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Introduction

This book came about because I’ve been online in various forums since the mid-nineties and have in that time become something of an advice guru. Though I’ve been a counselor, therapist and social worker a lot of the advice that I give here I learned from my late mother, Edith Smith Hardy. Other lessons I learned through my life experience and that of my friends and family. Of course, if I’d listened to my mother I would have had a lot fewer hard knocks, but she always said a hard head makes for a soft behind.

Over the years of counseling women both online and in real life I began to see a pattern. I was repeatedly being asked about the same issues in different iterations. To avoid redundancy, and because I’m too lazy to keep typing the same advice over and over again, I put together these Free Lessons to address the problems I kept hearing about.

I’m deeply concerned about the quality of discourse between young men and women in this country. There is a level of bitterness and anger that is troubling. I suspect that much of it has come about due to social changes that we have little control over. Intellectually we know that gender roles have changed, but our biological responses to the opposite sex have not. People are more or less the same as they were five hundred years ago, or for that matter five thousand years ago. Check out the Song of Songs in the Bible. When Solomon starts talking about “your vines have sweet grapes” he’s spitting some serious game. He’s doing the same thing men are doing today––trying to get some.

Though women are more independent and self-sufficient than we’ve been at any time in history our basic instincts haven’t changed. I believe that a lot of the anger we’re seeing between the sexes these days has come about because we’re being told to act as though these instincts don’t exist. Even worse, many intellectuals claim that there is no such thing as gender roles. Well, I’m not an intellectual. I’m a pragmatist and that notion seems downright foolish to me. While I agree wholeheartedly that people should not be forced into certain behavioral patterns because of their gender, I cannot deny that there are differences between the sexes. To my mind there’s nothing wrong with acknowledging and capitalizing on them.

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