Back to reality circa 2011.
To a world where men and women seem to be at odds with each other, especially when it comes to intimate relationships and what it takes to get one, and to keep it hot and fresh.
Where is the proof you ask?
Well, the evidence is found in alot of online chatter, conversations and columns (Ask Sam’s column – Sydney Morning Herald Online – is minefield of substantiation), in particular two recent articles from very respected news outlets (CNN’s Does female sexuality need to be fixed? and TIME Magazine’s Debunking the Myth of the Slippery Bachelor) articles which set out to map an aspect of the reality of relationships today and have instead drawn out a trail of destruction in the form of comments, ire and feedback from readers that sometimes has very little to do with the articles in question, but is squarely aimed at taking down the opposite sex.
(If you’re anything like me, I sometimes go straight to the comment stream to see what people are saying and its there I get the most comic relief and sometimes, great insights to where people’s heads are at au moment. What I’ve found is that with the decrease of face-to-face communication and increased reliance on an over simplified, “I can hide behind a fake username” digital world to shape our reality, we’re in danger of becoming an insult slinging, slur flinging, finger pointing blame game generation because we’re not really talking to each other, we’re talking AT each other.)
The best example of these heated m/f exchanges online so far has been:
Elaine: It’s so funny that (when) most of the guys comment here, you can tell man are really are selfish, at least most of them … just reading these comment make me sad “sigh”….
Gynaecologist by trade (I assume he’s a man): @Elaine. I bet you’re ugly…
Elaine (in response to Gynaecologist by trade): I bet you’re gay…
See what I mean? The battle lines have been drawn.
While the noughties pin up show Sex and the City explored the world of sex and relationships from a female perspective, albeit a very myopic New York one, and raised ire, but nonetheless it also stirred up debate, which led to some understanding and communication between the sexes.
Sadly, it seems the same cannot be said of tweens (2010/11).
As I see it, the key issue raised in these recent men VS women wars is that the sexes do NOT understand each other, and that trying to understand or talk to the other sex is hard work, frustrating, unrewarding and darn right impossible.
Coco: Most men aren’t men anymore, they don’t know how to treat a woman.
Josh: I think you’re right. Men aren’t liking women much these days.
It’s clear that there’s a wedge being driven between modern men and women in and out of relationships. Mainly, in my opinion, by unmet, unrealised, unrealistic or more often than not, unspoken expectations.
Stavros: Women seem to believe they understand men. American women don’t have a clue or half a clue.
Paul X: “I want to be married within a year and have kids within two,” she says. “And if he isn’t on the same page as me, shouldn’t I know sooner rather than later?” But she left out the part where she wants to be divorced by seven years, taking the children, house, bank account and his future income. Men should not commit to women any more at all. It is just not worth it, especially now that they are sexually and financially liberated, leaving smart men to enjoy the buffet without having to pick up the tab.
DEA: Women are picking the wrong men!! They choose the shallow empty-headed fashionable guy like they see on TV and the movies, and like the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. If they choose someone who actually had a personality and not one copied from Cosmo or maxim they just might be happier for it. In other words choose some one real, with real feelings and real thoughts and that is deeper than a puddle.
Gee, with all the name-calling and lack of respect going around, it’s no wonder we’re retreating further and further into our fortresses and lobbing cannonfire from behind enemy lines. We’re afraid to come out of our walls and engage in diplomacy so we resort to weapons of mass destruction.
Fatesrider: Inasmuch as I used to be a romantic, I now see Valentines Day as a socially sanctioned form of prostitution: Guys go out and spend lots of money on gifts to give to their ladies in order to get laid. The giving of gifts – as opposed to cash – is what separates this from the actual act of prostitution. In any good relationship, this kind of thing may be going on all the time, but Valentine’s Day is the merchant’s way of forcing guys to spend money if they want to get lucky.
Our speech drips with resentment:
iduna: The true facts of it are that men don’t care. Women are meant to be used and thrown away like a dirty tissue. That’s truth. Men want to get in, get off, and get out. Its always been that way and just because women are looking for a free ride with someone to love, nurture, and pay their ways doesn’t mean that that’s the way it is. Get a grip girls. As far a men go, they just want you to put out and shut up. Truth might hurt a little.
IMHO: Most women live in a fantasy world expecting men to read their minds and throw little tests out there for us to see if we are aware of what they want us to do. I personally don’t play the games. Can’t speak your mind? Outta the way! Period!
MoodyMoody: True. Some women do live in that fantasy world. Plenty of men live in a different fantasy world: where the women all look like supermodels/’stars’, are always ready for action, and are always willing to do things that most normal women find demeaning.
We openly insult and degrade each other:
tim: Why are women’s feet smaller than men’s? So they can stand closer to the sink! What do you do when the dishwasher quits working? SLAP her!
We trivialise each other’s feelings:
Peter: I am a good husband. When there is a movie with Robert Redford, I tell my wife in which channel I am watching it. What really breaks my heart is that when I ask her what does he have that I don’t, she laughs and laughs.
Iknowtheproblem: It’s called “Hollywood” – it’s created obstacles between men and women by playing with the fantasies, not realities. Thus, men and women aren’t meeting each others criteria that has been set by an entertainment culture.
Russell Shenn: I’ve been a bachelor for quite some time and it is my opinion that women in America are too self-centered and as you’ve pointed out haven’t a clue. However, this is not entirely their fault as the media has realized more profits by seeing that relationships with problems make more dollars for them. Example: Go to your local book store and look how reading material is SEGREGATED by sex. Can you find a section which caters to both sexes? There is no crossover and nothing in common to communicate as far as the media is concerned so, relationships will continue to flounder and marriages fail but for the sake of the media making its almighty dollar.
