Saturday, July 19, 2008

Men Are From Mars And Women Are From God Knows Where

So, I'm cruising the internet and I land on the New York Times.

I read a story there about the divorce of Christie Brinkley and Peter Cook, and about how their very public split has been discussed quite frequently in the rich enclave known as The Hamptons. Most folks there are familiar with the details of the case, although they all claim they haven't been paying that much attention.

Anyway, in the article, there are a couple paragraphs that discuss the different reactions to the case by men and women. Women seem to think that Cook, who had an affair with an 18-year old and spent thousands on internet porn, is a Grade-A scumbag with no redeeming qualities. Men wondered why his former wife had been married and divorced four times, and what that said about her. They also noted that marriage is hard.

I shared those graphs with a friend of mine, a woman, and it sparked a long debate between us about the differences between how men and women see the world and what that means for the concept of "till death do you part."

Yep, it was one of those convos.

I won't try to rehash all of the particulars, I wouldn't want to bore y'all. But, what we arrived at was this: Neither men nor women really understand how the other gender views the world, and most of us don't really care to be educated. Not only are we not interested in a gender education, most of us scoff at the idea that we're ignorant.

I told y'all it was one of those convos.

One of the conclusions my friend and I reached was that men view life in a linear, problem-solving, somewhat logical manner. Women view life in an illogical, emotional and whiny manner. Well, that's the conclusion I reached; if she disagrees she needs to get her own blog.

Patriarchy rules!

I'm joking. Actually, we agreed that women are the more emotional sex, that they are more concerned with empathy than solutions and that they tend to repeat themselves a lot when they are unhappy about something. Now, of course I thought that her description proved just how crazy women are, while she thought my description of men was based in a fantasy world that ignored the idiocy of the male homo sapiens.

We both wound up entrenched in our positions. While we admitted that each other's arguments had merit, neither of us was willing to cede any ground about what each sex needs to do to make the other gender happier. I thought women could be logical, she thought men could show more empathy. I thought women should focus on solutions, she thought men needed to stop thinking they had the answer to every problem. I figured that women should stop talking so much, she decided men needed to become better listeners.

Like I said, we ended up at an impasse.

The funny thing is, I tried to avoid discussing relationship issues with my friend because I knew we were going to end up at that impasse. I told her that while I don't condone infidelity, I understood why the men in the article didn't think Cook was Satan's spawn. I calmly let her know that until she actually got married, she wouldn't understand the pressures married people face. I suggested we discuss something else because men and women really can't talk about this issue.

But, she wouldn't allow it to happen. She insisted that men and woman can talk about these issues and solve them. She even said something like "Well, I guess this means you can't talk about black and white issues on your blog any more. After all, white people will never be black so they will never understand racism and you're just yelling for nothing."

That was a low blow.

And do you think she admitted after our extended conversation went nowhere that it was pointless to try to discuss certain issues because of gender viewpoints? Do you think she had the decency to say "Allen, you were right, I was wrong. Next time I'll defer to your infinite wisdom."

Nope, she just laughed and said that I just didn't get women.

Typical female.


OG, The Original Glamazon said...

LOL!! Very funny, just for the record most men do not know what to do with a woman who is logical. Throws their game OFF. A while back I had a friend text me some flowery BS that most women would love. The message said sans bull I wish we talked more. My reply was then make it happen. If you want to talk more then you should put forth the effort to talk more. His response oh..ok...I understand. Then the next text after wanting to talk more came more than over a month later I really miss hearing your voice, my paraphrase sans the flowery bs. My reply then make it happen. My responses were not angry but logical, when I miss someone or wish we could talk more I call that person or contact them, I don't open up with a bunch of wind beneath my wings missing you poetic bs.

So I said all that to say, I think your argument has some holes.

On the surface seems simple, but the problem is many men are conditioned to say a bunch of meaning less fluff to make women swell with emotion and not see the actual statement. He text me yesterday again after a few weeks maybe a month who knows and the conversation pretty much ended with me telling him we were not going to be anything but friends that we were not compatible in my eyes so dangling a new house, trips to come see him, and various other things that most women like wasn't going to change that. More banter and then he was like ok Miss Direct I get you. *lol* See men don't want logical women.

Now as far as marriage is concerned, you know I've been married and divorce. My divorce was due to irreconcilable differences, but in actuality I found evidence of my husband's hand in the cookie jar. Yep he had months of archived IMs of him and his play thing. Now our marriage had been in trouble so I wasn't surprised and I was even willing to try, but the issues was he thought I would be like his mom and take him breaking his vows as mans play and stay. One our marriage was not that strong to get through that. Two, he never wanted to accepted personal responsibility and during the reconciliation period basically showed me who he really was. As Maya Angelou says if someone shows you who they are believe them. And I did and I left.

