Thursday, 10 January 2008
After Real Man/Men, "mature" and "immature" are the favourite terms in the arsenal of shaming language a lot of women like to use.
Of course, women's definitions of maturity and immaturity differ from objective fact.
Take two hypothetical men:
Man A is married and works long hours to support his wife and kids ("their" kids in his view, "her's" in her's), his income going on paying the mortgage of the excessively large suburban home and the cost of running a car and an S.U.V. He provides well for his wife, remembers wedding anniversaries and brings home flowers each Friday when he gets home from the office at 9:00PM. He hates his job and the long hours give him migraines and heart palpatations, but he remains stoic and slogs away at his desk to provide for his wife. He doesn't go out to the pub with his mates much because he knows his wife feels neglected if he does so too often. He watches Coronation Street and Friends; not because he likes them but because his wife loves to snuggle up next to him whilst she watches them. She does not like Top Gear and finds Jeremy Clarkson offensive and sexist, so he does not watch it either. His wife's happiness is his primary concern.
Man B is single, lives on his own, works less than 40-hours a week at a job that's either easy or halfway enjoyable. After providing for himself - and no-one but himself - he saves some of his money and blows the rest on his hobbies; building model railways, fixing up motorbikes, reading horror novels, whatever. He goes to the pub when he wants, leaves his socks on the floor, plays video games, runs screaming from any girlfriend who utters the word 'commitment' in a serious conversation, and watches Top Gear and South Park because they're fucking great.
In a woman's mind, Man A is 'mature' and Man B is an 'immature big kid.' And women love to speak their mind. I've been condemned as immature many times in recent years by women, just because my lifestyle is similar to the latter example.
To me, immaturity in males means harking back to infancy, of avoiding behaviour that may incur the disapproval of Mother. Say 'please' and 'thank you', don't get into fights, don't say the word 'willie' in polite company, lest your mum cross her arms and glare at you with that look that says 'I'm not happy with you, you have disappointed me.'
Not that there's anything wrong in mothers employing the threat of a withdrawal of approval in their young son's - or young daughter's - behaviour. After all, saying 'please' and 'thank you', not getting into fights and not saying the word 'willie' - or 'cunt', 'shitfuck' and 'meecrob' - in polite company are lessons kids must learn to become proper social beings (not there's much of a society out there to be being in these days.)
However, to become a fully-fledged man, a boy must learn to shrug off the yearning for female approval, primarily by not giving a flying fuck about whether a woman denounces you as 'immature', 'a big kid' or 'not a Real Man(TM)'.
So in my view:
Man A is immature. He has thrown his life - and his happiness, freedom, financial security and, above all else, his bollocks - into the handbag of a woman. Bearing in mind the fact that, thanks to feminism, marriage these days offers nothing but risks and obligitations to a man, this individual is acting against his own interests; he had nothing to benefit from getting married, save for the approval of his future wife, and her approval meant more to him than his own happiness and security. He is stuck in mental infancy, desperately seeking the approval of 'mother', the personification of which he now transfers to his wife, and it's her glare of disapproval (and threat of divorce and associated financial arse-ramming of course) that he fears.
Man B is mature. He has thrown aside the residues of Woman Worship, sneered at the pressure the Matriarchy places on a man to become a slave to a woman and 'her' kids, and basically thrown a spanner in the works of women, big corporations and the government by working just enough to get himself by and putting his energies into basically having a good time, rather than ensuring a woman, big corporations and the government have a good time at the expense of his labours. This guy loves his mum and even remembers her birthday, but nonetheless he has long since outgrown the need to win the approval of her or any other member of her sex at the expense of going his own damn way.
The paradox is that if a woman tells a man that 'if you were a Real Man you would do X' then, if he does X, he is not a Real Man. The term Real Man is absurd, a joke, the primary tool in the lexicon of shaming language, but whilst neither I nor anyone else can declare objectively what a Real Man is, I can certainly tell you that it isn't a guy who will do any stupid shit (invariably against his own interest) to prove to a woman that he is one.
Similarly, a man who abandons hobbies and behaviour just because a woman accuses him of immaturity is, paradoxically, immature, as he is still stuck in the infant stages of desperately seeking Mother's approval, just with Mother projected onto another woman.
On the other hand, a man who is 'mature' has outgrown that dependancy on female approval. He is not neccesarily hostile to women or their opinions, but he most certainly does not change his behaviour or adapt his lifestyle just so a woman will nod her head and declare that she bestows her approval of him. He laughs in the scowling faces of disapproving women, and tweaks the nose of shaming language.