On love, literature and marriage, Adelle Waldman in The New Yorker:
“Another factor, of course, is sexism: men may not have expected to find a true intellectual equal in a woman, and so they looked for intellectual companionship among men, and with women sought those qualities they did expect to find—beauty, charm, sex appeal, domestic skill. But concepts like sexism only take us so far in the consideration of personal life. Love will spring up where it will, regardless of whether its basis is in accord with the pieties of the age. More interesting, perhaps, than an argument about the merits and demerits of each conception of love is the simple fact that, if literature is any indication, men and women so often conceive of love differently, and that, even in the face of so much social change over the past two centuries, this difference is still very much in evidence.”
Read the complete article here.
Many men don’t want to find a true intellectual equal in their significant other; their fear of castration is too big.
But the concept of equality in a romantic relationship is probably more complicated than many of us are willing to accept. There are quite a few good things to be said about equality, but equality is definitely not eroticizing.
We would like to look up to our object of love, or we want to look down on our object of love, and this can change from day to day, and from hour to hour. But we don’t want to be equals; we always desire somebody who is above us or below us.
And I’m not even sure that this is a typically male idiosyncrasy.