Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … June 4th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2955)

Dear Man Dear Woman

Dear Woman: You scare me.

 

Dear Man: What do you mean?

 

Dear Woman: I mean, you frighten me. Is it natural? Was this terror taught to me or is it legitimately part of the evolution of our species–to keep a certain amount of friction between the genders?

 

Dear Man: Since we’re being honest, I’m scared too. Scared of myself. But mostly when I’m around you. Why do you think women put ten or twenty different fragrances all over our bodies everyday? We’re afraid we stink. Stink to you. I don’t know where I learned that. It’s hard for me to believe that I have a genetic code that makes me want to use lotion.

 

Dear Woman: While we’re on the subject–I’m supposed to smell like a man. What in the hell does that mean? I feel like there’s a role I need to play. Sometimes it feels natural, but other times I think you just need me to be manly so you can feel womanly.

 

Dear Man: So what does it mean to be womanly? Does it mean I feel more than I think? It’s so confusing because we say that women are more emotional, but then we turn around and say women are smarter than men. Which one is it?

 

Dear Woman: And is there any spirituality to this whole mess? Is there a Creator who sees us as equals? Or is He intent on us camping out in our genders and remaining separate?

 

Dear Man: It started when I was a kid–trying to avoid “handsy” male cousins and being quietly warned by my mother about certain uncles. I felt like an object. I was in the room but I wasn’t seen unless I was pretty, or unless someone noticed how fast I was growing. None of my relatives ever asked how I was doing on the basketball team. It was always some reference to my beauty or my training as a young woman.

 

Dear Woman: So no wonder we’re terrified of each other. But I will tell you this–I certainly think it would be worth the time to find out how much of this horror was infused by our training and if any of it is legitimate tension brought on by our differences.

 

Dear Man: And here’s the kicker. You’re supposed to be my best friend while simultaneously I am led to believe that a man can’t really be my friend at all.

 

Dear Woman: So I come back to my point. I’m nervous around you, which sometimes makes me not want to be around you, so I can avoid being nervous.

 

Dear Man: I totally understand that. When I want to be myself, I get away from men because I’m afraid if I reveal my real desires, they will either be apathetic or turned off.

 

Dear Woman: I can’t live my life wondering what a woman thinks about me. It will drive me crazy and make me hate her.

 

Dear Man: Likewise for me. There has to be a soft place to be in life–where you don’t have to try too hard, as you do try to improve what you can, without fear of being criticized.

 

Dear Woman: Shouldn’t that be with me?

 

Dear Man: It should, but not as long as I am convinced by society that you’re my enemy.

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … April 16th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2904)

Dear Man Dear Woman

 

Dear Man: Did you ever see a three-year-old girl and a three-year-old boy treat each other differently?

 

Dear Woman: Absolutely not.

 

Dear Man: So you see, all these things that we are told are “instinctive” in the genders of our species are really instructed and nearly beat into us during our upbringing.

 

Dear Woman: Well, beat is a little strong.

 

Dear Man: Is it? Because my problem with men right now is that I feel it’s my responsibility to trick them, lie to them and ease them into situations of my liking.

 

Dear Woman: Likewise, I am informed that you are a ticking time bomb which I should be careful handling, or otherwise the whole mess will blow up in my face.

 

Dear Man: It makes us passive-aggressive. In other words, there’s something I want, but I have to cheat or deceive my way into accomplishing it, because I am not really convinced you have my best interest at heart.

 

Dear Woman: With all due respect, it is comically driven home to me that you couldn’t possibly be interested in what excites me, so I have to hide it from you to keep peace.

 

Dear Man: So here’s the question. Can we have a passive-aggresive relationship with each other, based upon dishonesty, and expect to ever enter the realm of affection, which includes trust?

 

Dear Woman: Hell, no. Candidly, I don’t trust you. I don’t believe you’re out for my best. I don’t think you have any desire to include me in your inner sanctum of truth, but instead, want to wheedle and deedle around my wishes just so you can have a dinner partner.

 

Dear Man: That’s a little strong. But I basically feel the same way–except I’m really wheedling and deedling to be able to say that I’m not alone and that I’ve fulfilled the American dream of being attractive enough to bag a partner.

