His and Hers

by Nicole Daedone  Sep 23, 2016
man and woman in snow salt and pepa christian neuenschwander

Sept 20, 2010

I think it’s safe to say that I spend a lot of time on Facebook. I love following links and reading articles, which I subsequently quote as if I know what I’m talking about. My editor friend Kelly always wants to know where I heard such and such a statistic that says—I don’t know, that approximately two-thirds of people tip their head to the right when they kiss rather than the left. (Who knew?)

My answer is always the same. “Facebook? I think my friend Tom from Nebraska had a link…”

At this point Kelly throws her hands in the air, incredulous that I don’t have the URL at my fingertips. Documentation is key with her. She likes things to be legally valid, copyrighted, blah blah blah. For my part, I can’t be bothered with such details. If Tom posted it, that’s enough of a reference point for me.

The other day I was reading one such article, which happened to be about male-female dynamics. I cannot link to it because I can’t remember where I read it (I know, Kelly! I know!). But I do remember that it was about the complaints women have about men and men have about women.

Overall, women’s number one complaint about men is that “all he wants is sex.” His number one complaint is that women “make everything so difficult.”

I remembered this particular article because I loved how the men’s complaint was so prototypically masculine and the women’s complaint was so prototypically feminine. It made me laugh a little bit, and it pointed to something I teach a lot about: navigating the differences between the masculine and feminine ways of being.

So the way I’m using them, masculine and feminine are not synonymous with “man” and “woman.” They are more like qualities—forces that move through each of us to greater or lesser degrees. And they’re a useful guide to get a deeper understanding of ourselves, our relationships, our partners, and our world.

And our friends, by the way. Because the way Kelly gets really turned on by legal documentation? Linear facts and timelines and spreadsheets? That’s because she’s got a particular affinity for the masculine—which loves everything streamlined, intellectual, driven and contained. (She’s living proof that masculine/feminine isn’t about gender.) And the way that I love Facebook, because it connects me in real time to Tom in Nebraska and the messy, undocumented, collective wisdom of my “friend” community? Yeah, you might say I have a predisposition for the feminine, which tends toward complexity, intuition, open-mindedness and creativity.

If I can be so bold, the cornerstone of a good relationship is a working knowledge the masculine/feminine dynamic. Because even though these qualities are not directly linked to gender, they have a big impact on the way men and women relate.

How do you see the masculine and feminine in the world around you? How about in your relationships? Friendships? How about in yourself?

(Photo Credit: Christian Neuenschwander)