Wednesday, April 21, 2010

When Men Decide.....

I have a theory. (Well I guess you have worked out by now that I have a few theories & the former sentence will probably be carved on my gravestone) Okay - but I have a theory about men. (well - don't get me started). Right. I will try again. I HAVE A THEORY ABOUT MEN'S MATURITY.

There - I can be specific now and will immediately jump to a broad, unqualified and somewhat contentious claim. I have a theory that men start maturing at aged 33. I have run with this one for a while. And while a few (predominantly male) eyebrows have raised and twitched, no one has come out actually advocating strongly on the negative team. Of course this is a generalisation and of course there are exceptions to the rule. But on the whole, from my own "research" I have found this to be largely true. I am not entirely sure where I picked the number 33 from (no - I really don't think Jesus dying on the cross has anything to do with this.....) but it does seem to be the magic number.

I have interviewed literally hundreds of men and women on the subject of relationships. The last four years of my life have been dedicated to finding out exactly how men and women think in regards to their own past relationships and where to from here with regards to future partners. I am pleased to say that on the whole - both men and women seem to learn from past problems and do enough self reflection to at least have the intention and emotional intelligence to try to "do better next time". Even those who have been cheated on, lied to and just generally treated like crap seem to have really gone through some kind of re-wiring process before they want to move on. Well at least those that came to see me did. And if they hadn't - I told them to go away and do it and come back a year later.

What I did find most astounding though was men's absolute and overwhelming conviction that they wanted to have children. And I have found that after the age of 33 (on average) this is more and more common. It is almost as if a light is switched on in men at a certain time and it is near impossible to turn it off. When men are on a mission to procreate (and I mean to actually be a dad - not just do test runs) then it is seldom that they give up on this till they have found their suitable mate.

Scientific Studies show that men's hormone levels are drastically shifted by fatherhood. For instance, when men are expecting the birth of their first child, levels of cortisol and prolactin (the same hormones of attached mothers) are seen to increase rapidly in the males system. Also,a father's testosterone level drops by about a third(on average) in the first three weeks after his child is born.

The levels rise or fall depending on how much time the male spends with the pregnant mother. The more time he does spend - the higher the dosage of the sex hormone he receives.

On the other hand, high levels of testosterone are associated with "incompatible non-nurturing behaviours," as one researcher put it. If your man is off the scale with his testosterone test, the theory goes, don't count on him being the one to wake up at 2am for the nappy change or singing the little one to sleep with personalised lullabies. They'll be too busy fighting other men in bars or in the office and seducing other women. Sorry. Not me thats saying it. It's science speaking.

There's also some very exciting evidence that fatherhood can change the male brain. Yay! Men can get pregnancy "mushy brain" too! Not quite. Typical. It seems to make them smarter, sharper and more well rounded. A 2006 study found enhancements in the front brain of men after childbirth. The neurons in this region showed greater connectivity, suggesting that having young children could boost the part of the brain responsible for planning and memory.

This obviously helps when trying to locate your own particular child in an overcrowded playground. As opposed to the guy with the high testosterone levels who is probably chatting up the blonde at the slippery slip and doesn't see little Lucy dangling precariously from the monkey bar.

Research has shown that fatherhood also increases the brain's reception for vasopressin, a hormone that has been shown to prompt animal fathers to bond with their offspring. They found this out by injecting it into prairie dogs and watching what they did next. Imagine if you handed that out at nightclubs - all the fathers and future fathers would leave the building!

I am still seeking theory to back up my 33+ claim. I'm sure it's there somewhere. But my research coincides with my suggestion to women that it's better to pick the nice guy over the aggressor if you want a good husband. The bad boy at the bar might be fun and exciting for a while but not so much fun in the wee hours of the morning when your feet are freezing on the floor of the kitchen while you are heating up the milk and they are out doing the same thing they were doing when you met them.

