Friday, 17 May 2013

Extreme Empathy

Thanks to your prayers, I slept like a log. I don't have to go in for this blood test for some hours yet, so I will calm myself by returning to "Let's Praise Men Week." (In case you didn't read my terrified midnight post, by 14:20 British Summer Time I will be in a waiting-room waiting to have a blood test. I suffer from an irrational fear of blood tests, so there is a Pray-for-Seraphic campaign going on.)

Today's topic is, "What if you were kidnapped by space aliens and they zapped you with alien technology so that all your XX chromosomes warped into XY chromosomes and when you regained consciousness, you were really and truly a man?"

Being married to a former lecturer in Philosophy, I already know that there are deep theological and philosophical objections to this question. I also know that men so much hate thinking about what women they know would be like if they were men that I am recommending Anonymous replies from all Single women today, so that the sneaky Eavesdroppers don't start picturing you as men and throw up.

It is, however, too late for B.A. who said he didn't want to think of me as a man, and anyway if aliens turned me into a man there would be no me anymore, and no continuity between the woman that was and the man that is, and the soul is the form of the body, and my soul is feminine so how could I have a feminine soul and an actually male (because totally XY, responding to androgen, etc.) body at the same time? Et cetera. Et cetera. Men are simply no fun at all when you ask "What if I were kidnapped by space aliens and they changed me from a woman to a man?"

So never mind them. Paradoxically, we will have to ignore men's squeamishness in our quest to identify with them. Today we are going to imagine what we would be like if space aliens transformed us brain and body into men, leaving us with our memories intact.

There should be some honesty here, though. Don't say you would look like Ryan Gosling unless your brother looks like Ryan Gosling. (One of my brothers is a dead ringer for Ryan Philippe, but I am waiving my right to look like Ryan Philippe.) And don't say you would be a tall dark guy if you are a short red-headed woman. The idea is that the aliens have zapped you in such a way that if you mother saw you, she would do a double-take, for you would look exactly like a son she never had, like a male version of her daughter who, sadly, was abducted by space aliens.

For example, I am the shortest woman in my family, so I don't think my alien zapping would make me any taller than 5'7". I would be a short, healthy, moderately fit, nearsighted, ginger-headed man of 39+. Male pattern baldness is present but not a given in my family, so I'm choosing to imagine I would have a bit of a receding hairline. To make up for this receding hairline--stop reading now, B.A.!--I would be otherwise hirsute, like a ginger Sean Connery.

Poor me. Thanks to these cruel space aliens, I am now a short, fit, hairy yet slightly balding, ginger, 39+ year old man. Fortunately I live in Scotland, so I could blend right in after the scientists let me go. (I know from the annals of science fiction that the first thing that happens after space aliens zap you is that scientists do a lot of intrusive tests.) Obviously I would divorce poor B.A. at once, and let the canon lawyers sweat over the annulment process. Stumped you now, canon lawyers!

The first thing I would do is to refuse to talk to a grief counselor about my losses because my XY brain would hate that kind of thing. Then I would go to the gym. Every day. Maybe twice a day. Obsessively.

If  I were zapped, I would be all about upper body strength. Never mind male social privilege. I'm 39+, so it would be too late to reap the most of the benefits of what remains of that. I would simply be stronger, and doors would be easier to push open, and groceries lighter to carry, and I would want more and more of this magic physical strength power. I would also want to be stronger than  the other men around because a male version of me would most definitely be thinking, "I could take 'im. I could take 'im, too. That one might be difficult."

In terms of work, I would march into the retraining center and learn a lucrative, upper-body-strength trade like fishing or plumbing. (Okay, plumbing is way more lucrative than fishing.) B.A. says I wouldn't, and I would be bored, but I am telling you, if the aliens zapped me, all I would care about would be (A) strength and (B) money. My present reluctance to allow people to tell me what to do would sky-rocket and so either the fellowship of fishing boats or being an independent contractor would be the way to go, not some white-collar job being pleasant to managers. Ick. I would spend holidays doing all the stuff I would be way too afraid to do as a woman, keeping in mind that although I could take on a lot of bad guys, I could not take on all of them, or more than two at once. Going camping by myself would be really cool, as would hitchhiking across Europe on my own. Were I 25, I would still worry about truckers making passes at me, but being 39+, not so much.

