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Make Your Wife Your Mistress

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One of my all-time favorite books on the topic of love and relationships is How to Make Your Wife Your Mistress by Lois Bird. Published in 1972, it's long out of print (though you can buy used copies of it on Amazon).

I'm sure it wasn't a giant bestseller — in fact, I'm impressed that the book was published at all. It's a virtual axiom among editors that men don't buy self-help books, particularly ones that purport to teach them how to be more sensitive and intelligent lovers.

Mrs. Bird's basic thesis is that there are too many wives and not enough mistresses, and that these two aren't mutually exclusive.

Here are some of my favorite quotations from the book. I'm especially interested to hear women's opinions about Mrs. Bird's statements:

"I am a woman, and that no doubt means a lot of things. It means I'm similar to all other women in many respects and probably different in many, but most important, it means I am not a man. I don't think like a man, feel like a man, or, in many respects, act like a man."

"Every woman would prefer to build her fantasies on memories of what she has shared with her man. . . . We women collect memories like a miser saving coins. The more the better. Give your woman the stuff on which dreams are built, and you'll keep her far better entertained than a TV rerun."

"We know we can win the boy-girl game only when you win too. Nothing could be dumber than a battle of the sexes."

"We enjoy being treated like a mistress. . . . Playing female to a man's maleness is something every healthy woman enjoys. . . . We don't feel 'put down' when you come on with some good old-fashioned chivalry. It tells us that you recognize what we want you to recognize: that we are not 'one of the boys'; we are women. We like it, and we're glad you like it. We want to keep those sex differences."

"Every woman knows — or ought to know — that sexiness is not incompatible with brains and capability. . . . It takes more than average brains to be truly sexy."

"So long as you let her know you are interested in what she has to say, that's all that's important. . . . Just knowing you value what she may think is enough to turn her on."

"Every woman is addicted to two things, and one of them is romance."

"Romance is something which is not taught to boys as it is to girls."

"Dating is not just 'going out somewhere' . . . . Much as I hate to give men a failing grade in anything, I'm afraid when it comes to dating, the average husband flunks out all the way. . . . We want our men to plan the dates, to ask us out for the evening, and to take us."

"Imagination is one of the biggest elements in creating romance."

"Romance is, in a way, the unnecessary gesture. . . . The romantic action is 'impractical.'"

(This is an abridged version of an article written for my blog, The Wealthy Bohemian. For more quotes from Lois Bird, click here.)

Edited by Kevin Delaney
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Well, since you say you're particularly interested in comments on these things from females, I am one, so I'll comment.

I'll start with the fairly positive --

This comment ". . . would prefer to build her fantasies on memories of what she has shared with her [mate]" is getting at something which was generally true of my experience while I was involved in an active romantic relationship. However, I don't know you could really say this is true of ALL females and that it just doesn't apply to males at all. Also, I'm not sure how much use the rest of that snippet is anyway since all it says is essentially "So, try to do stuff she'll really love!" Isn't it already pretty obvious you'd want to aim for that anyway? I don't see how that fantasy preferences info changes what anybody would do.

"Every woman knows — or ought to know — that sexiness is not incompatible with brains and capability. . . . It takes more than average brains to be truly sexy."

This is definitely true, however, I don't think much of anybody is taken seriously these days who would try to say otherwise anyway.

"Imagination is one of the biggest elements in creating romance."

That one sounds pretty good, I don't really have any objections to this one.

"We know we can win the boy-girl game only when you win too. Nothing could be dumber than a battle of the sexes."

This one is also pretty accurate - trying to insist that one sex or the other is better is a recipe for fail in a romantic relationship between a male and a female. Romance is for equals, it makes no sense to pursue somebody you really think is inferior and you aren't going to make a partner feel appreciated and loved by trying to call them inherently inferior, you'll just insult them and push them away to people who will appreciate them more.

These ones I'm just not to sure what the point of them is, how they'd be of use:

"Every woman is addicted to two things, and one of them is romance."