Men do grow up. They just have to want to. And believe me - most do. I'm thinking of inventing a kind of RHT. (Random hormone testing). Before you girls decide to get married or hook up long term - or even waste your time trying to "change him" - ask him to pee in a cup. If he's got the hormones you want - go for it. If he doesn't - tell him to grow up and come and see you in a year.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

What Goes On In the Night

As far as I am aware, no one has fully deciphered the meaning or machination of dreams. In all the research I have done (wow Freud is heavy!!!!) no one seems to explain it better or more concisely than my son M. M told me a few months ago what dreams are. He said that they are a mixture of "memory and imagination". That kind of blew me away as I think he's right. I'll go one step further though and add the subconscious to this and I think we might be on to something.

How many times have you woken up and felt in awe of what you had dreamed but had no idea of how you could have possibly dreamed it? People, places, even feelings long forgotten suddenly come to the surface and make you start questioning their significance in your waking life.

Of course this leaves out the whole notion of prophetic dreams - which my friends will know I sometimes claim to have. I have thought about - this a lot. It is not the dreams that are prophetic. It is just being more connected to your core/soul/inner intelligence - what ever you want to call it - that allow you what seems at first to "see the future" When really what it comes down to< I think, is just being more conscious and aware in my daily life and living well and with direction and well being. This allows my powers of perception to be more accurate because I'm not clouded with self doubt or worry. Therefore the way forward and little nuances of life are more clear to me. So of course it makes sense that this will be reflected in my subconscious and transferred to my dreams.

The brain never sleeps. It just has shifts. I see the subconscious as the night shift worker. When you wake up to to do the day shift - the secret night work has been done without your knowledge or input. It's like turning up to the office when the cleaners have been in during the night.

While this all sounds pretty profound and deep - the reason I have been thinking so much about dreams this week is because of the diverse nature of mine. My subconscious is part of me - very much so. And who I am is a mixture of so many parts and roles. But the core of me is feminine. Ridiculously so.

The other night I woke up in a panic. I woke my boyfriend, S - or stared at him so long that he had no option than to wake up. My eyes must have been burrowing into his scull. I told him in hushed and urgent tones that I "had had a nightmare". He was immediately loving and protective. His arm when straight around me and his words were soothing and gently inquisitive. His male brain had probably equated the word "nightmare" with Tsunamis, earth quakes, war time torture techniques or 12 hours non stop shopping for women's apparel and home wares. So my answer "It was horrible. I was going to a party and trying on clothes and....... (it was really difficult for me to get these words out) I was.... fat!"

Needless to say he laughed so I went on to be more vivid, "I looked like Monica from friends when they were reminiscing about her teenage years and put her in a fat suit". He got it. He is intelligent and empathetic and he understands women. He also knew it wasn't the time to get amorous. I was still visualising myself as a giant Raggedy Ann Doll with a KFC fetish and was not feeling overly sexy.

Let's get something straight here though. I wouldn't say I was a shallow person. Not at all. In fact the day before the nightmare (I still defend the right to call it a nightmare) I had had such a profound and beautiful dream about one of my friends that I had text her at 6am to tell her about it. Now H is a good friend (hence being able to text at 6am) and the dream was right up her/my ally. It was quite spiritual and meaningful in only ways she and I and those close to her would understand. I won't go into it here as there is SERIOUSLY nothing worse than people who tell you all about their dreams - and I have used up my quota already I think. But I'll just touch on it so as dreams ARE the whole point of the blog so at least I have some leeway. At the end of the dream I put H on a bus. I told the bus driver to look after her and made him change the number of the front of the bus and stood by to watch him do it. The number was 39. She drove away and I watched the bus go round a windy cliff road and called out to the driver to take care of her.

H emailed me yesterday to say that the number 39 means "You are being helped by the ascended masters, who are strongly encouraging you to work on your life purpose right now. "

Now H is very much on a life course at the moment. And while I do not profess to be an "Ascended Master" (God forbid) I was obviously tapping into her journey and spiritual path. To balance things out though - it was the very next night that I had the nightmare and the Paris Hilton like hissy fit over body size and HIDEOUS orange striped jeans. I cannot tell you how disgusting they were - and I was looking for a black polo neck woollen jumper to go with them (??????)

