May 10, 2010

Educating a Crazy Broad

As an airplane is about to crash, a female passenger jumps up frantically and announces, "If I'm going to die, I want to die feeling like a woman."
She removes all her clothing and asks, "Is there someone on this plane who is man enough to make me feel like a woman?"
A man stands up, removes his shirt and says, "Here, iron this!".

And so begins the much awaited response to the silly and ridiculous iVillage article called Translating Man-Speak: What He Is Really Trying to Tell You. The article is an excerpt from a book by Lisa Sussman called  Over 100 Things Women Should Know about Men.

I suppose that if you accept the premise that you get what you pay for then you'll understand that a book that sells for less than a buck isn't worth much. If you take the article seriously and believe that it is an accurate representation of men then you are probably wondering why I am writing this because we don't have a clue as to what we think or feel about anything. Really, just look at this:
The awful truth is, most men have no idea how they feel at any given time. Studies show that men use language to establish difference, separateness and independence (exactly the opposite of women, who talk to connect). So demanding that he talk to you is guaranteed to make him squirm and start rambling about whether new Cheerios really are improved.
Call me uptight, anal or curious but I wonder what studies she is referring to. Probably the one from the Gay Fouker institute that found that 37% of chimpanzees prefer Dole bananas to Chiquita. Or perhaps it is the one that shows that if you own more than 17 pairs of shoes you are a self indulgent, gold digging narcissist with illusions of grandeur.

That is not really nice of me to say. Really it is mean spirited, unkind and degrading. Or maybe not. Sussman offers the following strong advice to her fellow members of the finer sex.
How to talk to a man so he understands you:

Men can only take directions one at a time. So, if you want him to go into the kitchen and get you a cup of tea, make it a two-part request (this also applies to when you are in bed with him).
That's brilliant. Comments like that help to promote fine responses from men about the best ways to keep women from talking and why women should have flat heads. Oops, I really shouldn't offer tongue in cheek remarks unless I specify whose tongue and what cheek it should be planted upon.

I am vaguely curious to find out whether Sussman intended for this piece to be taken seriously. That would be a smart move and demonstrative of someone who once worked as a journalist. But what fun would that be? It is much easier to rely upon stereotypes and cliches. Better to take the path of least resistance and offer a poorly constructed essay that lacks substance, or maybe not.

Maybe the smarter course of action is to point out that men communicate quite effectively. Maybe the better path is to point out that not asking loaded questions isn't indicative of stupidity. Maybe it is worth pointing out that no one wants to feel like they are on trial or that they have to walk on eggshells. Don't ask questions about whether a certain item of clothing makes you look fat unless you are willing to hear the answer.

Don't ask us if we think another girl is pretty unless you are willing to hear what we really think. Say what you mean and mean what you say. You might be surprised to find that we do that with far greater frequency than we are given credit for. AND we do it with far greater frequency than women do, again, if we go by crass gender stereotypes.

You don't appreciate being referred to as the ball and chain or battle axe any more than we appreciate being portrayed as silly buffoons.

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