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January 29, 2008

Men vs. Women, The Crib Sheet

This is hysterical.

FWIW, I heard this couple on the radio a while back expounding a similar theory and it was riveting (and hilarious). Their take on men and women explained a lot of things I've found frustrating when my husband and I get into those special "discussions" that make you want to gnaw your own leg off in frustration.

I did a lot of thinking after listening to the show. I thought back on a lot of things my husband had said to me in the past that I didn't really understand and suddenly they made a lot more sense to me - I was able to put them into context from his point of view; something I'd never quite been able to do before. Even the best relationships have sticking points: areas where despite your very best intentions, you simply can't understand why the other person acts the way they do.

Thanks to Sly for sending this. Outstanding.

Posted by Cassandra at January 29, 2008 07:05 AM

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Comments

Speaking of mental boxes, I have one marked "Things I've been awaiting." You said you were going to have a post up on how we decide for whom we should vote, and had a couple of tests you advised us to take first -- presumably as evidence for (or against) your theory.

I've been wondering what you were going to say about that for a little while now. :)

Posted by: Grim at January 29, 2008 07:56 AM

I know :(

I'm sorry Grim. I started exercising and as a consequence got slammed with two weeks of pretty much nonstop migraines and nausea. I have not been a very happy camper lately - anything that requires more thought than what brand of breakfast cereal I want to eat for dinner has been pretty much out of the question.

I also have a caption contest I judged weeks ago and haven't posted the results of...

*sigh*

I'll try to get to that. I'm working on getting out of bed before 7. Normally I'm up at 4 but lately I've been sleeping in and that's killing any semblance of productivity.

Posted by: Calgon, Take Me Away! at January 29, 2008 08:09 AM

Hey, don't feel bad about it. I was just curious about what you think. :)

Posted by: Grim at January 29, 2008 08:45 AM

Huh?

Posted by: bthun at January 29, 2008 08:48 AM

Oh yeah... Sorry, I was in the zone =;-) I've been married around thirty years... NOW, someone comes up with this info!

Hey Cass, does not this sorta tie in with that jpg I asnt you a while back on the men vs. women pre-amps?

Posted by: bthun at January 29, 2008 08:50 AM

Synapse to digit comm link glitch. Make that 'I sent you a while back'...

Posted by: bthun at January 29, 2008 08:52 AM

What a load of sexist claptrap! Sure, men can think about nothing; plenty of women do it too. Are men incapable of discussing multiple topics on multiple levels, even ones that are emotional (e.g., debating the theoretical number of touchdowns the Pats will crush NY by, even as the snack 'n beer menu is being negotiated, simultaneous with the choice of sartorial hubris).

"A is always like this, B is always like that" is no basis for relationship management, in my view. The guy is a funny speaker, no question, but thought-provoking? More like eye-rolling.

Posted by: R. Kipling at January 29, 2008 09:20 AM

...debating the theoretical number of touchdowns the Pats will crush NY...

A fool's errand, Rudy. Better to discuss slip covers with your wife. That way when you're flat out wrong you don't embarrass yourself with the other hunters.

Posted by: spd rdr at January 29, 2008 09:55 AM

R. Kipling,

I may be wrong, but it seems to me that a sense of humor goes a long way towards the longevity and success of a relationship.

If you can not find a little humor in the perceived differences in the thoughts and actions of men and women, you might find that the row you hoe in life is quite long and miserable.

Stiff upper lip! Eh what?

Or what Monsieur Rdr said.

Best regards,

Posted by: bthun at January 29, 2008 10:03 AM

TLB watched this and told me I have eight boxes and five of them are nothing boxes! Heh! Methinks she knows me too well!

The other three? A fishing box, a food & drink box, and a sexual predator box! Woo-Hoo!