My subconscious was advising me that I was no spiritually enlightened guru. It reminded me that some of my deepest fears are of developing very bad fashion sense and/or an eating disorder.

So, unless people also want to know about the latest Allanah Hill catalogue as a side issue, I don't think Deepak Chopra has to worry about getting another day job.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Time - Friend or Foe

I put on my watch today. That may sound like a bland statement. In isolation it is. Like telling you I put on my underpants (alright that's not so bland). But I haven't worn it for around 6 weeks. I'm not sure why. Sometimes I just don't want to know the time. But in this life it is essential to live in sequence with others. My son has to get to school on time, I have to be at work at a reasonable hour, and most importantly -my beauty appointments have to be met!

It is interesting that I chose today to think and write about time. My boyfriend asked me last night what my next blog was to be about and I said "time". And then today Anna (our Premier) decided to twitter about it as well. (Don't you love how our pollies are so media savvy now. I wonder if Kevin would accept a Facebook requst from me?:)

It seems we may have a referendum (again and at last!) about Daylight Saving and splitting our state into two time zones. I'm not going to get all political here but I am all for it!

My first memory of Daylight Saving was on a holiday to Sydney as a child. We stayed at Manly and at night after dinner we would walk down the Norfolk Pine Tree lined promenade and buy ice creams. The notion that it was 8pm at night delighted and energised us. Not just the children either. I can remember my parents being carefree and childlike themselves.

This was obviously not just about the extra hour of sunlight. It was holidays and they were trouble free and void of responsibility. I wonder how much time would affect us if we were always this way?

Lately I have found myself regretting, minutes after, not listening to my son more. His stories and insights are amazing and his "old soul" astounds me continuously. And yet I hurry him up with his mouthful-of-toothpaste-philosophies and say "Yes, that's right darling" vaguely when we are driving to school because my mind is elsewhere.

How am I going to get that time back? Can we have a referendum on lost time for working Mums? Get the Government to give us flexi time to make up for our lack of enjoyment of our children? I think not.

It is up to me. I want to live in the now and not regret. Sure - I want to wind the clock forward next summer. I want that extra hour to exercise and sit out on the deck with treasured friends. But I want to stop winding the clock forward in my daily life.

I've taken off my watch again tonight. I will probably put it back on tomorrow. But now, after I have finished this blog, I am going to be timeless for a while - and look into my son's eyes when he is talking to me instead of scanning the room for something he ought to be doing before bedtime.

I am starting Daylight Saving now. Regardless of what the Queensland government does to win votes. I'm adding one hour more to my day to just "be".

Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday Mornings....

So it seems fitting that my first post is on a grey, muggy, Monday morning. Why? Because my point of discussion is how to be nice - when you don't feel like being nice.

I had an interrupted sleep last night - and it wasn't to do with staying up late watching-"Underbelly" Although it did make me slighly uncomfortable and unable to completely relax once it was over. The scriptwriters seem to be having a bit of a laugh in some areas. Sorry guys. There is just no way that particular girl didn't know how to do "that". Her boyfriend didn't seem like the hand holding type.

Anyway - my point is that I'm feeling kind of crap today but am fortunate that can work from home (in my boyfriend's t shirt no less). It was hard being lovely in the wee hours of this morning. While I'm not being "beastly" (I so love this word - it makes me feel all Keira Knightly - but just for a minute and not when I see myself in my boyfriend's t-shirt) I am not being exactly radiant either.

My phone conversation with the t-shirt owner this morning could have been warmer. Whilst I strayed from actually being horrible - I did allow for some thoughts to enter my head that would have travelled through my brain - through my iphone - and all the way around the corner to his house - then to his body and up to his mind. Where it is probably still sitting. Actually I know it is.

Relationships are tricky. They are wonderful - but the navigation of the egg shells has to happen. Just don't stomp on them in the fragile hours. Monday mornings are usually pretty awful. It is easy to be friendly & flirty on a Friday. Being mushy & magnanimous on a Monday is just a bit harder.