 

Dear Woman: So if the system’s rotten, do we have to tear down the whole thing and start over?

 

Dear Man: No, I don’t think so. That’s too exhausting. I think we just have to make sure we don’t make the same mistake that Adam and Eve did.

 

Dear Woman: Okay. Elaborate.

 

Dear Man: Well, my understanding of the story is that Eve didn’t really agree with the instructions about what to eat in this Garden, but had no means of communicating with God–or the man she was with. So she went passive-aggressive. She took Adam on a walk, and they ended up at the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and because she was dissatisfied and unable to share her feelings, she fell into a trap of being attracted to the beauty of the tree and the notion that eating that fruit would make her smarter. Honestly–nobody wants to be smarter unless they fear they’re dumb. Who made her feel dumb? Was it Adam’s silence after sex? Did she think God and Adam were in a club that did not include her? But if you read the story, Adam is with her the whole time–but passively aggressively pretends that it’s all her doing. So pretty early on, the human race began to act like the opposite sex was just that–opposite.

 

Dear Woman: I never thought of it that way, but it’s completely logical. So here’s what I get out of this. First, if I don’t understand, I should tell you I don’t understand and not be afraid that you’ll think I’m an idiot.

 

Dear Man: And if I don’t agree, I should be able to tell you I don’t agree without coming across like I’m right instead of just curious.

 

Dear Woman: And we shouldn’t assume that the other person won’t like something just because of the way they comb their hair.

 

Dear Man: Comb their hair?

 

Dear Woman: I thought of other things, but that was the most polite way to say it.

 

Dear Man: Passive-aggressive is when I think I can control you by withholding information.

 

Dear Woman: Withholding information is what we do when we want to be dominant instead of cooperative.

 

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … April 9th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2899)

Dear Man Dear Woman

 

Dear Man: So what did they tell you?

Dear Woman: They told me that women are beautiful, but very emotional. What did they tell you?

Dear Man: I was told that men are handsome and strong.

Dear Woman: Well, since “beautiful” and “handsome” are literally in the eye of the beholder, that leaves emotional and strong.

Dear Man: That it does. And what do those two words mean?

Dear Woman: Well, emotional means having lots of feelings.

Dear Man: And for simplicity, strong means having lots of muscles.

Dear Woman: So I guess the thought is, when feelings are needed, women are handy and in everything else, men have the edge because they can lift the weights.

Dear Man: Here’s my question–can anybody achieve anything without emotion? Can the football team win the national championship without great feelings and energy to propel them?

Dear Woman: And can anything be accomplished as a human being without utilizing strength? For instance, can a woman actually go through the difficulty of puberty, struggles in the economy, birthing and raising children–without possessing tremendous physical fortitude?

Dear Man: Of course not. But we’re led to believe that I’m emotional and you are strong. So if you decide I’m overly emotional, you can just beat the crap out of me.

Dear Woman: Well, I personally wouldn’t do that…

Dear Man: I know that. But deep in the recesses of your primeval brain is the notion that you could take me down.

Dear Woman: And equally deep in your evolution is the information that you may only be able to get what you want by crying and expressing your feelings.

Dear Man: So what’s the truth?

Dear Woman: Well, that’s easy. None of us can live without emotion and strength. To be a human being, you must know how to tap your emotions, and be able to be strong in the hour of trial.

Dear Man: Exactly. So maybe the problem is the words we use.

Dear Woman: I’m listening.

Dear Man: What I mean is that emotion without purpose and direction is useless. If you add purpose it becomes passion.

Dear Woman: And strength without the willingness to include endurance is just macho energy because it doesn’t hang in there and last to the end. So what I’m saying is that an emotional and strong football team doesn’t win the game.

Dear Man: No, it’s a passionate team–one with great endurance–that lasts through the fourth quarter and takes the day.

Dear Woman: Do you realize, there’s no Bible for the boys and another for the girls. There’s no Constitution for the men and another one for women. In our higher forms of reasoning, we already understand that we need to be human beings and not just genders.

Dear Man: Well said. So maybe the best thing we can do is teach our children–and maybe ourselves–that women are not emotional and men strong, but instead, that human beings are learning to use their passion with endurance.

