THIS WEEK IN NYC 
 
 
MANHATAN CHRONICLES ESSAY
WHY MEN ARE PIGS AND WOMEN ARE BITCHES
By MONIQUE RAPHEL HIGH 
 
Published: March 15, 2010 
 
 
My friend Nicole is trying to obtain financing for her first film.  In her mid-thirties, she’s a stunning blonde, but in her work, she downplays her looks and keeps her focus on her project.  Until last week, she thought she had half her financing taken care of.  A financier in his fifties, with whom she had a pleasant business relationship, had all but signed up as her major backer.  Now he’s withdrawn his support.  His girlfriend, he shamefacedly admitted to Nicole, “won’t allow” him to follow through.  “You’re too young and attractive,” he explained, leaving her venture hanging in mid-air.

            He was none too nice about it, either.  His need to keep the peace with his girlfriend turned him into a boor with Nicole.

            Then there’s Jonathan, who became close friends with Susie in college, decades ago.  Every night, before going to sleep, the two called each other to say goodnight.  They double-dated like brother and sister.  But when Jon proposed to Maya, she told him she’d only accept if he promised never to speak to Susie again.  She made him call his best friend to “break up” with her while she listened in on the other extension, like a kindergarten teacher or a jailer.  He won’t even answer Susie’s heartbroken emails.

            Psychologist J. Mitchell Perry, who runs seminars in the Los Angeles area and lectures all over the world on the subject of why men in the Twenty-first Century have turned into badly behaved, insecure “pussies,” blames the Women’s Liberation Movement of the late Sixties and Seventies for this widespread, uniquely American problem.  “Forty years ago, young, idealistic Boomer women were told that they could ‘have it all’: the career, the relationship, the perfect children.  Something had to give, and usually, what first gave was their relationship with husband or boyfriend.  When that turned sour, the Boomer generation of disillusioned women, realizing they’d been sold a bill of goods, made men the enemy and declared war on the entire gender.”

            Men, in turn, found themselves confused, then outraged, then angry.  Dr. Perry, a member of that core generation, remembers being afraid to compliment a woman or offer to help carry her suitcase; often, she would scream as though he’d committed an offense.  “Imagine being the son of such an angry mother and the resultant resentful father,” he posits.   The younger generation of men grew up avoiding conflict at all cost. 

            Yet “…women can’t respect men who have no self-respect,” continues Mitchell Perry.  In his seminars, he re-trains men to “get back their balls” so that they can exit the kindergarten and become full, loving partners to their wives and girlfriends.  He doesn’t blame women.  It’s up to the man to like himself and to become a self-integrated individual.  Only then can he enter a relationship as an equal partner.  Men who bully women, or who eschew responsibility, are men who are essentially afraid, and who are attempting to cloak their fear in games of manipulation.  That’s not having a relationship; it’s using war tactics of one-upmanship.  It’s seeing how to manipulate the jailor or pre-school teacher into not looking so they can do what they want behind her back—or, reverse the roles and cause a jailhouse riot.  That’s not behaving like a man aware of his balls; it’s not an adult engaging with another adult. 

            The reason there’s so much manipulation in relationships dates back to before Women’s Lib, says Perry, and that confuses men even more.  From time immemorial, women were taught never to take the first step, but to manipulate to obtain what they wanted.  They dangled their allure so that they would be noticed, and were angry if another woman “got” the man they were angling for.  Hence, female bitchiness and the constant fear of other women, claims Perry.  The solidarity the Women’s Movement touted runs only skin-deep.  Once a man appears, the façade crumbles, and each “sister” goes back to her corner, staking out the prey. 

            In some ways, Fifties-type rules still prevail, in that most women tend to wait for the man to make the first move, and they’re angry when the move the man makes is inadequate.  Men are in a greater tizzy than ever as to what women want.  That’s where Alison Armstrong’s groundbreaking seminars have made eye-opening differences.  She comes at relationships from the opposite end to that of Mitchell Perry.  She teaches women to understand men, and to engage them in a loving way, while reshaping their own responses so they may remain true to their essential needs.

   Amy Cheryl, a dancer and yoga instructor in her thirties, who’s been taking Armstrong’s PAX Programming seminars, says that Alison has taught her to see the male and female balance in a way that isn’t adversarial, the way so many purely lust-based connections are.  Gorgeous Amy was constantly falling into the wrong type of relationships, and wondering why they weren’t reaching fruition.  According to Armstrong, two people can either be “sexually attracted,” or “charmed and enchanted.”  If you’re merely sexually attracted to your partner, you will find yourselves concentrating on taking from each other.  Two charmed and enchanted lovers will want to give to each other, and giving brings fulfillment and growth to each person, and to the couple.  Therefore, says Amy, when a woman first meets a man, she should step out of herself to watch that initial interaction.  “If the man seems genuinely interested in you, rather than your physique, and if you feel that he’s listening to you and truly engaging, you’ll know he’s charmed and enchanted and that this is someone you’ll want to get to know.  Then, as the relationship progresses, step by step, don’t be afraid to let him know your needs with respect and love.”  The respect and love is all-important; it’s what makes a man feel secure.  How one addresses one’s partner is what differentiates a woman from a bitch, a jailer, or a kindergarten teacher.  Unfortunately, says Mitchell Perry, American women seem to learn this lesson more slowly and less effectively than their Latin, Asian, and European counterparts.  But with Alison’s help and the spreading of her message through disciples such as Amy, we can be certain this is about to change.

            Both partners have to be willing to use their tools.  Amy met a man at a party, and he contacted her with a series of text messages.  Texting is a good way of communicating to say you’re held up in traffic or that you adore your fiancée, and it’s fine for fifteen-year-olds.  But it should never be used as a primary means of courtship communication among adults.  After a few flirtatious text messages, Amy asked Mr. Adorable to please follow up with a phone call.  They made a date to speak, and he failed to keep it.  The next day, he brushed off his insensitive behavior with another “cute” text message, and Amy let him know that in her book, he’d broken a date.  But the words she used were gentle.  She invited him to sleep on her words, and to call back if he felt like it.

            Even if this man never calls her back, he may learn something through her kind, heartfelt message, and treat the next woman in a more responsible way.  Had Amy left him an angry message, he would simply have hurled the phone down upon hearing it and been even more demeaning to his next date.  Through the work of psychologists like Mitchell Perry and Alison Armstrong, the vicious cycle of bitchy women and piggish, childish men may at last be broken.  Here’s one woman who sincerely hopes so.            

            Monique Raphel High is a best selling novelist living in Beverly Hills, California.