Are Men Necessary?

The author says yes—but then, he would.

February 1992By Comments

In his early studies on the origins of neurosis, Sigmund Freud came to a damning conclusion about men. So many of his patients had revealed stories about sexual experience in infancy or childhood that Freud decided the “seduction” of children must be the root of all neurotic behavior. When his own sister began to exhibit signs of neurosis, Freud declared: “In every case the father, not excluding my own, had to be blamed as a pervert.”

I consider this statement as I stroke my daughter’s hair. Caroline is ten years old. Her eyes are closed, and her head is in my lap. This should be a tender, innocent scene, but we no longer live in a time when anyone believes in innocence. Blame and suspicion color the atmosphere. As a man and a father, I feel besieged and accused. I am appallingly aware of the trust I hold, in the form of my daughter’s sleeping body. The line between affection and abuse is in the front of my mind. I feel like a German coming to grips with Nazi guilt. Yes, some men are perverts—but all men? Am I?

Freud later rejected his early hypothesis after his own father died. He suspected that many of the stories his patients had related were fantasized. Once he had opened the door on that discovery, Freud went on to formulate the theory of infantile sexuality, which became the basis for many of the insights of the psychoanalytic movement. But now there are those who say in effect that Freud was closer to the truth the first time.

“Men are pigs and they like it that way,” an angry writer stated in the op-ed section of the New York Times. At a women’s political symposium last September, Governor Ann Richards’ ethics adviser, Barbara Jordan decreed: “I believe that women have a capacity for understanding and compassion which a man structurally does not have, does not have it because he cannot have it. He’s just incapable of it.” At the same meeting, Houston mayor Kathy Whitmire said that men are less intelligent than women. If these female chauvinists had been speaking of any constituency other than men, they would be run out of public life. But men feel too guilty to defend themselves.

Contempt for men pervades the most obscure strata of our society. A magazine called House Rabbit Journal devoted a recent issue to the failings of men as nurturers. “We assume that women perform the primary care-giving role with the house rabbit (as with the kids), and they form the strongest bonds with the bunny,” wrote one author. The magazine advised women rabbit owners who want their men to share in their rabbit pleasures to avoid talking about the warm, fuzzy, cuddly aspects of the animal and instead emphasize its traits of integrity, fortitude, and spirit. “I have found, in my relationship with my husband, that having large numbers of animals living with us has put a strain on our relationship,” admitted the writer. “With each piece of furniture that has been destroyed; each time we had to avoid the urine puddles in our bed at night; each time we’ve spent 300 dollars at the vet for a rabbit I picked up at the pound; there has been some initial resentment on the part of my husband. But ultimately he, too, has learned the value of caring.”

There is plenty of evidence of the damage men do. Look at the battered women in the shelters. Every year about 20,000 women in Texas seek refuge from physical abuse in their homes, but the shelters are able to accommodate less than half of them. In 1990 more than 100,000 women were reported raped in America, the highest total in history and an increase of 12.6 percent over the number of reported rapes per capita in 1980. A prosecutor I know works in the Family Justice Division of the Travis County district attorney’s office. In the seventies, that office prosecuted only a handful of child abuse cases a year. Now, Frank Bryan says, he has more than two hundred indictments on his desk and a backlog of cases he doesn’t want to discuss. “Generally, my impression of men has plummeted,” he told me. “I tell all my friends with children never to hire a male baby-sitter. The things these guys do. …”

But my fifteen-year old son is a baby-sitter. That’s how Gordon earns his pocket money. It saddens me that he would be shunned because he’s a male and therefore a candidate for perversion. On the other hand, I might not hire a male to watch Caroline. Her safety and self-esteem are too important to place in jeopardy.

“Come over and sit in my lap,” a grandfatherly preacher friend of mine said out of a lifetime of habit to a little girl he knew. He was at a gathering of friends and family. Suddenly, the room went dead quiet and every woman turned to stare daggers at him. In that moment, the preacher realized he would never ask a little girl to sit in his lap again. His presumption of innocence had been revoked—not because of his past behavior, which had been exemplary, but simply because he is a man. He has suffered a loss, and so has the little girl. She is being held apart from the love and comfort he has to offer. And at some level she must have understood the subliminal message that hung in the air: Don’t trust men.

