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MEN, MAIDENS, AND MARRIAGE
BY SY SCHECHTMAN
In the Book of Proverbs in the Hebrew Bible one of the many priceless statements avowing great solemn wonderment is “how a man has his way with a maiden”. The poet declares, in the same stanza, that he cannot fathom “how an eagle flies, or a snake slithers over the ground, or how a ship “makes its way through the high seas.” Time and bemused or even agitated speculation has reassured us on the slippery snake slithering or the ships’ seagoing ventures, but the man and the maiden and their endless shenanigans have been the fruitful basis for all of civilization’s somewhat tenuous and perhaps even torturous growth and development. How the “battle of the sexes” plays out now is almost an epilogue of the interminable drive of natural forces to enhance the reproductive mechanisms of the animal and vegetable kingdoms in its overall control.
Starting eons ago as unicellular mites dividing in two in the animal kingdom—mitosis or meiosis—and then many alternate schemes of like hermaphrodism, parthogenesis, and even asexual reproduction, almost universally devised some form of male and female sharing of genetic material ( except in asexual coupling), for the ultimate enchancing of the gradually evolving living species on earth. Ultimately, in the leisurely time frame of perhaps many millions of years the evolution in both animal and plant kingdoms have produced satisfactory genetic and chromosomal formulations in those successful animal and plant species that have survived the challenges of the somewhat hostile and harsh material world around them. Evidently much tentative but unsuccessful attempts were made, not only with different attempts at fertilization of sperm and ovum, but in the propagation of the fertilized seed, or zygote, sometimes of direct harm or benefit to man as a human somewhat innocent bystander. Hay fever or allied pollen irritants cause humanity many discomforts, especially in springtime, when a very profligate nature is unleashing its airborne lavishment of seeds and spores and not only giving its needed nourishment to the vegetable kingdom but allerigic upsets of sneezing, waterey and itchy eyes, and other “god only knows” temporary upsets to the human body. However, resourceful man does step in handsomely with the colossal overproduction of fish roe to help consummate the birth of fish, with the harvesting of the large excesses of shad roe and caviar, delicacies of world wide delight. Not a neat balance, however, of joy and woe, for the sufferings of allergic mankind far outweigh the happy few roe eating gourmets.
The almost indiscriminate sowing of fertile eggs or air borne pollen is much curtailed as we go up the animal phyla to the highly specialized mixing of disparate male and female genetic material in the intricate ultimate meiosis producing the chromosomal map of the of unique individual in the species homo sapiens. Nine months of gestation occurs before the pregnant female is through with the necessary succoring to allow for the epic event of the struggle of birth, through the writhing and nurturing passage down the amazingly distended birth canal and the crucial anguish of final expulsion of the child into the strange new environment of life. And then the long, loving joint nurturing of this new born into the rules and rigors of human life, of infancy, childhood and beginning adolescence, the longest maturation period of all in the animal kingdom, because of the vast potential this intricate and complex creature can attain. The pitfalls and possibilities are immense and both parents will be exhilarated, and exhausted many times in this family journey of rearing their endearing and enigmatic offspring. Trial and loving error that many times will need the valiant input of both parents. The uniquely maternal and the enduring paternal in concert or to spell the other mate.
Thus the biologic and physiological history of the the human being. The natural imperatives that nourish and impel the human being. The male and female sexual continuum of the mother and father genetic mixing (meiosis) and the partial drama and trauma of birth and rearing of the individual. And now the sociobiology of the infant and young child, the gradual diminishing of the overt sexual impetus from gestation to postpartum survival reality. And how the sexual component of the natural instinct of “be fruitful and multiply” is diverted to less exalted and more mundane and even repulsive objects. Even unto bestiality and sodomy, or with complying others of the same sex. The endearing and enduring nubile maiden image and concept, charged with sexual who seek desire, lowered to vulgar depths by the palpable need for orgasmic relief as an end in itself, not as the climax of an act of love or deep affection. Not the admirable way with the maiden that we should admire! Sex solely as self centered release of surplus energy. Certainly a needed and satisfying act but only of short duration because void of respect and deep feeling for the partner. Indeed, the utterly human need for companionship is almost as strong as the procreative drive of sex and the two must be blended successfully for a happy marriage.
Today there is great clamor among those whose sexual imperatives are not heterosexual and seek the same status that marriage affords. We have grown to accept the natural variations(mistakes?) in sexual evolution as the sexual mating preferences of people sometimes varied. All people of homosexual life styles should be allowed all the legal rights all citizens enjoy. But the title of marriage is not to be conferred on this union. Marriage is solely a male/female affair. As alluded above, with fond derision, there is such a thing as “the battle of the sexes” the crucial melding of two diverse human beings who will be powerful models for their children. A loving single parent or two same sex parents are certainly much better than a cold impersonal foster home or orphanage but the input of two opposite gender caring parents, is the most positive choice. Preferably of different personalities, so that the children can learn to react to each differing type. And at different stages of life sometimes one parent is more needed than the other. Undoubtedly infancy is the time when mother is prime attendant but later on father’s role in sports and dating girls is important. But mother is always there to advise and consent. There are many times deep into adolescence when the restraining or encouraging advice of male father or female mother can smooth over the recurring enigmas of parental guidance and authority. When the male father imprints, by his actions and decisive deeds important messages on his children’s psyches of inherent masculine feelings, as will be case with true maternal reactions that must be manifested to the family children by the loving, caring mother. So that the children can be aware and comfortable with these differences and help smooth over the inevitable, and loving “battle of the sexes” that leads to the probably divine difference and splendid mystery of the eternal way of a man with a maiden.
Also, to end on a more mundane practical note, both parent incomes are certainly welcome, but one parent at home when school is over should also be part of the game plan, if possible!