This video always cracks me up. Women, know your limits.
In the world today there are politics, there is culture, there are sexual politics, and than there is just simple, plain old biology. Something that never ceases to frustrate me is how much shame is often attached to simple biological truth, as if it shouldn’t exist or it doesn’t exist or it is somehow shameful. We tend to want to reject such notions today, to act as if men and women are totally the same, as if all things are equal, and as if biology is nothing more than a social construct that must bend to our will.
Life simply works better if you work within the confines of biology and honor those realities, in every aspect of our lives. We are biological creatures, with higher selves perhaps, but operating within biology at the moment. Embrace it, enjoy it, delight in it.
When it comes to love, honoring and respecting biology is not about playing games or being deceptive, it is about allowing a natural force to flow and happen. Right off the bat, if you think men and women are the same and have the same roles in a relationship, you are going to be in trouble. That seems unfair to some, but really when done right it is a lovely dance that celebrates the complimentary nature of men and women.
In today’s world it is important to women to be perceived as smart, to be tough, to be educated, and to be valued for these things. We may deny it, but we truly do desire and seek the approval of men. The problem is this can really mess with biology. Men are often compelled to display their worth and value to us. They seek to impress you. They wish to shine for a moment in your eyes. There is nothing worse than having a girl sit down at a table and suddenly decide to display her own worth and value, her vast intelligence, her education, and immediately start dominating the conversation. This even annoys me.
Women love to dominate a social situation or a conversation and we’re very good at it too, but sometimes forgotten is how men often learn to accommodate us, to allow us to shine, to encourage us to speak. This is good manners, this is gentleness in action, but one shouldn’t try to exploit it.
When it comes to capturing the attention of a man in a romantic context, there is sometimes some resistance on the part of women, “I’m not going to act like a bimbo, I shouldn’t have to dumb myself down, I’m going to be my authentic self!” These are all such heavy-laden, shame based responses, as if to say, “he will value me for my intelligence and nothing else!” I am often compelled to say, “why, do you not already know you are smart?” Also, we are talking romance here, the world of eros, you are not looking for an English Professor or someone to give you an IQ test.
So, in the world of biology men tend to value us for our inner and outer beauty, our desirability, our physical attraction. That is not bad or shameful, it simply is. It does not mean that women do not have worth and value in other ways, too. It does not mean that he views you as a flat, two-dimensional sexual creature. (although some yahoos do.) It just means that biology makes it unlikely that he will be attracted to your vast intellectual superiority. In fact, that very word, “superiority” is likely to push him away.
It is not about “acting like a bimbo” or “dumbing yourself down,” it is about toning it down and allowing him to shine for a moment, so that he can impress you with his worth and value, so he can display his own intelligence. It is also just a simple recognition of biological reality. Men seek to qualify themselves in our eyes. This is a sweet and gentle aspect of courtship, quite charming actually. They are not really seeking competition with you, they are seeking to impress you.
If a woman is compelled to try to prove that she is more intelligent, has a better education, has tattoos in even stranger places, has bigger biceps and can win all the arm wrestling contests, then she is obsessed with trying to qualify her own self. Not only does this send the message that you don’t really need a man for much of anything, it can make him feel inadequate, rather than worthy.
Also, it is somewhat unhealthy for both men and women. Men that truly do demand you qualify yourself for them should be avoided entirely. These are men who will never value you for anything. Ever.
The reverse is not true however. If a man shows any interest in you at all, he has already deemed you worthy, at least on a superficial level. It is only natural that he will than proceed to display his own value, to present his worth.
When you take this biological truth into marriage, that dance is the same, a wife provides encouragement, she validates a husband’s worth and value in the world. The dozens of little acts of love he does are displays of affection, they are how he qualifies himself in her eyes. No, he is not being subservient to her, he is actually responding to the amount of respect she pours over him. Men need to feel respected, it is the love language they speak. If you feel a need to compete, compete over new and interesting ways to serve the needs of the other.
Some people think that biology is unfair, that men should never have to qualify themselves, that women should be valued exclusively for our intelligence and not our sexuality, that it is unfair that men have to do all the work, that women don’t really need men, and on and on it goes…. The thing is, it is not necessarily the nature of biology that is wrong, but rather our response and resistance to it.
Back to the bit of comedy known as, “Women: know your limits.” Can a smart woman deliver a scathing argument in about two seconds flat and totally win the debate? Of course! Women can be brilliant, but just because you can doesn’t always mean you should. It depends on what one’s goal is. Do you really want a man who has selected you exclusively for your intelligence and capacity to reason? Have you asked yourself what might be wrong with his own capacity to reason in that case? What need would he be seeking to fill?
Also somewhat amusing, those who often have a desire to establish their intelligence credentials, don’t really have any. Most men are just fine with intelligent women, that is not the issue at all, it is the need and desire to constantly prove oneself superior.
Like it or not, what most women truly desire to be loved and delighted in, treasured and adored. We like provision, protection, leadership even. So rather than “women:know your limits,” it should be “women know what you truly want and desire in any given situation and proceed accordingly.”
*This post is in response to Lena’s somewhat tongue in cheek post, Advice for Young Women