Is it possible that nature created two genders, one nearly perfect and the other badly flawed? Well, yes, say the psychobiologists. Unlike women, who carry two X chromosomes, men have an X and a Y. The latter has relatively little genetic information except for the gene that makes us a man. A woman who has a recessive gene on one X chromosome might have a countering dominant gene on the other. That’s not true for men, who are therefore more vulnerable to biological and environment insults, as well as certain behavioral tendencies that may be genetically predetermined.

Although male hormones (called androgens) don’t cause violent criminal or sexual behavior, they apparently create an inclination in that direction. A low level of arousability—that is to say, a lack of responsiveness to external stimuli—is more common in men than in women. It is reflected in the greater number of male children who die of sudden infant death syndrome, or crib death, and the much larger proportion of boys who are hyperactive and require far more excitement than most children to keep from becoming bored. In adults, this biological need for extra stimulation seems to be connected to higher rates of criminality. Androgens are associated with a number of other male traits (in humans as well as animals), including assertive sexual behavior, status-related aggression, spatial reasoning, territoriality, pain tolerance, tenacity, transient bonding, sensation seeking, and predatory behavior. Obviously, this list posts many of the most common female complaints about men, and yet androgens make a man a man; one can’t separate maleness from characteristic male traits.

“Why have any men at all?” wrote Sally Miller Gearhart in a 1982 manifesto titled “The Future—If There Is One—Is Female.” Gearhart is an advocate of ovular merging, a process that involves the mating of two eggs, which has been successfully accomplished with mice. Only female offspring are produced. I’ve always worried that one day women would figure out how to get along without us and they would be able to reproduce unilaterally, like sponges. It’s not genocide, exactly. It’s more like job attrition, the way employers cut back positions without actually firing anyone. “A 75 percent female to 25 percent male ratio could be achieved in one generation if one half of a population reproduced heterosexually and one half by ovular merging,” according to Gearhart. “Such a prospect is attractive to women who feel that if they bear sons, no amount of love and care and nonsexist training will save those sons from a culture where male violence is institutionalized and revered. These women are saying, ‘No more sons. We will not spend twenty years of our lives raising a potential rapist, a potential batterer, a potential Big Man.’”

Every man is a “potential” rapist; the only way to eliminate the potential is to get rid of potency. During the Clarence Thomas hearings, Tom Brokaw asked a woman legal expert about the lack of a pattern of sexual harassment in Thomas’ behavior. “He’s not dead yet,” she snapped.

I’m mad at men too. I am disgusted by the rise in child abuse cases and reported rapes. I deplore sexual harassment. I’m grateful for the ascendancy of women in business and politics, which may yet advance the humanity of those callings. I have to issue these disclaimers because I’m a man writing on the subject. But I’m also mad at being the object of such slanders as that men are incapable of compassion. Anyone looking at men today should be able to see that they are confused and full of despair. It’s not just our place in society or the family that we are struggling for; we’re fighting against our own natures. We didn’t create the instincts that make us aggressive, that make us value action over consensus, that make us more inclined toward strength than sympathy. Nature and human history have rewarded those qualities and in turn have created the kind of people men are. Moreover, these competitive qualities have been necessary for the survival of the species, and despite the debate over masculinity, they are still valued today. Trial lawyers now include their levels of testosterone, the most abundant of the androgens, on their résumés.

A couple of weeks ago I went to pick Caroline up at her afternoon school day care center at the neighborhood Presbyterian church. She had a new teacher, a man, in fact. I made a point of going over to introduce myself and make him feel welcome. The new man was out on the playground with a walkie-talkie. “I’m Caroline’s dad,” I said, but before I could get around to my welcoming speech, he said, “I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to ask you for a picture I.D.” As Caroline’s father, I appreciated the security, but as a man, I took offense at having to prove that I was not a pervert. True, women are also asked to show identification, but I suspect that it was done in the spirit of fairness. Everybody assumes it is men that are the problem.

I WAS ON THE STAIRCLIMBER IN THE HEALTH CLUB watching a talk show on TV. The subject of the show was self-defense for women, and there was a lot of audience tittering as the experts demonstrated how to knee a man in the groin or scratch out his eyes. It was a bit hard to watch, if you want to know the truth. The object, said a woman on the show, was to teach women how to deal with rapists.

“Alleged rapists,” the guy on the stairclimber next to me remarked under his breath. All around us were sweaty women pumping iron and riding stationary cycles.