I'm also unsure what is meant here by calling it an addiction or implying that all women must have some other addiction also.

"Dating is not just 'going out somewhere' . . . . Much as I hate to give men a failing grade in anything, I'm afraid when it comes to dating, the average husband flunks out all the way. . . . We want our men to plan the dates, to ask us out for the evening, and to take us."

I agree that just because you go some place together it doesn't mean you've done a good job with the date, there's more care that needs to be taken on the venture, but her explanation of what she thinks doing a good date is doesn't really make sense to me exactly as it is written.

"Romance is, in a way, the unnecessary gesture. . . . The romantic action is 'impractical.'"

This one would make much more sense and be much more useful with some elaboration. Just doing unnecessary stuff is not the whole point by any means. The point is that when somebody does something which is necessary to their life whether you are there or not, it says nothing about you. However, when they do something which they would not were you not there (and it is something with a positive intent), you can tell they are doing it expressly because they value you.

"Romance is something which is not taught to boys as it is to girls."

I don't really know what this one means. Maybe typically males and females are raised to be inculcated with different messages about romance, but I don't know what she thinks those two message sets are, let alone what evidence she has for them being common and pretty exclusively taught to just one sex.

This stuff I have strong objection to:

"I am a woman, and that no doubt means a lot of things. It means I'm similar to all other women in many respects and probably different in many, but most important, it means I am not a man. I don't think like a man, feel like a man, or, in many respects, act like a man."

I'm curious how exactly she is coming to this conclusion. Every male and female is unique and they can be *extremely* different from others of their sex. How would you propose to even form well controlled test groups to show what is really inherently male or inherently female in those regards without violating a bunch of ethical rules? Just observing males and females at different times and in different cultures can and has yielded inconsistent results, so that option seems to be out as a way to try to show feeling and acting and such to be inherently one way for males and one other way for females.

"We enjoy being treated like a mistress. . . . Playing female to a man's maleness is something every healthy woman enjoys. . . . We don't feel 'put down' when you come on with some good old-fashioned chivalry. It tells us that you recognize what we want you to recognize: that we are not 'one of the boys'; we are women. We like it, and we're glad you like it. We want to keep those sex differences."

No. No, no, no, no no, no. This at least does not apply to *all* females. I personally (and I'm sure I'm not alone here, if I really needed to I'm sure I could go get somebody else who agrees here) know that I do not want to be treated like some other alien sort of thing that could just never really relate and requires some markedly different treatment based on the different kind of genitals I have. Particularly this "chivalry" crap or trying to treat me like I'm less capable or in need of more help for anything except maybe some occasional heavy lifting does not sit well with me at all. I want to be treated like an equal adult, not like I'm somehow still kind of a needy, sensitive little kid. I remember somebody who was in a class with me once and would habitually insist upon waiting to leave until after I'd gone through the door first just because I had a vagina basically. He *would not* accept a female returning what may otherwise have just been a kind gesture to another decent human being and sometimes letting him go ahead instead. He would insist on waiting even when I clearly would need to take a few more minutes to pack up my stuff or however much I tried to tell him to just get going already and that I really didn't appreciate this insistent thing just because I was female. I got so irritated with this I almost decided to just stop speaking to this person at all.

"So long as you let her know you are interested in what she has to say, that's all that's important. . . . Just knowing you value what she may think is enough to turn her on."

No. That's an important part of things, but far from all that is important. A dull bump on a log may be ENTHRALLED listening to me, but as a dull bump on a log, I really don't find them any kind of a "turn on" in the slightest.

Edited by bluecherry
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Well, since you're asking for women's input, here goes my take, but be forewarned I'm not exactly your "typical" lady. However I have had my man around now for a good 10 years almost and I like to think we have something really special going, so considering I'm 1/1 with serious romantic relationships in my life hopefully I'm not a total maroon, as they say.

"I am a woman, and that no doubt means a lot of things. It means I'm similar to all other women in many respects and probably different in many, but most important, it means I am not a man. I don't think like a man, feel like a man, or, in many respects, act like a man."

