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August 02, 2013

Day Late, Dollar Short...

...still, this is hysterical:

CWCID: the Spousal Unit

Posted by Cassandra at August 2, 2013 08:34 AM

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OK, I cannot believe none of you have commented on this :)

Posted by: Cass at August 2, 2013 12:31 PM

Can't see it at work.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at August 2, 2013 01:32 PM

Well, it's not very funny to those who have dealt with it (I might not date, but I do have two sisters). It is funny that women are supposed to be more emphatic, more in tune with other's emotions, but can't seem to notice how much this annoys the men they are talking to.......

Posted by: Robert M Mitchell Jr. at August 2, 2013 01:58 PM

Well, it's not very funny to those who have dealt with it (I might not date, but I do have two sisters). It is funny that women are supposed to be more emphatic, more in tune with other's emotions, but can't seem to notice how much this annoys the men they are talking to

Men are not always easy to read - they're not exactly famous for emotional displays.

Men and women who aren't taught any better (or whose parents/spouses tolerate too much nonsense) are inconsiderate in different ways, but they're both pretty clueless about other people's feelings.

I have never thought that either masculinity or femininity in their raw forms were particularly virtuous. It's the way culture shapes and influences them that determines whether they are positive or negative.

In nature, there are plenty of female animals who don't nurture (or even attack) their young and the beta/gamma/omega males that the pickup artists like to yammer on about. So it's pretty obvious that all this stuff that is supposed to be "hard wired" into men and women isn't all that hard wired.

Annoying and inconsiderate people of either sex are best avoided. There are too many worthwhile ones around to waste time with people who are vexations to the spirit. That said, I still think this was very funny.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 2, 2013 04:12 PM

Sure, but the "Just listen, she doesn't want you to try and solve the problem" is so common, as advice, and real world moments, that your video was made, and was quite popular. It spoke to the human condition. And women have been bragging about the "empathy" thing for years, making their lack of empathy quite funny, just like we laugh at old TelePrompter for his empty bragging......

Posted by: Robert M Mitchell Jr. at August 2, 2013 05:22 PM

I'm glad that I saved that for the end of this otherwise crummy day. What can I say? They nailedit.

Posted by: spd rdr at August 2, 2013 05:43 PM

When I finished laughing, I emailed this to my wife of 40 years. I will pay for that.

Posted by: Lonny at August 2, 2013 07:39 PM

I think this is hilarious and don't see it as a male/female thing at all, perhaps because I've usually been the one trying to fix things. Either this kind of thing isn't hard-wired based on gender or my wiring is fried. :+)

Posted by: Elise at August 2, 2013 10:18 PM

I guess I just don't get it. My reaction would be to just get up and leave, because she obviously needs professional help.

What exactly am I missing here?

Posted by: Rex at August 2, 2013 11:02 PM

Rex,
With respect, you appear to not have had much experience with female human creatures.
While I can't claim to be senior around these parts, I have been married for nearly 30 years (betting line is open on whether it carries through the next anniversary).

News flash, it is frequently true that when a woman is complaining about something, she is often simply seeking sympathy and/or moral support, not a specific solution for the issue at hand.

Best Regards,

Posted by: CAPT Mike at August 3, 2013 12:27 AM

As usual, I saw something different in this than a lot of folks, but then I'm kind of weird.

Rex, my interpretation of the video is that it points to the absurdity of some advice commonly given to men by carrying it to the ridiculous extreme.

The advice goes something like this: "When she tries to talk to you about a problem or tell you about her bad day, she's not asking you to "fix" her - she's just venting. She expects you to listen and commiserate, not tell her everything she's doing wrong and how you would have handled it better."

When it's expressed that way (not always the case - several times I've seen it phrased more like, "You big dufus - why can't you be more sensitive to what she *really* needs", which is pretty ironic when you stop to think about it), it's probably not bad advice.

Women often share their frustrations with each other. You get whatever's bothering you out of your system and then you feel better. Typically a female friend will listen, commiserate, maybe share some similar frustration of hers. But we give each other advice too -- all the time, in fact.

I have to kind of agree with Elise, though - I don't see this as being particularly female. One of the first things I learned shortly after getting married was that when my husband told me about something frustrating at work, the absolute WORST thing I could do was offer him advice. If I did, I had to be very careful about how it was phrased, because it got his back up. I can totally understand that - all he really wanted to do was vent a bit. He didn't want to get into a big discussion about what he could have done differently.

Speaking strictly for myself, I think men may get into hot water more for not offering sympathy or commiserating than for offering advice. When men talk to each other, they don't usually commiserate (in fact, guys often josh each other about that kind of thing, which I can't see going over well with a woman since we don't talk to each other the same way). I think most of this is just a dumb way of saying, "Men, you can't talk to most women exactly the way you talk to your male friends."

