(This is an article I wrote for my romantic advice blog for men, The Leading Man.)
In her book The Passion of Ayn Rand, Barbara Branden quotes from interviews she recorded with Rand about her life and career. Talking about her years as a teenager in Soviet Russia, Rand spoke of walking with a young man who made an indelible impression on her:
"I don't remember the conversation on the way home, we just talked, nothing romantic. But he had a manner of projecting that he's a man and you're a woman and he's aware of it."
"By the time I arrived home," Rand said, "I was madly and desperately in love."*
(Years later, Rand would name one of the main characters of her novel We the Living — Leo — after him.)
If there is a single idea which a man must grasp and master if he is to build a powerful romantic relationship with a woman, it's polarity.
Polarity is the recognition of the fact that romance — at least heterosexual romance — is predicated on the existence of two sexes; there is male and female, man and woman, masculine/feminine.
To a Leading Man, the fact of sex, and therefore of sexual differences, is an enormously good thing. We do all that we can to positively stress and to celebrate that women and men are not exactly identical in every way.
Unfortunately, many men ignore, minimize or attempt to downplay sex differences. In their efforts to be respectful and "modern," they treat a woman they are romantically interested in as a buddy or pal.
Instead of torrid passion, these men often find themselves caught in a tepid friendship.
Polarity is essential to forming a deeply erotic connection with a woman. In romance, a woman wants & needs to be seen and experienced by a man as a woman — not merely as a person, and definitely not as a sexless neuter.
To fall in love with a woman means falling in love with her feminine essence. It means being turned on by the challenge that her femininity poses to you.
When polarity weakens in a relationship, things get boring. When it isn't there from the beginning, relationships often don't get off the ground.
A sophisticated man is not threatened by sexual differences. He embraces, enjoys and appreciates them. To the man who understands romance, "I'm a man, you're a woman" isn't a put-down, nor does it represent an attempt to return to caveman days. It's a basic fact of reality, one which underlies and makes possible the most exciting kind of relationship between two human beings.
*I have a number of misgivings about Ms. Branden, and I do not generally endorse her biography of Ayn Rand. However I have no reason to believe that this quotation is inaccurate.
© 2013 Kevin Delaney