Friday, June 23, 2006

Can Men Ever Understand Women?

Can Men Ever Understand Women?

When men talk about women, the most baffling aspect for the male of the species is understanding female emotional reactions. Not that men don’t feel even though I know quite a few women who come close to believing that. It is just that the depth of female feelings sends men into a quandary to understand. And this is especially true around the topic of “PMS”.

Well, I have discovered a fool proof way for men to understand women’s emotional reactions, and the female dread of PMS. When men develop prostate cancer, hormone therapy is often used to reduce the size of the prostate and to reduce the cancer. These hormones act as blockers of testosterone, as this male hormone can create prostate cancer. Without testosterone, men would never get prostate cancer. And, once on these drug therapies, the side effects are both humorous and enlightening. Swollen breasts, night sweats, and emotional roller coaster rides are all reported by men who take these hormone drugs to fight their cancer.

I have been on this drug regime for six weeks now, and let me tell you, I think I understand PMS better than I could ever understand it listening to women try to explain the experience. Let me try to explain. In my life, I have emotional swings that follow events and facts. For example, if I make a mistake, a feeling is associated with that mistake. Or if something happens to someone I love, emotions appear around the facts of the incident. Before taking hormones, I could always tell how far the emotional swings would take me. After living as long as I have, I am reasonably clear how far the emotional roller coaster takes me. I knew the bottoms. I knew how long the feelings would last. I had come to accept the emotional components associated with my day to day living.

But with a change of the hormonal balance in my system, I have found that I can no longer predict how far the emotions will take me. This is new for me, and can be quite unsettling. I like to know the bottom of my feeling states. I have been there before and I know how long the feelings last. I have become over the years accustomed to my emotional swings and that knowledge gives me comfort. In the certainty, I could handle the predictable ranges.

Not any longer. I find myself emotional during commercials. I find worry, fear and depression intensifying. Of course I know these are “just emotions” and that they will pass, but the unpredictable part of the mood swing is unsettling. I have listen to women tell me this for years, but now I have experienced the roller coaster. Like the Robert DeNiro character in “Analyze This” the emotional aspects of life have become both humorous and scary.

I have wondered if all men shouldn’t be placed on hormone treatment so as to understand what their female partners experience. Like the Indian proverb “may you walk a mile in his moccasins” to help understand one another better, having hormone treatment is not only good for battling prostate cancer, it may also be good for understanding the other sex. I also wonder if society should not place criminals on hormone treatment as testosterone is the male hormone that produces most of the negative male aggression.

My medical friends who understand the powerful side effects of hormone treatment, all laugh when I tell them what it is like. They have seen too many men experience these results. Handling life’s painful experiences with humor is the only sane way I know to get through the insanity. Looking for the positives within life’s lessons, helps me stay balanced.

So thank you hormone therapy, for now I think I understand what it is like to suffer PMS and perhaps even menopause. At least that is what I think I have gained, however I’m not too certain because this may all be an emotional reaction to the hormone treatment.

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