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My wife used to hate playing cards with me Youre too competitive she kept saying You get so intense you cant just have fun you always have to win That didnt have anything to do with the way I felt but try telling her that All I could do was deny that Im competitive I suddenly realized that when the subject had come up before the only reason Id denied being competitive was that Kay had made it seem like such a dirty word Sure women are just as ambitious and aggressive as men she had said once but weve been inhibited from expressing our competitiveness We were told when we were young that the only way we could compete was for the attention of mentor compete in any other way was unfeminine But society defines competitiveness as a brutal winning-is-everything attitude So if by competition you mean imitating the macho way men behave no thanks My wife just couldnt see that competitiveness means a lot more to men than that win-at-any-cost ethic Now I am not going to deny that there are elements of adolescent insecurity or latent hostility or sexual rivalry in a lot of competition between men all Im saying is that theres another side to the story Take male kidding around for instance I always tell my friend Arthur that he exaggerates so compulsively hell even tell people his summer his house is at Six-Mile Harbor instead of Three-Mile Harbor He comes right back at me You are putting on so much weight pretty soon theyll have to give you your own zip code We indulge in so much of this typically male insulting humor that our wives can be forgiven for thinking that beneath our surface joking there must be bitter rivalry Male competitiveness in our professional lives is often a way to show our mutual respect Sure no one needs to be told
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