Understanding My Monkey Brain
Without digging to deeply into the evolutionary reasons men and women are like they are, I’d like to spend some time thinking about who they are right now. … Alright, well, now that I’ve spent some time on it, I see that women are better than men.
Okay, calm down. Maybe not better, but I would say all genders are misunderstood. For years toxic masculinity has run rampant over men, convincing them that their emotions are the enemy. And many previous generations taught us all that women are the more emotional sex and that men are more logical.
That’s not true. At all. Men are just as emotional, it’s just not as culturally acceptable for them to express them. And women are just as logical. It’s not fair to paint any human into one of those corners.
I’m just as guilty as anyone to fall prey to many of those old stereotypes, if only because it’s a lot of work to want to get out from under them. It’s easier to keep with the status quo, and much harder to look in the mirror and confront our feelings.
Regardless, being emotional has been painted with negative connotations, which resulted in women being painted in a negative light. Whereas misogynistic men think they have the higher ground because they don’t “get emotional” about anything.
That’s complete and utter bullshit. Culture and history has taught us that the only emotion men are allowed to show is anger, but men have just as deep an emotional spectrum as women. Stoicism shouldn’t be reserved for men anymore than sensitivity is for women. This is where I find myself. Sensitive doesn’t mean weak. It takes a stronger person to deal with their emotions than it does to bury them.
Perhaps this explains why I have always felt more comfortable around women.
I’ve always had more women friends than men. Without stereotyping, I’ve always felt their company more welcoming, warmer, and more in touch with who they are. At parties I would always gravitate towards the conversations women were having because they were more interesting than talking about trucks or lawnmowers or football, or which chick had the best tits.
Now, I like those things, too. But I also love talking about the arts, music, gardening, and several other stereotypically feminine things.
Do men talk about “manly” things because they’re really interested in them, or are those the only things acceptable for them to discuss?
Women have always seemed comfortable around me too. If I try putting myself in their shoes, I believe that I appear safe. I am self-aware. I am creative. I am in touch with my feelings and not afraid of them.
Though, I wouldn’t call myself effeminate. I can also do plumbing and electrical work and can mostly work a chainsaw without loosing too many limbs. How handy is that? Where I feel disconnected from members of my own gender is that far too many feel the need to prove their manliness. Around men, I’ve always felt a sense of competition, of aggression, of calculation, of posturing.
At what point does evolution change this? Are we there now, perhaps? I’m not the enemy. I am a civilized person, living in a (semi) civilized world. If my kids are at an event, I’d much rather hang out and talk to the moms before I will talk to the dads. And it’s not because I want to bang their wives and destroy everything they’ve worked for.
The most fun I ever had was when I dated a gay woman. Back then we just called them lesbians, but I’m trying to be hip. She was the perfect combination of feminine and masculine. She had the physical attributes I love about women, but had a confidence and swagger I could only describe as masculine — but perhaps that’s a stereotype talking. See how hard it is to undo those?
Anyway, she knew who she was and what she wanted. She also knew that those things were likely to change over time. She was fluid and dynamic, and a free spirit who flew away from me in time.
At the time I didn’t understand her dynamic, but I do now.
When I talk to women, I’d by lying if I didn’t admit I still have a monkey brain back there pulling some strings, making me notice them as women. If I am 100% honest with myself, there is some deep, dark corner of my unconscious mind that fantasizes about sleeping with them. All of them. I would bet most men think this stuff, but won’t admit it.
Humans are sexual beings, and to deny this is no less significant than denying our emotions. Not only will I admit it, but I have learned to understand it. I have learned to work with it, make peace with it, and even adopt some of it and use it to connect with people. Because I’ve learned to understand my monkey brain a bit, I know that the unconscious desire to mate is fleeting. I have a mate, and truly don’t want another. My instincts tell me that feeling is mutual.
At the end of the day, both femininity and masculinity are qualities that are crucial to balance and understand. Men would be well-served to take a step back and allow themselves to feel what they feel and learn to understand those feelings.
A tear won’t make you gay anymore than holding it in will keep you straight. As we progress into the future, let’s learn who we are as humans. Not men, women, or non-binary — but as humans. In a world of uncertainty, our humanity is the only thing keeping us…human.
We should embrace it and learn to love it.