Ed from OC

When she is older or more successful

87 posts in this topic

Jenbryn's point about a man needing to be wholly independent is, I think, correct.

Perhaps I missed it, but where exactly did Jenbryn make that point?

A man who is dependant on me in any way, whether it's money or opinions, is very unappealing. If I'm going to have a romantic partner, then the only way in which he should need me is romantically.

If you found a man who was your ideal in every way, but his chosen career was such that he had little potential in financial earnings for an extended period of time, and you yourself were a successful money earner, would you share what you earned with him? Or, would you live one lifestyle and he another? Or, would you discard him because he depended on your earnings for the two of you to live a similar lifestyle?

Also, and, perhaps, more importantly, while romance forms the basis for most any long-term marriage, over the course of a lifetime there are many ways in which a couple can each need the other. Relationships have many facets. Or, at least, I think that the successful ones do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think you are right that Dagny fell in love with Francisco's sense of life. But the fact that he was brilliant helped!

:D

Yes, I think in this discussion it is clear that we all greatly value intelligence. But the question remains as to how much we value, say, moral character and sense of life as compared to intelligence in the one that we love. And to what degree are these personal and psychological issues optional?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If you found a man who was your ideal in every way, but his chosen career was such that he had little potential in financial earnings for an extended period of time, and you yourself were a successful money earner, would you share what you earned with him? Or, would you live one lifestyle and he another?  Or, would you discard him because he depended on your earnings for the two of you to live a similar lifestyle?

Perhaps Aurelia meant secondhanded in any way.

If a man is (for lack of a better work) broke, through no fault of his own - such as Howard Roark in The Fountainhead- would you still find him unattractive? To concretize on what Stephen said, had Dominique been ready to marry Roark in the beginning, do you think she would have shared her wealth so they could both enjoy it?

Zak

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In the past, intelligence has always been one of the first things I am attracted to in a man. As Aurelia noted, this often disappears quickly when you discover the guy's sense of life.  Looking back on this now, I think the virtue I was searching for was rationality (and confusing intelligence and rationality.) I haven't come to a conclusion on this issue yet, and criticisms of the above are welcome.

I doubt anyone would be foolish enough to be critical of the basis for your personal attractions, especially not when considering the value you place on intelligence and rationality. The only thing I wonder about is, beyond the initial attraction, is intelligence or rationality the main basis for your love? Or, does your love stem from a response to something even more broad than a particular virtue (albeit such an important one)?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So then, if a trait of masculinity or femininity (as the case may be) causes a romantic response, what are these traits? Are they exclusive to either femininity or masculinity, so that intelligence (which either gender may posses) cannot be one?

I am not sure I understand your second question. Masculinity is a trait. Femininity is a trait.

Although, I don't have a complete answer to the problems of this topic, I would like to suggest a way of approaching the problem of identifying the element that would initially justify a possible romantic relationship.

The approach should be, I think, to decide which of the other person's traits might distinguish him as a possible romantic partner rather than as a possible friend.

Intelligence, sense of life, and virtue apply to both, don't they? But the issue of "-inity" applies only to a possible romantic partner. (I don't pick my friends -- what a diverse bunch! -- because of their masculinity or femininity.)

For example (to put the onus back on your shoulders), if a man has all the virtues and a high intelligence (and so forth), and is heterosexual but effeminate, would you be interested romantically?

If a woman has a high intelligence, has all the virtues, has the right sense of life, and is passionately interested in intellectual pursuits, as you are, but is somewhat masculine, would you shun her friendship?

(You don't need to answer my inquisition. My questions are for discussion purposes, at any rate.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Or, does your love stem from a response to something even more broad than a particular virtue (albeit such an important one)?

An intense desire to really understand the world, along with willing the energy to focus one's consciousness in order to do so, is, I think, a precursor (then later, a concomitant) of rationality. That may be what fundamentally distinguishes the, ultimately, emotionalist/faith-driven person from the logical thinker even at a very early age. From a sense-of-life/psychological standpoint, that would lead to the logical thinker having: curiosity and a "sense of wonder"; confidence in one's self because of efficacy in understanding; sensitivity (which is, perhaps, being attuned to, and reactive to, even "small things" to a much larger degree than usual); independence (I know what I know, society's wrong ideas be damned); a better sense of humor than usual (it takes intelligence to grasp and especially to create humor); and many other characteristics.