Like bluecherry I don't care for this one. In many respects I DO "act like a man", and I hate playing the stupid emotional games that many women seem to indulge in with their men. I don't want my fella to see me as the WOMAN he loves so much as the woman he LOVES. Make sense? I don't expect my femaleness to carry much weight with a guy beyond the physical. Yes, love the boobs and the squishy spots, but don't attribute stuff to my personality as a result.

"Every woman would prefer to build her fantasies on memories of what she has shared with her man. . . . We women collect memories like a miser saving coins. The more the better. Give your woman the stuff on which dreams are built, and you'll keep her far better entertained than a TV rerun."

Memories are nice, don't get me wrong. But as for my fantasy life it has almost nothing to do with actual memories. In fact, my fantasy life often has little to do with anything I've ever actually done or even, sometimes, would consider doing for real. I think about stuff that would definitely have no appeal for me in real life. That's kinda what fantasy is for. I will say this, though. Instead of memories, I could build some very nice fantasies about things my guy WILL or WOULD do, and that would be a good fire-starter. In other words, memory is nice but don't forget to look forward as well.

"We know we can win the boy-girl game only when you win too. Nothing could be dumber than a battle of the sexes."

This is just common sense. Any relationship needs the good faith effort of both parties to be healthy.

"We enjoy being treated like a mistress. . . . Playing female to a man's maleness is something every healthy woman enjoys. . . . We don't feel 'put down' when you come on with some good old-fashioned chivalry. It tells us that you recognize what we want you to recognize: that we are not 'one of the boys'; we are women. We like it, and we're glad you like it. We want to keep those sex differences."

Not every healthy woman it seems, or perhaps the author would not consider me a healthy woman :P I do like being "one of the boys" and not only does my boyfriend like it, his friends like it too when we can all hang out together and I am the "cool" girlfriend instead of the one who whines and bitches and tries to monopolize her man's attention when you're out at a show, tries to get him to go home early, etc. My guy likes that I love to talk football and political history with him. I am his best friend, his pal, and I love that. It does not minimize our passion for each other. I think it gives it a sturdy foundation.

"Every woman knows — or ought to know — that sexiness is not incompatible with brains and capability. . . . It takes more than average brains to be truly sexy."

Well, my dude is into nerd girls anyhow, so this particular one worked out well for me. :)

"So long as you let her know you are interested in what she has to say, that's all that's important. . . . Just knowing you value what she may think is enough to turn her on."

I wouldn't say it's ALL that's important. I don't demand that my guy be interested in me every second. On the other hand, it is extremely annoying when I have to say something two or three times until it gets through, so yes, for the sake of your partner's sanity listen to her or at the very least make time to listen to her later if you can't at the moment. Also remember that a woman of self-esteem is not going to be sitting around waiting for a man to find her interesting. She's got things to do.

"Every woman is addicted to two things, and one of them is romance."

Huh? Romance is nice and all but I'm hardly addicted to it. Also I don't know what the other addiction is supposed to be. Chocolate maybe?

"Romance is something which is not taught to boys as it is to girls."

This may or may not be true but in my case I wouldn't know much about it. No one "taught" me romance either. I sat around and thought about my preferences and feelings and that's pretty much my frame of reference for romance.

"Dating is not just 'going out somewhere' . . . . Much as I hate to give men a failing grade in anything, I'm afraid when it comes to dating, the average husband flunks out all the way. . . . We want our men to plan the dates, to ask us out for the evening, and to take us."

There's some truth to this but with a caveat. I would LOVE for my fella to take me out more, to plan it and make it happen. However I do not object to doing the same myself. I am more than happy to plan a day and make it happen, I just don't like doing it all the time. I would like to see a little more initiative from my guy just to help balance things out. No one likes feeling like they have to think of EVERYTHING all the time or it won't happen. I think this applies to guys as well as girls. Rule of thumb, the partner who usually doesn't make the plans as often should put some more effort into doing so, if only to take the pressure off the partner who more typically "leads".

