Saturday, February 04, 2006

Gentlemen, I regret to say that both of you are sadly incorrect

Oh, the tragic ditherings of the long-suffering male, in his endless attempt to understand the female. One must empathize. One must feel his pain. And one must pat him kindly on the head and tell him he is wrong. But thank you ever so much for trying.

Sweet little VD, in his noble attempt to talk sense into Gamma boys, takes issue with a well-meaning post by darling Scott Adams, wherein Scott advises all seekers of domestic harmony to agree meekly with their mates.

Scott:

If you want your relationship to have a chance, defer all decisions and interpretations of fact to the person who cares the most. In practice, this will mean that women will make 98% of all the decisions and be “right” 98% of the time. Compared to men, women care more passionately about just about everything.


VD:
...the man who accepts female abuse in pursuit of pleasure will soon find himself left to his own devices.

For the sake of peace and fair-mindedness, I will omit all of VD's personal slurs on the subject of Scott's purported non-attractiveness, on which I have no opinion. I love and admire Scott's work immensely, and, after often mistaking the work for the man in the early years of my career, and regretting it, I am content to leave it there.

I will say, in all fairness, that each of these dear boys holds a portion of the truth. Women do not respect a doormat; and they do not like to have their passionately held opinions steamrollered without a trial. What is missing in both arguments is, first: subtext, and second: subtlety. Not generally a surprise, when dealing with the masculine mind.

The thing is, boys, when a woman holds an opinion on something, and shares it with you, she is sharing a portion of herself. Her taste in home furnishings, her notions on the deeper mysteries of the Holy Spirit and the illusory nature of reality are all a part of her intricate and fluctuating sense of self-identity. Thus, when she expresses an opinion, she is not talking to prove dominance, or to fill up dead air. She is allowing you the privilege of Getting To Know Who She Is. If this woman is your lover, and you want her to stay that way, you had better pay attention. Close attention.

However, only an immature idiot expects her lover to agree with her on all issues; this is horribly boring, and annoying, and frustrating. What she wants is challenge and conversation, superimposed upon a bedrock of mutual harmony and understanding. Thus, the two proposed responses: "yes, dear," and "you have got to be out of your freakin' MIND, bitch," are equally unacceptable. The only difference between the two is that, after the inevitable breakup, she will remain on friendly terms with the former man, and file hostile lawsuits against the latter.

Cases in point: twice in my life, I have handed a man a Very Important Book, with the words, "This book changed my life, and helped to shape the very nature of the way I see reality." (The first time, the book was 'Grace and Grit' by Ken Wilber, and the handee was an emotionally abusive Buddhist monk with whom I was having a long-distance affair; the second time, it was 'The Holographic Universe' by Michael Talbot, and the handee was--oh, God, don't even get me started. I prefer to remain polite.)

The recipient of Ken's book glanced at the liner notes for less than ten seconds, and declared, "This guy thinks he knows what he's talking about, but he's wrong." The recipient of Michael's book actually bothered to read it, I think; he handed it back to me with the one-word comment, "Horseshit."

Ladies, a show of hands, please? What is the matter with the above responses?

Yes, indeed. There are two major difficulties with these reactions: 1) lack of fundamental respect for the mind of the woman who loved the book, not to mention of the author, and 2) lack of cogent, reasoned and informed arguments to support their opinions. The latter, in fact, implies the former. In both cases, the man retained his ego dominance at the expense of the good opinion of the female. I regard these two men, now, with undisguised and immutable contempt. If that is a price you are willing to pay, then go forth in peace.

However, if I were to hand either of these two books to a man who instantly devoured them, and returned them with the words, "Oh my God, I think the same things TOO, exactly, we must be MADE for one another," I would run screaming into the night. That is creepy and un-masculine. Or if, as per Scott's advice, he put them on the coffee table and said "yes, dear," I would have a very strong suspicion that he was Not Paying Attention. After a couple of years of this I would (and have) wander off to another country and have an affair with a charming lunatic who challenged my mind.

Gentlemen, long-term relationships require engagement. They're not just about guaranteed sex for the rest of your life. They're about actually getting to know a person who is (gasp) different from you. The long term result of such a process of engagement is spiritual, emotional and personal growth.

I realize that this notion gives most of you hives. That is why there are prostitutes and easy women. Our gender is, in the long run, infinitely accomodating.

4 comments:

jan@theviewfromher said...

A very funny post. And of course, absolutely correct. :-) Just wanted to let you know I linked to your post today. I really enjoy your blog!

prettylady said...

Why, thank you, my dear! I shall link to yours as well, as soon as I get over my Monday morning sloth.

Anonymous said...

Oh! It's supposed to be funny!!!

NOW it makes sense, if not actual humor.

Anonymous said...

ooh, how beautifully and clearly said. Thank you.

How could this not make sense? (I don't think, anonymous, that it's meant as satire, do you? Or do you not like the feeling that reading it gives you, and are reacting with sarcasm to hurt the writer? That's a bit different from 'doesn't make sense", isn't it?)
What part of it doesn't make sense?