In spare moments, if I had any, between work, the gym, and eating high protein suppers out of cans, I would write philosophical reflections on being a fisherman or a plumber. For company I would go down to  the pub and drink too much or go to a football game. If the budget allowed and I still lived in Edinburgh, I would most definitely get season tickets for Easter Road. No matter how lousy Hibernians are playing, they are my team and that's just the way it is. For relief I would occasionally take a cheap Ryan Air flight to Germany and watch Bayern.

My problems would involve loneliness and wanting to be friends with women while fearing they might look at me as if I were either a potential rapist or the solution to all their problems.

I would worry that people wouldn't be my friend or hire me if they found out I was that guy who was a woman until completely zapped by space aliens, so I would never ever talk about it or admit it.

I would worry a lot about having  enough money saved against the day I just couldn't lift heavy stuff  anymore, although hopefully I would eventually hire guys to work for me. Plumbing is really starting to look better than fishing.

I would be a bit worried about being beaten up, but generally men  don't like to pick fights with short, middle-aged gingers with the muscles I would obsessively develop. (I might go back into boxing, too.)

I would hate going to the doctor even more than I do now, and sulk when he told me I drank too much.

I would go mental over the extremely lousy playing of Hibernians.

I would also go mental if tall men stood very close to me in an attempt to intimidate me with their height.  Bad idea, Stretch.

If I were still straight--weird thought--I guess I might eventually get married so as not to be so lonely, but only to a woman who really loved her job and didn't complain all the time about being bored and unfulfilled. I would like having kids, for sure, especially if my wife believed the Man is the Head of the Family and the Woman is the Heart of the Family stuff the priest says, so that my familial duties were mostly reduced to shouting and handing out pocket money.

If B.A. reads this he is going to wonder how the aliens managed to make me working-class as well as male. The truth is I would not want to be a middle-class guy after 39+ years of being a middle-class woman. If I had to give up being a woman, I would really be all about strength, money and calling all the shots in my life, and that would mean a decent trade. Besides, I saw Fight Club, and I do not want middle-class guy problems. No way. No way, Hosea.

Well, I enjoyed that. Your turn. I very strongly suggest you remain Anonymous for this one. Or, to really freak out the Eavesdroppers with impunity, pick a guy's name. Don't give yourself any advantages you are not likely to have. If you are a short girl, ponder the difficulties short men face. If you are a tall girl, exult in the unfair advantage tall men get in this unfair world.

P.S. Don't forget to pray for me at 14:20 BST (8:20 in Chicago, 9:20 in Toronto, 15:20 in Berlin and Warsaw).


UPDATE: Here I am back from the medical center. Thanks to all those who prayed, either before or at or after 14:20 BST! I think the first needle went in around 14:35. At any rate, the nurse was very kind and listened hard when we discussed how we were going to do this. I didn't cry and I didn't freak out. I made myself do the stuff I had to do (like straighten my arm) and when the needle went in I just said "+Jesus+-remember-me-until-You-come-into-Your-kingdom" under my breath about 250 times in the space of 90 seconds or however long it took to get three vials of blood out of my poor wee arm.

"Whatever you're saying, it's working," said the kind Scottish nurse.

I did not think that up in advance; that's just what came out, and later I wondered why that particular wording. And then I realized: Taizé. Which is very funny given my mad traddery, but there it is. And I was very comforted, indeed, as I hurried to the centre, to know readers were praying for me. Vobis gratias ago.

24 comments:

Leah said...

Praying for you, Seraphic!!! I hate blood tests too. :P

Sheila said...

Ooh, I very much like this topic. Perhaps I've got a wee bit of male envy after all.

I'd be a shortish, pale, slim blond young man of 26. I imagine I'd probably look exactly like my dad did at 26, which was relatively handsome if you're into short, pale, slim, and unwhiskery men. I'd keep my hair a bit shaggy and wear jeans and flannel shirts 100% of the time. And Old Spice.

I'd immediately hitchhike out of this town and into the country, where I'd hire myself out at an organic dairy farm. I'd spend a few years working on farms, saving up money, and doing epically long backpacking trips. I'd probably want to take along a friend though, considering how small and cute I was.