“It does happen,” I said, shocked because I knew this fellow slightly.

“Yeah, it does,” he agreed, “but, you know . . .” He trailed off and shut up. It’s too sensitive to talk about, even among men.

After all the arguments about income inequality and “glass ceilings” for women executives, the fundamental imbalance between men and women that will never change is the power to rape. “Not a day goes by that I don’t worry about it,” a woman friend confided to me. “You can’t know what it’s like. I guess the best parallel is being in a bar where everybody’s bigger than you, and you know somebody there wants to beat you up. But I also can’t explain to you why being raped is so much worse than being beaten up.”

Rape is an assault on a woman’s self-esteem and her sense of trust. Its pernicious legacy endures in the victim’s psyche for the rest of her life. I know several women who have been raped, and what impresses me about them is how they have struggled to hang on to their relationships with men, despite those shattering experiences. I thought of these women when Clayton Williams uttered his fatal gaffe during the last gubernatorial campaign, that rape victims should just “relax and enjoy it.” In Austin, a rapist actually quoted that statement as he assaulted a woman in my neighborhood.

The fact that it is not safe for women to be out on the streets at night, or even alone in their homes, is a compelling indictment of American men (there are many other cultures where women are far safer, although their lives are more oppressed in other ways). Given the statistics that most convicted rapists have committed seven rapes prior to their first conviction, that sex offenders who began as juveniles average 380 sex crimes during their lifetime, and that our overcrowded prisons are returning these people to society after they serve only a fraction of their sentences, I believe we should seriously explore the option of voluntary castration.

But I understand the confusion and anger of the fellow on the stairclimber too. Rape has become a political issue between men and women. Lately, the term has broadened so that it includes seduction and even (in the opinion of some feminists) consensual sex. Between that and what we ordinarily think of as rape— that is, forcible sex with the use of violence or the threat of violence—there is a vast and murky terrain.

Advocacy groups have been using hugely inflated statistics to bludgeon the public into believing that men are waging a war against women and children. “One out of four men is a rapist” is an anecdotal statistic I’ve heard on several occasions that is not tied to any real survey that I can find. Similarly, “For a female over 14, her chances of being sexually assaulted during her lifetime are 1 in 3,” this figure coming from Men for a Rape Free Society, which also produces the pseudo stat that 55 percent of female college students will be sexually victimized while in school—the victimization meaning “attempted rape, completed rape, sexual harassment, groping, innuendoes and verbal abuse.” Can it really be possible that 45 percent of women get through college without sexual innuendoes?

The real statistics are bad enough. According to Department of Justice victimization studies, the actual chance that a woman will experience a rape or an attempted rape during her lifetime is 8 percent (one out of twelve), although it is higher in Texas, which was second in the nation in the number of reported rapes in 1990. A recent study by Neil Gilbert, a professor of social welfare at the University of California at Berkeley, showed that the incidence of date rape, though still far too high, has actually declined substantially since 1980.

Figures about child abuse and domestic violence have been similarly inflated and biased against men. I’ve read that one out of four females, and one in six males, will be molested or raped by the time they are eighteen. Most of these scary figures are conjectures based on reports of abuse received by police and child abuse hotlines. More than a million such reports are filed every year. About 60 percent of them turn out to be unfounded. More than half of the cases that are categorized as neglect or abuse are actually “deprivation of necessities,” such as poor medical care, inadequate clothing or shelter, malnutrition—problems of poverty, in other words. Only about 5 percent involve serious physical battering of the sort that we think of as child abuse, and about the same amount turns out to be actual sexual abuse.

Child abuse certainly is a serious problem, but it has been so for centuries; it is only very recently, really in the last two decades, that the treatment of children by their parents was considered a matter of interest to the state. What seems like a rise in child abuse is actually a change in social attitudes. In fact, the mistreatment of children that we now call abuse may actually be declining, according to the National Family Violence Surveys conducted by Murray Straus, a codirector of the Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire, and Richard Gelles, a sociologist at the University of Rhode Island, who compared the incidence of domestic violence between 1975 and 1985. Their study, which focused on interviews with families, not on police reports, found that there had been a 27 percent decrease in child abuse over that period, perhaps because of heightened public awareness and better treatment programs.

