Loving women, like everything else worth doing, is hard as fuck.
In particular, loving a strong woman is like… well, quite unlike loving anything else.i I love my freedom, my library, my voyages… but as far as people go, my love of strong women is unmatched. I imagine that it’s a bit like loving William Blake’s wild tyger:ii
Tyger! Tyger! burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
In what distant deeps or skies.
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare seize the fire?
And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?
What the hammer? what the chain,
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp,
Dare its deadly terrors clasp!
When the stars threw down their spears
And water’d heaven with their tears:
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
Tyger! Tyger! burning bright,
In the forests of the night:
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?
When you love this tyger, your love for her represents all that you are and all that you hope to become, which is, if you really love this tyger, three things: feared, beautiful, and independent.iii
She loves you back in much the same way and for many of the same reasons. But this isn’t some smothering, mushy love – you give each other the healthy measure of lebensraum required for your own personal development as much as your own sanity.
Yes, she loves you as much as you love her but she’s in no way some stumbling, love-drunk fool, so intoxicated with passion and admiration that she loses all awareness of her self. Far from it. She knows who she is and where she’s going, and she sure as fuck knows who you areiv and has a pretty damn good idea where you’re going. Her knowledge is in fact quite essential to her power. And what a power it is.
Like powerful men, strong women don’t suffer fools gladly. She expects at least as much out of you as she does from herself, and good god does she demand a lot from herself. She’s a grinder, a hustler, and one tough son of a bitch. There’s no room for slackers here.
As such, a strong woman makes an excellent partner in crime. She’ll go toe-to-toe with you intellectually, poking and prodding you to go deeper and deeper until you make sense to both yourself and her. There are no free passes here, no room for fluffy “I dunno” and “cuz I feel like it” teenager shit. She’ll give you plenty of room to push your personal boundaries, as you will her, but you’re always growing with the goal of keeping your paths in parallel, lest they diverge “by accident.”v
With this ultimate goal in mind, she gives you the foundation you need to push further and higher, and in return you give her a glimpse of the clouds. She grounds you by bravely (and when no one else will) challenging your wildest bullshit with patience and sagacity. If you make a claim, you’d better be ready to put that skin in the game because les jeux sont faits! So put up or shut up, as they say.
To be sure, a strong woman is not and cannot be for everyone. Much like other things both good and scarce, those who cannot have one will downplay their importance, merit, and value to allay their own knowledge of failure. Of course, this doesn’t change the inherent qualities of strong women in the slightest. Strong women are the tallest mountain regardless of how much you want to climb Kilimanjaro.
As Ayn Rand’s character Francisco d’Anconia so rightly observed:vi
The man who is proudly certain of his own value, will want the highest type of woman he can find, the woman he admires, the strongest, the hardest to conquer—because only the possession of a heroine will give him the sense of an achievement, not the possession of a brainless slut.
The women whom we love reflect the best in ourselves:
Love is our response to our highest values— and can be nothing else.
So regardless of feminism, regardless of socialism, regardless of charity and opportunity, these strong women are just plain strong.vii Like strong men, they just… are.
That’s why I love them, these strong women.
They’re my tygers.
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- Loving a run-of-the-mill woman probably comes with its own set of challenges, but on that count, as I’ve only ever loved unmistakably strong women, and I do mean the toughest of tough nuts to crack, I can only imagine what loving lesser women would be like based on my limited knowledge of The Bachelor and Cosmo. So let’s stick with the subject of title of the article, shall we? [↩]
- From Songs of Experience, 1974, by William Blake (1757-1827). [↩]
- Or at least your perception of “independence.” None of us would do very well alone on a deserted island. As to “feared”, this is essentially being respected for your abilities. As to “beautiful”, this is essentially being appreciated for your inherent qualities. [↩]
- The strong woman is certainly astute enough to know who you are right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun by being unpredictable, if not even a bit silly, now and again. This, in my experience, is in fact key to keeping such fearfully symmetrical creatures from being bored with your ass. [↩]
- The work of bringing lines together is iterative, never-ending, and minimizes the odds of the cliché “I swear I knew who you were but now you’re like a stranger to me…” occuring after 30 years of not fucking talking to each other. Simple, really. Simple and not so common. [↩]
- From Atlas Shrugged, 1957. [↩]
- I previously railed against feminism and its unintended consequences. Upon further reflection, social movements might change the direction of one’s actions, but I don’t see that they change our ability to act. Our ability is our ability is our fucking ability. And no one else’s. Whether we’re born into a socialist-consumerist-democracy, a tribal-honour-chiefdom, or a monarchic-debt-theocracy matters not in this regard. Strength is strength. This is also, incidentally, why no one worth their salt gives a shit about “nation states. [↩]