An Interview with Gerry Goodman

with LiYana Silver

from Bare With Me E-Newsletter, August 2007

Over the past year, I have had the distinct honor and pleasure to take many courses with Morehouse, on Communication, Sensuality and Man/Woman dynamics.   Morehouse is an intentional communal living collective, thriving since the 1960’s, with houses in California and Hawaii, with satellite communities in Atlanta, New York and Philadelphia.  Living according to some phenomenal philosophies identified by Dr. Victor Baranco and developed by all involved, Morehouse’s members are experts in living, loving and having happy, fulfilling lives.

I’ve struck up a friendship with one of its members, Gerry Goodman, who lives in the Yonkers Morehouse with his beloved wife Lynne.  Gerry is warm, insightful, playful and attentive and loves to wield his rapier wit.

Enjoy my interview with Gerry:

Note:  These are Gerry’s opinions, based on his experience of being involved with Morehouse for almost 20 years.  They are not meant to represent “official” viewpoints of Morehouse.

To find out more (ha, ha) about Morehouse and their courses, and I highly suggest you do, check out their website: www.lafayettemore.com or give Gerry a call: 914-457-0753.

LS:  How would you describe happiness?

GG: I believe people know when they’re happy and they know when they’re not.  That being said, happiness is a function of approving of what is.  When you are in agreement with your life, you’re happy.

LS:  What makes women happy?

GG: On one level of awareness, nothing “makes” you happy.  You decide to be happy and attribute your happiness to something outside yourself, claiming that thing made you happy.  At the same time, what generally makes women happy is getting what they want. There is a common assumption, usually held by men, that material items are at the top of that list.  While it’s definitely important and fun for women to have, get and think about getting “things”, what they prize by far above all else is attention.  What makes them happy is to have their unique individuality seen and acknowledged.

LS:  What makes men happy?

GG: Being productive and successful gives men a certain level of happiness.  What makes a man the happiest is being around happy women, particularly if any of them are giving him credit for their happiness.

LS: How can men make women most happy?

GG: By putting pleasurable attention on them and taking pleasure in giving them everything they want with no bill attached.  By being devoted to and invested in finding out what lights them up.  A friend of mine once said that when he makes a woman an offer, and he hears that special “oooooooh!” he knows it’s a winner.  However, men can’t always count on what the women are saying; it requires paying more attention to find out what they actually want.

Not long ago, I asked Lynne if she wanted me to get her her own cell phone.  As we spend a good majority of our time in each others’ company, we had rarely found situations where we required two phones.  She said no, but it felt to me as if that might be what she thought she should say rather than what she really wanted.  I had at least once in the past heard her speak about how convenient it would be if we each had our own phone rather than sharing one.  Still, I wanted further corroboration, so I ran my idea by her close girlfriend, who said she thought it would be very romantic. (This is almost always a reliable move for a guy, by the way, to check in with his lady's girlfriends.) So, I got Lynne the phone for Valentine’s Day.  She was thrilled, and thought it was very romantic.

LS:  How can women make men happy?

GG: I've frequently seen problems arise from women trying to make men happy.  It often takes the form of the woman compromising her own goals in attempt to please a guy.  Why this strategy fails is that what makes a man happy is his woman being happy.  If she worries about whether he’s happy, her worrying makes him unhappy.  A guy is winning when his woman consistently puts her attention on gratifying herself and making sure she lives a happy life.   What makes him extra happy is when she has him believe that he had something to do with her feeling good.

LS:  Why are women angry?

GG: Anger [in general] is a product of having deluded oneself into thinking you have rights, and that those illusory rights have been violated.  Women are more specifically angry because from the moment they are identified as female, either in vitro or at birth, they are dismissed as being inferior to men.

LS:  Why are men angry?

GG: I don’t think men are angry the way women are.  Men certainly have specific incidents happen in which they feel their rights have been violated.  However, even if they feel they have a regular succession of legitimate reasons for thinking they've been victimized, they don’t have the deep, ongoing, underlying grudge that women do, and men’s anger is not in that same league.  It’s hard for men to confront how angry women are.  A man will sometimes respond to meanness from a woman with anger  (rarely a good move no matter what the genders), which seems contemptible to women.

LS:  What are your favorite shortcuts to head off an argument/conflict?

GG:  It’s not my goal to head off an argument; my goal is to make my wife happy.

LS:  Is there value in argument/conflict?  If so, what?

GG: If you mean fighting, sure there is.  It allows the partners to have an experience that contains levels of excitement and intimacy similar to sex, without the inconvenience of removing clothes or dealing with bodily fluids.  In our culture, it’s cheaper and more fashionable to sink into the comfortable easy chair of bad than it is to reach for the good.  It takes investment to go for the good, and it takes continuous investment to maintain it.  Fighting is always optional, never required.  There's always a way for all parties to win in any situation.

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