I was creeping a friend’s Facebook page today when I happened on to her link to “Shit Guys Don’t Say”.  The clip was funny and made me laugh – particularly because it is so true.  So, in a predictable and perhaps juvenile way, I had to search for a reply to even the score in The Battle of the Sexes.  I found it with “Shit Girls Don’t Say” – again equally funny.  The satire underlined a simple fact – men and women say the same things differently.

So, as idle hands are the Devil’s workshop and it is Saturday  and I rent instead of owning – I thought I would take a daring foray into the Yin and the Yang.  Now before I start, the disclaimer: I am not a licenced practitioner of anything and I am in no way a qualified expert. My insights are based on a few articles that I have read in Hustler and Cosmopolitan, as well as lessons identified as I have tried to analyse what just happened in the wake of the occasional “silent treatment” (much rarer as I get older!)

So here goes…

Women are from Venus, and yeah, Men are from Mars.   The Book is a light, but thought-provoking read – recommended for those who are inclined to claw a little closer to the summit of the hierarchical needs pyramid.  I admit, yes, I have read it and found it interesting – not quite life-changing, but periodically habit-changing. The Book provided a few insights that helped me understand how I and other XYs act, and it also showed me that I had only seen the tip of the female communication iceberg.  You know it; that beautifully dangerous thing that has torn the hull of many a male psyche, leaving poor sods isolated and afloat in the cold waters of confusion.

For my part, I believe it is really a simple comparison: men do not like to share thoughts until they have a solution…women like to talk about things until they feel better.  I am sure, however, that experts will tell you that miscommunications are never that that simple.  Undoubtedly, a psychology major, sexual therapist or relationship counsellor will tell you that it is more complicated – that the root cause is probably a subliminal power struggle, or something stoked by negative feelings of appreciation and respect. Who knows?

In the end, I think it is just much simpler to accept that the sexes think and talk differently, and try to bridge the gap. Half of us have penises and the other half have vaginas; we usually manage to get those to live together in harmony.  So, the verbal part can’t be that hard then, can it?

Now,  I and many of my male friends, have probably sat at the kitchen table asking, “What did I say?”, after being stunned by an emotional tsunami.  Why is that?  Well, The Book offers that it may be due to a woman’s “emotional waves” (and, by the way, that is superimposed on any monthly waves).  The “literature” says that these periods are when women realise they need “emotional cleansing and resolution” (wtf?…okay, I think that means that the emotional oil and filter need to be changed).  Reportedly during these wonderful moments, negativity and pessimism rule.  A woman’s problems – perceived, existing and previously resolved – all exit the woman’s orbit and enter the man-o-sphere.  And there they will stay until the wave passes. And when it passes,  lo and behold, life is good again – smiles, chats and general lovey-doveyness. No real rhyme or reason, perhaps some triggers; but, inevitable just the same. Accept it.

But to add to the confusion, these silent and sad waves are countered by what a man thinks is the other extreme… the “talk” zone. Evidently, Venusians use dramatic language and artistic licence – not necessarily to convey a message – but to express their feelings (hence Everyman’s silent subconscious plea, “please, get to the point before my eyes stray to your cleavage or I get distracted by my toenails.”) For a woman, talking likely makes everything better: her man is listening, he is attentive and he does care.  Seemingly for her, sharing a problem is good enough; she does not need a solution.

Unfortunately, men do not think that way. To a man, every action has an equal and opposite reaction: as caveman once said, “Ughh uggah uggh!” (Translation:  “Bring me problem, I give answer!”)

Now to the guy reading this blog, do not think that men are any less of an enigma. True, we hate flowery language.  Yes, we are bluntly to the point (unless running scared).  Apparently, we talk in a literal fashion, mostly to relay information – you know, the “You look hot in that flannel nightgown. I’m horny”, kind of thing.  99% of our thoughts are preoccupied with meat, sports, sex/porn, or whatever has crossed our line of sight in the last 30 seconds.  Despite that, and the fact that we mostly have relatively shallow thoughts (for example, why do the words “booby” or “fart” make us giggle?), we can “appear” to be deep in meaningful thought.  That is because when we are stressed, feel threatened or do not have an answer, we retreat into a “hull down” position into our Caves. (Caves are varied and can be a place or an activity, i.e. the Den, the Gym, a video game, the Internet, a bike ride).  Why do we retreat? The Book says it is because we feel shame – our armour is rusted, our cape is at the cleaners – because we are puzzled or confused; we are not self-sufficient and we are no longer The Protector. Simply put, we feel useless. And we will stay in that cave – sulky, broody and silent – until we find or solution, or something shiny comes along and distracts us (again, usually porn.) Wait, common thread – porn – is that the answer? No?…Okay.

So, you ask me – what does it all mean? Wow.  To be honest, I don’t have a friggin’ clue – I didn’t write the damn Book.  But if you indulge me, I offer four suggestions for Yin andYang conversations (keeping in mind that I have made, and will continue to make mistakes).  These would be:

  • Don’t offer a solution unless it is asked for – not even when you are positive one is needed.
  • A man needs space – and isolation – when he has an issue. When he’s ready, he will talk about it, or he will let it go.
  • A woman needs her guy to listen to her and to physically show that he cares.  No “multi-tasking” listening, put down the remote control, newspaper or game controller and listen to what she has to say (and, remember Suggestion number one – listen only)
  • Don’t be cheap with the hugs.  There are never enough hugs. A good hug says more than any words can say and is a great way to enter the Cave or to show jus thow much you do care.

And that’s all I have to say on that…the game is just starting.  Later…