Sometimes I’m amazed and somewhat concerned, by some deep observations I have about the world around me. I am, by nature, a people person, less so as I get older, but none the less, an observer of the human condition, and I love to sit in public places and just observe. Sometimes it is the fashion or lack thereof, that I zone in on, sometimes it is just observing for blog writing research, most times, it’s just for amusement sake, I won’t lie. We are some strange characters occupying this planet, present company included! So as I sat on the boardwalk, not too long ago in Asbury Park, my happy place, I watched the couples, walking happily past, holding hands, being in love, and I started to think about when you are first in a relationship getting to know someone, and how you are at your very best, wanting to know all you can about that person, hanging on their every word, you are engaging, and able to bring your wordly-acquired, vast wealth of knowledge, on love and to life, to the table. From this observation, my thoughts quickly moved to those about Geisha girls, yes I know my mind works on a whole other level. Try to keep up!
The Geishas, in Japanese culture, date as far back as the 18th century. These women were revered for their stringent training which starts at a very early age, their ability to entertain and their existence to purely entertain, men. Geisha in Japanese means mistress, but it’s not about sex, it’s the lure, the seduction. Most Geishas never engage in sexual intercourse with the men they entertain, yet these men are enthralled with these women who have perfected this art in every sense of word. These women are well versed in Japanese culture, as well as other cultures, in literature, music, dance, (some erotic) and the fine art of conversation. These are subservient women who are groomed from an early age to please men and revere men. Yet in doing all of this, they ultimately have the upper hand in this dance, as they themselves, are sought after and worshiped for how well they have perfected and crafted their trade. This culture still exists today in Japan, and I think it’s a wonderful thing to preserve such a rich tradition, which yes, has made women somewhat subservient to men, but has also promoted women in an otherwise male centric culture, for these women were celebrated and sought after for being equal to men, as they could talk about subjects pertinent to men, please and entertain men, in ways that many wives were not skilled at doing.
So I began to think about how girls in my generation and most certainly generations past, were brought up, compared to how I am bringing up my daughter, and how she relates to her male peers and even her boyfriend. Growing up I can remember the culture of education and opportunity coming off the feminist movement of the 70’s, which was springing forth, but still years behind what anyone would consider equal. There wasn’t a culture pushing women to go to college the way we do now, and if you did go to college, it was not seen as a means to support yourself and be self-sufficient, (read: so you don’t have to depend on a man or anyone else for that matter), as much as it was seen as, having a career to pass the time until you wed, had children, and settled down. When I graduated high school in 1985, there was a small percentage of my girl friends that went off to college, most, like me, deferred that decision and went to work. This was not seen as a bad choice, although, you were viewed as intellectually inferior, which obviously was not the case, but for the most part it was not frowned upon. Further, I recall many of my friends who were dating, in high school, were looking to settle down and get married shortly after graduation. Now I am looking at 30 plus years since I was 18, and how the culture of how women has evolved and has become a grooming of raising our girls to see that they do not need to depend on a man to support them and they can put off marriage and child rearing until they establish their career, whether in the interim or long-term if they so choose. Quite frankly, this is what I have instilled in my daughter, and this is what my mom instilled in me, and I didn’t settle down until my 30’s. However, thinking back to my interaction with guys, and what I was taught, by my mother and women around me, I can remember the mixed message I received as a girl. In some regards the message was, that to be a good girl friend or wife, you should share common interests, be well versed in things men like, be attentive, and make him feel valued and appreciated. I even remember my Mom telling me that guys don’t like to lose to girls, and that it was not ladylike, I promise you, my beautiful Mom said this, and when I was playing sports with guys she suggested I should let them win. Seriously, if you know me and how competitive I am, this was NEVER going to happen! The boys in my hood will attest to that very thing! That’s not how this chick does things or ever will, for that matter. My fireman knows this as he jokes about my fiercely competitive nature all the time, and for the record yes, I am a sore loser! Further, some of the traditional roles of cooking, cleaning, laundry and such were seen as a the wife’s job, and men were still the primary bread-winner. If I tried to tell my daughter those things today she would laugh hysterically, and tell me I’ve lost my mind! Now while I admit some of the rhetoric is antiquated and sexist, this is the way of the American Geisha, or my perception of her, as she existed. This fine art of taking care of a man, and wanting to share his interests are lost on the younger generation, because we have become such an ego centric society, by which no one feels they should have to be the one to put forth the effort, for one thing, and I see the younger generation not taking the time or having the inclination to value the fine art of seduction, of learning about what makes men tick, what they like, what they value, what are their weaknesses, what their strengths are, and what their wants, their needs. It’s this proverbial tug of war, to see who will be the victor, and when one person sees a relationship from this perspective no one wins! When I say victor, I mean that young women today are waiting for men to be the ones to put in the time, put forth effort, and feel if a man wants them, they will work to pursue the relationship, so they don’t feel they are responsible or need to be a willing participant in cultivating the relationship. It’s dependent on the men showing their intentions and honing their pursuit of women.
