she needs is a good man who knows how to unlock her heart!"
Baloney. Ladies and gentlemen, it's time for people to get a clue. A man can battle the dragon, struggle through the thorns, kiss the unresponsive girl, and still not have her wake up to his love. What people don't understand is the brutal reality of human nature. Let me point out some things to my male readers:
1. If the woman you are attracted to is spiteful and disagreeable (to others, if not you) before she is committed to you, she will likely be so afterwards.
2. If you have to jump through endless hoops to prove yourself before she marries you, be certain you will have to jump through endless hoops after you are married.
3. If a woman has a low conception of who men are, don't think that your being attractive and appealing to her will change the fundamental problem she has with men. At first sign of hardship or your being vulnerable, don't be surprised if she turns on you. Remember, a snake charmer can only play his pungi for so long.
Like my grandfather said, "You breed hound, you get a hound." If a woman is self-centered and emotionally immature, it's not your job to fix her, nor should you be under the illusion that you can. That's her responsibility. She needs to get her life right with the Lord. And heaven forbid if her emotional problems are severe. Don't get the idea that your folk theories on how to manipulate women can do something for your sweetheart what professional psychotherapy cannot do.**
Happily Ever After?
Another aspect of the Sleeping Beauty Fallacy is the idea that obtaining a beautiful woman = happily ever after. I am concerned about people who just assume that getting in bed with the best-looking ladies is the goal of every sensible man. Oh, yes it is!! Just like it's the goal of little kids to eat ice cream all day long. Come on, folks. This is not high school. This is adulthood and there are serious life-changing ramifications to the messages we embrace about relationships.
Some must live in a parallel universe, because they apparently have never heard of the adage that beauty is only skin deep. I have something to say to those who are skeptical of my message: Um, beauty really is only skin deep. Why even the Word of God echoes this sentiment: "Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised" (Prov. 31:30, NASB). Imagine that! Given this very elementary observation, don't you think it is utterly stupid and ridiculous to approach men's problems on the basis of who and who isn't getting laid with beautiful women?
Men shouldn't be afraid of rejection from beautiful women. They should be afraid of being committed to the wrong person. Do you a think good waist-hip ratio and facial symmetry automatically translates into a woman being a good mother to your children or a good wife to you? Yes? Then take your pick of the bat-crazy, crack-smoking narcissists that fit that description. No? Then why are you wasting your time focusing on attracting these women? And why is your self-image wrapped up in such a pursuit?
The Two Fishing Ponds
Let me leave behind Sleeping Beauty for a little bit and take you on a fishing trip. There are two ponds you can fish. One is stocked entirely with prize fish you like, but the pond has unacceptable levels of mercury in it. Not all of the fish have mercury, if that makes you feel better. The other pond has edible fish, too, and there are various kinds in it. There are reputedly some you like in the second pond, but mostly it's others you like a little less and some that you can't acquire a taste for.
Now, there are men like you with their boats in the second pond and a handful are snapping up the rare kind you like the most (and the fish you like are indeed rare in the second pond). The rest of the men in the second pond are taking home other kinds of fish, but are generally content with what their going to have for dinner. What about that first pond? Yes, there are guys in it, hauling in the prize fish. But they are playing catch-and-release. So let's review your choices: you can play catch-and-release, hazard eating a prize fish full of mercury, spend all day trying to catch a prize fish in the second pond and probably not come home with anything, settle for something less than your favorite but which is still palatable just the same, or just refuse to fish in either pond.
You say, "I'll use my special lure and catch an edible prize fish in the second pond." But you're missing the point. Your fishing strategy doesn't begin with the tackle, but with the pond that you're going to put your boat in. That's my question to you. Don't tell me about your tackle gear and your custom fishing pole. Where is your boat at, dude? Because if you are focused entirely on prize fish without any concern about the safety of taking such home, then I know what pond you are in.
But if indeed you are in the second pond, then I gotta' say your special tackle gear will only take you so far. You may have a special lure to throw in the pond that attracts the prize fish like a magnet, but if there is only so many of those fish around, then you may be waiting a long time. That is especially the case if the other fisherman have lures as good as yours. And don't forget this: Some fisherman may not have a top-dollar lure, but they show up early when there are more prize fish. Since they are in the second pond, they don't play catch-and-release. Don't expect them to share their catch with you. The day is getting on and the sun is setting. What are you going to do?
Yes, Sleeping Beauty is like the prize fish. But you need to ask yourself is she worth it. Let's put things into perspective. A woman's physical attractiveness only lasts for a minor portion of her lifespan. It's maybe thirty years out of eighty plus years of living, if we are being generous. If you are going to be monogamous and honor God's law on marriage (as opposed to playing the catch-and-release game of bed-hopping), then think about what life will be like with your hypothetical beauty queen after she goes through menopause. Could you stand to be around her with her looks gone and your sex drive barely functioning? Maybe you could; maybe you couldn't. You need to be honest with yourself and look down the road, beyond the short-term perspective of our ADHD culture.
I come to the close of my discussion by revisiting my first concern: men thinking women will magically change for the better. I fear some people assume the problems men face boil down to the type of tackle and gear they have, as if the right tackle can turn a Pond 1 fish into a Pond 2 fish. Such an attitude shows no concern for the environment the fish was swimming in. It's total. Utter. Nonsense. It ties in with the Sleeping Beauty Fallacy. A leopard can't change it spots and you can't turn a slattern into a church girl by pulling a Svengali on her. Your are not Pygmalion.
We laugh at women who think they can change their men. But I guess some men are now drinking the same Kool-Aid and are thinking, "If I act a certain way, she'll respond in certain way." It ain't necessarily so, compadres. Women are not robots. They have a mind of their own and a lot depends on their personality, their life's experiences, their internalized values, their goals, what they want from you, and what they don't want from you. Men who confuse what it takes to attract women with what it takes to change a woman's fundamental character do so at their own peril. You've been warned. Don't be a dead guinea pig for a shaky theory. A lot of times, the sleeping beauties are like sleeping dogs--it's best to let them lie (and not with you).
**Note: Since the time of completing the draft of this piece, I have come across an informative website (shrink4men.wordpress.com). It's the blog of a trained psychotherapist and offers a male-friendly perspective on dealing with difficult women in relationships. A lot of the content reinforces what I am saying here. The key to change for an abusive person of either sex lies with that person, not you. There's something else to consider: the pathological views about men that are prevalent in our society. It's a pathology that feeds itself and escalates into the breakdown of relationships between men and women. I daresay it results in the proliferation of the kind of women mentioned in the following links. For my male readers, carefully consider these links:
1. Why Men Are Attracted to Crazy, Emotionally Abusive Women
2. 10 Reasons You Can’t Communicate with a Narcissistic or Borderline Woman
3. Why Couples Counseling Rarely Works with Narcissistic and Borderline Women
4. Will My Emotionally Abusive Girlfriend or Wife Be Different With the New Guy?