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“How to handle a woman?
There’s a way”, said the wise old man
“A way known by every woman
Since the whole rigmarole began”
Do I flatter her? I begged, him answer
Do I threaten or cajole or plead?
Do I brood or play the gay romancer?
Said he, smiling, “No indeed”
“How to handle a woman?
Mark me well, I will tell you, sir
The way to handle a woman
Is to love her, simply love her
Merely love her, love her, love her”
— Frederick Lowe, Camelot (1960)
There is a lot of truth to the song but it is not a complete answer for marital success. Keep in mind that in the musical play Camelot, it is King Arthur who sings this song and as much as he loved Guinevere, she turned out to be a narcissistic tramp who ran off with Arthur’s best friend, Lancelot.
So, let’s start with finding the right woman then return to the question of what to do once you find her.
Forget lists of traits and qualities. I promise you that the right woman will be a surprise. She will be both perfect and unexpected. Aspects you did not think about putting on the list will become the most important things about her.
She is unlikely to be found on a barstool or a dating app. Go where and do what you find interesting, meaningful and important. She could well be there already. Smile a lot, be decent and be nice to everybody in case she’s watching and because you should anyway. It is quite possible you already have mutual friends. She is looking for you in places where guys like you should be. She may even have a job working with kids to get ready for the big task ahead.
When you find a woman who could be the one, you may experience what seems like a perfect moment such as a ‘perfect’ first date but you are not there yet. (Remember it was all poetry, songs, and laughter when Arthur met that useless slut Guinevere.) The real measure is going to be how she responds when it all goes wrong. If the weather is awful, the car has issues, the waiter at the restaurant a complete idiot, the movie sucks and at any time during this fiasco while dripping wet she just laughs and squeezes your hand, it would be OK to propose on the spot. Marriage is mostly about having a best friend and partner when it matters because your lives are bound up in a project bigger than either of you.
Love is obviously the indispensable ingredient but if you are a 20-something young man, I am sorry, but you are a moron who has no clue what love is. God bless you for thinking you do but you don’t yet. If you haven’t blown it, a few years into marriage, if you are smart enough to pay attention, you will have a sudden realization that everything that mattered in your life since you met her involved her—especially if there are kids. She will be irresistible when she is in knock-around clothes, hair out of place, doing several things at once as only women can do, completely unaware of how perfect and beautiful she is, right there in the center of your life where she was always meant to be. Then you will know what love is and it gets even better. Again, if you don’t blow it.
Before you embark on this mission, make sure you have fully defined yourself. You need a line of work you can love and respect but which does not compete with family. You really need to deal with whatever makes you restless. Google “acedia” and make sure that your life is not just about finding entertainment and mere distractions from boredom. She will be looking for somebody with formation, a code, and character. She will need that from you.
To really do it right, it will help to recall Adam’s job before he met Eve. He woke up every day and accepted the entire universe, his life, his mind, and personhood as a gift. He went around experiencing and knowing then saying “Thank you, this is wonderful.” If he had a business card, it would say Affirmation Specialist. With that preparation and practice and a completely clear mind and soul (pre-Original Sin, remember) imagine how he responded in the moment he met Eve. He would have begun a sustained effort to take in her entire being and instantly found her to be the best part of creation he had ever encountered and started living his life as if gratitude for her being was his purpose. (How those two blew our inheritance is a topic for another essay. In the meantime, look up “acedia” again.)
A man will often settle for mere applause in life but a woman usually thinks bigger, seeking affirmation, a demonstration that someone is so grateful to have her in his life that his gratitude for her shapes his purpose in life. If you can give that to a good woman (or give her a damn good approximation), pretty much everything else will work out somehow. You know that in reproduction a man contributes a single cell, heck, not even a cell–it’s half a nucleus with a shell and a tail–and a woman gives a fully formed baby (that’s about a gazillion cells) in return. Women are also like that with love–the input of small thoughtful gestures generates much, more in return. Know and live that and you are well on your way.
Oh, and if you know how to perform a really good foot massage, you can get away with almost anything. Cheers, enjoy the adventure.Published in