Posted by: JHD at January 29, 2008 10:19 AM

I will never forget the breakthrough moment in my marriage. I was sitting on the couch one day, no book, TV off, and just sitting there. My wife comes in the room and looks at me (though I didn't notice) and asks me what I'm thinking about. And I said "Nothing." Which was literally true, I had the brain in neutral and was basically vegging out.
She says "Seriously, what's wrong?"
Well... after finally calming her down that I was not in fact mad at her (or anything else), I explained, "Sometimes, I just kind of shut down and don't really think about anything."
She gives me a blank look.
"Don't you ever do that?" I ask.
"NO!"
I am seriously suprised at this, so I ask "Wait... you're thinking constantly while you're awake?!?"
And of course, she says yes.
I ask, "Doesn't that wear you out?" And the light goes on.



All the time previous to that conversation, she was CONVINCED when I said I was thinking about nothing, she thought I was mad, or bottling something up inside (you know, like she is doing when I ask her what's wrong and she says "nothing"). But at that moment, she realized that I REALLY meant I was not thinking about anything at all.



Since that day, we really do avoid many miscommunications. She might ask me something, and I don't quite process it. Instead of assuming that I was ignoring her, she now knows that my brain was out of gear and I need to shift back in before I can actually answer. And it works out much better now.



I am NOT saying "all men are X and all women are Y", I am saying that "I am X and my wife is Y" and the rest of the crazy world can jump off a bridge, since I only need to understand one woman (not that I really do, but I've got a better grasp than I used to).

Posted by: MikeD at January 29, 2008 10:37 AM

Exactly, bthun :p

For me, the big takeaway on that was that (in general) guys tend more to compartmentalize and view things as distinct events (i.e., not necessarily connected) whereas we ladies tend to see everything as this big old web of interrelated events where everything relates to everything else in a confusing way that makes perfect sense to us, but often leaves guys going... "Huh"?

Not that guys are dumb for not viewing things this way. That's the wrong way to look at it.

It's that we attach subjective emotional significance to events in our lives (and furthermore, we *really* want to know what subjective emotional significance YOU attach to the same events). So we start quizzing you about this crap, and then we get pissed off when we find out your memories of these same events aren't at ALL the same :p

Because OBVIOUSLY THIS MEANS YOU DON'T CARE (waaaahhhh!!!!) ABOUT US OUR 'THE RELATIONSHIP'! :)

I can tell you right now that I have been guilty of falling into that way of thinking. But if you explain that someone is thinking another way (which I have also thought - men and women aren't TOTALLY different) then I can say, "Oh. Now I get it."

I may not like it. But I get it. And I'm OK with that. All I ever wanted was to understand, and the way it was explained to me (because guys are not always so good about explaining feelings or the way they think) didn't really do it.

I understand this is a simplistic metaphor. My brain isn't really a seething mass of hormones and emotions.

Guess what? I box some things off too. That is why I can recognize it when I see it - it's not my preferred way of dealing with things, but it happens to be how I deal with painful emotions sometimes, or how I deal with stuff when I know I can't cry, so I totally get how a guy would do that.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 29, 2008 10:43 AM

Mike, that is so true.

We often think you guys are being evasive (and sometimes you are) when often you are just being men. That's because your behavior is incomprehensible to us. My husband has told me (and I really appreciated this) that sometimes I just wear him out. He loves the fact that I interest him and excite him, but also sometimes he needs down time.

I love that he told me that, though being human I was hurt for a moment. I didn't understand how stressed he gets by his job. I didn't understand his need not to have to think. About ANYTHING. AT ALL. Because I love to think. But I was glad he was honest with me. What makes me crazy is evasiveness, because then I don't understand what I did wrong. Tell me what I did wrong unemotionally and I will bend over backwards to change. I may be hurt for a moment, but I am reasonable and I don't hold grudges because I get annoyed too.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 29, 2008 10:50 AM

All the time previous to that conversation, she was CONVINCED when I said I was thinking about nothing, she thought I was mad, or bottling something up inside (you know, like she is doing when I ask her what's wrong and she says "nothing"). But at that moment, she realized that I REALLY meant I was not thinking about anything at all.