I've certainly learned I can't talk to my male friends the way I talk to my female ones. Every time I let my guard down and forget, it quickly becomes obvious that I've said the wrong thing.

Anyway, just my take. I've always thought the basic advice wasn't bad, but the idea that only women react that way to being given advice strikes me as pretty delusional. If anything, I've found men to be far more touchy about receiving unsolicited advice than women.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 3, 2013 08:42 AM

To a couple of the points made by the guys, I agree that women "complain" (or simply commiserate) more than men.

It's just how we handle things - it's not right or wrong. If you're a guy, it probably seems disproportionate as men are trained to see complaining or venting as indicative of weakness, whereas most women just see it as, "Life can be irritating, but if you can talk it over or laugh with a friend, you'll see it's not that big a deal after all."

We really don't see the whole "I can't show weakness" thing, because we tend to assume that everyone gets angry, annoyed, or upset about something.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 3, 2013 08:47 AM

What can I say? They nailed it.

Pppphhhhttttthhhh :)

Posted by: Cassandra at August 3, 2013 08:48 AM

I think, Cassandra, men are reluctant to "show weakness" because observation shows, when it comes to women dealing with men, "familiarity breeds contempt". Not deliberately, but note that women's porn ("Romance Novels") is filled with strong, silent men with a "mysterious" past. I can't think of one with "A man not afraid to share his feelings!", anymore then I can think of a Lad's mag filled with women with good personalities.....

Posted by: Robert M Mitchell Jr. at August 3, 2013 01:55 PM

One of the women who writes books about male/female communication styles told the following story on herself...loosely paraphrased:

She: The car won't start!

Husband: That must be very unpleasant for you.

She: I have this big meeting I have to get to.

He: I know it's really frustrating when you have to be somewhere and can't get there.

She: It has plenty of gas, and it's turning over okay

He: So difficult to diagnose car problems these days, I can see why a complicated mechanical problem like that would make you upset

She: WOULD YOU JUST HELP ME GET THE #%#@% CAR STARTED

Posted by: david foster at August 3, 2013 10:20 PM

First off, let me apologize for my anger during one of the discussions a few days ago.

My take on this. It's not a male/female thing per se. It's a spouse thing. Sometimes the only truly safe place to vent is at home.

Posted by: Allen at August 4, 2013 01:03 AM

I thought this was hysterical and immediately got my husband to watch it, too. I think he was almost afraid to laugh at it in front of me: I had to give him very clear signals that it was a good joke at my expense, which he was expected to join. I have a feeling it will be coming up the next time I do the "you're not listening to me" thing. Maybe it will lighten us both up when we're at loggerheads!

Posted by: Texan99 at August 4, 2013 09:11 AM

OK, so I laughed at David's story, but it also made me think a bit.

I think there's a difference between telling people how things they say or do make you feel, and laying down inflexible rules for interacting with you.

I often don't understand my husband's reactions unless he explains them to me because his experiences are different than mine, his personality is different than mine, and on top of everything else he's male and I'm female. All three of those things come into play when we have misunderstandings.

Men have just as many (or so it seems to me) expectations or desires about how they want women to interact with them. For instance, women are often very comfortable multitasking. So if we're watching TV and someone talks to us, we're often perfectly happy to stop watching and talk. Of course there are exceptions (you're really interested in something and not just idly channel surfing). But I've noticed that guys can get just as ticked off at being interrupted when they're not even really paying attention to the TV. I can only interpret it as some kind of "alone time" thing. It doesn't make sense to me, but it doesn't really have to - it just "is".

If a man watches a lot of TV, it's really pretty unreasonable to expect his wife never to talk to him when the TV is on. It's rude, really. But if he really enjoys certain shows, it's rude for her to expect his undivided attention, too. There has to be a balance.

If the woman had laid down the "law" about how she wants her husband to react, David's scenario makes perfect sense. The husband follows her dictat even when he knows darned well that's not what she wants, but he doesn't do it to be nasty. It's an object lesson.

On the otter heiny, I'd be more than a bit worried about a guy who responded that way all the time - that smacks of being passive aggressive or vindictive (you told me something I don't like, so I'll get even with you by being obtuse). I think the intent matters. I've got no problem with gently making a point when your partner's being unreasonable or dictatorial - and women as well as men can definitely get that way if they're not gently shown the other person won't take it.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 4, 2013 11:26 AM

Sometimes the only truly safe place to vent is at home.

Amen, Allen :)

And your apology, though gracious, was not needed. I apologize if something I wrote made you angry. I feel that way all the time, so I'd be the last one to take offense when others respond the way I have so often done. We discuss a lot of rather fraught topics here. I'm often amazed it doesn't end badly more often than the rare times when things get overheated.