"Imagination is one of the biggest elements in creating romance."

Yeah, this one is good. I'm a creative person and I love to see creativity in response. The only thing I would say to watch out for is make sure the creativity is personalized to your partner. It's more touching and shows you know them well.

"Romance is, in a way, the unnecessary gesture. . . . The romantic action is 'impractical.'"

There's a point to this as well. I occasionally get frustrated with my man because he is OVERLY practical in this sense. Doing stuff just for the hell of it, just because it's enjoyable, can add a lot of fun to a relationship. It shouldn't just be about paying the bills together and deciding who gets to clean up the cat puke this time.

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Thanks to bluecherry and themadkat for responding to these statements! I greatly appreciate you sharing your ideas.

I want to express some of my own thoughts on one of Mrs. Bird's quotes:

"I am a woman, and that no doubt means a lot of things. It means I'm similar to all other women in many respects and probably different in many, but most important, it means I am not a man. I don't think like a man, feel like a man, or, in many respects, act like a man."

In my experience, this is the key to understanding — and creating — romance.

Men and women are not the same; how specifically we're different is the subject for a long and extremely enjoyable course of study. But one thing is certain: The differences between man and woman run far deeper than bodies and genitals.

It's these differences that give birth to the delightful subject of romance; they're what make man-woman relationships so rife with thrilling possibility.

The differences can also be our greatest nemesis, if we don't take the time to educate ourselves about them, and learn to appreciate them.

In today's culture, romance is dead. Dating is dead. It's tragic, but much of what Mrs. Bird has to say may literally not be graspable by many people today.

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"It's these differences that give birth to the delightful subject of romance"

One word: Homosexuals.

Romance is entirely possible without there being these notable gender differences. Yes, I know there are stereotypical homosexual couples where one is dubbed the "female" and the other the "male" in role anyway, but they aren't all like that at all. The point mainly being, you do *not* require males and females as some kind of foreign beings which are just totally entirely psychologically different types for romance to work.

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Kevin I have a question for you. Do you believe that adult men and adult women can be friends? If so, could you ever see yourself having a close friendship with a woman in the same fashion as your close male friendships (I assume you have some good buddies you pal around with)?

The reason I ask this is because I find, for whatever reason, that people's answer to this question greatly affects their perception of romance and, notably, sex differences in romance.

As an aside, and speaking to what bluecherry was saying, although my fellow and I are different in many important ways personalitywise, I can see little of it being attributable to gender. I'm a big-picture person, he's a details guy. I'm the idealist, he's the practical one. I'm hyper and moody, he's mellow and steady. I like to go out and do stuff just for the hell of it, he'd rather have a quiet evening at home. He likes to talk out issues, whereas I prefer to try and work things out in my own head first. I don't really see any of these differences as being gendered.

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"It's these differences that give birth to the delightful subject of romance"

One word: Homosexuals.

I saw a documentary about a woman who had a romantic relationship with the Golden Gate Bridge. Previously, she'd been involved with a bow-and-arrow.

Then there are the guys in Japan who marry their cartoon pillows.

Does being human — or even being animate — have bearing upon the fact of romance?

:P

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Do you believe that adult men and adult women can be friends?

Yes, of course. I don't know where I'd be without my female friends. :P

If so, could you ever see yourself having a close friendship with a woman in the same fashion as your close male friendships (I assume you have some good buddies you pal around with)?

Not exactly the same fashion — though when it comes to friendship, the significance of sexual differences can vary enormously.

In the case of a friend I'm truly close with, I could never see them apart from the fact that they are a man or a woman. To try to mentally classify someone I cared about as a generic "person" feels insulting. It would amount to ignoring an important aspect of their identity.

Of course, the way one views his or her own maleness or femaleness (and the significance they place on it) can also enter into the equation.

One thing is certain: romantic love is not friendship. Whatever we might say about members of different sexes being friends, it's hard to draw parallels from that to the vastly different context of man-woman sexual loving.