Once I'd earned enough money, I'd buy a small patch of land and build it up with my hands -- building my own house out of earth or logs, building a barn, and so forth. Meanwhile I'd start farming the land. My goal would be a diversified homestead that turned a small profit from selling milk and eggs and running a vegetable CSA.

Then I suppose I would want to get married, and I'd be a go-getter about this. Since I know a lot of girls from college, I'd call them up one by one and ask them all out. Every last one, because you never know when there might be some kind of spark. (I assume I'm not allowed to just marry my best gal pal, right? It would save a lot of trouble because I know we already get along well. Then again, she probably wouldn't have me because I wouldn't be her type.) I'd be looking for a woman who was really enthusiastic about the farming life and willing to make cheese, spin wool, and have a dozen children if possible.

I'd be a very involved dad and probably be a bit jealous of my wife for getting to do more of the kid stuff.

I might get involved in politics, but then again I think my disinterest in politics is more of a me thing than a girl thing. I might do some sustainability activism though.

Man, that sounds like a great life. But since I'm already married with kids ... it would be a real bummer to be turned into a man.

Sheila said...

Oops, forgot to rename myself Sheldon.

Anonymous said...

Definitely praying, Auntie Seraphic!

What an interesting thought exercise! Let's see... to start off with appearances I think I'd be about the same height as my brother, so 6ft-ish. Since I have a brother it's weirdly easy to think that I'd look very similar to him. I would suddenly be much better at running and lifting heavy things and I might even enjoy running a bit. I would hold myself to a higher physical standard and keep myself improving, mainly by thinking about people I didn't like who could run faster than me...I would be clean-shaven due to uniform regulations for 11 months out of 12 and would grow a mustache for charity in Movember, mainly because everyone else does... I would either shave my head or have a standing appointment with the barber every Friday after work, because male-me would not want to be bothered. That would actually be a huge relief in some respects, to never have to worry about a bad hair day again, or 'where the heck is my gel'.
If my roommate was also zapped by aliens, I suspect things would continue much the same as they are now, except we'd probably go to more sports games and fewer arts events. If she hadn't been zapped, and if we would make more money from our housing allowance by being married, I might propose a strictly Josephite marriage of convenience for more money...provided I didn't just dive headlong into the Catholic dating scene locally. Which I might. After all, girls love a guy in uniform, right (the reverse doesn't seem to hold true)? And it would be so nice to have the freedom to take the initiative with conversations, asking people out for coffee etc. Yes, you might be rejected, but you might NOT be! I would probably have vague feelings of uneasiness if I didn't meet and marry someone in perhaps the next three years. After hitting 33 I'd start to have serious thoughts that male-me had a vocation to the priesthood or something, or perhaps ought not ever to marry due to earlier XX-ness. I would write myself a note to investigate third orders or monasteries if 33 and unmarried. I'd probably be an altar-server. I might be a cantor, as my range would finally be appreciated and I wouldn't have to worry about trying to hit high-notes or having boring alto parts.
I'd be more torn about what to do for a living. I think I would more seriously consider staying in the Navy, because male-me is either more risk-adverse or more complacent, I'm not sure which, and I don't think I could give up the steady paycheck and predictable monotony of work, not even for the promise of Adventure in Foreign Countries. Speaking of which, deployments would simultaneously be worse and better. Worse in that male berthing is the tenth circle of hell when it comes to the personal hygiene of your shipmates, but better in that I would never have trouble finding liberty buddies. I might still end up having to be the sober soul, but I would never lack for people to go out with, because male-me wouldn't have to worry about finding groups with at least one other female. That little warning voice in the back of my brain that is perpetually on as a female on deployment would die down to an occasional whisper in the presence of unfamiliar Marines or air-det guys.
If I did decide to get out of the Navy, I would go straight into grad school and get an extremely practical MA, probably while attempting to fish for a cute undergrad simultaneously.
I would have to repeatedly talk myself out of buying a motorcycle. I would definitely buy a better/newer car and take an afternoon or evening to find out just how FAST it could go.
I would go on walks/runs/hikes/backpacking through Europe by myself and not think twice about doing so.
I'd get back into karate.
'Wojtek Athanasius'

anon for today said...

