Number one

"A woman sometimes seems to want to be the most important thing in her man's life. However, if she is the most important thing ... she will feel her man's dependence on her for his happiness, and this will make her feel smothered by his neediness and clinging."

The above quote is from author David Deida's book The Way of the Superior Man, which has been recommended to me by about half a dozen women over the years, all of them saying what a great read it is.

If a woman has become the point of your life, you are lost.

Personally, I'm gonna struggle with anything written by a bloke who claims to offer "training on spiritual growth and sacred intimacy" because I can just imagine a picture of Deida in sandals, getting excited by double rainbows and bushwalking.

However, what I did find interesting about this work is how much of it corresponds with pick-up artist literature and encourages men to embrace many masculine stereotypes.

I began this post with the aforementioned quote because it's something that I'd observed for many years and wrote about when I was 26 or 27, in a very bad novel that will never see the light of day.

"Women who are used to getting whoever and whatever they want romantically seem to be drawn to men who will always place them second to some passion, dream, addiction, ideal," wrote a much younger and thinner Sam de Brito in 1995.

"They are so bored by men placing them first, in front of everything else in their life. Women enjoy conquest, but it's about emotions, not sex; they like the idea of supplanting a man's greatest passion or dream with their image. They want you to lose sleep at night over them, they want to conquer your heart.

"That's why the truly beautiful women of the world, the ones who have never heard the word 'no', are drawn to men who, when given a choice between sex and their dream, will always shuffle toward the light of their ambition."

Over the years, I've rolled in and out of believing this, but re-reading Deida, it sounds as if he's been plagiarising my old notebooks.

"A woman really wants her man to be totally dedicated to his highest purpose - and also to love her fully," writes Deida in his book, first published in 1997.

"Although she would never admit it, she wants to feel that her man would be willing to sacrifice their relationship for the sake of his highest purpose," he writes.

A couple of years ago, I would have argued against Deida and my younger self, but I've now come around to "their" perspective again.

I have been guilty of supplanting my highest purpose with a woman, and I believe she lost respect for me because of it.

In my case, I changed my latest novel Hello Darkness, to please my partner, and whattaya know? She still walked out.

Of course, there was more to our split than that, but I reckon Deida, despite his sandals, hits it out of the park with this observation: "If a woman has become the point of your life, you are lost. You have a gift to give, a purpose to fulfill, a deep heart-impulse that moves you.

"If you have lost touch with this impulse, then you will begin to feel ambiguous in your life. You will make decisions because you have to, but they won't be guided by a deeper sense of purpose.

"You may take on your woman's purposes because they are stronger than yours. You may adapt your need for direction to externally regulated purposes, becoming a cogwheel company man or a dead-ended husband and parent, without leaving yourself open to your greatest vision.

"Be careful not to substitute default responsibilities for true purpose," writes Deida.

I could keep quoting him because it's a cracker of a chapter, one that set me back on my heels a little, so you might wanna seek it out in a bookstore and have a suss (it's chapter 32).

I'd also like to hear all your opinions on this subject - male and female. Is it true to say, "She doesn't really want to be number one?"