Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Competitive Female

Pretty Lady must apologize for having become Hot Under her Collar for a moment. Ordinarily she likes to maintain a Balanced Perspective, in order to open her soul to the infinite truth and forgiveness of the Holy Spirit. This, she has found, is the way to remain happy, healthy and keep her complexion in tiptop condition. The cosmetic benefits of allowing the Holy Spirit to rule one's mental landscape cannot be underestimated.

But occasionally someone presses a Sore Button in Pretty Lady's serene psyche, and she goes ballistic. Such a one, unfortunately, was this:

Are you being extraordinary, or are you being competitive?
Men want to marry women who display the characteristic of loyalty.
Pretty Lady must say it again. Hmph.

It has been Pretty Lady's sad experience that men, in general, are largely oblivious to the flagrant signs of unhealthy, vile, underhanded, backstabbing Competitiveness in Females. Men are simple souls. Show them a winning smile, a winsome pout, and utter a few bland clich├ęs about Home and Family, and they believe a woman to be everything she touts herself as, and more. This same winning, winsome woman may utter Malicious Lies, Cutting Remarks, and Wholesale Betrayals of Confidence freely before this same man, and he will not even notice. He will merely think she is perspicacious and clever; he may even honor her malice with the label of 'loyalty.' Loyalty toward himself, of course; obviously she is merely protecting him from the designing hussies who surround him on every side.

It never appears to occur to him that a mind which sees malice under every rock may be seeking what it wishes to find; moreover, that it sees the thing it is steeped in.

Pretty Lady, when very young, was taught this maxim by her mother: "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." With a few regrettable and notorious lapses, she has endeavored to live up to this precept during her entire adult life. More than this, she tries mightily to look for the best in people, and to understand where the worst might be coming from. This habit of hers has led her to make some egregious errors in the selection of her intimate friends. Preoccupied with her industrious treasure-seeking, she has been dismissive of, or honestly blind to, aggressive destructiveness of character in others.

That is, until the full force of her self-deception hits her right between the eyes; then she is wont to reconsider.

Far from being Competitive herself, Pretty Lady has always believed that vulgar scrabbling between females for the attention of a man ought to be avoided at all costs. If a man is so distractible that he cannot be bothered to remember that he originally asked Pretty Lady on a date, when another woman invites herself along and clings to him like glue, chattering engagingly, Pretty Lady will not remind him. She politely and ironically excuses herself and catches up on her sleep. When a man decides to be a big cocky jerk and invite her to lunch as the tall half of a set, she does not attempt to command his attention with seductive gestures; she thanks the two of them, grapes and all, and heads to the studio. Pretty Lady has neither the time nor the inclination for such egoistic games. Either a man perceives her obvious singularity of character, or he does not.

Pretty Lady takes the concept of Loyalty very seriously indeed. If her friend is interested in, dating, or married to a man, he is Off Limits in Pretty Lady's universe, until five years after the divorce. In fact, if a man is previously attached at all, even to her worst enemy, he is equally Off Limits, even if his wife is flinging him at Pretty Lady's head.

Thus, although she generally maintains a tight-lipped reticence on the subject, Pretty Lady's deeper opinion on women who regard the intimate relationships of their close friends as fishing grounds for their own purposes, is that these women are poison. No matter how many times they disingenuously declare, "It just sort of happened, and I feel terrible about it."

15 comments:

Judge Well Ye Wolves said...

As a former fish in the fishing ground fished by friends of a female of previous relationship (I love alliteration), I laughed then and now at the "lures" that were dangled in front of my piscene mouth. Some were trolling, some were casting, some were as subtle as dynamiting the pond.
I learned relatively early the nature of feminine internecine conflicts. Significant girlfriend and I standing on a train platform. Sweet helpless blond looks at me from 3 feet away, I look at her. She asks if I live here, and if I could explain the posted train schedule to her. I do so. I come back (all of 3 feet)to a steaming GF, who hisses, "don't you see? she won!". I am no prize by most calculations, but I realized then that it is not that I was the prize, I was the battleground.

EN said...

"If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."

We had different mom's. Mine said things like, "If someone says something nice, don't stand there grinning like a self satisfied idiot. Just shut your Gottdamned mouth and wait. She'll get to the point eventually." I miss mom... sometimes.

"I realized then that it is not that I was the prize, I was the battleground.