Okay, I think this is going to be fairly easy. I've been overidentifying with men/male role models since childhood (since we're being totally anonymous and all).

I would probably be about 6 foot, since my dad is and my brother is even taller and my mom was on the tall side for a woman. My [father's side of the family] features would be even more prominent, especially the nose and deep-set eyes and level forehead. I would still have brown hair and medium hairness and be on the stocky side - but being stocky and intellectual would be much more of a plus as a man.

If I were a man I would have total unambiguous delight in the kind of intellectual conversation that men have, saying things with confidence that I'll be considered an expert, especially through my use of jargon. I could be self-aware about this but not concerned that it was somehow compromising my social capital and social presence. I know I would be concerned about how I measured up against my interlocutors, but I would worry about that for completely different reasons. I would lose a certain amount of leverage by not overlapping -- not getting to speak for women AND compete with the boys.

My goals would be about the same: teaching, education, and I MIGHT have picked up some extra ambition, but again, maybe not. I would enjoy my ability to show up and take charge and take care of people. If I were a man I would probably be considering the monastic life. (But maybe that's just what I've always imagined, because as a man I can imagine no real sexual or romantic longings for a wife...)

My biggest problems would be finding work, communicating with women, and thinking I could have objective and technical discussions about women's modesty. Okay, that last one is a joke. I would probably feel even more loneliness about not being able to share my feelings with others, and I might not want to do it at all unless it was with a very specific person, I guess.

Haha, it might be obvious by now that I don't get the male emotional life.

Magdalen Hobbs said...

You were definitely in my prayers this a.m. Hope all is well.

Ronald Van Mer Boden said...

Well I would be a lanky, tall young man. It's possible that I would build some muscle, because I too am amazed at the ease with which men use their arms to lift heavy objects. In that case, I could probably be decently foreboding enough to make it around town without being mistaken for a teenage boy.
Since the ideas of tools would fascinate my XY mind, and apparently I already think like a programmer (but now, as a woman have no interest in this)I would be a nerdy computer programmer. Perhaps I would be rich one day. Probably because of my past experience with financial constraints I would discover investing and make my fortune, or get involved with those corporations that are moving forward and make enough money to one day send a mess of children to college.
In that case, I would certainly take as many vacation days as possible before getting married to travel Europe and stay in hostels, socializing with the many people I would meet along the way. I could do this for a few years because my fertility is no longer a ticking clock.

If I did find a girl, I think I would want one who doesn't wear too much make-up like a barbie doll, and maybe is a little rough around the edges and judgmental....because then I know she would like me for me and not for my money/looks because she's been made the wiser and stronger by those guys who just have looks/money. Or perhaps she had an awesome dad to teach her those things without her having to had been hurt so much, which I would pity and understand from my memories of being a woman.....that would make everything weird.

Maybe I would become a priest. Who could fix his congregation's computers. If I suddenly had such a vocation....

and now I make up a fun man's name!

Seraphic said...

Thanks for the prayers! (See update.)

I am all agog reading what you would be like as men. What a hoot! I love that Sheldon would date like it was a "numbers game" and that Wojtek would just shave his head.

I hope thinking yourself into maleness is making you contemplate the bad side, too. I suppose the six-footers have to worry a lot about banging their heads on things.

Ronald Van Mer Boden said...

OH! I forgot! I would date TALL women. No offense to short women, you are beautiful. But I know that tall women have a harder time finding a mate because half the male population is shorter than they, and alas, too uncomfortable with that idea and therefore off the market. Being that my dad was 6'4" I would probably be near the mark. I would be attentive to every tall woman and stand near enough to her so that she would feel comfortable enough to straighten her shoulders if she didn't already. I might make frequent dates to go places like hiking (in a group at first!) in the mountains, so that she could experience that sort of thing with someone large enough to protect her from bears, rather than feeling like SHE had to be the defense, given her size.

I would probably get annoyed with those small airplanes while I traveled. And with women being afraid of me, although again, I would be respectful of their space. And finding jeans would STILL be a nightmare.....

Seraphic said...

That's very chivalrous of you, Ronald. I wonder if tall men ever ponder the sufferings of tall women re: dating. Probably they do, if they have tall mothers and sisters. If I were a tall man, I would want to marry a tall woman, so as to maximize my chances of having tall children.

