Thursday, July 16, 2009

You are a very beautiful ARCHAIC?

So, I read something today by sheer happenstance that has stuck with me even through my viewing of HP6 THBP (and yes, my completion of that film's acronym deserves a lot of praise.)

I was looking for a quote that I remembered from a long time ago, and I couldn't remember who it was who said it. So I googled the quote and I see that it is from a chap by the name of John Gray. Turns out John Gray wrote a pretty famous book that, although familiar with the title and the subject matter, I have never personally read. So, I got to read a little excerpt online with the help of Google books.

The following is an excerpt from the book that really irks me, but probably mostly because...its true? And secondarily because its expected. Read on, and my commentary will follow.

"Imagine a knight in shining armor traveling through the countryside. Suddenly he hears a woman crying out in distress. In an instant he comes a lives. Urging his horse to a gallop, he races to her castle, where she is trapped by a dragon.
The noble knight pulls out his sword and slays the dragon. As a result, he is lovingly received by the princess.
As the gates open he is welcomed and celebrated by the family of the princess and townspeople. He is invited to live in the town and is acknowledged as a hero. He and the princess fall in love.
A month later the noble knight goes off on another trip. On his way back, he hears his beloved princess crying out for help. Another dragon has attacked the castle. When the knight arrives he pulls out his sword to slay the dragon.
Before he swings, the princess cries out from the tower, “Don’t use the sword, use this noose. It will work better.”
She throws him the noose and motions to him instructions about how to use it. He hesitantly follows her instructions. He wraps it around the dragon’s neck and then pulls hard. The dragon dies and everyone rejoices.
At the celebration dinner the knight feels he didn’t really do anything. Somehow, because he used her noose and didn’t use his sword, he doesn’t quite feel worthy of the town’s trust and admiration. After the event he is slightly depressed and forgets to shine his armor.
A month later he goes on yet another trip. As he leaves with his sword, the princess reminds him to be careful and tells him to take the noose. On his way home, he sees yet another dragon attacking the castle. This time he rushes forward with his sword but hesitates, thinking maybe he should use the noose. In that moment of hesitation, the dragon breathes fire and burns his right arm. In confusion he looks up and sees his princess waving from the castle window.
“Use the poison,” she yells. “The noose doesn’t work.”
She throws him the poison, which he pours into the dragon’s mouth, and the dragon dies. Everyone rejoices and celebrates, but the knight feels ashamed.
A month later, he goes on another trip. As he leaves with his sword, the princess reminds him to be careful, and to bring the noose and the poison. He is annoyed by her suggestions but brings them just in case.
This time on his journey he hears another woman in distress. As he rushes to her call, his depression is lifted and he feels confident and alive. But as he draws his sword to slay the dragon, he again hesitates. He wonders, Should I use my word, the noose, or the poison? What would the princess say?
For a moment he is confused. But then he remembers how he had felt before he knew the princess, back in the days when he only carried a sword. With a burst of renewed confidence he throws off the noose and poison and charges the dragon with his trusted sword. He slays the dragon and the townspeople rejoice.
The knight in shining armor never returned to his princess. He stayed in this new village and lived happily ever after. He eventually married, but only after making sure his new partner knew nothing about nooses and poisons. Remembering that within every man is a knight in shining armor is a powerful metaphor to help you remember a man’s primary needs. Although a man may appreciate caring and assistance sometimes, too much of it will lessen his confidence and turn him off." 
– John Gray, Men are from Mars, Women are From Venus.

Now, while I heartily agree with the fact that sometimes a man just needs to feel like 'the man' and a woman just needs to feel like 'the woman,' there is still something amiss with this metaphor. 

The princess = nag (for trying to help) and the Prince = once hero- turned victim-turned adulterer who is justified in so-doing because, well, after all, his woman, his princess, was giving him pointers. HOW DARE SHE! Trollop. And how dare WE, for that matter. But, if a man wants to give a princess pointers, well....point away!

Anyway, I don't say all of this to criticize Gray's work. I actually read some of the other pages and the man talks a lot of sense. And further, the purpose of this Knight story, in context, was to use a heightened example to describe the fundamental needs of men versus women in a relationship. And, although there is not an equivalent female 'knight' story, there is a decent amount of explanation of a woman's unique needs, and honestly, I can understand people conducting themselves in such a manner in order to keep a relationship afloat, but what I can't understand are the ethics.  Is it right? Is it right to feign stupidity? To swallow your personality, your talents, your know-how? These questions apply to both men and women. Is it right, as a human, to conceal such things?

You decide. You be the judge. Let's take it to the people.
What do you guys think?

PS) Hmmm, it's kind of funny that I had a million other things to do today, and about half of which I accomplished, and even though this little 'metaphor' was just a blip, somehow, I found it important to blog about. What else is new?


  1. Wow Courtney, you brought up such an interesting point--and excellent thoughts after the fact. Ummm, and I kind of feel like I don't know what to say except this:

    *ahem* [scene from "Catch Me if You Can" with alternate script]
    "Do you concur?" -Courtney
    "Concur? Concur with what?" -Me
    "With what I just said." -Courtney
    "Well, the author brings up a debatable told us that." -Me
    "Well then I can see you don't get it...
    Good job, Carmen." -Courtney
    "Dang it, why didn't I concur?!" -Me

  2. I love you so much, Carmen.

    Do you concur?

  3. I thought this was gonig to be a good post, but then it kind of sorta started sounding like you were going to nag, so I found a different friend's blog to read.


  4. Jonathan....clean your room and get a haircut already!


  5. I'm also slightly disturbed when my sister says, "...but I have to make sure my husband thinks it's his idea, because then he'll like it."

    I pause and in my head say, "Wait...what?" And then say nothing but look mildly confused.

    Sometimes I think what I need to recognize, though, is that I have to let someone do things their own way, even when that means I'm going to be afraid for a moment that something won't get done correctly or expediently etc.