Once again, in the clamor over child abuse, the finger of accusation has been pointed at men—more evidence of male depravity. However, the majority of calls received by the child abuse hotline at the Texas Department of Human Services involve complaints against women. A 1977 study by Suzanne Steinmetz, a sociology professor at Indiana University, found that mothers were 62 percent more likely than fathers to abuse children and that male children were twice as likely to suffer physical injury. More recently, her findings have been corroborated by the National Family Violence Surveys, which revealed that violence against women actually decreased between 1975, when 12.1 percent of all women complained of at least one violent incident, and 1985, when the figure was 11.3 percent. Violence against men by women, on the other hand, remained steady at 11.6 percent over the same period.

Many women dismiss female violence in the home either as innocuous and different in nature from male violence or as self-defense, but Steinmetz found that some men become targets of abuse when they attempt to protect their children from the mother’s violence—the reverse of the stereotype. Other studies have concluded that women typically are just as assaultive as their husbands. Although the men characteristically cause more injuries, wives strike the first blow in 48 percent of the cases, according to one study. The effect of using inflated and, in some cases, falsified statistics to make rape, child abuse, and wife beating seem more prevalent than they actually are—to make them seem, in some dreadful manner, the norm—is to slander the character of men, who are presumed to be the perpetrators of domestic violence, which is not an exclusive feature of male character.

Women also have power that they sometimes discredit. Most men I know feel overwhelmed by women—and by their own need for women. Therefore the rage women feel at men can be terrifying and sexually daunting. Lately I hear women complaining about wimps, about men being uninterested and emotionally withdrawn and sexually unavailable. The ancient stereotype of the frigid woman is being replaced by that of the impotent male. It’s not just a fear of intimacy that causes men to founder sexually, nor the dread of AIDS. Men are discovering what women have always known: Sex is a dangerous theater. When women felt powerless, they were sexually passive. Increasingly, now it’s the men who are passive and for the same reasons women were in the past. They’re afraid. They’re afraid of being punished, of being engulfed by women’s anger. They feel paralyzed by changes in the social fabric that leave them confused about how to behave around women or even how to talk to them. They sense that the relations between the sexes have become politicized and legalized as never before. Men are going to have to learn how to come to terms with powerful women, how to get used to women with muscles and anger and sexual demands. At the same time, women are going to have to find a way of celebrating manliness without putting it down.

MY WIFE HAS FIFTEEN CHILDREN in her kindergarten class, and it’s rare that she has more than two with a father at home. Sometimes when I visit Roberta’s class, the children stare at me as if I were another species. Until a male art teacher arrived last year, I was the only man many of these children would see all day. “You look like Superman in those glasses,” a five-year-old boy told me. He meant Clark Kent. I’m an average-sized man, but to children who rarely see men except from a distance or on television, all men look alike—huge and forbidding and hiding explosive, supernatural strength. This is just one of the harmful effects of the absence of men in children’s lives: We’ve become mythologized.

Here in public school you can see the appalling truth that the traditional family is dead. The men have gone; in many cases, they were never there in the first place. There are five million children in Texas, and nearly one out of four lives without a father. The feminist critique of divorce is that it is a positive indicator of the growing economic independence of women. If one accepts the notion that all men are perverts, then the faster they are booted out of the home, the better.

“The more independent women are financially, the less likely they are to tolerate abuse,” Christine Williams, a University of Texas sociology professor, told me. And yet the nationwide poverty rate for families without fathers is 32 percent. About half of the women who are supposed to receive regular child-support payments get the full amount. In Texas fewer than a quarter of the women do, despite the efforts of our last two attorneys general to raise the level of support.

Williams and UT sociologist Debra Umberson undertook a study of why men disengaged from their children. “We wanted to interview fifty divorced men who did not have custody of their children,” said Umberson. “It took us a year to find forty-three. The reason is it was too painful for them to talk about. When you finally reach them, you hear a lot of complaints about the system, how they are treated as ‘just a pocket,’ a source of money. They’re not invited to be a part of the family, and they don’t feel the system appreciates the effort they do make to take care of their kids.” The men pointed out that if they miss a child-support payment, they can be locked up straightaway, and they were frustrated and upset because they were being deprived of their rights as fathers by what they took to be legal bias in favor of women. (A National Institute of Mental Health study found that 40 percent of mothers interfered with a father’s visitation rights during the first two years following divorce, for punitive reasons.)

