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Mary E Martin

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By Mary E Martin   
Rated "PG" by the Author.
Last edited: Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Posted: Tuesday, December 09, 2008

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Here's a thought which came to me over dinner.


So says the book by John Gray, PhD.
But are they really from different planets—are they actually a different species?
How often have you heard this?
Oh God! Didn’t you know? Men and women are so different, it’s no wonder they can’t communicate.
This is usually said out of hurt and anger when a relationship hits the inevitable bumps [crashes?] along the way mostly through poor communication.
Since I have never bought into this Mars vs. Venus notion, I have done an informal survey. Nothing scientific—just asking friends. And I have yet to find a woman [except for me] who agrees with me. They believe that the sexes are divided along these planetary lines.
Maybe I am wrong. I realize that there is a raging controversy on this topic. Much scientific study of male and female brains has been done. In fact, just by googling female brain, I come up with 2.95 million entries and for male brain 5.44 million entries. [Some people would make something out of the difference in these numbers.] Since it would take a lifetime of study to weed through even a tiny fraction of these entries, I am going to rely on something far simpler—my own observations. I leave it to you to decide their value.
The different planets theory simply does not jibe with my version of reality. Of course, the men and women who have been in disastrous relationships—the walking wounded of the sex wars—understandably, may take comfort in this adage. It makes it easy to explain failed relationships. But I don’t see the planetary theory as necessarily the reason for such painful failures. 
So here is one of my observations. The other night, my husband and I were out for dinner. At a nearby table were four men perhaps in their early fifties. Because they were wearing baseball caps [which I cannot abide on grown men who are not baseball players], I was ready to dismiss them as unintelligent human beings. [Ever notice how easy it is to stereotype people you don’t know and then discount them?] Aye guilty, aye! But that is fodder for another article.
It was impossible not to eavesdrop on their animated conversation.
The four of them talked about personal relationships and how hard it was to really get to know another person. They talked of the problem of the individually and as societies we treat people and groups as outsiders by stereotyping them. I blushed.
When they spoke of their daughters, one man raised the question of why he was always more concerned about his daughter than his sons, just because she was female, even though he thought it might be sexist to feel that way.
Speaking of the death of his own mother, another man related that his own daughter held her grandmother’s hand as she passed from this world. From his daughter’s action, he concluded that she had grown into maturity and could handle whatever came her way in life with love and sensitivity.
Another one in the group said that he thought he was likely an atheist, except when it came to witnessing birth and death. Such mystery made him wonder.
Several times I heard the words dignity and respect in the context of human relations. Not a disparaging word was ever said about women. Nor did I hear anything crude about sex or the opposite sex.   
To say the least, I was amazed! I had never heard a group of men engaged in such a thoughtful and sensitive discussion about all aspects of living life. It was not a group formally called together to discuss such weighty issues. It was just some
old friends having dinner. I confess that my stereotype [the baseball hats] had led me to expect non-stop talk of sports scores, drinking and snowmobiling adventures combined with lots of loud fits of laughter. In fact, I wished that all the women I had asked about the Mars/Venus conundrum could have listened in with me to the conversation of these four men. So ladies! Is it time for some rethinking? I hope so.
These are only my personal observations as a woman who has turned from thirty years of law practice to write novels and has raised three children with my husband. I like to think that both men and women have greatly benefited from the questioning of gender roles in the past thirty to forty years. Both men and women have greater freedom because they are less bound by roles formerly assigned by their society. Women no longer think of themselves as passive. Men don’t have the same pressure to be dominant. And thus, hopefully, both sexes are humanized. To me, that is an excellent goal to strive for. 
In closing, I must quote the Simpsons! In the episode "The Mysterious Journey of Homer, of The Simpsons, Homer remarks, "We're so different! It's like you're from Venus..." Marge replies, "And you're from Mars." To which Homer responds, "Oh yeah, give me the one with all the monsters!"

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