Edited by Kevin Delaney
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I saw a documentary about a woman who had a romantic relationship with the Golden Gate Bridge. Previously, she'd been involved with a bow-and-arrow.

Then there are the guys in Japan who marry their cartoon pillows.

Does being human — or even being animate — have bearing upon the fact of romance?

:P

Comparing somebody being romantically attracted to people of the same sex to somebody who says they're romantically attracted to inanimate objects is not a refutation of the legitimacy of romantic relationships between members of the same sex. Inanimate objects lack a zillion crucial elements of romance that are entirely unrelated to what aspects of homosexuality would be in question here.

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One thing is certain: romantic love is not friendship. Whatever we might say about members of different sexes being friends, it's hard to draw parallels from that to the vastly different context of man-woman sexual loving.

I'm not so sure about this. Clearly friendship alone is insufficient for building a real relationship. There has to be that "spark", that physical and emotional attraction. You have to want them and I don't think you can (or that it would be healthy to) try and force an attraction to someone you love only as a friend. But I don't see why that attraction can't organically grow out of a friendship, especially a deep one. What distinguishes romance from deep friendship + sex? I must be missing something here.

This is one of the things Rand described in her notions of sexuality that I never quite understood. I like masculinity and am attracted to it (my guy is pretty stereotypically manly, face fur and the like), but I certainly don't worship it. I don't doubt Rand's account of the way she experienced her sexuality (I mean, who would know better?), but it shouldn't be taken to be the way that all women experience sexuality, because it's nothing like that for me.

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I saw a documentary about a woman who had a romantic relationship with the Golden Gate Bridge. Previously, she'd been involved with a bow-and-arrow.

Then there are the guys in Japan who marry their cartoon pillows.

Does being human — or even being animate — have bearing upon the fact of romance?

:P

It's unclear what you're saying here. Is it that homosexual romance is as legitimate as human-iconic bridge romance? Is it that homosexual romance is not human? Or are you saying that homosexual romance is as unrelated to heterosexual romance as is human-bridge romance? All of the above?
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Comparing somebody being romantically attracted to people of the same sex to somebody who says they're romantically attracted to inanimate objects is not a refutation of the legitimacy of romantic relationships between members of the same sex.

Be careful about projecting your own ideas into my words. I can't imagine what it would mean to "refute the legitimacy" of anyone's relationship — gay, straight or otherwise.

Some people are gay — and some are bisexual, and some fall in love with objects, while others are asexual, with no interest in romantic love whatsoever. Do you intend to study all of these, then draw a composite conclusion, from which you will deduce an understanding of male-female relationships?

Incidentally, I'm happy to defend all of my positions on this topic, but I will not attempt to prove any of them. "Proving" ideas in the area of sex and romance (or trying to disprove them) is a game for losers and rationalists. To be sure, all of the ideas I've put forth in this thread can be proven — and they will be, eventually, if you consider them sincerely, and then get on with living your life.

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Wait, you will not try to prove your ideas, and say proving them is for "losers and rationalists" yet you say they can and will be proven eventually? It doesn't seem very wise to insult the people you are counting on to eventually prove your ideas for you. Especially not by saying you think they'll be "proven" through rationalism, meaning, not really proven at all anyway. If you don't intend to prove something you do say is provable, then it doesn't seem worth pursuing the conversation further. You posted some things asking for females to comment especially. I posted, I objected to some things with examples that don't fit what was said supposedly about ALL females and ALL romantic relationships, you still disagree and stick to your support of those things as applying to ALL of those things anyway. Oh well.

Edited by bluecherry
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Bluecherry: You prove these ideas in your own life, mostly by experiencing them firsthand.

Miss Rand was correct in her idea of hero worship — I'm certain of it. But how could I convince someone else that it's true? I couldn't, and Miss Rand never did, although she wrote and lectured copiously on many subjects. (That she didn't "prove" her sexual theory is a criticism often leveled against her.)

