All the debates that surround the phallocentric nature of our society are incomplete without discussions about this book, THE MALE BRAIN by Louann Brizendine. The phallic image is the most enduring one in the history because it has an all-rounder and one track mind of its own. It is a schemer, a philosopher, and a soldier. It schemes to womanize, philosophizes to womanize and soldiers to womanize. Arkoprobho Biswas maps this brain with his own words and experiences…
“While humans and animals have differences in their mating strategies, scientists have observed some curious similarities. One of the most colorful examples of animal tactics is provided by the side-blotched lizard. Conveniently, the males come with three different colored throats that match their mating styles. Males with orange throats use the alpha-male harem strategy. They guard a group of females and mate with all of them. The males with yellow throats are called sneakers because they slip into the harem of the orange and mate with his females whenever they can get away with it. The males with brilliant blue throats – my personal favorites- use the one-and-only strategy. They mate with one female and guard her 24/7… I affectionately call my husband a blue-throat.”
We, men, live in a rat race of fucking. We love to expect every single girl to fall on our bed; we fail to be that X- the Casanova; we sneak for two or three and then settle down with one. Yup, that’s how the graph looks like – more like a high voltage Derby match ending in goal-less condition. But is this all?? Is this all we live for? No, not in the least. The male brain is much more complex in structure and innocent in nature. Our head and penis actually lose the sync many a time. And who are the villains of the game? Simply, Hormones. Dopamine and Oxytocin, to be very specific.
“Sexual thoughts flicker in the background of a man’s visual cortex all day and night, making him always at the ready for seizing sexual opportunity. Women don’t always realize that the penis has a mind of its own…Once a man’s love and lust circuits are in sync, he falls just as head over heels in love as a woman- perhaps even more so”.
The Male Brain depicts every stage of the masculine brain right from the toddler’s to the grandpa’s and one will certainly be able to associate with each one, be it a ‘he’ or a ‘she’ living next to him. And the best part of the book is this sense of connection. It has much more to offer than that of a drab piece of science writing.
I still remember the days of 2011&12- the dark years of my teenage frustration. The wrong decision of pursuing science (Was that my decision anyway?), break-up with my first girlfriend, having a crush on everyone I met and losing every part of the game. The house was no more a home; everyone was turning out to be my opponent and God knows why nobody was interested to listen to what I think. Because no one believes here that a 16-year-old boy can think too. Now what? Who am I to blame? My luck? My parents? My ex? – A teen mind doesn’t know these answers. Because he hardly knows anything apart from the name of ‘Testosterone’ and the power of other male hormones is barely believable to him. No one can imagine how the basic tendency to run and rush and play and jump off a ‘boy brain’ can turn into evil in the teenage and forces the same teen to revolt against everything. Thank God, the parents don’t know this; otherwise, they would have stopped their boys from any outdoor game.
Scientists have discovered that the teen brain in both sexes is distinctly different from the pre-adolescent brain. The changes that were becoming obvious in Jake (Jake is simply Louann’s one case study) were set in motion by his genes and hormones while he was still in utero. Now, with the end of the juvenile pause, it was time for Jake to ramp up his skills for surviving in a man’s world. And he was ready and eager, even if his mother wasn’t. She recounts, “When my own son turned fourteen and became moody and irritable, I remember thinking, “Oh my God, soon the testosterone will take him over mind, body, and soul’’. So, again, BLAME IT ON HORMONES!!
This hormone rush somehow brought me to the next level. I was a maturer person- much more steady, stable, decisive. The frustration of calculus is over,; I got over that ex who ditched; Ma came close again. Welcome to the college life. Welcome to the hostel. Oh God, another survival battle! But, surprisingly, ‘no‘. Things became much easier. The boy within me became more adjustable and there was no battlefield. But does the race finish here then?? – Again a big ‘NO’. Here starts the male battle of/within the mind to win over the better career, the better girl, and above all, a better future. And suddenly you become ‘Manly’; you act ‘smart’. Because you have been already very much aware of the social gender construct. You should hide tears, wear black, plug into Linkin Park, go to the gym and always pay for the girl. Why? To bring her to bed. Research says that the male brain detects someone sexy within half a second and decides to sleep with her only after the second visit. Same happened with Jake as well ( Brizendine’s case study). And when he offered her a drink and was ready to pay for the film ticket, she was of the opinion to go Dutch. Because a girl can never become so feasible within the second date. She needs time. But man has no time. He wants to sleep with fourteen girls in his whole life, while on an average a woman is content with two.
Six feet tall dark wavy hair and deep brown eyes, Matt never had trouble attracting women. But like most men, he frequently wished he didn’t have to make the first move, and speed-dating eliminated the hurdle. When I asked Matt how he could tell if he wanted to date a woman based on a six-minute speed-dating meeting, he shrugged and said, “I just know”.
Now the question is, when will this race last? – Never or soon? Yup, both are true. This sense of competition gradually dilutes into a state of satisfaction in the ‘Male certainty’. And by ‘Male certainty’, I mean the faith in one’s manhood. He no longer wants to win someone; instead, he wants to become someone’s shadow- to which even a girl of his daughter’s age will come and rest. You might call it ‘Male Ego’; you might call it ‘Male fertility’. But men do pine for such things. They always do. Brizendine calls this ‘music to his ears’.
‘He said, ‘’Kate, you know how I feel about you, but I have to wonder if our age difference is too big. You know, you have your whole life ahead of you.”
When Kate firmly reassured him, “I don’t want a younger man. I want you, John”, we’d see his ACC (Anxiety & worrywart center) calm down. And when she said, “I’ve never had anybody listen to me and understand me like you do. Guys my own age can’t do that”, we’d see his reward center turning back on. This was music to his ears…’
Title art by Subarnarekha Pal
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