That's a real testiment to all of you.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 4, 2013 11:31 AM

Robert:

Quite a lot there for such a short comment! A few thoughts:

I think, Cassandra, men are reluctant to "show weakness" because observation shows, when it comes to women dealing with men, "familiarity breeds contempt".

Not to be a broken record, but do you really think that's not something that cuts both ways? Another lesson I learned early in our marriage is that, though I can be more open with my husband than with anyone else, there are limits. I can't speak for all women, but it's actually harder for me to keep my guard up with someone I care for. I think this is true for many women, and it causes problems in relationships because men often respond very negatively to a woman opening herself up too much.

I think it makes many men feel pressured, even when there's no expectation on the woman's part. Sometimes there is, but often women respond to men the way they would to a female friend and it almost always backfires, big time. I've gotten along well with men my whole life, but I have also learned that things go much better when I keep my guard up constantly, and that grieves me. But if you care about someone, it can't be just about you and your feelings - it's also about the other person.

Not deliberately, but note that women's porn ("Romance Novels") is filled with strong, silent men with a "mysterious" past.

Yes, but as men love to say, porn is fantasy. It's not necessarily reflective of what people want in real life. At least I hope it's not, because porn is heavily laced with violence towards or degradation/humiliation of women. If that's what men really want - women who will let any man do anything he wants to her - then the human race has some really big problems.

I don't read Romance novels, but I very much doubt that many women really want a silent, uncommunicative man any more than (I hope) most men want women who more closely resemble human doormats than human beings.

I can't think of one with "A man not afraid to share his feelings!", anymore then I can think of a Lad's mag filled with women with good personalities.....

How many Romance novels have you read, though? I've read very few, but a strong theme in Romance novels is that the man starts out strong, silent, and uncommunicative. But as he falls for the woman, he changes, subtly; becoming more tender and more open.

I had to laugh at the whole 50 Shades of Gray thing. Do you know what happens at the end of that series? I haven't read it (and have no desire to) but it starts with the "hero" enjoying inflicting pain on women.

And it ends with him realizing that that's not the way relationships were meant to be. He begins by treating her like a 'thing' he controls (and whose only purpose is pleasing him) and by the end of the series (at least from what I've read) he learns to moderate his temper and his weird control issues.

So if it's a "fantasy", it's classic 'love has the power to transform people', not 'find an uncommunicative man and you'll be happy'.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 4, 2013 12:45 PM

I rather think you are arguing my point Cassandra. In both cases, romance novels/50 Shades of Gray, the relationship ends when the man changes, becomes more tender and open. Time to get a new book/man......

Posted by: Robert M Mitchell Jr. at August 4, 2013 01:35 PM

I thought your original point was that we somehow know what women "really want" from looking at the heroes of Romance novels?

The relationship *doesn't* end when the man opens up in Romance novels - that's the happy ending (otherwise known as "and they lived happily ever after). I've never seen a single Romance novel where the women dumps the hero once he starts acting more open.

If I'm wrong (I'm hardly an expert on the genre), I'll be happy to accept correction. But I don't think I am. Has anyone ever read a Romance novel where the woman falls in love with the strong, silent type but ditches him when he opens up to her?

Posted by: Cassandra at August 4, 2013 03:49 PM

I think the classic fantasy is that the man is closed off initially, or to the world in general, but opens up specially for her, at least in a pinch. See, e.g., Fitzwilliam Darcy.

I imagine women do somewhat prefer, or at least tolerate, a little more closed-offness in a man than they would want or expect in a girlfriend, but it's deadly if it's too extreme or unrelieved. It's great to act all manly and silent when you're disarming the mugger, not when you're supporting her at her father's funeral or after her miscarriage. And it's not necessarily a good idea to pretend you can get through your own father's funeral or her miscarriage without a single evident feeling, either.

If you really get hold of a woman who seems to want you to open up but dumps you for another opaque jerk when you do, you're better off letting her get far away. Either there's something really wrong with her or the two of you were utterly incompatible and just didn't realize it at first because you were totally hidden from each other. Might as well find out early on.

Posted by: Texan99 at August 4, 2013 06:50 PM

Well, I do understand women venting about their work day, but I've never taken my wife's venting to mean she wants proposed solutions from me! ( We'll have been married 44 years this fall.) Maybe that's because our jobs were always so different--she is a public school teacher turned principal turned central office administrator turned school superintendent, while I was an active duty Marine officer and then lawyer.

And I did once hear that any woman can be laid if you're willing to listen to her complain until 4 o'clock in the morning!

