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August 22, 2007

The burning question

Understanding the differences between men and women is a continuing process.

You might think it's a stereotype that women talk and men act, but it really isn't. For one thing, science says that "women talk roughly three times as much as men -- about 20,000 words a day to about 7,000 for men." (I'm quoting myself, but that's still science, because I was citing a study.)

For another thing, I'm sure all of you guys can come up with an experience in which you talked on the phone for a half hour to an old friend, and when you were finished, your wife or girlfriend asked, "What did you talk about?" Of course, you immediately replied, "I don't know" or "Nothing." And you really meant it.

If you can't come up with such an experience, try this article in yesterday's Washington Post:

[William] Doherty [a professor of family social science at the University of Minnesota] recalls being at a conference with another therapist he knew and the therapist's wife. He knew they were having marital problems and wasn't surprised one evening when he got a call from his friend, who said the wife had thrown him out of the room. Could he spend the night in Doherty's room?

"He came over and we watched TV, talked a bit about sports and went to bed," Doherty recalls. "He didn't owe me any personal revelations about his marriage. Months later, after the couple got back together, his wife told me how pleased he was that I didn't ask him to open up."
It actually may be a good thing in some sense that men are like this. The article says that it's not always a good idea for women to talk incessantly about their problems:

According to Louann Brizendine, a neuropsychiatrist at the University of California at San Francisco, the female brain picks up emotional cues, both verbal and nonverbal, more quickly than the male brain. Starting at about age 12, girls put feelings into words more efficiently than boys. The key thing, though, according to Brizendine, author of the controversial book "The Female Brain," is this: Brains learn by repetition. Repeating negative thoughts can make not only the injured party but those around her more, rather than less, distressed and angry.
I cited this Brizendine character in the link to myself above, where I quoted her as saying this:

"Women have an eight-lane superhighway for processing emotion, while men have a small country road," said Dr Brizendine, who runs a female "mood and hormone" clinic in San Francisco.
Or in the words of Prof. Doherty:

Sharing personal information is the coin of the realm for women's friendships. "Men bond around common interests and occasionally turn to a buddy for help," says Doherty. "Women bond through confidences. A girlfriend will feel hurt if she finds out you had a problem and didn't share it. A guy will say, 'Good, you took care of it.'"
This may all seem pretty obvious to you, so why am I reporting it?

The reason is that men and women need to understand each other better. Men have to take the time to listen to their wives or their girlfriends (preferably having no more than one of these at any time), and women need to understand that men are scientifically retarded when it comes to expressing their feelings.

Because if they don't understand each other, it's far more likely that this will happen (via HotAir):

A woman set fire to her ex-husband's penis as he sat naked watching television and drinking vodka, Moscow police said on Wednesday.
This story raises troubling questions, which the regrettably short article fortunately takes the time to answer. For example:

  • What was the ex-husband doing in such close proximity to his ex-wife? Well, it turns out that in Russia, housing's at a premium, and sometimes divorced couple must continue to live together. "The attack climaxed three years of acrimonious enforced co-habitation."

  • Did it hurt? What do you mean, "Did it hurt?" You idiot, of course it did! "'It was monstrously painful,' the wounded ex-husband told Tvoi Den newspaper."

  • How did this come about? I'll have to leave that one to the baffled ex-husband. "'I was burning like a torch. I don't know what I did to deserve this.'"
The article, sadly, does not answer another troubling question: Why was this man sitting naked in front of a woman he'd divorced and obviously didn't exactly get along with?

I don't know the answer to that question, just as the man in the story doesn't know what he did to deserve to be the recipient of genitalia flambé, but perhaps you should ask the woman in your life what she thinks about it.

And be sure to listen carefully to what she says.

Extra: In case the link to the story about the Russian couple should go dead, I want you to have the list of related links given in the article, which alone is worth the price of admission:
Today's top weird headlines
Cambodians warned over DIY penis enlargement
Man in unfortunate saw-mill penis incident
Row over angry, penis-removing doctor
Wife rejects penis transplant
Naked wife attacks husband