Eight Mistakes Men Make With Women

man and woman photo by biblioarchives

Ozy Franz tears apart an article on relationship advice and puts it back together again.

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I know, I know, picking on evopsych garbage in low-end women’s online magazines is like picking on a chocolate-splattered toddler with her hands tied behind her back. But never let it be said that Ozy Frantz ever left a fish in a barrel unshot.

Although we’ve evolved from our cave-dwelling days, genes still trigger modern-day gaffes… Blame the miscommunication on age-old “hunter” and “gatherer” traits, she says.

…This is going to be good.

Women get a dopamine hit and build bonds through conversation. The average man doesn’t get that same high. “Men don’t understand that women talk to connect,” Love says. “A man thinks she is talking to tell him something.”

No, actually, dopamine has been linked to sociability for people of all genders, even ignoring the obvious reality that we don’t fucking know how most of the brain works. Dopamine seems to be involved in the reward system somehow, but exactly what it does hasn’t been discovered yet.

Also, um, most of the time when people are talking, they are talking for Reasons. Admittedly, I am just a poor nonbinary, I do not understand the strange ways of “men” and “women,” but when I share EVERYTHING IS BOOBS AND NOTHING HURTS with my partners I am doing it both to tell them about the bizarre array of products that come in boob-shape and to connect to them with this strange human emotion we call ‘humor.’ Men are capable of connecting with their partners! They are not Practicality Robots!

Three simple words are magic for women, Love says: “Tell me more.”

Or you could… listen? Oh, silly me, women are just saying random words because the act of speaking makes them feel connected, they aren’t talking for reasons.

For the average woman, housework pours cold water on foreplay. But seeing her man do housework? That’s foreplay.

No. The average woman does not have a houseboy fetish. Foreplay for women is the same thing as foreplay for men– kissing, massage, nipple play, genital torture, whatever.  Doing your share of the chores is just, you know, your responsibility as a person who is living in a place. Men do not have to be bribed with sex to do their responsibilities.

Why did he give you an Xbox for your birthday? Because it’s what he would like… so naturally you would too.

This is… really, really man-hating. I think that most men are capable of noticing that their intimate partners, the people they’re spending their lives with, happen to like things (sometimes things that are different from what they like!). Unless we assume that men aren’t human, just some kind of overgrown ape-child (which, frankly, is growing more plausible the more of this article I read).

Also, non-gamer men, you officially aren’t men anymore. The line for estrogen injections begins to your left.

Guys think they’re being punished when their gal gives them the cold shoulder.  In reality, the silence means she’s hurt and can’t speak, Armstrong says. They also have it wrong when the silence lingers. He may believe the wound has healed, but when she’s not talking at all, the relationship has gone from bad to worse.

WHAT NO STOP THAT

“The silent treatment” is inappropriate, immature, and best suited for middle-school Mean Girls, not adults in functional human relationships. Unilaterally shutting off communication is coercive and a borderline emotionally abusive tactic. Of course it’s fine to take time for yourself after a fight, but that’s something that you need to communicate about. There’s nothing wrong with saying “I’m really mad about those things you said, can we have a few hours/a day apart so I can cool down?” But just not talking to someone isn’t a Universal Female Tactic. It’s a fucking shitty tactic.

Also, I doubt there is anyone dumb enough to think that their girlfriend not talking to them is a sign the wound has healed.

He should say, “I don’t know what I did, but I’m so sorry.”

Apparently you’re supposed to say that every time your girlfriend’s quiet. On one hand, while I don’t want to criticize people who manage to communicate using that subtext thing I’m so crap at, part of me is thinking that if your girlfriend can’t be bothered to say what she’s upset about she shouldn’t be allowed to fight about it. What if she’s a little pissed at you, but she understands that it’s irrational, so she doesn’t want to make a big deal about it? Also I can see that getting rapidly very annoying. “You didn’t do ANYTHING, I am just THINKING, STOP FUCKING APOLOGIZING.”

…I think I’ve figured out why those ladies talk so much about complete nonsense.

As ancient hunters, men needed to conserve calories. Today, they save words – which is why they don’t verbalize what’s obvious to them, Armstrong says.

What.

I…

I…

That’s…

You got from a wrong premise via wrong logic to a wrong conclusion. I want to give you some kind of prize for being the wrongest wrong person I’ve set my eye on today. Not all men were hunters! There is no evidence men speak fewer words than women! There is no logical connection between saving calories and saving words! aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah

Also, weren’t the ladies all giving dudes the silent treatment like, two paragraphs ago?

Tandem activities are intimacy for guys… Unless there’s S.O.S. – skin on skin – contact or eye contact, it doesn’t count

For every woman and man? Everywhere? No women have ever had fantasies about curling up on the couch reading with the person she loves? No men have ever sung songs about, I don’t know, as a completely hypothetical example, just wanting to hold her hand? And there are definitely no people who experience intimacy through physical gifts or kind words or waking up early to muck out the driveway.