The best anyone can do, is what Miss Rand did: you state the idea, perhaps even dramatize it, offer some supporting ideas and facts, and answer questions about it when asked. For the most part, you give your readers the basic material for a conclusion, and trust that they'll be smart enough to figure it out for themselves.

I usually become challenged to "prove" my assertions in these exchanges. I'm letting everyone know in advance that I have no interest in doing that.

I objected to some things with examples that don't fit what was said supposedly about ALL females and ALL romantic relationships, you still disagree and stick to your support of those things as applying to ALL of those things anyway.

Clearly, I don't believe these ideas apply to all "females" and to all romantic relationships. This discussion is about general principles of romance as they pertain to heterosexual love. In my experience, many men need a lot of help in this area, and some even welcome the advice and find it useful.

Let's get back to what this thread is about!

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Miss Rand was correct in her idea of hero worship — I'm certain of it. But how could I convince someone else that it's true? I couldn't, and Miss Rand never did, although she wrote and lectured copiously on many subjects. (That she didn't "prove" her sexual theory is a criticism often leveled against her.)

What I've been trying to tell you, and possibly bluecherry as well though I can't speak for her, is that we disagree with this notion. In my 10+ year friendship and romance with my fella, who I would think most people consider typically masculine, hero worship does not and has never played a part. I do not look to him for guidance, leadership, or whatever it is that hero-worship is supposed to mean. It's no slight against him...I wouldn't feel that way towards ANY man, no matter how much I love him. It's just not in me. The main character of my story is me. I'm the only hero I need in my life.

I think you should listen if for no other reason than the fact that many rational, independent, and self-directed women (i.e. the type desirable to Objectivist men) might feel the way I do. If you go off all chivalrous-like you would not attract a woman like me. I'm not assuming you would want me, necessarily...for all I know I'd be entirely too weird for you. However, it's not a stretch to say that productive, high-achieving women are used to calling their own shots and are not looking for someone to look up to. Rather, what we want is a companion to love, to adore us and for us to adore in return, but most importantly to share in the joyful life we are trying to build for ourselves. To me love means sharing of lives, common experience, putting out there for your partner all parts of you that you don't reserve exclusively to yourself (i.e. if it's open to anyone, it should be open to him).

Conventional romance works for some people but for many others it is unsatisfactory or even restrictive. My advice for men who need help would be to get to know the woman you are interested in, really know her. Find ways to share in her life and add to it. Show that there is a place for you in that world of hers, but don't try to "lead" her, especially if you don't know beforehand that that's what she wants.

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Clearly, I don't believe these ideas apply to all "females" and to all romantic relationships. This discussion is about general principles of romance as they pertain to heterosexual love.

I'm not sure why principles of romance pertaining to heterosexual love would or should be any different than any other kind of romantic love.

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I do not look to him for guidance, leadership, or whatever it is that hero-worship is supposed to mean.

If you don't know what it means, how can you say you disagree with it?

As far as I know — and bear in mind I am not a woman — hero worship is an emotional experience; it's the desire to look up to a man within in a romantic context.

I'll let others who are more adept than I am go into greater detail, but Miss Rand did a good job of explaining it in her "About a Woman President" essay.

Themadkat, I have question for you: What do you think of Aretha Franklin's song "You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman"?

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If you don't know what it means, how can you say you disagree with it?

As far as I know — and bear in mind I am not a woman — hero worship is an emotional experience; it's the desire to look up to a man within in a romantic context.

I'll let others who are more adept than I am go into greater detail, but Miss Rand did a good job of explaining it in her "About a Woman President" essay.

Themadkat, I have question for you: What do you think of Aretha Franklin's song "You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman"?

It's a good song I guess. I like Aretha but I don't know the song that well. When I think of her I think of "Respect". And for the record I never agreed with About A Woman President. I think there is some loneliness in being "at the top" regardless of what you are at the top of, because you know in some respects you are always looking a little bit down in that relevant arena. But there is also joy and pride to be found in such elite status. And as it is a situational thing, it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with romance. I would think both men and women would feel some loneliness in this regard.