“Was there anything about this study that surprised you?” I asked Umberson.

“Well, yes,” she said. “It was that some of these men were so involved with their children—their kids were really incredibly important to them. That surprised me, because when you read the literature, you get the picture that men just don’t care.”

It’s true that traditional male roles have been compromised or usurped. “The feeling men had that their home is their castle can’t be sustained any longer when more than fifty percent of married women work outside the home,” said Williams. “Men don’t get their authority handed to them on a platter anymore. Women demand to be listened to now. It’s no wonder that men feel under siege and that the sense of gratification in being a man is being taken way from them. And who better to blame than women?”

But blame is not the point, for men or women. The point is that families without men are more likely to be poor, and children without fathers are more likely to be deprived—not just of the material comforts but of the sense of the mutuality of the sexes.

Somehow men have got to find a place for themselves again in the family. We’re only beginning to see some of the consequences of fatherlessness, especially where boys are concerned. My personal fear is that fatherlessness will have unanticipated political and spiritual consequences, such as a longing for authoritarianism and a further lack of attachment between the sexes. The rise in gangs seems to be connected to the absence of male role models. There is a well-established connection between children of broken homes (a term that seems quaint these days) and the likelihood of committing serious criminal offenses. In any case, children who grow up not knowing who men are pay a price as well. I’m not saying that single mothers—or single fathers—can’t do a good job of raising children. But a society of children who don’t understand men produces men who don’t understand themselves.

Increasingly, women are not even bothering with the interim step of marrying a man who probably won’t stay and who may not be welcome in any case. The number of never-married mothers aged eighteen or older has more than doubled since 1979, outstripping every other category of marital status in its rate of increase. Last year nearly one out of four women who bore babies was unmarried. What worries me is that we are actually reverting to some kind of primitive state in which the family unit is discarded. There would be nothing unnatural about this arrangement—indeed, that’s what frightens me. The family is a structure we have built to guard against our own natures, particularly male natures. Without the family, men will return to the essential mammalian struggle for dominance and for access to as many females as possible.

Anyone who has done a turn as a sportswriter has already seen the way in which professional athletes, the dominant males in our society, enjoy almost unlimited sexual liberties. Wilt “the Stilt” Chamberlain, the great seven-one basketball player of the sixties, has been making the rounds of the talk shows, touting his autobiography, in which he claims to have bedded 20,000 women. That works out to 1.37 women every night of his life since the age of fifteen—or 235.294 women per inch of the Stilt, if one were to become obsessive about it. “I don’t see how he can stand that much human contact,” my sister observed, but of course this is a fundamental male fantasy, to go from mate to mate without entanglements or even the whisper of a relationship. It’s only the family and the conventions of society that train men to the habits of monogamy.

“I’m thinking about having a baby,” an attractive young woman friend of ours told me recently. There was a challenging look in her eye.

“Are you getting married?” I asked.

“Not unless I find a boyfriend,” she said. “How do you like being a father?”

I felt a little uncertain about the terms of this conversation. I asked if she had someone picked out. She said she might have. She had talked it over with him, but she hadn’t decided.

“So what do you think?” she asked.

Was it a fantasy on my part or was she sizing me up as a sire? My children have turned out well, so I’ve got a track record in that department. “I think—I think I’ve got mixed feelings,” I sputtered. What I told her was that men are important in the raising of children, not just in the biological fathering of them. If she just wants a baby, she could go to the sperm bank and get designer genes, but a father is more than a package of chromosomes. My kids have done well in part because I’ve been a feature of their lives. I’m proud of that, and not just the fact that Caroline has my hair and my gumption and Gordon has my voice and my sense of humor—qualities that are all refined and made more attractive in them than in me. It’s not only my genes but my presence that has helped them become the people they are.

That’s what I told our attractive young friend. What I didn’t tell her was, Yes, yes, let it be me. Let me spread my seed and multiply without responsibility. This is so much better than ovular merging.

SOMETIMES ON THE JOGGING TRAIL I pass a man who once was a father. He plods along like a specter among the shirtless Apollos with their sculpted torsos and the women with Dobermans on leashes and visor-hidden faces. During his bitter divorce, his wife accused him of molesting his kids. Now the court forbids him visitation rights. My wife and I were shocked, because everything we knew about this man told us he was a caring and attentive parent—in fact, just about the best father we knew. He asked my wife to testify on his behalf, and although she agreed to do so, she was relieved when she was never called. Who knows what really goes on in another family’s life?