Just intelligence, lacking some other important characteristics, would not necessarily be attractive. Robert Stadler had boatlands of intelligence but little in the way of integrity, courage, and independence, as far as his dealings with other people went. Galt was just as smart but he was fully integrated. It would be interesting to compare the early lives of Stadler vs. Galt (yes, of course it's fiction, but you get the idea) and to see what fundamental choice(s) that each made that led them in such different paths. Offhand, one especially fundamental difference is that Stadler has no apparent pride; Galt of course is the epitome of the proud man. Stadler knows but evades that he sold his soul to Dr. Ferris and other minions of Washington; Galt is such an independent man of action that he will change the entire world rather than submit to its injustice.

I certainly would like to read what Sarah, and others, think about it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've noticed that the dynamic is not clearly the same as when he is older and more successful.  If she is older, more successful, more advanced in her career, and makes more money, in what way does she adopt the role of hero-worshipper toward her man?

I would like to return, in part, to Ed from OC's original question(s) about whether the relationship ("dynamic") need change if conventional conditions (man older, wealthier, and so forth) are reversed.

I think that an important question has not been asked yet in this thread (unless I have missed it): What is the purpose of a romantic relationship?

What does a romantic relationship provide that other relationships do not provide?

My answer is that a romantic relationship provides a specialized kind of visibility of oneself, reflected in another person, particularly in sex but elsewhere too. What is visible and reflected is one's masculinity or femininity (as appropriate). A friendship can provide everything else.

So, to address a question Stephen has asked, I would say that the one thing uniquely required of a romantic relationship is "-inity" visibility -- that is, that the relationship gives one a chance to experience masculinity or femininity and see it reflected in one's partner, as appropriate.

Every relationship requires dealing with a virtuous person, whether it is a romance, a friendship, or a car-pooling partner. But other factors are largely optional: degree (or perhaps even type) of sense of life, age, sophistication, proper grammar, education, and shared interests, for example.

Even though I think masculinity (or femininity, as approriate) is required for a romantic relationship, I would still hold that there is a role for option here too. Masculinity (or femininity) is not an all-or-nothing trait. Like all traits it comes in degrees. Some men are very masculine (causing some women to feel faint in their presence), but others are less so.

My conclusion is that each of us must know what he wants -- as a means to what ends -- and in what priority order. Then the task is finding the person who best fits the requirements, while keeping in mind one's own level of attraction.

If all that is true, then I don't see how any otherwise rational arrangement between a couple -- older woman, younger man, for example -- necessarily diminishes a romantic relationship. An older woman who teaches philosophy at Yale can be very happy with a younger man who has grown from a poverty-stricken, poorly educated background and moved into a career with Special Forces in the U. S. Army.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Even though I think masculinity (or femininity, as approriate) is required for a romantic relationship, I would still hold that there is a role for option here too. Masculinity (or femininity) is not an all-or-nothing trait. Like all traits it comes in degrees. Some men are very masculine (causing some women to feel faint in their presence), but others are less so.

[Emphasis added.]

I have some questions about the comments in your last post, Mr. Laughlin. Although I have excerpted the above, I think my questions apply to the whole of your thesis.

What is masculinity, and what is femininity, in your estimation? And while I am familiar with Miss Rand's views on the subject, I would be very grateful if you would employ a wide array of concretes in your response.

When I think of masculinity, I think of a man who makes (certain) other men feel effeminate in his presence. Physically, such a man would be hard-bodied, perhaps speak in a low and/or deep voice, and convey the impression that he could stop a truck by looking at it. A few examples are: the young Sean Connery; Charlton Heston at any age; Kiefer Sutherland's Jack Bauer character in 24; the new James Bond, Daniel Craig; Ed Harris; and Russell Crowe's Maximus in Gladiator.

However, the actor Brad Pitt is also hard-bodied and deep-voiced, but I rarely consider him masculine. Yet, I dare say that many women would respond to him in the way you have described in my excerpt above.

Also, Rossano Brazzi's portrayal of Leo in We The Living, though not predicated on his voice-depth or musculature, is one of the greatest portrayals of masculinity I will ever see.

So, what makes for masculinity? Is it something only (heterosexual) women (or homosexual men) can pick up on?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Perhaps I missed it, but where exactly did Jenbryn make that point?