Consider this...there isn't much factual evidence (in terms of expressed actions) of Ms. Rand hero-worshipping her husband, that I can tell. It's hard to make a judgment about people's private lives like that, but when one partner makes all the major life decisions of a couple it's not exactly what I think of as worshipping.

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Consider this...there isn't much factual evidence (in terms of expressed actions) of Ms. Rand hero-worshipping her husband, that I can tell. It's hard to make a judgment about people's private lives like that, but when one partner makes all the major life decisions of a couple it's not exactly what I think of as worshipping.

I don't know what you're referring to here, but the foreword in The Fountainhead(a book she says would not have existed without Frank O'connor) clearly shows proof of such hero-worship. However, instead of speculating about her personal life one should read The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, which quite clearly illustrates the concept(especially Galt's and Dangy's interaction at the gulch).

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  • 7 months later...

I'm just going to comment on the ones I agree with, completely or partially.

"I am a woman, and that no doubt means a lot of things. It means I'm similar to all other women in many respects and probably different in many, but most important, it means I am not a man. I don't think like a man, feel like a man, or, in many respects, act like a man."

I would like this quote more if it weren't for the last sentence. Being of a certain gender does not mean someone will act, think, or feel a certain way.

"We know we can win the boy-girl game only when you win too. Nothing could be dumber than a battle of the sexes."

"Every woman knows — or ought to know — that sexiness is not incompatible with brains and capability. . . . It takes more than average brains to be truly sexy."

No-brainers.

"We enjoy being treated like a mistress. . . . Playing female to a man's maleness is something every healthy woman enjoys. . . . We don't feel 'put down' when you come on with some good old-fashioned chivalry. It tells us that you recognize what we want you to recognize: that we are not 'one of the boys'; we are women. We like it, and we're glad you like it. We want to keep those sex differences."

I've italicized the parts I agree with, although I'd replace every 'we' with an 'I.' From previous posts I believe this one has more to do with opinion. Or at least it does until I have a better understanding of Ayn Rand's ideas on gender roles.

I certainly do not want to be considered one of the boys. I'm a woman, and I'd like for you to know it, even if there isn't any romantic interest. Also, I don't mind chivalry. Perhaps my conception of chivalry is wrong, but I don't see how it's anything other than a man being polite to a woman. If a man held a door open for another man, what would we call it? Politeness. Same goes if it were a woman holding the door for a man, or another woman. Why does a man being polite to a woman get it's own special definition?

Unless of course, chivalry is politeness + arrogance = a man feeling superior to a woman because he's a man. However, I've never thought of it this way. And when a man pulls out a woman's chair for her I doubt it's because he feels that she's incapable of doing it herself.

So which concept is right? Is the second a package-deal? Or am I incorrect in my conception of chivalry?

My guy likes that I love to talk football and political history with him.

I'm not trying to be rude, and maybe I'm knitpicking, but how does talking political history make you one of the boys?

In the case of a friend I'm truly close with, I could never see them apart from the fact that they are a man or a woman. To try to mentally classify someone I cared about as a generic "person" feels insulting. It would amount to ignoring an important aspect of their identity.

I agree completely with this. To say that being a woman isn't important, that I'm just a person, is silly. Yes I'm a person. And a woman, a nineteen-year-old, a dog-owner, and an Ayn Rand fan. Some of these aren't as important to my identity as others, but they still make up the person that I am.

I do not look to him for guidance, leadership, or whatever it is that hero-worship is supposed to mean.

I'm still not entirely sure myself what Ayn Rand meant by hero-worship, but I don't believe it was this. According to freedictionary.com worship means: the reverent love and devotion accorded a deity, an idol, or a sacred object. To worship something is to revere it, in this case a sacred object, a value of yours. It says nothing about obeying or seeking guidance and leadership from the thing one is revering.