So true Judge. However, in all things human, dominance is a matter of having choices. She was saving time by assuming that your girlfriend had already done her homework, thereby allowing her to cut to the chase.

-

EN said...

BTW, I know of two very successful marriages that involved "stealing". One even involved the low and foul business of stealing a sisters mate within weeks of the wedding... if you forget that they've been together for thirty years, have three very successful children, a house in France and the US, and have been blissfully happy, it's a very sordid and sad story.

August said...

Those particular competitive women are quite atrocious, and I avoid them, but they are not the competitive women of whom I speak.
I am talking about women who are competitive with me. You see, for men, if a woman is trying to prove she is better than you at one thing, she will invariably try to prove she is better than you at another thing.
Therefore, if you say something extraordinary in a blatant attempt to prove your intelligence, I must assume you will also engage in rather extreme sexual congress in order to prove something as well. Which is why I suggested the theory fits the facts. It is not your behavior per se, because you did not explain your behavior; you mentioned the behavior of the men in your life.

This is why career women have so much trouble getting married. There are plenty of men below their perceived status who would make great husbands. But no, they are not interested, because there is no competition there. Instead they seek out career minded men. If these men want casual sex, they will engage in these relationships because the desire, on the part of the female, to compete, inevitably results in sex.
But if these men want to marry, they will seek women who will be loyal to them.

Read what you have written about relationships and boredom. Is it any wonder your male friends suggest threesomes? Would you be surprised that a man looking for a wife, and a mother to his children might pass you by?

prettylady said...

if you say something extraordinary in a blatant attempt to prove your intelligence

Hello? Project much? People do not say extraordinary things for any other reason than 'blatant attempts to prove intelligence'? Not for the sake of communication, or stimulating interesting discussions, or finding out what the other person thinks about a topic?

I must assume you will also engage in rather extreme sexual congress

All together, now: "Assumption is the mother of all f*ckups."

in order to prove something as well

I beg your pardon?!!!

the theory fits the facts.

What 'facts'? All I see is a list of assumptions that are, a priori, both unprovable and, as it happens, utterly incorrect.

because you did not explain your behavior

No, I didn't. You simply assumed it. Here, Pretty Lady is just going along, being her own extraordinary self, and you have somehow interpreted this as the exhibitionistic gyrations of a pathologically insecure sexual pervert.

Thank you for acting as 'Exhibit A': What Pretty Lady is Talking About.

This is why career women have so much trouble getting married.

Let us now go Completely Over The Top, shall we?

they are not interested, because there is no competition there.

Oh, please.

Women, my dear August, are not men. They do not do things solely for the sake of Competition; they are not wholly concerned with raising their place in the Hierarchy. The women with whom I am most intimately familiar, being the well-balanced, intelligent, creative, nurturing sort like myself (we having banished all the psychos at long last) know the difference between competition and challenge. We disdain the former, but require the latter.

Because, frankly, a cat is better company than a Bore. The cat at least maintains an inscrutable silence, rather than a tedious stream of predictable, and occasionally highly offensive, prattle.

relationships and boredom. Is it any wonder your male friends suggest threesomes?

A man who cannot think of any way to increase challenge and intimacy within a relationship other than to suggest a threesome is a bore indeed.

And it isn't always the MEN who are suggesting them, either.

Would you be surprised that a man looking for a wife, and a mother to his children might pass you by?

August, I must inform you that you are in imminent danger of choking upon your own foot. I have attempted, most seriously, to parse your above line of reasoning into anything that could be conceivably construed as having an inner logic or pattern of decency, and I have failed. Either explain precisely why you feel the need to be thus irrationally insulting, or I must ask you not to return.

Bobert said...

"... malice under every rock..."

hmmmm,

Last time I looked under a rock there was a couple worms, one centipde, and a handful of politicians.

Thievery, lies, deception, treachery... but no malice. Maybe I just missed it.

Should'a stepped on the whole lot.

August said...

Pretty lady, no insult is intended.
The logic is thus:

You mentioned a proposition.
You mentioned saying something extraordinary.

Now there has to be an assumption somewhere between the two, and I figure that assumption is in a male brain.

That particular male has likely perceived the extraordinary as the competitive, and is hoping such competitiveness will translate into some friendly competition in the bedroom.