We take the easy way out and give up on relationships altogether:
Frank : This is ridiculous …. and without a doubt a product of way to many romance novels, chick flicks and catty women thinking the world revolves around them. If men got have what they gave in a relationship, instead of being demanded of, controlled and made to feel worthless because we don’t come home everyday with a dozen roses, our shirts ripped off revealing a six pack, our words fluent in passionate words, because we don’t embrace and make love like some Don Juan….for real, this is why I’m on my way to divorce……forget the expectations, I am what I am lady….go find some other dude to pawn this off on….after the first few months when the honeymoon wears off, you’ll be complaining about him to…..a vicious cycle and I want no part of it. Trading my marriage in for fishing, camping and a heck of a lot of beer and golf…..happy times!
Or in the case of the far and few inbetween, we speak succinctly on what we believe is the root cause of the issue:
A Asiwky : I notice that the women want men to try harder to figure out what women want. But women don’t want to tell men what they want. Therein lies the problem. This is not how women communicate. Women prefer men to ‘figure out’ what women want! Women do not desire to communicate in a logical, rational way that men prefer. As long as this is the state of affairs, the problem will persist.
People, we’ve forgotten how to have a give and take conversation with each other, we’ve also forgotten that we are different and therefore we do communicate and respond very differently during conversations with each other on and offline.
Whether its sex, money, the kids, or how the other has hurt you, the key is that we need to TALK to each other and find the best way to do so.
Because men and women interact and interpret differently, conflicts or misunderstandings can, and often do, arise. A man and woman can walk away from a conversation having gotten two totally different perspectives on how the talk went and its resolution. These different perspectives can cause dissatisfaction in one or both partners and can lead to misinterpretation, anger, or resentfulness if not properly understood and recognized.
In general, men typically talk in order to give information or report on events, things, or the day’s happenings. Women mostly talk to gain information or to further build their relationship with those they are speaking with. Men will talk about things, such as business, sports, etc. while women will discuss people and interactions. When talking, men tend to convey facts rather than details and women include more details and feelings during conversation.
Because men typically like to get to the point and don’t usually hypothesize about thoughts and feelings, men can often be frustrated when speaking with a woman who goes “on and on” about details and hunches. It is this fundamental communication difference that would make the man in our early example walk away from a conversation with his girlfriend thinking that she “talked his ear off” and why the woman in our example might feel that her boyfriend “won’t open up”.
Communication amongst the male gender is also generally based on competition. Men are goal-oriented and competitive and this is expressed in the way they speak to others. Women cooperate more and are relationship oriented during conversation. Women are much more able to empathize with others while men look to understand the problems of others intellectually. Because of this, men tend to be problem solvers while women tend to be listeners.
Many times, a woman will bring up something that is bothering her for the sole purpose of getting it off her mind. A lot of the time, women essentially just want to be listened to and be able to vent their frustrations to their partner. Men, being the problem solving, competitive sort, will listen to their girlfriend or wife and immediately start to offer solutions or advice. This can become a source of frustration for both the man and the woman. The woman gets frustrated because she feels that her partner doesn’t want to listen or is being too aggressive, and the man feels that his partner isn’t interested in his advice or is being too passive.
Solutions to Bridge the Communication Gap
While every male/female interaction and situation is different, learning the standard differences between the sexes can help you to come up with solutions to communication problems between genders. Here are some tips for men for those times when the gender communication gap has the potential of occurring.
» Don’t interrupt when any woman in your world is getting into small details when she explains things to you. If you are truly pressed for time and need to cut things short, then you may have no choice but to cut her off, but make sure that you make time to hear her story later and genuinely assure her that you want to hear her story when you both have free time.
» Don’t immediately try to solve you’re her problem. Listen to her and then infer as to whether or not she wants your advice. If she asks “what should I do” or “I need help with this” then you can offer advice. Your best bet is to first listen to the story and offer consolation and a hug, if needed. Many women just want you to listen and nothing more.
» Don’t challenge the validity of her assumptions. Women tend to rely on their intuition when they “know” about something, while men focus on facts. This doesn’t mean that their intuition is invalid. If your girlfriend or wife says “It just doesn’t feel right” allow her to feel that her feelings are valid. I’m not recommending humoring her if you know she is wrong, but know that there is something to be said about women’s intuition and don’t always come back with “Where’s the proof?”
Just because men and women generally communicate differently, doesn’t mean that they can’t make and maintain powerful connections with one another, instead of taking out their frustration and energy on mud slinging sessions on and offline.
In fact, listening to and communicating with the opposite sex may be able to make you think about situations and events in a different light because of these communication differences.
Rather than get frustrated with each others’ differences, try to embrace each others’ different opinions, conversation styles and approaches.
Through education, understanding, and practice you will improve your communication skills, which will allow your relationships to evolve to a higher level and that will bring you closer to being a better, more rounded, loved and loving you.
Does female sexuality need to be fixed?, CNN Online – http://pagingdrgupta.blogs.cnn.com/2011/02/03/does-female-sexuality-need-to-be-fixed/?iref=allsearch
Debunking the Myth of the Slippery Bachelor, TIME Magazine, http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2045876,00.html
Bridging the Communication Gap Between Men and Women, Online Dating Magazine, www.onlinedatingmagazine.com