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I certainly do not want to be considered one of the boys. I'm a woman, and I'd like for you to know it, even if there isn't any romantic interest. Also, I don't mind chivalry. Perhaps my conception of chivalry is wrong, but I don't see how it's anything other than a man being polite to a woman. If a man held a door open for another man, what would we call it? Politeness. Same goes if it were a woman holding the door for a man, or another woman. Why does a man being polite to a woman get it's own special definition?

Isn't chivalry something a little more specific? There is politeness, yes, but chivalry to me seems to be more like desiring to take care of all needs of a woman *because* she's a woman. That doesn't necessarily mean arrogance or a feeling of superiority, but it would suggest that women by their nature should be taken care of, an idea that I think is quite distasteful.

I'm still not entirely sure myself what Ayn Rand meant by hero-worship, but I don't believe it was this. According to freedictionary.com worship means: the reverent love and devotion accorded a deity, an idol, or a sacred object. To worship something is to revere it, in this case a sacred object, a value of yours. It says nothing about obeying or seeking guidance and leadership from the thing one is revering.

I think you are correct in what Rand meant by hero-worship, but I don't know *why* she claimed that it is the essence of femininity.

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Wikipedia has a nice article regarding chivalry. Here's a quote I particularly like:

Courage- “More than bravado or bluster, today’s knight and shining armor must have the courage of the heart necessary to undertake task which are difficult, tedious or unglamorous, and to graciously accept the sacrifices involved.” [12] Today this is accompanied in our soldiers in the military going into another country and fighting for the freedoms of those who are too weak to take on this battle on their own. It’s displayed in our culture everyday when a fireman, policeman, paramedic, and the other civil servants put on their uniforms and proceed to jeopardize their lives to save others.

Justice- “A knight and shining armor holds him- or herself to the highest standard of behavior, and knows that “fudging” on the little rules weakens the fabric of society for everyone.” [12] This is clearly established in the culture and society of today as well as in the past. Today it is becoming more of a profession required by the ruling government. That act of chivalry has been designated to getting a license to perform these heroic simply everyday actions.

Mercy -“Words and attitudes can be painful weapons in the modern world, which is why a knight in shining armor exercises mercy in his or her dealings with others, creating a sense of peace in the community, rather than engendering hostility and antagonism.” [12] Morality is more like the actions that are taken in the essence of not wanting to harm your fellow neighbor. This action comes directly from the heart and is an ongoing process that all humans are going through and when it is reach as a whole it will make for a better place to live.

Generosity- “Sharing what’s valuable in life means not giving away material goods, but also time, attention, wisdom and energy-the thing that create a strong, rich and diverse community.” [12] In a sense generosity is a personal preference for each individual. In the sense of chivalry it seems to draw out a different type of giving a giving that is not monetarily, but of the giving of yourself.

Faith- “In the code of chivalry, faith means trust and integrity, and a knight in shining armor is always faithful to his or her promises, no matter how big or small they may be.” [12] This word and what it represents is missing from our normal everyday actions and culture. The society of today has passed up the basic instinctive sense of relying on something other than oneself to accomplish a task. Not saying that we should give up on the individual input, but more so putting faith in something that cannot be seen or felt, but within.

Nobility- “Although this word is sometimes confused with entitlement or snobbisliness, in the code of chivalry it conveys the importance of one’s conviction at all times, especially when no one else is watching.” [12]

Hope- “more than just a safety net in times of tragedy, hope is present every day in a modern knight’s positive outlook and cheerful demeanor-the shining armor that shields him or her, and inspires people all around them.” [12]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chivalry

Well, obviously the person who wrote this is not an Objectivist, but it's still pretty allright in my book.

In dealings with women I would "translate" this into meaning:

Treating a woman with respect, acting with courage and integrity; being a leader and protector, and sharing your benevolent nature.

Personally I enjoy it tremendously when I can take the role as a chivalrous gentleman. Holding doors, pulling out chairs and sometimes even carrying her over mud puddles in the road. And of course making sure she's safe and i'm always between her and any danger. But, there are certainly different ways one can enjoy the differences between the sexes.

Edited by Alfa
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