Friday, November 28, 2008

The Difference Between Men and Women

A Penultimate guide on the differences between Men and Women.

Men kill things.
Women dialogue.

That's it, that's the answer to the entire problem that has bedeviled the human race for thousands of years. You can go ahead and address that Nobel Peace Prize to me now, thank you very much, and I'd like to thank the people of the Academy for this great honor. No applause needed, just throw money.

What, you don't believe me? It must be true, my employer told me so. During one of our company "Sensitivity" training sessions, they were showing a Government approved video on how Male and Female bosses were different. Mrs Boss had talked with Mr Subordinate and laid out a problem that was facing the department. In the next scene, Mr Subordinate sought out Mrs Boss with the great news that he had solved the problem, and what would she like him to do next. I was deeply shocked when, instead of showing praise on the eager young man, Mrs Boss promptly called him on the carpet and subjected him to a humiliating lecture, insisting that he clear future actions with her first.

Next they showed Mr Boss speaking to Mrs Subordinate, laying out a problem for her to solve. Much later, Mrs Subordinate meets Mr Boss, telling him how, instead of working on the problem, she had developed several complicated solutions and was investigating further. To his credit, Mr Boss politely removed the problem from Mrs Subordinate and gave it to someone else who would display more initiative on actually fixing the problem, instead of simply delaying action and building models.

I was shocked to find out that Mr Boss was wrong, although I already knew Mrs Boss was far off base (for those female readers, that means wrong also, but politely). As they described the differences between Male and Female management styles, it boiled down (for male readers, that means a summary) to Men Kill Things, and Women Dialogue. I suppose that would rule out a Nobel Prize, since the Government not only already thought of it, but produced a Training Video, but despite the fact the Feds know about it, doesn't mean everybody else does.

Upon my return home, I informed my spouse of this monumental discovery (ranking it only slightly below Fire) and she acknowledged that indeed it was a monumental discovery, and that the trash needed to be taken out that evening. Since then I have used the concept on a daily basis, she will say “I thought we should do X or possibly Y, or even Z”, I will say “Do you want me to kill it or are we dialoging?” and she will say “Just dialoging”, we will discuss it for a while, and after a bit if wants a decision from me, she will say “Kill it!”. Over the several years we have practiced, it has a 100% success rate.

In order to make this clearer for Men (who sometimes require extreme measures), I shall include a pop quiz. Women will probably skip this and go straight to their section, although you will be missing some really important pointers. But go ahead, you won't pay attention to me anyway. Go on. The section on Women is titled (of course) Women. I'll meet you down there.

Male Pop Quiz:
Let us say that you are relaxing in your La-Z-Boy recliner with the paper on a sunny spring morning when the wife makes a comment somewhat like "My what wonderful weather we're having today. We should get out and enjoy the day." In Male-Speak, she is actually saying

1) Grab the fishing gear and the kids, and let's go to the lake!
2) I want us to go visit my Aunt Ruth.
3) The gutters need cleaned. And she doesn't want to do it.
4) I am toying with the concept of going outside the house and doing something as a family today.
5) Blah, Blah, Blah

Circle your answer with a #2 pencil (unless you are reading this on the Internet, in which case it will make an ugly mark on your monitor) and proceed to the answers below.

Male Pop Quiz Answers:
1) You are indeed a Male of the species. I predict you will soon find yourself at the lake, surrounded by squabbling children and a grumpy wife, who are all expressing a desire to return to their warm, cozy, insect free, TV equipped home.

2) Possibly correct, women tend to disguise unpleasant desired outcomes with vague starting lines. If you suspect this is the case, you may want to approach the upcoming Dialogue with the following response prepared for later use. "If we go to Aunt Ruth's today, I would like to go fishing tomorrow." If Aunt Ruth lives near a pond, perhaps you can have both.

3) Another possibility, not to be discounted. This is a good time to quickly review your list of Honey-Do projects and see if any of them have been mentioned casually more than eighty or ninety times in the last week. If so, you are being Prompted, and your next line should probably be "Yes it is. I was planning on cleaning the gutters/washing the car/mowing the yard/spaying the dog right after I got done with my paper. Wouldn't want to miss such a nice day." But remember, if you don't follow through, things will rapidly Get Worse. Follow through!

4) Correct! At this point you must be very careful Not To Push! Think of it as playing the Game of Life with the children. If one of the kids just picks up his car and drops it in Millionaire Acres, you get mad at him. He's broken the Rules of the Game. He has to Spin, and Draw Cards, and Move his Car until the game is Over. Hopping up, grabbing the kids and dashing out somewhere will get you Exactly The Same Reaction. STOP! You have now entered the Dialogue Zone, where you must Spin, Draw Cards, Move Your Car, and follow The Rules until the Dialogue Zone empties out into the Resolution. Think of it as a game, because you need to think of it as a game. If you take it too seriously, you're just going to get mad when you lose, and since you are arguing with a woman, you're going to lose one way or another. Be a man. Lose with dignity. And you get to sleep indoors afterwards.

