When Higgins said the following quote, what did he mean with these words? I know he is a misogynist, but I can't understand his point in this quote! "Well, I haven't. I find that the moment I let...

When Higgins said the following quote, what did he mean with these words? I know he is a misogynist, but I can't understand his point in this quote!

"Well, I haven't. I find that the moment I let a woman make friends with me, she becomes jealous, exacting, suspicious, and a damned nuisance. I find that the moment I let myself make friends with a woman, I become selfish and tyrannical. Women upset everything. When you let them into your life, you find that the woman is driving at one thing and you're driving at another [….] Lord knows! I suppose the woman wants to live her own life; and the man wants to live his; and each tries to drag the other on to the wrong track."

Expert Answers
teachersage eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The unmarried Henry Higgins here makes a radical claim: women and men shouldn't become friends because they are, by nature, incapable of getting along. The woman "is driving at one thing," the man at "another."  In his experience, the price of such a friendship outweighs the benefits. The woman becomes jealous (possessive) and wants too much (is too exacting). On the other hand, Higgins recognizes that he himself also become difficult: he wants to rule the woman (he becomes a tyrant) and he expects everything in the relationship to be about him (selfishness). This causes a battle of the wills as each friend tries to "drag" the other on to his or her own path.

In this statement, Higgins reveals that he sees male/female relationships as a battleground, with each person trying to "win." It is either his way or her way. In this view, there is no compromise, no middle ground, no one track the man and woman might travel together. We understand from this that Higgins is a rigid individual who has no "give." He's not interested in mutuality. This helps explain his domineering and rude behavior towards Eliza while he is teaching her to speak and act like a lady: he can't bear to let her "win" or get the upper hand. It also explains why he casts her out at the end: he sees a friendship or relationship with her as impossible. We can condemn him for his self-centered coldness or pity him for his inability to form relationships.