It is a sad commentary on the state of male and female affairs, not only for her apparent tainted perspective, which no doubt involved a gallivanting husband or boyfriend, and the mere fact that I was the only man in the salon at that time made me wonder if she was directing her comments at me, but for inward-turning solution.
She decided to look out for number one, a common theme repeated in hundreds of self-help books. But, is self-centeredness the answer to happiness?
I get it. Someone going through a heartbreak is bound to lash out at the opposite sex.
Yet, the hairstylist's remarks appear, at least to me, to follow a widespread contraceptive mentality that turns love and sex inward instead of out, where the opposite gender becomes a means to an end instead of the end itself and self-gratification, promiscuity and selfishness take prominence over self-giving, fidelity and selflessness.
It's ironic. In the midst of the sexual revolution, Pope Pius VI foresaw this coming. In his much-maligned 1968 encyclical on artificial birth control, Humanae Vitae, which celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year, the Pope wrote, "A man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires..." HV:17
It's the use and be used product of artificial birth control which sparked the sexual revolution by promising to liberate women, only to make them slaves and objects of men's desires.
However, aside from cheating, immature and abusive men, there seems to be another underlying level of antagonism inciting division currently; angry feminist and social movements that pit women against men, organize marches, promote sexual licentiousness as freedom and claim an ongoing "war on women," as if the sexes were adversaries instead of compliments. It's like men need to be mastered for women to succeed.
After reflecting on the subject for several days, I went into my teenage daughters' room and told them outright, "Men are not your enemies. And, furthermore, you don't have to be like men to be successful women." I repeated both points deliberately, "Did you hear me? Men are not your enemies and you don't have to be like men to be successful women!"
They kind of looked at me dumbfounded, wondering where I was coming from, and my older daughter finally responded, as she crinkled her eyebrow, one higher than the other, "O-kaaay," as if to say, "What the heck are you talking about, Dad?"
I wanted to make the two points because the second one derives from the first. And, another reason for telling them is that I have a younger son as well.
Too often girls are being told that boys are their competitors as far as achieving success in school, careers and even relationships.
It could be one of the reasons marriage has declined precipitously in recent decades, to the point where, for the first time in American history, there are more single people than there are married ones.
There appears to be an increasing animosity between the genders, which, in my opinion, is partly due to an overall erosion of male and female roles in lieu of gender-neutrality, which is being spirited in the culture.
Yet, I heard an interesting comment from a priest on a radio show recently. He stated that the concept of making women more like men is rooted in distorted prejudice. Its grounded on the notion that women are lesser than men and therefore need to be like men to be worthy.
It made me think. Women are being told to be more aggressive sexually, like men, to be more independent, like men, to be stronger, like men, to be less emotional, like men, and, most of all, to give up the very essence of womanhood, which is to be mothers, which no man can ever be, no matter how hard they may try, so they can serve men's sexual desires indiscriminately, work longer, climb the corporate ladder and not have any strings weighing them down, such as a husband or kids. It's sad.
Meanwhile, boys are failing miserably. Less men are entering college, graduating from college and, while women are climbing the corporate ranks, many men are stagnating in their careers.
I see the shifts in my own industry; TV news. It was male dominated through the 70's and now, at least sixty percent of our staff is female. Moreover, two thirds of our job applicants are women.
In this downward trend, men have forgotten what it means to be men; to be heads of their households, to be assertive and decisive, to be the spiritual leaders of their families, to be protectors and consolers. It's the climate we live in. I too find myself failing in various aspects of my manhood at times.
Men have been emasculated by a culture, where gender-neutrality reigns the day and masculinity is devalued, possibly as a consequence of skyrocketing divorce rates, single motherhood and countless children being raised without a father in the home. And, partly the result of agenda driven social movements or men's own self-inflicted wounds.
Regardless of the reason, it's not good for society as a whole. Failing men means failing husbands and fathers. Failing husbands and fathers means failing families. Failing families means a failing society.
I want my daughters to be successful. I want them to have big dreams and accomplish them. But, I also want their dreams to include a family of their own because, unless one has a vocation to holy orders, there is nothing greater, nothing more fulfilling or rewarding and nothing more important that we can do in life than to be spouses and parents. And, between career and family in the grand scale of joy and fulfillment, there is no comparison.
It's the same thing I want for my son. I want him to be successful, have big dreams and achieve them but also, hopefully through my example, to love and respect women. I want him to have a large family (which I also want for my daughters), to learn what it means to sacrifice, to have self-restraint and be selfless. I want him to be faithful, courageous, to provide and protect his family and be obedient to God.
Women aren't meant to be men anymore than men meant to be women. We compliment and complete each other in the image and likeness of God, who is family. We are all equal in God's eyes but different.
Therefore, happiness in life is not about turning inwards as the hairdresser suggested. It's about getting outside ourselves to serve one another, most importantly the ones we love; in my case, my wife...