Purple Circles

The world has swung between periods when men literally owned their women through a time when people decided that women were completely identical to men (plumbing excluded) because they could accomplish everything that men could. Most people nowadays believe somewhere in between, but are often uncomfortable talking about the differences between men and women (plumbing excluded). “Getting in touch with your feminine side” is easier to say than “maintaining your manliness”, but both usually come with a snicker. I wonder why that is?

So I have decided, for the sake of the mission of this website, to lay out where I am coming from, masculinity-ly speaking. Here’s how I see men and women and their intricate and confusing relationship: Men have more hair. That pretty much sums it all up.

To demonstrate how men and women are the same and different, first imagine a pink circle. That circle represents everything that makes a Woman. This could be Sensitivity, Intuition, and the ability to match clothing. Oh, and the understanding of the necessity to own 27 pairs of shoes.

Now, imagine a blue circle. Yes, this represents everything that makes a Man. (I know, pink and blue are contrived, but I have another reason to use them. Just wait.) The blue circle contains things like Aggression, Body Odor, and the Understanding of Sports Statistics.

These two circles each represent a fictional person who is wholly male or wholly female by personality traits alone. However, no one is all Man or all Woman, so to represent a real person, we have to merge the two circles. Where they overlap is an oddly shaped purple circle (now see why we needed pink and blue?). That area represents the qualities that cannot be defined as masculine or feminine, but are found in BOTH men and women. Intelligence, Common Sense, Love of Donuts, and the Desire to Provide the Best for Your Children could fall into the purple.

Where the pink is left over are aspects of women that men do not have (and do not understand). The blue sliver remaining stands for purely masculine traits.

My point is this: Stay-At-Home-Dads, by the nature of what we do, probably are more “in touch with our feminine sides” than the average guy. We nurture, we comfort, we even try to dress our children in non-embarrassing clothing combinations. “The Vacuum is a Power Tool” is a reminder that we need to be aware of that blue sliver, that grunting, farting, writing-our-names-in-the-snow part of us. It shouldn’t be in command, but it cannot be suppressed completely.

If we start focusing on the purple only and forget that we have the blue, we will not be whole people, whole men, or good fathers. This is not a call to run around in the woods dressed in bear skins or a memorandum on the superiority of men.

It is nothing more than a reminder that Mr. Mom is from Mars, too.

©2008, Mark Phillips

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 Women, it's true, make human beings, but only men can make men. - Margaret Mead

Mark Phillips is a Stay-At-Home-Dad and freelance writer. Along with raising his four children, he is developing a franchise called “The Vacuum IS a Power Tool.” It is designed to help SAHDs maintain that which makes us men, instead of hairy Mom-substitutes. He earned a B.S. in Communication/Theatre Arts and teaching certificates in English, public speaking, and psychology from Eastern Michigan University. After six years as a high school English teacher and Director of Dramatic Arts at Powers Catholic High School in Flint, Michigan, he changed careers and became a Stay-At-Home-Dad. or E-Mail

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