David the mountain farmer said...

Sheldon, if I were still my female self, and if you were a little bit closer to my place, and taller, and if you really existed, I would hope you'd date me too... I can spin wool! And I would love to learn to make cheese. And to live on a farm.

Now, as a man, I would be tall without feeling weird about it and balding by now like my brother (what a strange thought). If I were a little bit more courageous than I am as a woman, I would start looking round for a nice farm where I could start working, if possible together with a few other people. I would be strong enough to lift small hay bales without problems.

Otherwise, I would go on with my current job, being a lot more successful because I would have a deeper, louder voice and more confidence.

Before starting the farm business, or as a break from my job, I would probably go back to Latin America just to travel around; I was volunteering there as a woman but never could travel alone, which bothered me very much because I love my freedom.

Anonymous said...

I'd be tall, dark and handsome (if my relatives are anything to go by). My new chromosomes would make me competitive and disinclined to take things personally, so I would go to law school and become a criminal defence lawyer. Of course I would wear snappy suits of the sort discussed earlier this week. And I'd be all about the thrill of the courtroom drama and meeting intelligent and interesting people (hopefully not all criminals). I'd probably have trouble meeting the right type of girl but I'd probably have lots of fun dating the wrong types for a while, until I started getting philosophical and wanting to settle down. Then, because I'd be so busy, I'd find it hard to meet the right one. I'd also do a lot more sports (downhill biking, skiing, sailing) but I wouldn't follow professional sports much. I'd probably be excessively fond of my car and its ability to accelerate from x to y speed in z seconds, and its standard transmission, and in winter time I'd do all the slides and doughnuts and spins in the snow that I'm too scared to do now. I'd probably be somewhat lonely because my job wouldn't bring me into contact with many likeminded people, but I'd enjoy the work and be closer to what friends I had.

Anonymous said...

Lol forgot to rename myself... it's Smith. Wayne Smith.

Anonymous said...

Such fun! Though of course my own sci-fi brain started raising objections to the premise immediately, wondering things like, "would you get stretch marks from having your skin stretched to accomodate new height/muscles/etc.?" But, setting aside such petty concerns as science...

I would take the name Brock because that's what I would have been named if I'd been a boy (which everyone swore I would be). I would be 6'2" (actually 6'1 1/2" but I'd claim 6'2") and it would be massively annoying to me to be an inch (and a half) shorter than my younger brother. I would, on the other hand, be HUGE -- enormous shoulders and muscled arms and I'd probably weigh about 220 lbs (almost entirely muscle with just a little bit of a spare tire). And I would immediately go about weightlifting in order to be bigger and stronger than EVERYONE ELSE. It would be a great joy to my male self to lift more weight, for more reps, than anyone else in the gym.

Freckled light skin. Light blue eyes. Square jaw. Short forehead. Large head, thick hair. Very much sort of a human GI Joe action figure. Dark blond hair that would be wavy but I'd impatiently keep it military-short. Beard would be the same color but I'd be clean-shaven. At 35+, I'd be right at the prime of life as a man... old enough to be listened to, young enough to keep up (mostly) with the whippersnappers.

Taciturn unless asked about pet topics & then you wouldn't be able to shut me up. Coffee fiend. Meat eater par excellence. Always too hot -- always in short sleeves. Addicted to comfortable clothes -- I'd probably wear a daily uniform of t-shirts, shorts, and flip-flops except for the depths of winter when I'd wear long jeans, some sort of comfortable shoes, and possibly a sweatshirt when I was outdoors. I would probably have multiple shirts from the same store in the same three colors and switch between them solely for the sake of cleanliness.

I would use my height and bulk to intimidate people wordlessly, particularly when I felt that they were being rude (the people who come stand in front of you in the art museum, for instance). Would consider myself a "protector". Volunteer firefighter, perhaps. No patience for overt emotionalism (ie "stupidity"), esp. among coworkers. Not shy, exactly, but reserved, and stoic. And a complete teddy bear underneath, all about my family, my nephews, and puppies and kittens (protecting the defenseless). I would likely think of myself as some sort of white knight out to take care of the world and smash the bad guys into the dust. (Since I already sorta feel that way as a much less physically-powerful female.)