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … January 30th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Dear Man Dear Woman

Dear Woman: A couple of days ago I read an article in a magazine…

 

Dear Man: You’re just trying to impress me with the fact that you can read.

 

Dear Woman: Actually, I’m trying to impress you with the fact that I read something and retained enough to have a discussion. Anyway, in this article it said that men and women should appreciate their differences because it grants each of them a “unique perspective.”

 

Dear Man: A unique perspective?

 

Dear Woman: Yeah, that’s what I geared in on too. What does that mean?

 

Dear Man: That means I have a way of looking at things that’s different from you, and you would garner great insight by listening to my feelings on the issue.

 

Dear Woman: Do you think that’s true?

 

Dear Man: I was taught it was true. Matter of fact, I grew up believing that relationships were 50-50. Somewhere along the line, that got pooh-poohed, and now we believe that it’s gotta be 100% and 100%. It’s the me plus me equals us.

 

Dear Woman: We don’t believe that. It’s a war with an unsettling truce. Men pretend that women are smarter while still retaining the power.

 

Dear Man: Well, how do they do that?

 

Dear Woman: By telling you that you have a “unique perspective” which they value hearing and enjoy ignoring.

 

Dear Man: So what you’re saying is that telling someone they have a unique perspective is not a positive?

 

Dear Woman: Absolutely not. It’s never positive. Saying that someone has a unique perspective is only two argument points away from the classic, “We’ll just have to agree to disagree.”

 

Dear Man: So you believe that’s why we have so many stalemates in discussions between men and women?

 

Dear Woman: Yes. Every idea has a genesis and an exodus.

 

Dear Man: Explain.

 

Dear Woman: That wasn’t very clear, was it? What I’m saying is that the word “unique” is a genesis, but as the word “unique” goes through the human experience, it changes to other words. And by the time it evolves, our emotions interpret it in a much different way.

 

Dear Man: So you’re saying that “unique” doesn’t really mean “unique” to us?

 

Dear Woman: Exactly. “Unique” is translated in our brain as “different.” And different is not something we enjoy. It’s something we tolerate. And we always tell people they need more tolerance.

 

Dear Man: So how do you build a relationship on tolerance?

 

Dear Woman: You can’t. You kind of end up faking it.

 

Dear Man: So let me try my hand at it. After “unique” becomes “different” in our heads, “different” can quickly become “alien.” In other words, people from Mexico have different customs than we do, so therefore we view them as aliens.

 

Dear Woman: Very well said. And of course, once something is alien, we stick it in Outer Space. It’s not really allowed past our borders, is it?

 

Dear Man: So if I convince myself that your feelings are unique and therefore different, which makes them alien, it’s very easy for me to turn a deaf ear and view them as intrusive.

 

Dear Woman: Yeah. I’m an intruder on your girl power.

 

Dear Man: And I’m an intruder on your macho.

 

Dear Woman: So we end up tolerating each other to get what we want.

 

Dear Man: And when we don’t want it so much any more, we decide to get rid of the intruder.

 

Dear Woman: So as long as we look at each other as unique, instead of finding common ground, we will focus on the differences, become alien to one another and eventually, in a bit of disgust, consider each other intrusive.

 

Dear Man: It’s kind of funny. Because if either one of us found ourselves stuck in the jungle, we would quickly learn to adapt–find our inner monkey–instead of insisting that the monkeys have a “unique perspective.”

 

Dear Woman: You should never consider yourself a monkey.

 

Dear Man: You know what I’m saying. To survive, we find commonality. To fail, we focus on differences. That’s just life.

 

Dear Woman: Except when it comes to men and women, right? Then we think we’re so damn clever by highlighting the uniqueness.

 

Dear Man: So you don’t think I have any uniqueness?

 

Dear Woman: Yes, I do. But it has nothing to do with you being a woman. It has to do with your experience. Your faith. Your charity. Your hope. Your sense of humor. That’s what makes you fresh to me.

 

Dear Man: So how did it get all screwed up?

 

Dear Woman: I guess the way it always gets screwed up. One night, one member of the sexes didn’t want to listen to the other one, so he or she decided that the other gender was unique, and therefore incomprehensible.