Also, this contradicts the other bullshit thing they keep telling us about how men don’t feel loved unless they get their cock sucked.

 If you answer the phone or turn off boiling water in the middle of an important conversation with him, he thinks you’re not listening.

Here’s a hint: if you answer the phone during an important conversation with him, you aren’t listening.

Men should hold her hand when talking to her.

…Like, all the time? What if he’s across the room? Does he have to walk over and grab her hand beforehand? Or if they’re cooking? Can a hand on the shoulder work too? What if one of them hates being touched sometimes? Is anyone else getting the mental image of a man using a woman’s hand as a leash like she’s a dog? Because I totally am.

DNA makes men and women navigate the world differently. Prehistoric men (hunters) had to focus to capture prey; women (gatherers) had to be aware of everything around them to spot that ripe berry bush.

I expect, O Article In A Third-Rate Women’s Magazine, you have some really excellent geneticists on staff to back up that statement.

Also, while I’ve never hunted, I’m pretty sure that you have to look around lots of places in order to find the animals. They tend to hide and move around, as opposed to berry bushes, which tend to stay rather stationary.

He may notice the overflowing trash can or the socks on the floor, but he won’t do anything about them if his focus is elsewhere.

Oh, he’s not a lazy arse, it’s just evolution. 

…Can anyone explain my girlfriend’s magical inability to ignore that the living room is full of boxes?

As is traditional, I will now provide a list of Better Relationship Advice That Applies To People Of Any Genders In Relationships With People Of Any Gender.

1) Listen to your partner.
2) Do your fair share of the housework; “fair share” depends on your mutual interests, amount of free time, enjoyment of housework, etc.
3) Remember that your partner doesn’t like everything you like.
4) Don’t give your partner the silent treatment.
5) Communicate regularly about things that bother you.
6) Talk to your partner about what makes them feel loved and try to practice it regularly.
7) Don’t get distracted when you should be giving most of your attention to your partner, but try not to get upset when they have to put the conversation on hold to deal with the problems of everyday life.
8) Unpack after you move. (…Okay, maybe that’s just my relationships. :) Love you, sweetie.)

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Photo: BiblioArchives / flickr

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About ozyfrantz

Ozy Frantz is a student at a well-respected Hippie College in the United States. Zie bases most of zir life decisions on Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, and identifies more closely with Pinkie Pie than is probably necessary. Ozy can be contacted at [email protected] or on Twitter as @ozyfrantz. Writing is presently Ozy's primary means of support, so to tip the blogger, click here.

Comments

  1. seriousquestion says:

    Not talking to someone when you’re upset is abusive?
    …This is really news to me. Or does it only count as the silent treatment if you stop talking to the person completely about anything?

    • The latter. “Hey, can we stop talking about this, I’m upset” is good boundaries and self-care. “Hey, I’m upset, would you mind giving me a bit of alone time/quiet time?” is good boundaries and self-care. “I am going to give you the silent treatment and point out how obviously I’m NOT TALKING TO YOU” is at best extremely passive aggressive and, at worst, yes, emotionally abusive.

      • seriousquestion says:

        Thank you for the reply.
        I think I understand the difference a bit better, though not (I guess personal reasons) completely. BUT I don’t want to take up more of your time, so I’ll look for more information elsewhere.

      • Holy shit I know a lot of abusive women:O
        That’s actually quite scary…The guys I know tend to be rah rah vocally angry n let you know what’s on their mind, although a few are quite pass aggress.

        • As a culture we allow / accept as normal, women’s emotional violence towards men. My wife has used the PMS defense to damn many times after an argument…..as if after 30 years it excuses anything. Women are just a nasty and cruel as men can be at times….the methods maybe different, yet the causes and results are quite similar. Denying that women have all aspects of humanity doesn’t make women seem intrinsically “better”, it just denies women their full humanity.

  2. Since when did words gain calorific value, other than incinerating a dictionary?

    This reminds me of an exchange I had last week.

    me “How do you feel?”
    them “How do you think I feel!”
    me “I don’t know, that is why I asked. How are you feeling?”
    them “Isn’t it obvious how I feel?”
    me “Not really – it’s clear something is bugging you – would you like to talk about it?”
    them “Why should I have to talk about it. It should be obvious.”
    me “Ah well – I have politely asked you three times and received responses that are unclear, evasive
    and potentially controlling. When and if you wish to talk let me know – I have work to do. TTFN”

    – 24 hours later phone rings –

    them “I’m really upset how you would not let me talk and how you dismissed my feelings.”
    me “How do you feel?”
    them “How do you think I feel!” ……. Repeat subroutine until the time variable exceeds infinity.

    The person is still trapped in the same loop, and remains there … and I remain free to listen, talk or work as required. …. and just in case anyone wishes to think I’m being Gender Biased, them = male!

    I do tire of writers who equate emotional blackmail and control differently due to gender. Women does it, it’s because she’s is a Woman (It’s what women do due to hormones and lady bits). Man does it, it’s because he’s abusive, cold, withdrawn, socially incompetent and needs to be reformed and made more like….????