Men, during the Dialogue Game, your job is to gently feed the wife lines to allow her to travel leisurely through the decision making process. Under most circumstances, you are free to make Suggestions. You may even make Strongly Worded Suggestions. Avoid Threats, Ultimatums, and Sanctions. Think quickly and try to stay ahead, there will be occasions where a wife Suggestion will need to be quickly countered with a husband Second Alternative or Downside. "Go to Aunt Ruth's this weekend? I thought you were allergic to Uncle Harry's cigar smoke?" Stay patient, if you have the patience to sit for hours in the rain to get a shot at a champion buck, or stand for hours in icy water to hook a fish, you can certainly sit back and engage in game (not battle!) of wits with your significant other. Just be very careful that at the end of the Dialogue Game to avoid things like Spiking the Point, Hooking the Conclusion, or Shooting the Champion. Victory should be savored quietly, with a small smile and a quick hustle to the bowling alley/lake/bar before she changes her mind. Defeat should be handled gracefully, because you're going to get a lot of them. You may Express Disappointment, Accept Defeat Gracefully, or even Put The Best Face On It. Avoid Sulking, Scowling, and Stewing, this only puts you at a disadvantage for the next Dialogue Game.


For the rare Woman who is reading this, go ahead and try the following pop quiz. It won't hurt, and I promise you will win more arguments this way. Really. Honest. Even if you skipped down to this point and missed the important section on How To Please Your Man.

Female Pop Quiz

Your Significant Other is lazing about in his chair and you notice the grass in the back yard has approached the height where small children and dogs can get lost in it. In order to get his reclining rump outside and the back yard mowed, you quietly offer the following suggestion.

1) Gosh, the grass in the back yard is tall.
2) Sure is sunny out there today.
3) My what wonderful weather we're having today. We should get out and enjoy it.
4) I'm going out to mow the back yard, after I pick up all the toys out there.
5) Hey lard-butt! Get out there and mow the dammed grass!

Since Women are too smart to circle answers in #2 pencil on the monitor, I won't even make that joke, but if you selected the wrong answer, don't go back with correcting fluid. It's too hard to get off the screen :)

1) or 2) indicates that you have not read this article fully, or you have been paying it the same amount of attention an article in Womens World would get at the checkout counter. Men are not wired this way! Only in the most rare of relationships can you say "I stacked the dishes in the sink" or "The car's dirty" or "The dog is getting fat" and expect your husband will do the dishes, wash the car and take the dog for a walk. Read farther. And re-read the article.

3) Again, you're not listening, or you have your husband well trained. If you insist on starting a Dialogue Game this way, at least give the poor man some choices, like "My what a wonderful day. I'd like us as a family to go out and do some activities. Do you have any suggestions?"

4) A good start. Any red-blooded male will recognize the fact "The back yard is about to be mowed", and should spring into action to grab the mower before it is sullied with Female hands. You should still go clear the yard of toys, or the mower will do it for you. Real Men don't pick up toys. In the event of a shortage of "Red-Blooded" in your spouse, you may scatter comments like "I can't get the mower started" or "I stalled it" or "Does the blade need sharpening" or "Oh heck, I'll just pay your friends kid to mow it".

5) indicates either a closeness of incredible intensity between two people sharing a love beyond words, or an indication that even memorizing this article would not help your relationship.

What follows here is for Men and Women, and mostly gained by experience. For you newlyweds, you're going to read through this and laugh. "We would never do that!" Ha.

Women, since you ignored my advice and skipped the Men part, you'll never know the secret I put in there for you women to keep the attention of your men. And you aren't going to skip back and read it, because that would make you admit you were wrong. Admit it! Ha, I knew you couldn't admit that I might be right.

And that's one problem you both will encounter later. The three little words that can melt a mans heart are "I love you." Certainly. You say them to him every day, don't you? When was the last time? Go ahead and ask him, he won't remember. But here's one thing you can say that will melt his or her heart, and he will hold in memory forever and ever. You will be able to ask them when you said them last, and they will say "Seven months, twelve days, four hours and twenty seven minutes ago." And they are words that will hurt so much for you to say. Try saying the following words out loud, without laughing, or sneering, or whispering, "I was wrong."

Hurt, didn't it. But the more you practice, the better you will get at it. A good spousal relationship should result in those words being used effortlessly (but not too frequently). "I love you" should be used a lot, and without restriction. "I was wrong" should be able to be used by both people in a relationship. Now quick, you just thought "Him first", didn't you? If you're wrong, admit it quick before you can build up defenses, if your spouse is wrong, Don't Push! They may admit it later, they may never admit it, but if you hold it over them forever it will mar your relationship badly. Besides, you may be wrong after all :)


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