I do not assume quite the same things.
I was not there. I cannot assume anything about you, beyond what one can assume based on your writing.
This means I don't, for instance, assume you will accept the aforementioned man's proposition, but I do think you could sound competitive.

I know women who are suffering from this situation right now. They are competitive. They end up in circumstances similar to yours.
As for myself, my assumptions in similar situations are simple: loyalty and competition work in opposition to each other. I simply disengage. I have learned enough lessons the hard way.

Chris Rywalt said...

Mistress? Many apologies, mistress. But I feel August is not wholly wrong.

Perhaps the two of you are too caught up in your different semantic interpretations of the words "competitive" and "challenging." Let us perhaps say you might be a dominant personality, while some men are more interested in a submissive personality; and I think we can all agree that the best for a long-term relationship is (within the relationship at least) neither, which is to say a personality willing to be equal.

But of course even then there are many differences of approach: There's equilibrium through stillness and equilibrium through constant adjustment and maybe even equilibrium through constant disequilibrium.

It seems clear to me, Pretty Lady, that (outside of romantic relationships, at least) you seek challenge, competition, and conflict. I happen to think that's excellent. And may be what August is picking up on. But I've learned that how people act in social relationships is very different from how they act in intimate relationships; and I'm pretty sure even if you have an idea of how someone behaves in both areas, you still can't predict how they act when they're having sex.

Anyway, I think August has a point about competitive, challenging women, even if he's gone off the deep end in making assumptions about why some women can't find husbands and all that crap.

prettylady said...

you might be a dominant personality, while some men are more interested in a submissive personality

There is a difference, my dear Chris, between a dominant personality and a strong personality. Pretty Lady's tragedy is that she has an overflowing excess of strength within her personality, but no particular desire to dominate for the mere sake of dominance. It just sort of seems to happen.

you seek challenge, competition, and conflict.

Oh, really? Perhaps so.

However, the motives behind this seeking are what few people appear to understand. Challenge and competition are for the sake of mental stimulation and self-improvement, not for the sake of putting other people down. Conflict is for the sake of resolving it. Peace on earth, and such.

Quixotic, I know.

prettylady said...

Oh, and that sketch was hilarious. I am deeply honored that you think of moi as such a Mistress.

Chris Rywalt said...

PL sez:
There is a difference, my dear Chris, between a dominant personality and a strong personality. Pretty Lady's tragedy is that she has an overflowing excess of strength within her personality, but no particular desire to dominate for the mere sake of dominance. It just sort of seems to happen.

I hate to bring in personal experience to this discussion, but: I recall a certain pretty lady of my acquaintance getting up and crossing the room because her friend was pouring his beer incorrectly.

I think a strong personality dominates even if that isn't the person's intention. It may be phlegmatic -- Friendly Strength -- but it still takes over.

Chris Rywalt said...

PL sez:
Challenge and competition are for the sake of mental stimulation and self-improvement, not for the sake of putting other people down. Conflict is for the sake of resolving it.

You cannot sharpen a knife without rubbing it against something harder.

That's why I prefer to hang out with people smarter than I am. Although it's difficult to find them.

Anonymous said...

Goodness gracious, PL, I don't understand why are these guys are picking fights with you all the time, especially after this post. As a female, I agree with you 100% as to other females' backstabbing and competitiveness. Most men don't realize this until it is too late. However, I am lucky enough to be in a relationship with a man who does, and who therefore picks his female acquaintances with care. I do the same with my male acquaintances, although as he is a better catch than I am, I don't face nearly the same temptation. :)

prettylady said...

I think a strong personality dominates even if that isn't the person's intention. It may be phlegmatic -- Friendly Strength -- but it still takes over.

Er, isn't that what I said? Pretty Lady is so foolish, she sometimes thinks she says something, only to find that it has not been understood as she meant it. Such as, "you can only get the beer out by finessing the ice; if you turn it upside down, the ice blocks the opening completely."

I don't understand why are these guys are picking fights with you all the time

Oh, honey, they're male, they can't help being competitive, it's all that testosterone. ;-)

Chris Rywalt said...

PL sez:
Er, isn't that what I said?

You sort of said it, kind of, as quietly as possible. I was underlining it. "It just sort of seems to happen" sounds like you don't expect it or mean it. You do expect it, and mean it when you do it. That you also sometimes do it when you don't mean it is beside the point.