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May 23, 2012

Double Entendre of the Day

Women and their incessant, unreasonable demands:

Time: Of all the things we talk about women wanting, time with their spouse is it. The vast majority of women in happy relationships get 30 minutes of uninterrupted time with their husbands each day. Twenty-four percent of women who claim to be in unhappy relationships spend fewer than five minutes a day with their spouses.

Ask yourself, “How much time do I spend with my spouse?” Uninterrupted time means time spent without iPhones and Blackberrys, a conversation with nothing else on.

We can dream, n'est pas?

Update: Of course in some circles this sort of thing is viewed as evidence of matriarchal oppression (video at 5:14).

Kind Gestures: Hugs, kisses, unexpected telephone calls to say ‘I love you.’ Simple things. I suggest five touch points a day for one week – any kind gesture that takes 30 seconds or less. If a man can do this for his partner for one week, both will be amazed at how much better they feel in the relationship.

I loved the part in the middle of the article about the need for women not to temper their appetite for conversation to their husbands' lower tolerance for it. I have trouble with that one still.

If only there were a way to have a happy marriage without ever having to think about the other person's needs, what a wonderful world that would be.

Somewhere out there, such a perfect woman is waiting for Bill Maher :p

Posted by Cassandra at May 23, 2012 08:03 AM

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The Bill Maher video you linked to is interesting. He's not really going after women particularly, but after men: as he tells the one female interlocutor, he's not asking for women to change but for men to speak the truth.

That's pretty good advice. It's my impression that women hate it when men lie to them to avoid short-term fights: that's what gives rise to divorce in the long term.

There is a lot to dislike in the current culture, and much of it is the fault of men who assume the attitude he describes out of a desire to avoid the fight (or just the 'long discussion'). If it really is important to a man not to have to check in constantly on the road -- if that makes him feel infantile or 'under the thumb' -- then he really should say so. This mutual understanding of needs is a two-way street.

I have no problem telling my wife that I'm going off on the motorcycle, and that she should expect me when she sees me; she knows that's just something I need to do now and then. Men need a walkabout once in a while. I don't do anything improper, I just need to go see the country. It probably comes from some deep-buried instinct inherited from the long hunters of the Prehistoric era; who knows? I just need to go once in a while, with no plan and no specific direction, and I'll be back in a day or three or whenever.

That works because she knows she can trust me, which comes from the fact that I don't lie to her to avoid the fights. It ends up building the kind of trust that can license adventures that Maher's friends apparently can simply never take, because they're so afraid of upsetting a wife who already doesn't trust them. Since they lie to her constantly, she's right not to trust them!

As for my wife, she doesn't have the same need to go walkabout, but she needs other things. She lets me know what they are, and I try to give them to her as well as I can. We'll be married thirteen years next month. It's been pretty pleasant.

So I'd put this one down to the stopped-clock theory: Maher, not usually right about anything, may really be right about this.

Posted by: Grim at May 23, 2012 12:36 PM

I'm glad you liked it! I thought it was interesting too.

He makes some good points, but ruins them by some spectacularly bad reasoning. For instance, I agree with you that men tend to duck confrontations with women and you're correct in your feeling that this makes women distrust them.

I know it has that effect on me. One of the more illuminating conversations I had with my husband years ago ended with me telling him that I would much prefer he tell me something I don't want to hear or don't like than stifle it (which invariably leaves me madder than I would possibly be in reaction to whatever the heck it is he thought would upset me so much!).

It ends up building the kind of trust that can license adventures that Maher's friends apparently can simply never take, because they're so afraid of upsetting a wife who already doesn't trust them. Since they lie to her constantly, she's right not to trust them!

I agree. I had to laugh when Maher was going on about how his friends' wives thought he was a bad influence. My husband's oldest and best friend never married. When we first got married, I urged him to take trips to see his friend many, many times - to keep the friendship alive. I did that because I trusted him AND I trusted his friend, who has become dear to me as well over these many years.