That ought to be bronzed somewhere.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 29, 2008 10:56 AM

There is more to this stuff than just stereotypes. My wife and I went to a one man broadway show called something something Caveman or another. It was a lot about relationships and the differences between men and women. It explained the differences a little differently, but no worse. Men hunt (one box). Women gather (the inter-related connections and storing information with emotion) - a lot.

So men go to a social outing, talk with other men for hours. Wife and husband go home. Wife tells you about the other couples relationships, problems with their kids, how they would solve a problem you are having. She asks you -- what did you talk about. Answer -- nothing. I guess who would win the Super Bowl. Unless you went hunting for something -- Bob's advice on how to fix the car, e.g. -- you weren't recording the conversation. Women - always gathering.

That one show has helped Mrs. KJ and KJ communicate. She will say to me as we head to a function, remember to gather something for me. Or decide now what information you want to hunt. So you can talk about something on the way home.

I like the box/wire ball analogy myself.

Posted by: KJ at January 29, 2008 11:00 AM

I love that he told me that, though being human I was hurt for a moment. I didn't understand how stressed he gets by his job. I didn't understand his need not to have to think. About ANYTHING. AT ALL. Because I love to think. But I was glad he was honest with me. What makes me crazy is evasiveness, because then I don't understand what I did wrong. Tell me what I did wrong unemotionally and I will bend over backwards to change. I may be hurt for a moment, but I am reasonable and I don't hold grudges because I get annoyed too.



I can honestly say, when I have been angry with my wife, if it's important to me, I tell her I'm upset and why. If I am angry over something minor (or clearly unintentional on her part) I merely go somewhere else in the house for the few minutes (like 5-10) it takes me to get over it, then come back. If she noticed and asks me what's wrong, I tell her I was upset (and if it's unlikely to make HER angry, the why I was upset) but that I'm over it now.



One of the better traits I inherited from my mother is not the ability to get REALLY mad REALLY quickly (which I did), but the ability to get over something just as quickly. I really do not hold grudges. A terrible memory assists with that. Literally, I cannot recall what was the last thing, big or small, that I was angry with my wife about... it just is not there in the memory banks anymore.



I can't speak for all men, but I personally am not that evasive. I'm a terrible liar (as in, it's painfully obvious I'm lying), so avoiding direct questions has never worked for me. Instead, I just couch things gently if they're likely to hurt feelings, but I do get to the heart of the matter pretty well.

Posted by: MikeD at January 29, 2008 11:55 AM

That is hilarious! And yes, MikeD’s words should be bronzed somewhere.

Had a classic textbook example of this yesterday. Rec’d an email from the wife of a CO. One of his men is a patient in Germany and does not appear to be getting proper care.

I call her up and as she’s relating the story from the patient’s wife I realize what’s happened, using my handy-dandy male-female language translator combined with my knowledge of the facilities and experience with these situations.

I tell the CO’s wife I can call her Marine, but he’s not gonna like it.

She wants me to call him and make sure everything’s ok.

So I call the guy, introduce myself, and tell him why I’m calling. To break the ice, I tell him not to be surprised if the next call he gets is from the Commandant ;-)

He’s hating this, but before he can get started I interrupt and say I’m going to tell him exactly what happened.

“So, when you told your wife there’s nobody there, it’s because for you – as a Marine – those three Army guys at the front desk are “nobody”, right?”

He gives a snarky laugh.

“But for your wife, that means you are in a medical facility WITHOUT STAFF.”

Silence.

The convo goes on in this vein until he finally, weakly says, “Please… you gotta do some damage control for me.”

I agreed, on the condition that he promises not to be mad at his wife.

He will be, of course. But heck, at least I tried!