 

Dear Man: So I am going to give you a blessing. You are not unique. You are not different. You are not alien to me. And you are not an intruder. It’s my job to figure out how the culture screwed us up … and how we can get back to the Garden.

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Amos ‘n Angie… March 8, 2013

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Amos and AndyTwo out of work white actors–veterans of minstrel shows–came up with an idea to present a pair of Negro characters who were shiftless, rather ignorant, clumsy and ill-suited for everyday life, and dubbed them Amos  ‘n Andy. Spanning four decades and being translated from radio to television, this twosome created great comedy among the predominately white community in America, and laughs aplenty.

The only difficulty is that when issues of civil rights, human respect and equality came to the forefront, Amos ‘n Andy needed to be shoved to the back of the bus. It was.

Today nearly all Americans would be embarrassed to watch or listen to an episode of the repugnant spoof. They would be shocked at the underlying meanness and condescension in the scripts. But not so–for four decades. It was a staple of American life, and along with minstrel shows, in its own way attempted to keep the darker-skinned portions of our society at bay–from ever considering themselves toe-to-toe with the white community.

I don’t think anyone would disagree with what I just wrote. Most folks would nod their heads or “amen” such a denouncement of obvious racial bigotry and the process of limiting one group of people from ascending to their rightful position.

Yet every single night of the week on TV, and in most of our movies, we continue the same assault, merely changing the characters from Amos ‘n Andy to Amos ‘n Angie. We portray the battle between men and women to be a natural phenomenon, ordained by God, a conflict with no resolution and only worthy of cynical satire, not ever to be considered a resolvable stand-off.

Sometimes the dialogue favors women, making men look dull, stupid and Neanderthal. Other times, the humor is testosterone-driven, with women appearing bitchy, unreasonable, and of course in the end, vulnerable and desperately in need of a hug.

The parallel is there–and it is rather doubtful that we will ever have civil rights, social rights or national rights for all people as long as we tolerate an ongoing squabble between half the people against the other half. Yes, as long as we insist that men and women are so adverse to one another,  the only way to handle the imbalance will be to laugh at it.

How is the old Amos ‘n Andy minstrel show like the present Amos ‘n Angie square-off between the sexes? It works on the same four principles:

1. “They are so different from us that they’re just funny.” As in the case of Amos ‘n Andy, the new portrayal of men and women being cosmically ill-suited is just a way of hiding prejudice.

2. “They don’t make sense.” The two white actors who played Amos and Andy worked very hard to make their accents almost unintelligible, portraying the deep-rooted ignorance of their characters. Likewise, nowadays tirades of either men or women on TV shows and in movies lead the audience to believe that one or the other of the sexes is stupid.

3. They are always bickering. It was a hallmark of Amos ‘n Andy. Nowadays, the way to get people to chuckle is to portray that men and women can not find any common humanity, but instead, must bicker and fuss with each other until they fall into bed and resolve their problems between the sheets.

4. Finally–and probably most dastardly–watching one of these bigoted spoofs makes the viewer walk out thinking, “They are not like us.” The best way to keep the black man from the vote and civil rights was to stand on stage and portray him as the numskull. As long as that was permitted, all the marches from Selma to Montgomery were just walks in the park. And as long as we have entertainment which insists there is an evolutionary gap between the male and female that cannot be spanned, we will continue to have unnecessary conflict which will reflect on our society as permission to segregate.

Just as it took brave people to stand up and declare Amos ‘n Andy a dangerous attack on human beings, we are going to need some very insightful folks to refuse to participate in the Amos and Angie presentations permeating our culture.

Ironically, many of the black comedians who would be appalled at Amos ‘n Andy are now jumping on the bandwagon of Amos ‘n Angie, making a quick buck off of sarcasm and cheap shots at the genders.

You can still write a funny piece based upon a man and woman discovering how to become more like one another, thus signing an eternal peace treaty of the soul. But no one wants to do that as long as Amos ‘n Angie is selling. It’s just like no one wanted to stop Amos ‘n Andy when there were advertisers lined up to support it.

I will guarantee you, in thirty years many or most of the television shows we now extol as comedic wonders will be viewed as cultural bigotry. The issue is–will YOU be one of the ones to notice before it becomes so obvious that even the common riff-raff of Hollywood has to give up the ignoble cause?

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