Know Thyself (and Thine Man)

Don’t get emotional, but today’s post is about hormones.

We have an uneasy relationship with hormones. They affect our behavior more than we’d like to acknowledge. They interfere with our perceptions of self, personality, and free will. Quite frankly, hormones can be a little creepy.

It would behoove us women to know the average hormonal levels of the men we date. High testosterone men tend to be more aggressive, ambitious, obnoxious, and likely to chase other skirts. Lower testosterone men are more passive, thoughtful, family-oriented, and likely to exhibit borderline deadbeat behavior. It’s a sad fact, my lady friends: you can’t have it all. But you can choose.

Truth is, you can sort of tell which end a guy leans to. Those with stronger jaw lines tend have higher levels than those with more effeminate features.

Now, at this point someone is probably thinking that I’m stepping over a line here, talking about people’s hormones like this. Well, I believe it’s important to understand hormones, and not just once you’ve been married for two years without a child. Knowledge is power, and hormones are the key to understanding yourself – and your spouse.

For example, did you know that men have daily hormonal cycles? When they wake up they’re flush with testosterone. This is when they’re ready to jog and go to work and beat up the world to bring home the bacon. (For Jewish men: bring home the brisket.) If you have a male boss, the morning is a bad time to ask him for a raise. Nor is it a good time to discuss your Macys bill with your husband.  If you’re a guy, mornings are a good time to start big projects.

Levels drop by as much as 43% over the course of the day, so afternoon finds men feeling mellower. Now’s a good time for a mid-year review with your boss or to discuss remodeling the kitchen with your husband. If you’re a guy, evenings are a good time to hang with your wife.

It gets even more interesting, though. Because testosterone levels fluctuate depending on circumstances. Playing video games, team sports, or watching a favorite team win raises them. Watching their team lose, on the other hand, drags levels down.

It makes one wonder, really: which came first, NYC or the Yankees?

It also makes one wonder why women get the bad rap as the hormonal ones. At least our ambition and mood isn’t decided by who wins the World Series.

So why am I telling you this? First, because it’s my intro to what I really want to say, which will be tomorrow’s post. Second, because I do think this could improve shalom bayis. Just imagine the following common scenario.

Guy comes home from work and flops into armchair, tired. Wife comes and massages his feet, feeds him supper, and then reminds him that he promised to fix the step before someone falls down the stairs and breaks something. He says he’s really tired and just needs to unwind and he’ll get to it. She points out that he’s said this every evening. He points out that he’s tired every evening. Begin squabble.

Now imagine if this couple understood the effect of hormones in their life. The conversation would go somewhat differently.

Her: “Can you fix that step tonight? Moishela tripped over it on his way up to bed. He was crying for five minutes straight.”

Him: “I’m tired, I just need time to relax and unwind.”

Her: “No you don’t. You’re just in a hormonal slump. Why don’t you go play a half-hour of Duke Nukem to get your testosterone pumping and then take care of the step?”

Him: “Oh well, if you insist, dear. But I’m only doing it for you.”

There, you see? Knowledge is power. And “Know thyself” is among the most important knowledge you can have, after knowing thine spouse.

Part 2: Know Thyself

Reason to Get Married #9

My father came to visit my apartment. Within the space of a day and a half he bought and banged together a cabinet, hung a full-length mirror on my bedroom door (how did he know exactly what I needed?), washed all the dinner dishes, and took out the garbage several times (my garbage can is, shall we say, well matched in size to my kitchen). He also made suggestions for improvements that he didn’t have time to implement before leaving.

“You’re pretty handy to have around,” I said, admiring my reflection in the mirror.

“This is why people have husbands,” he hinted.

“Oh! Really? Now I get it. So where can I get one?”

Anyone? Because I still need a few more things done before this place is completely homey.

Let’s Hear it for Optimism

We heart Good4.

The young lass returned from seminary excited and eager to build her BNB. So far she’s only been turned down as too fresh out of sem. She frowns. I snicker. We’re all waiting for her to land.

Still, there’s nothing like a fresh face to bring optimism and joy to an enterprise growing dull with familiarity. She intends to marry the first guy she dates, which is to say, she intends the first guy she dates to be the right guy to marry. Or, the way she puts it, “I want to go out with my husband already!”

“You mean you want a date?”

“No, I don’t want to date. Dating is yucky. I want to meet my husband.”

“How do you know what dating is like?”

Incredulous stare.

“Okay fine. But when you say it like that it sounds like you’re anticipating an arranged marriage.”

Then there was the time the Pater pointed out that she had put her age down on her shidduch profile. “You’ll have to update it every year if you leave it like that. Change it to your birth-year.”

Good4 considered this idea briefly and then discarded it. “Nah, I won’t be needing this for that long.”

We can hope and pray.