Posted by: MaryAnn at January 29, 2008 04:10 PM

My wife's father, sadly deceased this last summer, was an engineer. Not just an engineer, an aerospace engineer. To be an engineer, and especially in a precision field, is to train the male functions of the brain to their highest degree. (Women engineers? I'd say they have to do the same thing: to train their brain to think according to what are normally male patterns. I'd say male models, but I don't want to lose Sly.)

I've often been grateful to him for the upbringing he gave her. They fought like cats and dogs all the time she was a girl and a young woman; but she and I have no problems at all. Never have. Because she learned to live with him as a girl, I'm easy.

Yeah, even me. :)

Posted by: Grim at January 29, 2008 11:31 PM

1. Engineers are *not* easy to live with. I know :)

My Dad is one, God love the man.

2. I suspect that you, my friend, are easier than you'd have us believe. I like to argue with you, and you occasionally infuriate and confusicate me, but I also know you to be a kind and good man and a wonderful friend.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 29, 2008 11:36 PM

3. None of this is to take away from your good lady, who I also suspect is a very fine woman.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 29, 2008 11:36 PM

She is that. :)

Posted by: Grim at January 30, 2008 01:13 AM

"I'd say male models, but I don't want to lose Sly.)"

And I was being so good....

>;~}

Posted by: Sly2017 at January 30, 2008 02:22 AM

And I was being so good....

>;~}
Then can you explain what happened to Mongo who has not been seen nor heard from since making a beer delivery to your address? =:-D

Posted by: bthun at January 30, 2008 09:12 AM

What a load of sexist claptrap! Sure, men can think about nothing; plenty of women do it too.

I think that Zone of Non-Contemplation is related to the Zen Kon saying and teaching that "If you meet the Buddha, kill the Buddha. If you meet your father, kill your father. Live your life as you have been given".

If we take it as granted that women are multi-taskers through genetics because of the hunter-gatherer dichotomy and that men are specialists in things such as hunting, then putting yourself in the Sniper zone or into so intense a concentration that you are literally aware of nothing else could have been an advantage in hunter-gatherer societies. I also heard that you shouldn't look straight at an animal when stalking it, due to various reasons. That also is a sort of make believe "act as if nothing but you exists". Staying stealthy and quiet in the woods or on the ground with bugs crawling over you and what not, could have gained quite a lot of advantage from being able to "think of nothing, live your life as it is". Anything else could make you too anxious and nervous to hunt effectively.

The intense concentration required to learn tasks well required the blocking out of anything else. In a fight to the death, one can't think about living or dying, family, or friends. One can only think about killing the enemy and feeling the enemy dying. Feeling fear or feeling anger could all be distractions that could end in death and defeat.

This is also something that might be used for guards, watching the night darkness. Or Marines guarding an embassy. It takes a certain kind of mentality to be able to ignore distractions and going into daydreaming. Thus being able to think of nothing and just repeat a certain number of actions without any kind of conscious decision, such as fishing or being vigilant, would have been a great advantage for guards of a hunter-gatherer camp as well.

Hunters don't need to remember much at all consciously. A lot of the needed skills is remembered through muscle memory, not through a conscious recall of the mind. All they need to do is to live in the moment. No fear for the future, no nostalgia over the past, and no eagerness over the kill that might give the game away.

What a load of sexist claptrap! Sure, men can think about nothing; plenty of women do it too.

So to get to the point, women can adopt the same thinking style or methods. But men have been genetically programmed to excell at thinking about nothing. Zenn Buddhism preached such beliefs as being the path to enlightenment or Nirvana or something better. Without the history of hunter-gatherer societies or warrior societies, the Zen saying of living in the present and killing your emotions for all and sundry, doesn't make much sense. Since this makes you more animal like and disables your higher thinking functions, in addition to human compassion and empathy.

"A is always like this, B is always like that" is no basis for relationship management, in my view.

