A few weekends ago, I went to AnnMary’s crib, where I got to see Ray and my godson, Josiah. He’s a little browner now (as in more brown, people), and has got the ill forehead. It’s adorable how he’s got a big head like his father and his godfather. I told AnnMary that we might make this baby tri-lingual: English, Cantonese, and Spanish. He’d also learn merengue by at least pre-kindergarten from his own godfather ::ahem::, making him a certifiable ladykiller by 6 years old. At first, we laughed it off, but then she said something peculiar: “No, he’s not leaving me. I’ll always love him, and he doesn’t need any other women. Right Jo-Jo? You only need your mommy, yes you do.”
I can’t blame AnnMary; she’s the mom and that’s what moms usually say. Innocent mothers avoid that Oedipal complex as much as their sons do in their youth, but it’s rather unavoidable in its many forms. Our mothers are the first women we fall in love with. As gross as it sounds, it’s the first womb we come out of, and the first sexual encounter we have. Hence, it’s only right that mothers think of themselves as their sons’ first love. Yet, that mentality also creates a false sense of loyalty that inevitably puts most men in a dichotomous relationship between the “main woman” and the “other woman,” even if that “other woman” is not necessarily a romantic relationship.
It usually starts well past the aunts, female cousins, and friends’ moms because they usually pose no threat. He may look towards them sometimes and fancy whether they might make a better parent for them. They may even inspire visions of fornication in his youth, but usually the boy runs right back to his mother. The treat to the relationship between mother and son is that first girl that the boy likes. The mother’s there with her eagle eye, smiling with her full grin, but also shaping how the boy should think about the girl. Usually, the mother’s there giving sound advice on being a gentleman and just asking about his whereabouts, but implicitly letting him know that she’s the first woman, even when she doesn’t recognize it at first.
But the boy gets comfortable, and sees more than one woman, and that’s when the mother tries to pull in the reigns, which causes an equal and opposite reaction from the boy who starts to see his romantic life as a chance to cheat on his first relationship with his mother. That’s why most guys don’t give details of their whereabouts to their mother. The uncanny part is, the mother can pretty much tell all along what’s happening with his son; after all, taking residence in one’s womb for 9 months lets mothers psychologically hook up to the dude’s mental computer.
Once the boy gains some footing, and the mother realizes that her son’s grown up and out of that first relationship, they enter a new relationship where the mother’s still an adviser, but no longer the first woman. He has a relationship, which of course adds to the old axiom “You can tell how he’s going to treat you by how he treats his mother.” Yet, it’s the mother who he runs to for relationship advice, which of course explains, for some of you ladies, why your ex would come back to you and tell you their relationship problems. Even in the relationship, both women (whoever those two happen to be at the point) always make the man choose, and usually at the expense of the other.
Then of course comes the issue of cheating. All these conjectures I’ve made make me wonder if the idea of always having two women to be beholden to may contribute to the idea of cheating. We can always reason it all out by saying that a mother’s love is different from a girlfriend’s love, but indeed we learned the second by the first. We also think about how, after that mother’s love has changed during the growing phases, who fills in the role of the second woman? While we’ve all speculated the many ways a man would cheat, we never really speculate the myriad of reasons it happens.
And really, as a man, the only way to distract yourself from this onerous act of human behavior is to
1) immerse yourself in a non-human love (i.e. your artwork, poetry, etc.)
2) reasoning that the one you’re with is really the best option and there’s no need for anyone else
3) starting a family, knowing that the person you’re with might bear fruit to a daughter who will permanently fill in the role of the second lady. Not so much in a perverted way, but love nonetheless. And so begins the cycle of the Electra complex.
I’ve personally observed this with other men too often (not so much me, though I can see hints of this in my own life), and it’s eerie how they treat their girlfriends, and then treat their mothers after having seen them with their mothers over the years. At least their main women. Many dudes who treat their women like crap tend to have a frustrating relationship with their moms, while dudes who never had a mother around shut down so quickly after they get their heart broken.
Then again, little Jo-Jo doesn’t have to worry about that just yet. He can revel in random women pinching his cheeks and wanting to hold him in their bosoms while the men in the family laugh or get jealous at all that attention. And if anything, he knows he’s always got his mother’s love.
jose, who is sure to get a million and one questions, but this is strictly not a conjecture and not based on scientific research … unless someone has scientific research, then I welcome it, thanks …
p.s. – criticisms are welcome, too. i wrote this post over only a few hours of sleep ;-) …