I would be terrified by women, and would watch them from afar with feelings of mystified admiration. I'm sure I would be one of those who'd have a tremendous crush on some glamourous Angelina Jolie-type but in reality I'd fall into a comfortable (and surprising, to me, at least, though no doubt she angled me into it if I'd known what to look for) marriage with a gregarious, bubbly, nonthreatening, family-minded sweetheart of a girl, probably about 10 years younger than myself, that I met at church and would be constantly surprised that she was my own family. I'd be the strong silent provider and she'd make sure I was eating right and drag me around to social and/or church and family events regularly. I'd protest my reluctance but (most of the time) relax in the comfortable glow of being needed and wanted.

I'd be very geeky and unashamed to own up to it. I would likely continue on in the statistical/analytical job that I currently have, but I suspect I'd be more likely to call people out when I thought they were doing stupid things in stupid ways. I'm not certain if I'd be a video gamer or not... I think it's more likely that I would take up something like carpentry or home and auto repairs that I could do with my hands that takes skill and attention do right.

Seraphic said...

No way. I don't care how tall you are. I can totally kick your butt. That might be the beer talking, but I don't care. Outside!

Maggie D said...

If I were a man, I would actually be a boy. An almost-eighteen-year-old , pale, chubby boy, with short brown hair and dark eyes. I would not be athletic, but once I was turned into a boy I would work out more and become somewhat leaner and tanner (but not quite lean and tan). This is because I think that I would feel more comfortable playing sports as a boy.

I would be extremely nerdy, and quite nervous around girls. (Both of which are true about me now, except reversed gender, of course.) As a result of that and of my sheltered homeschooled upbringing, I will have never asked anyone out. Instead of intending to study language, I will want to study number theory and pick my major accordingly. Perhaps I will be going to a state school instead of a Catholic college this fall. I would have no sense of style, and exclusively wear jeans and t-shirts with obscure geeky references on them or college t-shirts. As I do now, I will wear glasses because I have awful eyesight, but refuse to switch to contacts because I secretly think I look better with the glasses.

My height is average for white American females, so my height then would probably be the male average (5'10.5"). I would probably have inarticulate crushes on short girls with pretty smiles who gave me compliments. I am a sucker for compliments as a girl.


I would probably worry and have scruples that I had a vocation to the priesthood, but want to get married. My name would be Matthew. Not for any particular reason, but because it sounds like Maggie. ^_^

Sheldon said...

David, you bring to mind that I should be looking online for that bride of mine. After all, Catholic women who want to homestead AND aren't so rad-trad as to be too far right for me ... don't exactly grow on trees.

Sigh. This exercise makes me think that if we could jettison all the current men into space and replace them with women-who-had-been-turned-into-men, the world would be a better place. Or just inject 20 years worth of female experience into every man so they had some idea what it is LIKE! Even five minutes inside a woman's brain would probably give a men a heck of a lot of insight.

Anonymous said...

Oooo, fun! So, if I were a dude, I would probably be around 5'10", 5'11", have sandy brown, curly hair, freckles, and super dark/ heavy eyebrows. Oh, and hopefully my nose would be a little better proportioned to my face. (prominent noses seem less noticeable on guys)I would be a bit slender, but I would make up for it with much weight lifting. I would be a bit obsessed with running and would enter marathons and triathalons regularly. I would also learn to surf and would probably enjoy camping more than I presently do. I would learn to play the guitar (accoustic, electric, and bass) and start an alt rock band as the lead singer/ guitarist. I would definitely join the US Air Force, though; so the band might not pan out. I would try everything to be stationed in Germany. I would get a degree in aerospace engineering, and in my spare time (ha) I would try to figure out how to build a TARDIS or a similar time/space travel machine. :-) I would hopefully be less timid and reserved than I am now. Baseball would be my chosen sport and I would follow my team almost religiously and play baseball with my dad and little brother whenever I was on leave. I would be an altar server and re-learn Latin. I would (still) read voraciously, though probably more non-fiction than I do now. I would learn some terribly difficult language such as Russian or Hindi and would climb as many mountains as I could, the first on the list being the Matterhorn. I think I might be a bit busy and definitely way too oblivious to think much about girls, marriage and such. And to conclude, my name would be Gilbert Swain Palmer, the Third. After my grandpa. :)

Kate P said...