Posted by: Rex at August 4, 2013 10:36 PM

It's funny - I used to think that men and women were far more different than I do now. What I've gradually come to believe over the years is that we're more alike than we are different in our basic nature, but that there's an outward difference in emphasis, style, whatever you want to call it.

Most things that are reputed to bother men or women actually bother most people. Men tend to bristle more at any perceived lack of respect than women do and they tend to be more sensitive to their place in the old pecking order. But this is, I think, more a difference of degree than substance.

The feminists like to go on and on about The Patriarchy and its rigid hierarchical structure, but groups of women sort themselves exactly the same way as groups of men: there are leaders, those who attach themselves to leaders, followers, and people who always seem to fall to the bottom. It's just that men are more direct in the way they maintain or establish that order than women are so we notice it more. That can cause problems at home - it's fairly axiomatic among military wives that the guys come home from work and bark out orders and I haven't seen too many wives who don't respond by saying something along the lines of, "Look honey, I know you do that all day but I'm not a 2nd Lieutenant. Our jobs may differ, but I don't work for you."

Likewise, women are reputed to be all about cooperation and consensus, but civilization would never have come about if men weren't awfully good at these things, too. It's just that women are more direct about the need for cooperation/consensus in their social dealings than men are, so we notice it more. Again, I really think this is more a difference of degree than substance. As several commenters have pointed out, women can be appallingly insensitive at times, too. And men often don't get credit for the times when are considerate or patient or kind.

Mixed in with all of this is culture - the formal coping mechanisms that get passed from generation to generation. In some parts of the world, men are considerably more "feminine" in their outward behavior and manners than American men. That's culture, and being that way probably had some survival value in that context. Some societies have very rigid gender roles and some have very fluid ones.

You can't look at how hormones affect behavior and not conclude that there are some very real differences between men and women, but I tend to think they're more an overlay or influence. Lots of studies show that hormones actually adapt to circumstances. Testosterone levels in men increase in response to threats/competition and throttle back when circumstances demand gentleness (when a man marries or has small children). I've experience the surge in estrogen that accompanies childbirth and nursing, and it definitely affected my behavior. We are actually wired for adaptivity, I think. We're seeing women behave in ways that once would have seemed improbable because the incentives have changed and women's behaviors have changed with them.

Just look at the difference between a well socialized dog and an unsocialized one. The socialized dog tends to be friendly, affectionate, helpful, protective of owners and small children, and cooperative. The unsocialized dog can be savage, aggressive, etc. You can train a dog to be either, really - even well tempered breeds can be trained to be aggressive if they're abused or mistreated.

I've been very interested to see how my own behavior and thinking changed when I transitioned from being a FT wife/mother to being a FT worker. Who I am didn't change - it's more that various circumstances bring out different aspects of my behavior. They call for different responses, but don't change my essential nature. Or maybe our essential natures are simply fluid to begin with?

I've often thought that a lot of the misunderstandings and miscues between men and women occur because we don't recognize each other's signals. We're socialized so differently, and then there's the overlay of hormones that are there to make sure we play our allotted roles in perpetuating the species. But we're living so much longer after our children are grown, and that complicates things. The traditional gender roles work so well during the child rearing years, but are less well suited to the 35-40 years after the kids have flown the coop, and so we adjust.

Posted by: Cass at August 5, 2013 07:27 AM

I would have liked the end of the video to be the guy reaching over and yanking the nail out and the woman demanding he give it back.

I've found men to be far more touchy about receiving unsolicited advice than women.

Much more so.

What seems to be different is in what qualifies as "unsolicited". To us, this lady's complaint seems very much a solicitation for advice, because when a guy does it, it would be. But she's sees his advice as unsolicited.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at August 5, 2013 01:11 PM

To us, this lady's complaint seems very much a solicitation for advice, because when a guy does it, it would be. But she's sees his advice as unsolicited.

That's a great point, Yu-Ain.

I've noticed something vaguely similar with guys - they mention a frustrating experience, and (because that's what we would do with the female friend) woman instinctively offer sympathy. It's not offered b/c we think less of the man, but because that's what would make us feel better.

And I think sympathy actually does comfort men to some extent. I've heard countless guys say one of the things they like about women is that they *can* let down their guard a bit without being told to 'man up'. But there's also a bit of mixed feelings, because society trains men not to talk about feelings or show vulnerability.

Unless a man is passive or acts weak all the time, most women don't interpret the occasional venting as weakness. I tend to think men who can admit the odd doubt, insecurity, or frustration as being far more secure and confident than men who can't.

I have to agree with Tex that I don't want a man who emotes over *everything*, but frankly I can't deal with women who do that, either. My female friends have almost uniformly been very independent, self sufficient people. Women who are always verklempt about something completely wear me out mentally :p

Posted by: Cassandra at August 6, 2013 05:43 AM

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