So I understand to a degree what the women were saying but I also understand what the men were saying. I also understand men are completely thrown off by a woman who doesn't behave as expected you know emotional etc. Men are use to women being passive aggressive and not calling them on the carpet in a logical manner. I say this from personal experience.

I guess you better go back to your drawing board. *lol*

Good post!


Big Man said...

It's ok if you haven't come over to my way of thinking yet OG, nobody is perfect.

You'll see the light.


Nah, you make a good argument about men not liking direct women, I think that's true in certain ways. A woman who is very direct and up front often makes a man feel less masculine because of the way we've been conditioned. But, I think those women are very, very rare. Most men would like women to be more direct than they normally are.

Deacon Blue said...

I could get into a lot of trouble for this, so hopefully my wife will understand when she sees this and comprehend where I'm coming from instead of thinking I'm slamming her...but OG and Big Man, you don't know the real challenge.

My wife has some very male-like ways of dealing with the world in terms of emotions and practicality. At the same time, she is very much driven by emotions and traditional female views (such as the idea that us men should already know what you're thinking or what you mean just because we spent all day around you).

Now, one might think that the challenge of this weird mix is that my wife is insane. Far from it.

One might also think that this would make communication easier in general. It doesn't. In fact, I daresay that it means in an argument or a touchy emotional discussion area, I'm actually at a much bigger disadvanatge than most men.

On the bright side, when we discuss gender issues in general and they don't have any direct implications in our lives, we do fantastic.

So overall, it works out nicely I suppose. But I'm not so sure it's to our advantage as men when a woman near us straddles those gender lines.

Smokie said...

I'm married (newly wed) and I'm very direct....very....and emotional at times. I don't like to win all arguments, but I do put my point across as logically as possible. Sometimes I'm right; sometimes he's right. If we don't agree, we agree to disagree. If we can't do that, we go to the Bible and ... it's solved. I think it works because our personalities are pretty similar on a large scale.

I have male friends who I'd never get into any long drawn out conversations about relationships, though. One particular friend seems to hate women and I find myself defending women to him ... whom I might normally call right off as bitches/hoes/idiots, etc. If I put forth too much of a logical argument he changes the subject and I roll right with it. I think it helps to handle different people differently -- and know when to shut up and keep it moving.

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

I didn't learn "how to think like a man" really well until I was in my early 30s and began reading about evolutionary psychology. I already had a heads up on the inner minds of men because my parents divorced when I was young, and he was a helluva show off with the ladies - in front of me. That man would call three women in a row and tell all of them he loved them, laughing his ass off quietly while I watched.

The differences between the sexes in view relationships was amazing to me when I was grown. In pursuit of solving the mystery, I read up on it, and learned that not only did our bodies evolve over history to ensure the perpetuation of the species, but so did our minds in uniquely masculine and feminine ways. These are largely unconscious and crosses every single culture.

I practiced at learning to view situations through the eyes of men. This came in real handy as a family therapist.

When I first heard the story you mentioned, I too wondered why Brinkley had been married four times. That's an awful lot for woman so young. Some women have an attraction to men who are alcoholics, for example, and out of a room of 100 men, will pick a sober one, only to learn later he this problem. I wondered if Brinkley is attracted to men with severe porn issues and an chronic inability to be monogamous.

Then I wondered about his addiction to porn. Most men love porn, but his habits are so severe he needs to go to a self-help group like Gamblers Anonymous rather than blowing all that money and time.

I didn't think his relationship with an 18 year old was a big deal. At least half of all married men cheat. Most wives get over it.

I see no victims in this case, unless there's a kid who be carted back and forth between parents. This child will be in good company since half of classmates are in the same boat.

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

'Scuse the typos. I should've edited. :)

Big Man said...

Don't worry about the typos, thanks for the input.

One thing marriage teaches you is to think like the other sex. Well, it teaches you that if you want to stay married. Slowly, I'm learning to anticipate how my wife will view situations and what her reaction will be.

The real challenge is then reacting in the correct manner. See, I'm incredibly stubborn, and I have a tendency to want to win the battle instead of concentrating on the war. Plus, I was raised a certain way and my wife was raised a different way so we just see the world very differently. It's an everyday adventure.

Anyway, thank y'all for checking out the post.

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