I don’t think as I was growing up, I was even conscious of my efforts to attract men, but I learned early on by my interactions with guys, what men liked. They wanted a woman who would understand the male psyche, or at least could commiserate with, who would listen to them, be able to talk everything from sports, cars, music, and of course sex. I had a lot more male friends then I did girl friends growing up, and I will say this, they liked women who would listen to them, watch sports with them, who were active and liked to play basketball, or hike for instance, who were adventurous, and took the time to make them feel loved and valued. Oh yeah, they also really liked a girl who wasn’t afraid to take charge in bedroom and who actually enjoyed sex! I had always been a person who felt if I was in a relationship with someone I wanted to know all about them, and I enjoyed listening to their innermost thoughts and fears, and could truly hold my own on most subjects. Worldly by no means, educated and otherworldly, most definitely. Now I did take some shit from women at times, who felt that this type of attention I was showering my man with, was demeaning to me as a woman, because I was allowing myself to be subservient and not equal. I never felt that way, because I feel if you love someone you want to do those things for them, see that’s the thing, I wanted to do those things, I was not forced to do those things, and to me that equated to love, the mere act of wanting to make someone feel special, to feel cherished, to feel needed, to be all things for someone unconditionally.
There is so much emphasis today in our culture, that to be an independent self-respecting woman, you need to forge a life independent of a man, and let him pursue you. Bullshit, here is the truth of the matter ladies , if you truly care, tell him, if you love him, tell him, if you just want him as merely a booty call tell him, why play games, why wait? I know people who are back in the dating world after having just gone through a divorce and they feel that dating requires you to defer calling someone you like after a date, for fear that you will appear to needy, or that the man should be the one to make that move after a first date. I understand that no one wants to be hurt, and it feels good to be wanted and needed, but I have always been that girl who will go out on a limb and call someone if I felt the urge to, irregardless of the fact that there is this “two-day rule”, I have said what I meant, meant what I said, and taken chances. Many times I was hurt, sometimes it wasn’t worth the price, but mostly it was the way it was supposed to be.
So I am thinking this, we have become a society, with the emergence of social media, cell phones, and the internet, that has become so desensitized to reality. Girls in middle school are sending nude pics to guys as a way to gain acceptance and be liked, being Bi-sexual has become a novelty act of sorts, for pure shock value, as a way of getting guys to notice their sexuality, and not a genuine lifestyle choice, which, by the way is disrespectful to those conflicted with these real choices. Texting, now takes the place of those teenage days of old, spent for hours, talking to the crush of your dreams, about everything from your dreaded Algebra quiz, basketball stats, to what kind of car you want to lose your virginity in. There is something to be said for the fine art of conversation, if nothing more than to hear your lover’s breath as he drifts softly to sleep, as you close your eyes, and drift off too, hugging the phone, knowing you really charmed him with your impeccably good listening skills, and your heady knowledge of the Boston Celtics, 454 Chevy big blocks, and telling him how amazing his pecs look, since he’s been working out! And that my friends, is the way of the Geisha!