Both lawyers and psychotherapists have noted a trend of false charges of sexual abuse by wives against husbands in custody suits. “With more and more judges awarding joint custody to parents and even sole custody to fathers, lawyers say many women feel forced to press more vigorously in court for what was once presumed to be their right,” reported the New York Times. Dr. Melvin Guyer, a University of Michigan child psychologist, said that when he began evaluating custody cases for the courts in 1982, only 5 to 10 percent of the two hundred cases he reviewed each year involved accusations of sexual abuse. Now that figure is 30 percent. “We never saw this sort of thing two, three years ago,” Dr. Guyer told the Times. “Before, it was ‘he drinks, she runs around’—the usual stuff. This is a new song and everybody’s singing it.”

“The false allegation serves a lot of purposes—in a totally unconscious fashion,” said Dr. Arthur Green, the medical director of the Family Center in New York’s Presbyterian Hospital, in a 1988 article in New York magazine. “It’s a way of getting even, a way of gaining control over your child at a time when you feel very out of control. It’s a way of getting this guy you hate out of your life forever.”

I don’t want children to remain in the care of abusive fathers, and if my friend really did molest his kids, then he is rightly being kept apart from them. But what happened to him adds to the generalized sense men have that their rights are being compromised and that society is predisposed to believe women—at men’s expense. An article in Time in 1987 on wife beating among the affluent boasted that “attitudes are improving” among police officers, who formerly were in denial. The example cited is the Charleston, South Carolina, police department, which has made a policy of arresting spouse abusers even if the victim declines to press charges. “To make the collar sting,” Time trumpeted, “the assailant is arrested at his place of work.” This sounds like police fascism to me.

Behind this attack on men, it seems to me, is the myth of the good mother. In a culture in which fathers are increasingly rare, this myth is bound to gain power; indeed, I see a direct correlation between the exodus of men from families and the popular conception of women as victims. In order to protect the ideal of female innocence, men shoulder the blame.

There has always been a predisposition in the justice system to believe that mothers are better parents than fathers, reflected in the preferential treatment women receive in custody suits, and that females who commit crimes are somehow less guilty than males convicted of the same offenses. The latest example of that is the trend to pardon women in prison who have murdered their husbands. About 60 percent as many women kill their husbands every year as husbands kill wives. In arriving at their sentences, judges and juries presumably have taken into account the mitigating circumstances that led to the murders. And yet in Ohio and Maryland, more than thirty husband killers have been released; many other states, including Texas, are reviewing cases in which women claim to have been so abused that their actions were justified. (The only male being considered is a boy who killed his stepfather.) I’m opposed to the death penalty for anybody, but it strikes me as hypocritical to say that women murderers are essentially innocent of their crimes because they were in abusive relationships, whereas men get what they deserve—both the men who kill and those who are killed. Is this what women mean by equal rights?

I LIFT UP CAROLINE and take her to bed. Nothing in the world means more to me than our love for each other. I love the difference between us, her femaleness and my maleness. It is a powerful and curious experience to see parts of myself manifested in little-girl form; she is a sort of mirror for me, across time and gender.

I’m afraid of what life has to offer her. I’m worried that the family idea is finished and that the sexes have pulled so far apart that some radical and soulless bureaucratic arrangement is in the process of replacing it. I want Caroline to find love and to experience the joy that I have in being her parent. I want her to find a man who will love her as deeply as I do, who will take care of her and nurture her and stay with her the rest of her life. But I think the chances of that happening are small.

I know that her relationships with men will depend, in large measure, on what she gets from me. That is the most important thing I can give her, a sense of being with a man, trace memories of having me tickle her and toss her in the air, of my taking her temperature when she’s sick and rubbing her face with a cool cloth, of dancing on my shoes. She will remember these things in some almost unrememberable way: They will be a part of her character; she will be the kind of person these things happened to. Therefore she will probably be more trusting of men. That may be a mistake. Who knows what kind of men she is going to meet?

But perhaps her generation will come to a different conclusion. They may decide that the sexes have something special to offer each other, and they’ll be able to look at the very things that separate men and women and appreciate them, even savor them. In that case, the language they will learn to speak to each other will be that of love, not blame.

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