Saturday, 16 June 2007

The eternal female question

Mac's romance with Peyton Driscoll on CSI: NY touches on a topic that my friend Ruth and I discuss regularly: what IS it with men?

Peyton Driscoll (played by Clare Forlani) is the new ME and Mac's new bed partner. She is the most high maintenance woman on the show, her voice with a permanent mosquito whine, always in a panic and in need of reassurance. Perpetually needy and incapable of problem-solving when something goes wrong, you wonder how the hell she made it through medical school without dissolving into a puddle of girly tears when grilled by her professors.

Example: this week, someone she pronounced dead turned out to be alive. Whilst Mac held her hand and asked her - gently, it might be added - how it could have happened, you'd be forgiven for thinking that a swarm of mosquitos had arrived in New York a bit early when she replied, "I don't KNOW." When he asked how she checked someone was dead, she snapped, "Eight years of training and eight years on the job," before elaborating that she checked the pulse and pupils of said victim. She was so "distressed", how could she be so *wrong*?? "I began to question myself..." she hyperventilated as Mac held her hand and tried to comfort her.

Far from eliciting my sympathy, I wanted to slap her. Yes, of course, you're worried by the fact that you got it wrong, and you're doubting yourself. BUT SHUT THE F*** UP AND GET ON WITH IT. Jesus Christ on a pogo stick, woman, you're a medical examiner who has supposedly dealt with some very difficult situations. Buck up and show some backbone. Sheesh.

And Mac, use the brain not in your trousers and realise that she has 'psychic vampire' stamped on her forehead. Walk away now.

Stella Bonasera, Mac's second-in-command, is an independent, warm, generous, tough woman who would have sat down with Mac over a cup of coffee and analysed what had gone wrong. Secure enough in herself not to let a mistake topple her, she works out what went wrong and how to fix it. On top of that, she takes care of everyone on the team, including Mac - they're close enough for her to fix his tie. When her ex-boyfriend turned out to be a psycho who tried to kill her in her apartment, she kept her head and ended up killing him in self-defence. When she's afraid she might have AIDS, she keeps on doing what she does best. No mosquitos in hearing distance.

She's a real woman.

And so the question is this: since the friendship between Mac and Stella really sizzles and is one of equals, WHY does he end up in bed with whiny Peyton, and why is this a pattern amongst men?

Everywhere you look, men end up with women who treat them like crap. One young man has been chasing a pseudo-intellectual Catholic climber for most of a decade. She won't let him sit next to her when she's praying; she hands him her coat whilst she goes off to talk with people she perceives as powerful or she feels she can manipulate; she talks to him like he was a disobedient pet dog. And he laps it up, despite the obvious pain on his face. Last time I saw him, I nearly put my hand on his shoulder after mass and said, "Darlin', walk away. She's an irredeemable narcissist. She wouldn't know real love if it hit her over the head with a processional cross."

And this story repeats itself over and over. And yes, it goes for women too.

Whatever the answer is - and it's different for every man - somewhere along the line, they realise they've made a mistake. Whether they're 25 or 75, they suddenly understand that what they had perceived as love was really need and had strings attached, and that they've been tamed, instead of becoming the person they were meant to be.

Love is meant to be wild and sacred. It gives freedom and nurtures growth; it doesn't restrict and force a certain shape. And it can only happen between equals.

One day, they turn around and realise that the Stellas of the world are where it's at, and suddenly, they want one. Problem is, they've married a Peyton.

That's ok, they say. We can know.

Sorry, mate. Either you realise her worth when you see her, take her in your arms, cherish her and make her yours whilst you still can...

or get an inflatable doll.


Anonymous said...

On the other hand sometimes I wonder why intelligent independent women end up with pathetic whiny men - do you think it all boils down to opposites?

(An independent non-whiny woman, who, horror of horrors, likes a pint... could anything be worse than me?? Run, run and hide...)

Irim said...


I'd guess confusing love and need, probably - he *needs* her, so he must love her.

Something along those lines. We all have our insecurities...

A pint...or several, lol!


Anonymous said...

I also think you can be funny, flirty, witty, drink, eat, be jolly, loud and lively, but yet be sensitive, occassionally needy and highly lovable - yet somehow it scares the living crap out of most men....

...ah well, who knows what could be round the corner...

Irim said...

Totally and utterly agreed, anon...I just had a wobble with one of my male friends last night about my current job hunt!

It's the perpetually needy women and men who play the victim to get what they want that get on my...erm, nerves.

And yes, it certainly does scare the living crap out of them. *Sigh*


Anonymous said...

But then one of your huge advantages personality wise is that even you do know quite a few men who are needy emotionally (etc) you do not shy away from them, but are supportive - including challenging them where and when is necessary... Anonymous' second comment I would wholeheartedly agree with; it may well scare some men, but then (let's face it) they need to grow up (will they ever?) and face life. Tough, that one.
Thank goodness you are who you are!