When I was about twelve, my neighbor across the street went out of town and paid me $20 or so to feed their dog & cat for a week. As any animal lover like myself knows, you can't just go over and feed said animals, you have to pay attention to them, too, even if they are outside animals. The great thing about a dog (and the reason I love them so much) is the majority of them always in ready-to-play mode. Sophie is the same way. If I walk out that back door, she wakes up immediately and comes out to greet me. There's no sneaking up on that pup. Lady (the neighbor's dog) was the same way. Cats, on the other hand, are picky. You can't ask a cat to come to you, you have to wait on it. Civil disobedience cat will not be moved. This cat, however, was used to a handful of people to pay attention to her, but suddenly had zero people and one aging dog (see above), until suddenly the neighbor kid showed up and made food appear. Now all of a sudden, Clarence Thomas was interested in me (I can hear Family Guy's Adam West laughing, "Paul! That's a person's name!"). Too interested. When I went to leave, she continued circling my feet; when I got too far down the driveway, she decided she had enough and clawed the crap out of my bare and as of yet unhairy legs. This happened for a few days until I decided I would leave immediately after putting food out (dog first then can) instead of waiting until she finished eating.
My history of social interaction has shown me that women can be the same way, but I guess men can too. Shift the gender ratio to the female advantage and they pay most attention to the men who give the most validation; shift the ratio to the male advantage and they turn on the charm. A guy who may only be a six normally gets bumped up to an eight. Such was the case in my small town high school, girls I would've sacrificed integrity to be with (hey, I was saved but not really living it, okay?) I look back and realize they wouldn't make much of a dent in the big city dating market. This was most obvious when I attended a friend's wedding where there were two guys dancing at the reception and eight or so girls dancing. Of the girls, all but two (both Tulane students, both legitimate eights) were in the SLU anime club and therefore a bit socially awkward. But I didn't care, I was dancing with friends. After a few dances, one of the Tulane girls decided she had had enough of being ignored, and started laying it on thick. Now I don't know where I score on the scale; I was wearing a vest and a tie, but had a haircut that made me look like I would be bald by 30. Either way, I was the guy she didn't know, so that might've given me an extra point. In the end, I think I danced with her more out of pity for the thickness on with which she laid it (take THAT, preposition-sentence-enders!) than the actual desire to dance with a legitimate eight. And now I think I understand some of the responses I've gotten from women in my life.
The problem with pity is it excludes respect. When you pity someone, you act mercifully because even though you recognize that you don't have to, you know there is absolutely nothing they can do to help themselves. Pity usually comes with some measure of disgust. Look at that bum. He can do absolutely nothing for himself. Why doesn't he just get a job? If I give him money, he'll only spend it on beer; but if he has no money, he'll just be miserable and sober. Here's a dollar, you drunk, hopeless hobo. I guess I should revise that. Pity without love excludes respect. "Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him," Psalm 103:13. But you get what I'm saying.
I was listening to WWL yesterday and they were talking about some of the crazy things that go on aboard US Navy vessels and in combat zones between mixed units of men and women: drug rings, gangs, prostitution (heterosexual and homosexual), rampant promiscuity, and all of this amidst the question of allowing women into combat units or onto submarines. Shoot, I'm in the National Guard and I've heard stories of things that go on stateside at/after the Christmas party that blow me away. In those cases, you have to consider that a high stress environment (combat zone) coupled with close quarters of opposite sexes, and all in the presence of a long-proven temporary stress-reliever (sex), and it's no wonder people go crazy.
I have been as guilty as anybody of thinking, "I need a wife, or at the very least a female friend for a moment who possibly also needs me; let's see who's the best available." That's not only desperation, but failure to trust in God. I have a friend who does Thai massages professionally, and I've been feeling a bit tense due to working more hours and a brand new workout routine, but I know the minute I submit myself to that as a form of stress relief, getting into such close proximity with her, that I'll be opening myself to all kinds of other emotions at the same time. I have to guard my heart "with all diligence, for out of it [flow] the issues of life," Proverbs 4:23. Why do I have to go to all the trouble that the world does of looking for someone else to help relieve my stress, when all I really have to do is get alone with the Lord and give it over to him?