Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love Your Woman Like A Woman | Love Your Man Also Like A Woman

A woman I worked with once asked me, "David, you're a guy. Why are men so stupid?"

I told her she could have the short answer, which she wouldn't like, or the long, real answer, which she would probably absolutely hate. She requested the latter.

Men are societally conditioned to be non-communicative. Our job is to solve problems, to zone-in on the exact issue at hand, find a way to neutralize it, and walk away with the minimum expenditure. When a man is upset by something, he figures out what exactly upsets him, and he does a thing so he won't feel upset. This is the end of the matter and he is returned to homeostasis.

If you ask a man how's it going, "Fine," he'll say.

"What's up?"
"You okay?"

Unless there is something wrong, there is no need to communicate, if there is something wrong, it needs to be dealt with directly, so the status quo can return. It's the apocryphal tale of Albert Einstein not speaking until he was five and his dinner had lumpy mashed potatoes.

"Why haven't you ever spoken before, Albert?!"
"Until now there wasn't a problem with the potatoes."

Incommunicado is the male standard.

Women are pressured to be expressive, to feel the emotion behind every thought and action, every word, chord and brush stroke. A woman is intuitive of others' needs, without having to be asked. If a woman is upset, a man can undo whatever it is that upsets her–kill the spider, remove the ex's phone number, agree to no longer announce the performance of certain bodily functions–but this will not remove a woman's feelings. Feelings remain in the absence on stimuli, they last until they have run their course, because women express their feelings, not just facts.

Women want men who understand this and work with it. They want men who act like men and think like women, forgetting that many women claim to hate interacting with other women.

I said that this is borderline insane and Machiavellian, lightyears beyond the simple "Find it and fix it" attitude men are traditionally taught, the stoicism and utility we are convinced to dumb ourselves down into. Men need only live with the facts of their lives, women must come to grips with how those facts make them feel.

What would John Wilmot, the second
Earl of Rochester do? He'd have sex.
I said that if the two genders, thought both entirely performative, are ever to meet in common understanding, it is going to have to be women who make the effort, for while their methods might be insane, they are brilliant. Men are taught to be useful, but dumb, and–frankly–it is far more reasonable to ask a mad genius to try to think like a fool than ask the fool to anticipate brilliant strategy.

I said this all in a blinding whirlwind, knowing that, though she asked for the least desirable answer I could give, I was likely to be chastised and dismissed for my dearth of sympathy and seeming shirking of actual, male responsibility.

Instead she nodded her head in fervent agreement and asked, "Why don't you have a girlfriend?" as if she were asking the Dali Llama why he was attending Catholic mass.

Dumbfounded, I could only think to answer the truth:

"Oh, crippling emotional issues."

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