Maher went off the rails a few places, though. First was when he was going on and on about how "no one" can say things like "Men are more spiritually developed than women". That has to be the dumbest thing I've ever heard - men say derogatory things about women all the time! (and women often agree with them, just like Michael Moore has obviously bought into some pretty messed up attitudes about his own sex.

People notice things selectively and then go on to construct grandiose theories about how whatever cherry picked evidence they've managed to get their Hanes Ultrasheers in a twist about is some sort of pervasive cultural phenomenon.

What bothered me about the Maher video is that he's projecting his feelings onto other men who may or may not feel the same way he does. Obviously he doesn't want to be married (and listening to him talk, I'd say that's a net positive). But why the snotty, insulting interpretation of why married men act as though they're actually in a relationship with another human being?

Does he seriously think women don't make the same accommodations for their husbands? Because we do.

We bite back all sorts of thoughts out of consideration for how they will be perceived. We often modify our behavior out of a perfectly reasonable awareness that men are different from women, just as men in happy marriages learn to do the same thing.

Are we pitiful losers? I don't think so. I think any relationship requires mutual respect and consideration, and people who can't or won't bend, don't stay married or are miserably unhappy. Having to accommodate (within reason) another person is the "price" of being in a relationship. That's why some military wives - like me - don't much mind deployments.

They give us a chance to live our lives the way we would if we didn't have to take our husband's wishes and needs into consideration.

Posted by: Cassandra at May 23, 2012 03:24 PM

I thought Maher was going to be talking about something different than he ended up talking about, based on the phrase "making women nod." To my mind that brought up the image of when I've seen clips online of the Oprah show, or the View, in which the audience and the women on stage are all nodding together.

There's a certain orthodoxy that gives rise to that communal nodding, which is really a physical expression of group endorsement of the idea being offered. It takes a lot of courage to stand up alone against a group who are physically endorsing an opinion or an argument you think is wrong.

That the men he knows don't tell the truth to their wives means they surely wouldn't have the guts to tell the truth to the View. They're going to say what will make the room nod.

Now, Maher didn't go down that road at all, but it's sort of in the same direction. It has to do with courage, and speaking the truth. We need more people to have the courage to go against what makes the room nod.

Posted by: Grim at May 23, 2012 03:58 PM

Maher didn't go down that road at all, but it's sort of in the same direction. It has to do with courage, and speaking the truth. We need more people to have the courage to go against what makes the room nod.

I agree with you there.... which is why I try to find topics where I'm not going to be moo-ing along with the herd. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but unless I can think of a different angle, people who write 4 or 5 posts a day will have covered it to death by the time I get around to figuring out what I think :p

Where he equates masculinity with standing up for or telling the truth, that's a message I agree with.

Where he seems to equate masculinity with being a self-absorbed jerk who takes pride in, not so much. I've written about this kind of apologetics before, and it doesn't impress me. If he wants to go his own way and be all "mavericky", good on him. I won't denigrate his choices.

So why the contempt for men who choose marriage and family? How on earth does he think he got here? Parthenogenesis???

As I was listening to him, I had a sudden memory of sitting in my mother in law's kitchen about 4 months after my father in law passed away.

The radio was playing a Stevie Wonder song. Now my mother in law is not a big Stevie Wonder fan, but all of a sudden tears welled up in her eyes and she said, "Oh. I love this song."

"Really?", I said. "That surprises me."

It was then that she told me of the time my father in law, a rather taciturn and undemonstrative man, called her in the middle of the day from his office. When she picked up the phone, he started singing to her:

"I just called to say I love you."

After my husband got back from Iraq the first time, he started calling me when he left work, or sometimes (not often) just for no reason at all. This was a big change - for most of our marriage I never asked or expected him to let me know where he was, or even to think of me during the work day. And I'm still fine with it if he doesn't do it, though that rarely happens these days. I still don't expect it.

But I can't describe how it makes me feel when I hear his ring tone. It's one of those little things that end up meaning an awful lot.

Posted by: Cassandra at May 23, 2012 05:56 PM