Catching up on this late, so let me applaud you and thank the Lord for getting through your testing O.K., Seraphic!

My mom said I would've been named "Giancarlo" had I been born a boy, so right off the bat my first name would fit with my last name far more than my actual birth name. I look very much like my older brother so I guess I'd still have wavy brown hair and be short. (But I'd look more like Johnny Depp too.) And I'd probably be a good listener still but be able to mix better drinks so I guess I'd be a bartender like him. . . and make really good fantasy football (American) picks!

Rachel said...

I'm glad the blood test went all right. And that the words of the Taizé chant helped.

Seraphic said...

@Sheldon. Sheldon! It's "Let's Praise Men Week", so the goal of the exercise is not to think we'd all make better men than the real men, but to try to figure out what it would be like to be one.

I cannot think of anything more likely to make men angry then women thinking we'd all make better men than them. Yikes!

I suspect that the reason we have been able imagine ourselves as men is because we are so rooted in our femininity, such identification is not at all a threat to it. But, if I understand correctly, a lot of male identification is involved with separating itself from the female, starting with separating one's identity radically from Mom. So I fear most good guys really can't get their minds around, "What if I were a woman?" And, unfortunately, the men most interested in "How women think" seem to be PUAs.

Sheila said...

I know, I know. It's just that I have such a longing for men to have the foggiest idea what we think and what we want. Perhaps your blog is part of the solution.

My husband has seven sisters, and he still isn't particularly savvy about women. He just knows enough to treat us as equals, which was good enough for me. Luckily he was raised not to swear.

Seraphic said...

It's an interesting problem. In marriage and platonic friendships and probably most of the time in dating relationships, the solution is just to tell men what you think and what you want. When it seems necessarily, of course, and will all due tact. "I want you to walk me home from the bus stop because I am scared of walking alone in the woods" is necessary and tactful whereas "Argh! All men are potential rapists" is usually not.

Anonymous said...

I have NEVER tried to imagine this before ... so here goes:

I would be about 5'10", like my shortest brother, but still a fair bit taller than Mum & Dad. Mum would have gotten over her worry that our small town couldn't handle a "Bede" and named me just that. My hair will be ruddy blonde, thick and wavy. I'll be built strongly, but on the lean side, with not too much body hair. At high school I would have been handy at sports and a bit hot-headed on the field but also really at home in the classroom. I would have listened more than I talked and been fairly conscientious, out of "respect". The desire I had for holiness would not have been confused by a lack of "personal experiences" of God and I would have quietly and simply developed a prayer life without realising it. I would have made a conscious decision not to kiss a girl if I didn't think there could be a serious relationship. My sense of humour would be slow to develop but mostly consist in not taking myself too seriously and being fairly gentle in conversation.

Entering adulthood, I'd keep playing sport but also explore theatre and literature. My faith will get gritty and real through attending young adults' gatherings for Adoration. After studying history as an undergrad I'd become a high school teacher for a few years, getting along well with the boys but finding teenage girls hard to be patient with. I'd travel whenever I could and hitchhike around. Adventure for me would be chance meetings with strangers, experiencing foreign hospitality and being on my own time.

In my late twenties, disillusioned by teaching a history that seems to continue being repeated, I'd retrain as a paramedic. This job would allow for greater flexibility and also working overseas, including Africa, until I realise that I need to planted more in the one place.

A few brief romances with women who are similarly untied-down will come to amiable ends and for several years, once I've settled in my one place, I will enjoy the company of good friends and family. By the time I'm 35 I'll be almost resigned to the celibate life and then I'll meet a 32-year-old with auburn hair and shining eyes. She will be dynamic and funny and very, very loving. I will realise why I had to wait this long to meet someone.

I will have several very good friends become priests. I will have several very good friends call me for a beer but really need to talk through their marriage/work/identity problems. I will have several very good friends who are women.

I will never like to spend a lot of money at restaurants, but always rather cook at home.

I won't be much of a talker on the phone, but much rather hang out in person.

I will be the sort of guy who in his latter years has to give a lot of eulogies.


Thanks for this challenge!