You're right, that was my mistake, it was Jennifer Snow. Thank you for correcting me. My apologies to both Jenbryn and Jennifer Snow.

If you found a man who was your ideal in every way, but his chosen career was such that he had little potential in financial earnings for an extended period of time, and you yourself were a successful money earner, would you share what you earned with him? Or, would you live one lifestyle and he another?  Or, would you discard him because he depended on your earnings for the two of you to live a similar lifestyle?

What I mean by dependant is incapable of living without me. I wouldn't have a problem if I made more money than he did. There would be a problem if it meant he couldn't survive without me. My point is, he needs to be a complete living human by his own effort; that is what I mean by independant

Also, and, perhaps, more importantly, while romance forms the basis for most any long-term marriage, over the course of a lifetime there are many ways in which a couple can each need the other. Relationships have many facets. Or, at least, I think that the successful ones do.

I'm not sure what you mean by other things a couple needs from eachother, I've never been in a long-term relationship. Are these non-romantic needs optional traits, like intelligence?

~Aurelia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hi Burgess!

I just love the boards. This is so fun. Your remark helped me see something, I believe.

My answer is that a romantic relationship provides a specialized kind of visibility of oneself, reflected in another person, particularly in sex but elsewhere too. What is visible and reflected is one's masculinity or femininity (as appropriate). A friendship can provide everything else.

This is elephant talk, imho. Yes, for a man, you only have one reason to need a woman. And it is all about sexuality, getting the visibility you desire from a woman onto you as -her- master, as the one that makes -her- swoon, that is -her- particular hero.

I like the way you put it; it also makes clear how womanizing is something the better men just don't do. It doesn't even come up as an issue.

Notice also that you clearly imply, properly for elephants, that women/zebras who are less in some ways, even a preponderance of ways, could be fine. Iff they cause you to feel super-masculine with them.

Zebras are a different species. We like elephants with all caps [omitted to spare your visual experience]. We like men who are everything! all things! amazing awesome in every single possible itsy bitsy teeny way we can think of! And believe me, we can think of lots and lots oof ways. Honey, can you do... And most emphatically we want the best in the big ways, like IQ.

We want to be overpowered, awestruck by the male as master of the universe as we know it, of our universe.

And we think it's really not being too fussy of us. You -are- the elephants you know. We can be pretty snobbish about your abilities because they are -awesome-! Please, won't you help me open this water bottle? [smile]

I like to feel feminine with every single man I ever meet, unless he's off the charts icky. All others, I like to be treated like a lady, escorted, eyed lovingly, etc etc etc.

Men who fail to pamper my feminine sense of self are like Spocks, automatons of the world. They don't get that there is a dance between men and women, and it's a fabulous one. What are they thinking??? Where is their chivalry? How come they don't want to hold my door open for me when their hands are full? Don't they know I'd give them a really beautiful smile?? LOL

Charles Sures was a master of this art. At the same time there was never even the tiniest doubt that Mary Ann was his one and only.

He was wealthy in spirit. That's what a man needs; wealth, to get a great woman. He needs to have enough to be a relative elephant, to lavish her. Mary Ann and I talked about Charles; we agreed that there aren't many men like him. My Dad was one. I'd like to do my small part to grow more. It's not rocket science, but it eludes many, probably due to modern mores + the elephant/zebra divide.

If all that is true, then I don't see how any otherwise rational arrangement between a couple -- older woman, younger man, for example -- necessarily diminishes a romantic relationship. An older woman who teaches philosophy at Yale can be very happy with a younger man who has grown from a poverty-stricken, poorly educated background and moved into a career with Special Forces in the U. S. Army.

Did you say Special Forces???? Special Forces??? Ooohh! :D That changes everything! Those guys aren't dummies, I'd bet my bottom dollar on it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
For example (to put the onus back on your shoulders), if a man has all the virtues and a high intelligence (and so forth), and is heterosexual but effeminate, would you be interested romantically?

I could imagine it. Definitely.

Except with -me- he would be so masculine!!

And that might spread to other areas.

btw, on a small scale I have experienced similar with my dancing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hi Mercury!

When I think of masculinity, I think of a man who makes (certain) other men feel effeminate in his presence. ......

