Ladies: Withhold Your Favors

By Tom Cardella

Women, in general, you’re smarter and more evolved than men. In our secret hearts, we men know you’re smarter. We wouldn’t fight so hard to maintain our male power structure if we thought we could compete with you on equal terms. But we know we cannot. And why is it important for you to realize this? Because my gender will never play fair with you. We are insecure. Terrified. And while we have snookered some women into siding with us, and even elected a president who embodies our wish to maintain our dominance, we know we are losing the battle.

Our blind loyalty to Trump is a sign of desperation. Our need to have gotten Brett Kavanaugh confirmed is but a symptom. Most of us would’ve considered Kavanaugh a dandy if we met him in a bar, a privileged guy with whom we’d never share a BUD. But better Kavanaugh than to give in to the #METOO movement with the inevitable danger that poses.

Don’t get me wrong. No man I know condones sexual assault. But most of us men have trouble convincing ourselves that the #METOO movement won’t take away our power. That it won’t cast us all as villains. In general, men just want to go back to the Fifties when the “rules” were understood. Rules we made. Men were in charge and women were their secretaries. And even though the bosses knew that their secretaries knew more than they did, the illusion of the all-knowing, all-powerful, indispensable male was maintained.

#METOO exposed the horrific prevalence of sexual assault. That revelation scares the crap out of many men … too many … because it reveals that our dominance is essentially based on brute force, rather than brains. It’s mandatory for these guys to side with Mr. Fancypants Kavanaugh, who probably doesn’t wear socks with his loafers and who wouldn’t think of hanging with men outside his circle. Trump — the recipient of multiple draft deferments and Kavanaugh — who easily could’ve gotten one if there was still a draft — somehow morphed into John Wayne on speed. We seem to need these cellophane supermen to help us defeat women at Game of Thrones.

I look at my own family. Mom was 10 times smarter than Dad. She knew it. He knew it. She was willing to maintain the fiction that he was in charge. He let her manage the purse strings and the parenting responsibility. He was the breadwinner. She was willing to go along with the situation, but then she tried to change the norms. She wanted to work. We needed the money. He knew we needed the money. Cops were not making much back then. They didn’t get paid overtime to appear in court. They couldn’t work a side job. But Dad’s ego wouldn’t allow him to be the husband of a working wife. That would mean he wasn’t man enough to support his family. So, Dad didn’t allow Mom to work. Or even drive a car. You may be too young to remember when many men wouldn’t allow their wives to drive. If a man wanted to be in control, then he had to be the one who drove the family car. The fiction was women couldn’t drive.

Mom stewed her entire life over not being able to work or drive a car. As a kid, I hated knowing that she was under his thumb in that regard. Dad loved her dearly. He respected her to the utmost. My father was a good man. But he was a man of his time. He couldn’t overcome his male insecurity. When Mom died, the male parish priest tried to paint a picture of her as a dutiful and happy wife. A mother who was perfectly content with her lot in life. That was when my frustration exploded. I wanted her voice to be heard. I fairly yelled my eulogy to her — spoke of her frustration under Dad’s control. I ended by saying I was happy that the younger women at the grave site in my family would not have to put up with such male behavior.

That brings me to a new strategy that women can use to win power. From the time they were old enough to wear ribbons, American women have been told by their mothers that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Wrong. There’s a shorter route. Sex.

In the ancient Greek play, LYSISTRATA by Aristophanes, women are frustrated because men refuse to end a long war. They are tired of wars killing off their menfolk. The heroine of the play, Lysistrata decides that the only way to get men to end the war is to convince women to withhold sex. It worked. Men finally gave in. Note: if the women had tried withholding cooked food, the men would’ve likely just gone to Greek diners and continued the war.

I think today’s women need a Lysistrata to get their voices heard. As unlikely as it seems, even Senator Charles Grassley probably enjoys sex. It’s time to tell your man, “No” until or unless things change. Men, you can be replaced by a couple of AA batteries put to good use.

Those of us who are already allies of women in their fight will persevere. I am a bit chagrined that my wife seems jubilantly ready for this ultimate sacrifice, but that’s another story.