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Steve’s Marlin

October 31st, 2010 | 1 Comment

Hanging in the pool room in Steve’s house is the “supermodel” of all fish, a catch among catches, a blue marlin. This is the same type of fish made famous in Ernest Hemmingway’s epic novel The Old Man and the Sea. Below the fish is a plaque bearing the date and other important information related to the great catch.  As I was admiring the fish, I asked Steve, “What if this fish had jumped into your boat (which apparently can happen). Would you have still mounted it on your wall?” Steve did not hesitate even for a moment as he emphatically stated, “No, because it wouldn’t be my fish.”

Hmmmm…. this is a gorgeous fish!  It is a real eye-catcher mounted on the wall of Steve’s pool room.  It is admired by everyone who steps into the space.  One could probably purchase such a fish to put on the wall but people usually don’t buy another person’s trophy fish. Steve had to catch this marlin himself for it to be worthy enough to be brought back from Hawaii  to Minnesota.

The story of Steve’s marlin put me in one of my metaphor moods, times when I encounter something in my environment  that reminds me of some deeper truth.   In this case,  I see a parallel between trophy fishing and dating.  It is an excellent analogy for why women should not chase men.  Most  conquests of any lasting value involve effort and persistence. This is a tough message to sell given the popular culture that suggests that a woman take matters into her own hands and aggressively pursue the man of her dreams. Or, the notion that if a woman makes herself even more sexy, hot , or gorgeous, or she gives him everything he wants that he will do the same for her. However, there appears to be hard wiring in humans, particularly in men, that suggests that a prize, even an exceptional prize,  when gained without the thrill of the hunt, is no prize at all.  This idea can be hard to accept for many women.

Indeed, for awhile it may seem that this mindset works because most men will passively accept the attention of a woman. If a man detects that a woman’s mission is to please him, he will also focus on how she can please him. He will sit back and take what she offers him. However he is less likely to reciprocate in like fashion if there is nothing to be accomplished, no battle to be won! Boredom will soon set in.   A  woman’s receptive interest in a man generates his active interest in her. Active interest is what we feel when we have a goal in mind and are motivated to pursue it.  It’s wired into us to feel deep satisfaction after effort in order for the survival of our species.   In the absence of dynamic tension, nothing evolves.  Nothing thrives nor survives.

So  what do you get when you’re an easy catch?  You get a lazy man who lacks the desire and challenge to give you his best.  That isn’t to say that women should be impossible to reach or relentless in their demands. Indeed it is advisable to break above the surface of the water and show a beautiful, shiny dorsal fin or jump elegantly into the air. But don’t take the bait too quickly! Or for that matter, don’t jump into his boat for free unless you want to end up back in the sea!  It is the awareness that there is something of value to be won that will motivate a man to sit out in the hottest of hot suns to hook a gal once and for all.

And what if you don’t want to be caught right now?  What if you want to be the one that got away?  That’s fine. It is rare fisherman who will not cast his hook back into the sea hoping for a better outcome next time.

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