Also, Rossano Brazzi's portrayal of Leo in We The Living, though not predicated on his voice-depth or musculature, is one of the greatest portrayals of masculinity I will ever see.

I think you are on to something; I had never thought of it as making other men feel effeminate. But I think there's some logic to that. Basically, does this man command men's attention.

Men, do you agree?

I still believe however, that masculinity is not a concept that is definable on its own. [i called it a red herring]

And yes, Leo!! Wow, he was amazing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hi Aurelia!

thanks for saying you haven't been in a long term relat. [LTR] yet. It really helps so much to know people's contexts.

What I mean by dependant is incapable of living without me.

I believe one mark of a really great LTR is precisely dependence on each other, in any number of ways. The more the merrier, without of course any sacrifice or dependence of thinking. It can lead to feeling lost without the person at their death, such as AR felt, "I lost my top value." I felt that too when I realized I needed to divorce. That's a reason why it took me a while to get back to me again.

When Betsy had her horrible fall recently, she needed Stephen. And he was there. I don't know how men think of it, but that's my side.

It's almost a corollary for women.

If you marry a superhero, and he loves you and starts doing superhero things just for you, of course you need him.

Like I said, I live physically above my means, due to elephants.

Maybe for men its the visibility of self as entirety, as sexual, that causes the feeling of loss on removal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hi Paul!

Eddie directly works for Dagny; i.e., he is her subordinate. ....  I don't think it would work for me.  I'm curious if anyone has experience with this.

I think it could work, but it depends on the man. For you it wouldn't, could you share why?

I asked Ed and he didn't want to comment.

I don't have experience, but a very close thing is men falling for their female teachers. There's a man here on the boards for whom that happened. And I know 2 ballroom dancing couples.

In lessons it's almost the same as working for the person; the leader is authorized to assign work.

Actually, as women become more represented in biz, I think this definitely will happen. But because it depends on the man, I predict it will be a long wait. As opposed to older women being more attractive now that technology, etc. can keep them so. Hmmm... I was going to elaborate but it needs more thought. So that's a pair of hypotheses.

IQ, which sometimes is reflected in job hierarchy, has special significance as man's tool of survival.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What I mean by dependant is incapable of living without me. I wouldn't have a problem if I made more money than he did. There would be a problem if it meant he couldn't survive without me. My point is, he needs to be a complete living human by his own effort; that is what I mean by independant

I'm not sure what you mean by other things a couple needs from eachother, I've never been in a long-term relationship. Are these non-romantic needs optional traits, like intelligence?

~Aurelia

Aurelia, sometimes it takes a person a lifetime to figure this out. It's great that you are putting a lot of thought in to what you think is important!

To me, it would be impossible to love (romantic love) a man who is insecure. Who wants to be around someone needy? :D

Sharing common values, friendship, as well as romantic attraction are very important to have in a long term relationship.

My husband and I have been married for more than 17 years now, and we still never run out of things to talk about and dream about.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What I mean by dependant is incapable of living without me.

Well, okay. I guess you mean a leech, not a man worthy of your love.

I'm not sure what you mean by other things a couple needs from eachother, I've never been in a long-term relationship.

I don't think it applies solely to a long-term relationship. Just as we need food for our body, so too we have needs for our soul. But even on a more mundane level there are many needs in a relationship not directly related to romance. For instance, I need Betsy to handle the responsibilities she has, so that I am free to accomplish my own. As does Betsy also need me to handle my own responsibilities. We need each other in this regard for the daily act of living.

And, on the other extreme, there are psychological needs that themselves are not directly related to romance. From a simple sharing of a minor but humorous event, to the visibility achieved by being understood about a really important matter. The term "need" is not necessarily a dirty word.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What is masculinity, and what is femininity, in your estimation?  And while I am familiar with Miss Rand's views on the subject, I would be very grateful if you would employ a wide array of concretes in your response.

When I think of masculinity, I think of a man who makes (certain) other men feel effeminate in his presence.  Physically, such a man would be hard-bodied, perhaps speak in a low and/or deep voice, and convey the impression that he could stop a truck by looking at it.

I can only offer a tentative definition, in my own words. It is the best I can come up with after looking around and trying to identify what I see in looking at heterosexuals (including myself).

Masculinity and femininity are correlative, sex-based styles of behavior.

