"Everyone close your eyes."
It was a great way to start the lecture. I already felt a twinge of excitement about the forthcoming half hour.
"Gentlemen, if you please, raise your hand if you believe that you really need a woman."
I raised my hand dutifully, thinking about the things I value and look for in a woman. I don't just mean having a healthy, athletic, attractive wife at the age of forty/fifty and beyond, though that's a fantasy I can't shake off. I know that I need a woman -above and beyond sex and staving off loneliness -to build a home, a family, a life. I know that I'll need her femininity, her nurturing support to get through my draining and busy days, to give me strength so I can fulfill my life mission. I need a woman's affection and touch -things that I live without daily and pain me. I know that her soft touch will make my hard days much easier to bear, that shared pain is halved pain and that shared joy is double joy.
I know that without her, I'll never father children or create a lineage and I'll find myself lost over time. I know that the massive log we carry -otherwise known as "life" -will be a hell of a lot heavier without the support of carrying it together, and I'll get worn out younger. Without a woman, I won't grow nearly as much as I can, because through intimacy that opportunity opens up.
And then I had an epiphany at that very moment: I realized I can live and probably plow on through life myself, but that's not really living. I need a woman. Every fiber of my body was aware of that fact. I really need a woman.
"Thank you. Now, ladies -if you please -I have the same question for you. How many of you really, truly, honestly believe you absolutely NEED a man."
I kept my eyes closed, at the request of the esteemed lecturer. But I secretly hoped every woman in that room felt she needed a man the way I know in my bones that I need a woman. That's some recognition I sometimes feel is sorely missed.
"Interesting. Ladies, with your permission I will allow the men to take a peek."
And with that, we were invited to open our eyes. Out of nearly seventy women, close to ten of them had their hands raised. The rest sat with an array of expressions on their faces. Some defeated, some angry, some resentful.
The lecturer made an astute observation -and noted that this was often the case when he did such exercises with his audiences -that for some reason, while most or all of the men in the room felt they need a woman, most of the women did not express the basic belief that they need a man.
We spent the rest of that evening exploring such a fascinating phenomenon.