Men and woman are different. This basic fact bears repeating these days as we combat pervasive transgender ideology. But too many of us seem to have forgotten that this difference points to our compatibility. Because social media tends to amplify the most strident voices, any attempt to discuss dating or marriage online quickly devolves into a pointless battle of the sexes. Scrolling through Twitter today, I see countless examples of high-engagement man-hating/woman-hating — e.g. a “traditionalist” with an anime avatar mocking a woman for “hitting the wall” (turning thirty) and “running out of eggs,” or a middle-aged single woman promoting childlessness to younger women as a lifestyle brand, insisting that “men are trash.” The operating assumption seems to be that not only are men and women different, they’re so different they can never hope to get along. For the sake of the species, let's hope that’s not true.
Last year I was out strolling with my kids when my elderly neighbor, barefoot on her front lawn, waved me down. Why? She knew I’d been struggling with some postpartum anxiety and wanted to share: she was grounding. Grounding is a term referring to the scientific discovery that bodily contact with the Earth's natural electric charge stabilizes the physiology at the deepest levels, reduces inflammation, pain, and stress, improves blood flow, energy, and sleep, and generates greater well-being. Now I enjoy it too and make sure my kids get barefoot in the back yard as often as possible.
This makes me wonder if there isn't some way to “ground” the foaming-at-the-mouth hostility proliferating between the sexes at the moment. Might there be a social version of the physical “grounding” that takes people out of the world of turmoil in their heads and places them, effectively, back in their bodies?
Social grounding. What might that look like? This thing we call “dating” seems only to offer further ammunition for the wars raging on Twitter and TikTok. Perhaps men and women just need the occasional break from each other. What if there were clubs or charitable organizations or even sports leagues that allowed men and women to relax and recharge in the company of their own sex? Unfortunately reinventing the concept of single-sex spaces may require a legal battle.
Tabling that prospect for now, church (I recommend Catholic Mass) comes to mind as another existing place to start fresh. Liturgy turns the gaze upward while humbling us with our shared, flawed humanity. Simple social togetherness combined with an elevated eye toward love, joy, and peace of the eternal variety – not requiring yammering, charisma, or sexual preening – offers something the internet, the bars, and most other public spaces cannot: quiet.