    “Eight Mistakes Men Make With Women” – Oh how the stereotypes sell books – magazine and even add revenue for bloggers. Could we have a nice piece titled “Eight Mistakes Gender Bigots Make When Writing About Men & Women.”?

    How about “Eight emotional control and abuse tactics that any gender can use, and how not to get trapped?”.

    • MediaHound, the second conversation is where it went from potentially controlling to actively controlling. It’s a really dishonest, passive bid for control too – “I’ve got a secret and you have to guess….”

      It wiould be interesting to see if these tactics are gendered, if the gender system opens up or shuts off availability to them based on gender. I bet it doesn’t work that way at all, I bet there may be differences but thy are superfical and the actual tactics really are the same.

    • This is a beautiful example of emotional manipulation, and how to set good boundaries around it. Kudus to you, Media Hound, for pointing out that either player may be of either gender. I have seen this between partners, parents and children, and even in the workplace. Thanks for spotlighting the phenomenon so clearly. Also, great job in managing it.

  3. Ozy, you are so awesome!

    I would add:

    (1) Text — don’t argue….you can say key points in about 3 words or less…! (Really, silent treatment doesn’t work in a guy who has NO CLUE at all!)

    (2) Confide to your friends— sometimes they can help you see the whole matter in a different light (before you blow up into a big argument)…

    (3) Throw a big backyard barbecue party with friends and family — you will forget what you were so mad about…plus you will have to work as a team with others pitching in (and realize that everyone has a particular job or role to play and that we can all have fun while we’re doing it!)

  4. Argh, I get so tired of the idiotic evo-psych garbage. It’s always presented as some kind of Unified Field Theory of human nature. The. One. Single. Answer. To. Everything. Bah.

  5. Ozy, I know you are already on board. Just wanted your users to know they can find out more at http://www.explorationdayusa.org. or @explorationday or Facebook ExplorationDayUSA

    Thanks!

  6. Hank Vandenburgh says:

    Unfortunately, the evo-psych garbage is sort of like the drone note in the background. Not the whole story, of course…

  7. “He should say, “I don’t know what I did, but I’m so sorry.””

    I hate this so much. You can’t apologize if you don’t know what you did wrong — it’s logically impossible. The line is a passive-aggressive attempt to say “look, I said the magic words, now you have to stop being angry,” or else “this problem will be fixed if I just grovel and let you have (the appearance of) power over me for a moment.” Neither addresses the substance of what you allegedly did wrong.

    • “I hate this so much. You can’t apologize if you don’t know what you did wrong — it’s logically impossible. ”
      Oh really? It’s called being afraid you have accidentally hurt someone, and that is why you feel sorry. They’re angry, you feel you did something wrong but you’re unsure of what so you apologize. It’s logically possible, though it’s possible it can happen the way you say too.

      • You can be sorry that you hurt someone without knowing why they’re hurt, but the way the article phrases it seems to suggest that he should apologize for what he did… without knowing what he did or if indeed he did anything. I can’t be sorry that I left your watch on top of the toaster oven and melted it, if I don’t know that the watch is now deceased. At least, that was my read of it.

        • Ah, good point.

        • It’s basically advice to walk on eggshells. It’s a recipe for geting the women to act like a sociopathic tyrant whether she wants ot or not. This is exaclty the dynamic people describe about the inner circle of the Saddam Hussein regime.

          The whole article just reeks of sickness.

        • Hank Vandenburgh says:

          It’s healthiest to say that each person is responsible for his/her own feelings, or at least for how they project them outward. Short of real abuse, that is. We seem to have lost that useful truism from the humanistic psychology movement of the 1970s now.

  8. “If you answer the phone or turn off boiling water in the middle of an important conversation with him, he thinks you’re not listening.”

    What? I can’t be the only person in the world who automatically makes tea during an argument. Loved one is unhappy! Must give them bitter hot liquid!

  9. If you just assume that whatever makes your loved one unhappy can be fixed with bitter hot liquid, you aren’t actually listening to why they are unhappy, are you?

  10. “Men do not have to be bribed with sex to do their responsibilities.”

    Why do so many of these articles make it sound like straight relationships are all just prostitution?

    • Because it’s a standard trope of TV comedy to pretend that they are. Also, to some real people (I hazard the guess that there’s significant overlap with the type of person who writes articles of this ilk) they genuinely are.

  11. Yes. The fish is really dead now :D

  12. Agreed. I often do minor tasks in tense situations, it is my version of counting to ten. It helps me to give the other person room and time to speak without interjecting or giving off impatient or angry body postures.

  13. Ozy, I’d like to suggest a slight change to #2 on your list.
    2) Do more than your fair share of the housework, and be forgiving if it doesn’t seem like your partner(s) is/are doing more than their fair share. (This advice goes to all people of all genders, lest someone think I’m being sexist here). Housework often feels like more than it is when you do it, and less than it is when others do it.

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