Monday, April 14, 2008

Earth to Venus, Come in Venus….

One of my favorite bloggers, Christopher Taylor over at Word Around the Net, has asked a series of questions that I am supremely qualified to answer, being possessed of a matched set of X chromosomes.

He wonders, quite rightly, what the heck is up with women. Now I’m kind of a guy’s gal. I play video games, shoot guns, like motorcycles, play with swords. Romantic comedies make me nauseous, and I beg to see the latest sci-fi/horror/action flick. I don’t do very girly stuff or hang out with girly girls. I’ve always been one to get along better with men and prefer their company to that of women.

To my surprise getting married clued me in to how truly differently men think. I have occasionally thought I’d have an easier time figuring out Mayan hieroglyphics with no translation key than getting to the bottom of what husband is trying to get across.

I’ll take a crack at answering Mr. Taylor’s questions and be as honest as possible:

1) Is your underwear really that awkward and uncomfortable that you have to keep tugging on it everywhere you go?

Yes it is. Try wearing a chest harness with metal braces in it sometime, you’ll be messing with it too. Unfortunately, it’s more uncomfortable to go without it for some of us. On the other hand, we don’t tend to conspicuously manipulate our crotch area very often. I still haven’t been able to figure out what you guys are doing down there, but you do it an awful lot.

2) Why do you ask questions you do not really want the answer to?


We are under the delusion we might get the “right” answer. Often we just want to be reassured. Between women a line of questioning is usually not just about the topical question, especially in a situation with an uncertain outcome. We are trying to establish the shape of our relationship with the answerer. When asking this sort of question, we are hoping that the answerer will be willing to frame the answer in a protective fashion. This is how men get slapped upside the head when they give the “correct” answer but in the “wrong” way.


3) Why do you care so much about specific dates like the first time we saw a dog with spots and the first week we spent together without seeing a Volvo?

You see, we don’t just care about specific dates, we notice and care about EVERYTHING. I know what kind of toothpaste my husband used when we first started dating and the three kinds he's used since then, even when I can't remember what I had for breakfast. It’s a way of establishing a connection, things we share, even though they’re trivial. I personally kept track of dates and could tell you to the hour how long I’d been dating a guy until I got the current one. With him I’m so relaxed I forget our actual anniversary.


4) Why do you find it endearing when a guy's in love and won't take no for an answer in the movies, but in real life you call it stalking?

This answer is shameful, but realistically, it’s because the guy in the movie is incredibly hot and a stalker. The guy in real life is not very attractive and a stalker. Of course, if you really like the guy, regardless of how he looks, it’s sweet, if you’re kind of lukewarm about him it’s overwhelming and crushes his chances of having us warm up to him over time.


5) Why do you always go to the bathroom in groups?

Hmm. Well, since we all go to our separate stalls, there’s really no privacy concerns. I couldn’t imagine trying to have a conversation with someone standing at a urinal. Also, it gives us a chance to chat about the other people we’re with. Your bathroom buddy can give you a once over for wardrobe and hairstyle malfunctions before you leave. That’s all.


6) Why do you think it's fun to act like a little girl, but stupid when I'm boyish? Related: why do you think the guys that are boyish are so hot, but hate it when I am?

I can’t relate to this one, since I don't like boyishness too much, but maybe you personally don't do boyish very well. I know I'd look like a Doberman in a fluffy tutu trying to pull off acting like a little girl. It just doesn't go with my character.


7) Why is it you always can remember the dumb stuff I said seven years ago but not the nice stuff I said a few hours ago?

The sad truth is that we have a confirmation bias toward stupid and negative comments. You get points for each, and unfortunately you get about -100 points for every stupid thing you say and only about +2 points for every nice thing. It’s rough balancing that particular ledger. Women, as well, hold grudges forever. I don’t think we really understand that you probably left it behind and forgot you even said it years ago, because we would certainly remember saying it and would still have it simmering on a back burner somewhere.

It’s a protective factor, I believe. We are heavily invested in keeping men happy in an evolutionary sense, since we’ve historically relied on their sponsorship for protection and sustenance. A women not taking very strict notice of a man being unhappy with her would be at a disadvantage.


8) If you hate your mom so much, why do you constantly talk to her and run to her every time you are in trouble or upset?

Because, being mom, she can’t tell us to quit whining and shove off.


9) When you read me a quiz out of Cosmo, what exactly are you hoping will happen? What are you looking for?

Couldn’t tell you, I hate those trash magazines. If I did do this I'd be looking for humor.


10) Why is it when a man is the guy that you describe you claim to like and want, he's always the one you ignore?

I don’t know on this one either. I made a mental list of all the things I wanted in a man, picked the person I knew that fit everything the closest, and went out and got him. I know women who do the above though, and I have to think they don’t know what they want (or are willing to admit to what they want), they’re just saying what they think others think they should want.


Ok, with that done, I've discovered my biggest problem with the husband is us having a total failure to communicate revolving around the *way* he says thing. I've found that a number of men simply have no idea how they sound. They just say stuff and expect it to be taken at face value. Even though I'm a bit short in the nuance detection area, I can say that the way that statements are made, the inflection, the tone of voice, the cadence is at least, if not MORE important to women than the actual words. Guys, next time a woman flips out at you and you thought you were being completely innocuous, consider your tone very carefully.

2 Comments:

At 15/4/08 10:56 AM , Anonymous Christopher Taylor said...

To be honest, this is more or less what I figured was true although some of it still doesn't make rational sense.

As for the person you claim to like but don't end up with, I think most people do this, but especially women: you will tend to answer questions about this based on what you've heard and what you think people expect to hear or what you should answer more than what you really want.

There was a great example of this in the show Family Ties, in an exchange between Mallory and Alex Keaton. Mallory was bemoaning how she couldn't find a boyfriend, and Alex pulled out a sheet of paper and asked her for what she wanted in a guy.

Her number one choice: a sense of humor. Why did she say it? Because that's what you're supposed to say, all the magazines say it, etc. Alex pressed her: is that really what you want? So Bozo the clown is your ideal man? Mallory finally admitted what she really wanted was a rich, handsome guy.

 
At 28/5/08 2:14 AM , Blogger rightwingprof said...

Actually, this brings to mind the überquestion. If there's one thing all men know, it's that women are a different species. Men do not expect women to think or act like men. Why is it that women expect men to think and act like women?

 

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