By "correlative" (if I am using the word properly) I mean it is something that arises in relation to something else. By "sex-based," I mean a style of behavior (in relation to the other "-inity") that, at some psychological level, grows from physiological facts of the primary sex act. By "behavior" I mean voluntary actions.

Masculinity is not the same as maleness. The latter is defined by physical characteristics alone. A man can have a relatively high voice and still be masculine. A woman can have a low voice and be quite feminine (and how!).

Your examples are physical. Now, I don't know, but perhaps there is a high correlation between certain physical characteristics and degree of masculinity, but I don't know what the causal explanation would be explaining each degree of masculinity. The latter seems, in my observation, to be due to psychological factors not physical ones.

Outside the correlative relationship between the masculine and the feminine, men and women can be equally bold or nurturing, for example. Those are personal traits, not necessarily products of masculinity or femininity. A classic example I have seen is watching a woman who was a mountain-climbing instructor boldly ascend an ice wall to show novices how to do it. Afterward, in talking to a man she found very attractive, I could see her body language change in relation to him. She is totally feminine -- and assertive, highly intelligent, decisive and independent.

That is the best I can do. You have exhausted my collection of suggestions.

The one summary point I want to make is that I think that masculinity and femininity are styles. As Ayn Rand explains in The Romantic Manifesto, style (literary, in the case of TRM) is a very difficult subject, a subject to which she made some initial suggestions (for literary applications), but the field needs a lot of attention from another genius.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In the past, intelligence has always been one of the first things I am attracted to in a man. As Aurelia noted, this often disappears quickly when you discover the guy's sense of life. 

Same here.

I started out seeking intelligence and then, as I met various intelligent men, I got pickier and pickier.

I found that some smart guys didn't like me. They lacked self-confidence and wanted dumb girls who would look up to them and admire them uncritically.

Some smart and seemingly self-confident guys didn't stand the test of time. They started with clever and witty chatter, but by the third date, they were running out of material.

Others were too narrow. They loved their work, but little else. I was interested in so many things that I needed someone who was a Renaissance Man. I wanted a Leonardo, a Benjamin Franklin, or a Jefferson, rather than a Howard Roark.

I met many wonderful men out there would who weren't quite right for me, but all I needed was ONE, so I kept looking.

And he got me! :D:D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
P.S. on a side note related to the question first posed in the thread, I am two years older than Alex, and this has not caused any problems whatsoever for us.

My sister is ten years older than her husband, but they seem to have a great relationship.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Eddie directly works for Dagny; i.e., he is her subordinate. ....  I don't think it would work for me.  I'm curious if anyone has experience with this.
I think it could work, but it depends on the man. 

Yes indeed!

Several years ago someone asked me how I would feel if Stephen was my employee and working under my direction. I imagined the situation, introspected, and -- incredibly for me -- drew a complete blank. Then I realized why. I was asking the wrong person!

I would have to ask Stephen. If it was OK with him, it would be OK with me, but if he didn't want it, I wouldn't want it either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
how I would feel if Stephen was my employee.... If it was OK with him, it would be OK with me, but if he didn't want it, I wouldn't want it either.

yes that's why I'm curious about the male view. There are a number of similar cases that come up for me, ItalianGuy is definitely one. I wonder if there are things I can do to make this less of an issue for the man.

Since, as previously noted, this case is pretty rare, I don't feel I have a lot of good exemplars.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
yes that's why I'm curious about the male view.  There are a number of similar cases that come up for me, ItalianGuy is definitely one.  I wonder if there are things I can do to make this less of an issue for the man.

Since, as previously noted, this case is pretty rare, I don't feel I have a lot of good exemplars.

I'm not sure why it's up to the man, but I'm sure I wouldn't want to work for my wife nor would I want her working for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm not sure why it's up to the man, but I'm sure I wouldn't want to work for my wife nor would I want her working for me.

Maybe you mean you don't want to have any business that you share? Many couples choose that. I personally think it's fine, but that's sort of a separate issue from whether it would be satisfactory romance-wise

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Maybe you mean you don't want to have any business that you share?  Many couples choose that.  I personally think it's fine, but that's sort of a separate issue from whether it would be satisfactory romance-wise

A shared business is one thing, but working in the capacity of supervisor/employee is another. I'm curious what anyone thinks that working in that capacity would have on a romance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites