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NCFM Chicago Chapter President Tim Goldich — It All Balances Out! Male perspective.

May 30, 2013
By

maleIt All Balances Out! Male perspectives.

by Tim Goldich

There are about a dozen or so MRA speeches I’ve cooked up over the years. The speech that follows is the one that I consider to be the “safest” of the lot. This speech is designed to introduce male perspectives in the least provocative way. And it’s the speech I delivered last Sunday at Oakton Community College before a class of 35 students studying “Intercultural Communication.”

Before I began speaking, a woman read the following introduction:

Tim Goldich, author of Loving Men, Respecting Women: The Future of Gender Politics, believes that to the degree that Woman has always tended to be less respected than Man, Man has been less loved in equal measure and with equal consequences.  Tim concludes that, in the benefits enjoyed and in the liabilities suffered, in the power and in the victimization, in the freedoms and in the constraints, It All Balances Out between Woman and Man—and it always has.

               Please welcome Tim Goldich . . .

I have a truth to share with you—a truth at once radical and moderate. It is intuitively known but ideologically obscured. It is, I believe, the one gender truth to be raised above all others. It is the one truth that promises to de-escalate the Battle of the Sexes replacing resentment, vengeance, and victim with accountability, compassion, and fairness. It is a truth just at the edge of awareness.

And it all begins with love and respect.

maleGood evening everyone . . .

As is commonly the case, I grew up respecting and obeying my Dad more than my Mom while loving and appreciating my Mom more than my Dad. We came to the dinner table hungry! When Mom cooked our favorites she received our compliments and our gratitude. Mom served us our meals, one of life’s fundamentals at the very heart of family as well as religious, holiday, and other gatherings.

When Dad did his giving, he did so in an office somewhere miles away where we could neither see nor fully appreciate it. I directly experienced what Mom was giving, but it often seemed as though Dad gave nothing. Isn’t growing up loving our mothers and resenting our fathers something of a cultural cliché? What’s at risk in directing culture-wide love toward men in general and fathers in particular, and why will so many of us react with derision at the very thought?

Did you know that on Mother’s Day, more phone calls are made than on any other day, more than Christmas Day and far more than Father’s Day. Father’s Day, in contrast, is the day on which we make the largest number of collect calls. If we love Mom and Dad equally then why do we buy and send half again as many Mother’s Day cards as Father’s Day cards?

It would seem that many of us grow up respecting our fathers, but not necessarily loving (empathizing with) our fathers. Likewise, many of us grow up loving our mothers, but not necessarily respecting our mothers. At least in part, this disparity in love and respect derive from the roles we play. Clearly, the husband role of protector/provider lends itself to being respected, while the wife role of lover/nurturer better lends itself to being loved. Now, of course, it doesn’t always work this way—but, within the traditional model at least, it works this way more often than not.

In serving our meals we could say that Mom was being “servile,” or we could say that presenting our meals was one of the ways in which Mom placed herself at the center of our affections. In “bringing home the bacon” we could say that Dad was being “dominant,” or we could say that working long hours to earn his family’s love was one of the ways in which Dad was separated from his family’s love. Upon close examination, we find that every gender reality has this same dual nature.

At home, Mom was as loving, nurturing, and omnipresent as Dad was demanding, rule-enforcing, cranky, and absent. My emotional dependence on Mom was obvious and absolute. It was she who washed us, fed us, tended to our bruises, and taught us right from wrong. Within the mother/child glow we experienced a world of unconditional love. Yes, we were financially dependent upon Dad, but what does that mean to a child?

Every hour Dad devoted to earning his family’s love left him with one fewer hour in which to be with his family’s love. His work persona, so functional at work, was dysfunctional at home. “I can’t understand it,” he said to me once. “I communicate so well with my young employees; why can’t I communicate with you?” It’s easy to get disgusted with Dad. “I’m your son, not your employee,” I thought to myself. But how was Dad supposed to know about parenting?

Our dads didn’t grow up playing with dolls, playing house, and babysitting. The male culture did nothing to prepare them for the role of parenting. I was born before 1970, which means that I was born at a time when fathers were not even allowed in the delivery room. Fathers got shut out right from the start. The anesthesiologist could be there. A man with some practical value could be there. But, apparently, husbands/fathers, having no practical value in the delivery room, were seen as having no value at all. Only wives/mothers were encouraged to think of their nurturing and empathy as valuable gifts to be shared.

Fathers have many such stories to tell: Father listens to the sounds of his child playing outside. The child slips and falls. Father hears crying sounds running for the front door. His heart goes out to his child. But the child runs right past his open arms and into the arms of his mother instead. The child seeks comfort from the parent he loves most. In keeping with the male code, father does his best to keep his pain invisible, but it hurts to be loved second best. Is it any wonder if, from that day on, Dad begins to hide behind his newspaper? Is it any wonder if Dad begins spending more time at work, where he feels functional, and less time at home, where he feels dysfunctional?

Dad did give something. Among other things, my dad gave 40 years of long days that he counted down till retirement from a job that he hated. He might have taken a more enjoyable job that paid less; but that would not have been in keeping with his role as provider. Though he ended up spending more time at work than at home, there on his desk amid the folders and the memos were pictures of his family. There, under a sheet of glass covering his desk, was a poem I had written in the 4th grade.

What he did, he did for us. We might have thanked him more and blamed him less for not “being there for us.” He was over there at work for us. Looking back on it, perhaps it was we who were not there for him—to lend an ear to his fears, to love and support him.

In some cases, a dark day of reckoning arrives in which such a man may come to see his life in pursuit of respect as having been “all for nothing.” “Yes,” he says to himself, “I was respected. I may have been obeyed, admired, and rewarded with authority, status, and titles, but I was never loved. Out of the blue, I awoke one day to be served divorce papers. I still love my wife, but she does not love me. And my kids, to the extent they even know me, don’t love me either. In desperation I turned to my brethren for solace and support, but following some perfunctory remarks (‘Keep your chin up,’ ‘Hang in there, buddy’), there was nothing. Father’s Days come and go without a card or a call. I was never loved. It was all for nothing.”

Similarly, a dark day may come when a woman comes to see her life in pursuit of love as having been “all for nothing.” “Yes,” she says to herself, “I was loved. I may have been adored, protected, financially supported, and showered with gifts, Mother’s Day cards, and other affections, but even my women friends never really took me seriously. I took the central place in the emotional lives of our children, but I awoke one day to find my children grown and gone away. I never really achieved intellectually or creatively. I accomplished nothing with my life. I was never respected. It was all for nothing.”

 

Historically, this love/respect dynamic has lived at the very core of gender polarity. And in our tendency to respect women less than men and love men less than women, it is also the primary basis of legitimate gender complaint. But here’s the thing, the lack of love toward men begets a lack of empathy toward men. Society’s challenge in all this is to concern itself with the issues afflicting men, at a time when society doesn’t care to empathize with the men themselves.

The gender system can be improved. The sexes can negotiate these improvements under a unified banner without resorting to resentment, vengeance or victimhood. One truth above all others leads the sexes down a golden path away from destructive battle and toward healthy negotiation, mutual understanding, and fairness.

So what is this wondrous truth that can do such wondrous things? Simply this:

It All Balances Out!

Thank you.

So, I figure that at least two of the guys got it, you know, hard to say. I was complemented here and there for my delivery and “eloquence.” But the content of the speech was not so praised.

Several of the women commented. One said, “when you go on about men not being respected, you sound like Rodney Dangerfield” (of course, I was on about men being less loved). Another said that I sounded “whiney.” And another said, “Could be more men passed out in the delivery room?”

Ironically, the line: “Father’s Day, in contrast, is the day on which we make the largest number of collect calls,” got a huge, explosive laugh from the room. If my talk had been restricted to humor at men’s expense, it would have gone over great!

Finally, it was a male who had the most interesting reaction and comment: “I never resented my Dad because he was never around, all he did was work. Back in 3rd grade, I hit a homerun with two players on base and all I kept thinking was that Dad wasn’t there to see it. But I never resented my Dad for that, so what you said had nothing to do with me!”

Hmm.

Tim Goldich

Author of – Loving Men, Respecting Women: The Future of Gender Politics

http://www.amazon.com/Loving-Men-Respecting-Women-Politics/dp/0982794800/ref=sr_1_1_bnp_1_pap?ie=UTF8&qid=1369876544&sr=8-1&keywords=loving+men+respecting+women

President of the Chicago Chapter of NCFM and Editor of Transitions, NCFM’s Journal of Men’s Perspectives.

male

 It all balances out… a male perspective.

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3 Responses to NCFM Chicago Chapter President Tim Goldich — It All Balances Out! Male perspective.

  1. tagoldich on June 18, 2013 at 9:03 PM

    Ok, so the test comment I just left posted. Great! The comment I left back at the end of May did not post. So, belatedly, let me thank you properly mghow. Thanks for downloading my book. Yes, in some ways, the reception was disheartening. But, I think that my strategy of leading with It All Balances Out got my foot in the door and helped me get a better reception out of that academic environment. And, as I said, two of the guys got it and said so to me privately. I highly recommend leading with It All Balances Out (or, comes out even, or whatever). It generally allows the MRA material that follows to be relatively well received.

  2. tagoldich on June 18, 2013 at 8:50 PM

    Thanks for the encouragement! I felt it went well, all things considered.

  3. mghow on May 30, 2013 at 7:37 PM

    I get what you’re saying, Tim, and I’ve downloaded your book to my Kindle. Looking forward to reading it.

    Having said that, it’s somewhat disheartening the reaction you got at the college. It’s to be expected, though. The popular culture, and young people in general, are brought up to think men are just a bunch of goofs. Young men being what they are, will side with the female perspective thinking it will get them laid. It’s a a ridiculous state of affairs, and a sexual dystopia.

    Nonetheless, keep soldiering on, Tim. You are doing great work!

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