The search for truth is never about, and never should be about, managing relationships. Since the search for truth or perceptions of truth is a fundamental keystone of comedy, comedy isn't much interested in solving relationship problems either.

(because guys are not always so good about explaining feelings or the way they think)

Unless those men are psychotherapists, they don't usually give much thought to psychology, psychological warfare or not.

That is why I can recognize it when I see it - it's not my preferred way of dealing with things, but it happens to be how I deal with painful emotions sometimes, or how I deal with stuff when I know I can't cry, so I totally get how a guy would do that.

I think most people know or at least have a hint that they learn best when concentrating. But when you are concentrating, you also tend to get this tunnel vision effect. Men seem to have a tendency to concentrate on what they find of interest, more than might be attributed simply to an interest in learning or a conscious decision to concentrate. They just do it automatically. It is not that they can't multi-task, it is just that their brain picks up what you say, shuffles it into a box, priorities which box is most important in the immediate circumstance, and settles on the game being watched or the finances or whatever. The boxes aren't connected, so the memory of you asking him a question just disappears. Until he opens up that compartment that is. This helps when concentrating because if your boxes don't touch, you don't have to waste time thinking about or considering stuff that you normally don't need for the task you are engaged in right now.

There's an actual negative emotion people feel when their concentration is broken by something outside their field of view or thought. Probably due to the fact that if you broke someone's concentration in hunter-gatherer days, they would usually get injured or die. Many things people did back then, even farming, was totally dangerous if you lost your concentration at the wrong moment.

People who got sidetracked by new stuff over the horizon instead of paying attention to that wheat shredder, tend to get shredded.

The gatherer portion of the hunter-gatherer societies are an interesting background for men and women. Due to the fact that gatherers needed to know how many berries and what not could feed how many men, women, and children over how many days of winter and/or drought. So women are motivated in using emotion and caring to ensure that they don't forget something that might seem trivial to another person that is only worried about killing a specific target in the now.

With the advent of mechanized warfare or organized warfare, men needed to be capable of building and maintaining logistics. I think half the reason why so many armies died due to logistical problems is because they didn't employ women as quartermasters.

It took a rare leader to be capable of understanding that yes, logistics are ever bit as important as tactics.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at January 30, 2008 11:50 AM

All I got was the "gram" -- Mongo (the sot) drank the beer before he got here. Once here, he ate all the guacamole (Sorry, Carrie) and then proceeded to, um....*recycle* the beer down the pipe in the corner (Just don't tell the Princess -- she thinks she was fixing a water leak.) before passing out with all the pointy hats on his hands and feet.

Posted by: Sly2017 at January 30, 2008 11:57 AM

Guess what? I box some things off too. That is why I can recognize it when I see it - it's not my preferred way of dealing with things...

Ditto--I'm capable of ruthless logic at times, and can compartmentalize when I must, but this video explained so much for me. I am definitely mostly of the "female mind" that never shuts down, that is constantly making connections between things, and that stores everything with emotional content. Like the guy on the video says, it never shuts down. Never stops. And something that I discovered when I saw that is that what I love about my close male friends/boyfriends is that interacting with them slows down that spinning in my mind.

That's the greatest gift of an S.O. for many women, I suspect--the ability of their men to put them in the moment and quiet the mind (usually through physical affection, haha!).

Posted by: FbL at January 30, 2008 12:36 PM

I ask, "Doesn't that wear you out?" And the light goes on.

It does. LOL

Posted by: FbL at January 30, 2008 12:38 PM

"...interacting with them slows down that spinning in my mind...."

But the real question there is, does that interaction result in commuter bus silence?
Inquiring minds want to know.....

>;~}

Posted by: Snarkammando at January 30, 2008 02:31 PM

Brat!

Posted by: FbL at January 31, 2008 12:31 AM

Huh? What? Oh yeah... The Day by Day strip today kinda nailed the topic! =8-}

Posted by: bthun at January 31, 2008 01:01 PM

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