When I was younger, I would categorically tell my friends that girls were no different from us. We would argue about this for hours and I would stick to my guns ever so obstinately: it was a matter of principle. I dated some very sweet women since then and never changed my mind. But then I began to have "relationships" and I slowly realized the gulf separating men from women. This is particularly painful for me. I still proudly consider myself "half-woman", in the sense that I am deeply in touch with what I prefer to label as feminine qualities: emotional insight, empathy, analytical power, organizational skills etc. This created a feeling of wholeness in my life, a kind of yin-yang--I did not need women for what I lacked, rather I needed to share with "them" what we had in common.

Yet nowadays a subtle change has come over me, there's a dichotomy struggling to be born and I don't feel comfortable with it. Yesterday I was having a cup of coffee and a "sheesha" (hubbly-bubbly thing) with a female friend and I noticed that I was paying more attention to her gestures (and mine) than the words being exchanged. This is quite the reverse with men who usually talk without much eye-contact anyway. I was focused on the tone of her voice, her body movements, her eye-contact etc and placing these in the context of what she was saying. When I suddenly realized the fundamental difference in my method I was perturbed.

I realize that there are many differences between the sexes that can be attributed to external factors: socio-cultural, group-think, religious and so on. What I am looking for is certain qualities attributable to the "natural psychology" of a person. This is important I think because when society allocates certain qualities between the sexes, each sex will begin to suppress those qualities seen as inappropriate for them and magnify those that are. An imbalance is created in a person's character and one becomes most needy of the other sex to fulfill one's deficiencies.

But is there really a difference? And when does this become apparent? How, or what, are we to learn from the answers to these questions?

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