May 25, 2008

Hi. I Am the Ambassador from Planet Male.

Why is it that even now, men try to tell me about The Male Perspective on life, sex, women, and . . . yes, even equilateral triangles? And I'm not even talking about ex-boyfriends, here. Each guy thinks he can speak for his entire sex.

Um. First of all, I have a brother. Also, I have nephews, and young cousins. And a couple of cousins from my own generation. I have lots of male friends and colleagues from all walks of life, though they do trend a bit intellectual. From there they go either artistic or technical/math oriented. Sometimes both.

And, you know: I wasn't 100% a virgin when I married. I know men, and there is no "male viewpoint" on just about anything. There are a couple of trends (such as the fact that lots of men want to have sex with women, and a superior ability to detach emotionally from many situations that do not involve teenage daughters). But there aren't any universals.

So can we stop with the amateur sociology, here?

Posted by Attila Girl at May 25, 2008 08:28 PM | TrackBack
Comments

OK.

Posted by: Darrell at May 25, 2008 09:09 PM


Hey--I wasn't talking to you!

Posted by: Attila Girl at May 25, 2008 09:24 PM


Why do you hate us so? AtH should watch what you give him to drink...don't be slipping the man a mickey.

Posted by: I R A Darth Aggie at May 26, 2008 10:53 AM


And some moral equivalent from me... please show some hate to the feminists as well, who think they speak for all women... ;)

But seriously, we are who we are. Over the past 6k years or so we've been kicking around the planet, we've come up with some rules of thumb that by and large work. Such as, if you kicked a man's ass, the chances of him kicking you right back soar to near 99.9999%. Conversely, if you tried that with a woman, other men would kick you right back.

True, I can't speak for my entire sex. But I'm fairly confident that I can speak on behalf of ~67% of them on ~67 of the issues. Where I come from, that's good enough for government-changing, constitution-amending work.

Posted by: Gregory at May 26, 2008 04:43 PM


Okay, Gregory. Why do men either want to marry, or want not to marry? Why do they either want kids, or not want kids? Why do they either want sex, or not want sex? Why do they either want to analyze things, or not want to analyze things? Why do they either want to control the situation, or not care about controlling the situation?

Why are they always short, tall, or of average height? Why do they either cook, or not cook? Why are they always either very good gardeners, or very poor ones? Good in business, or not good in business? Good at languages, or bad at 'em? Excellent software engineers, or indifferent to computers except on the most basic user-interface level? Sensitive to order and beauty in their environment, or 100% uninterested in same? Free-spending, or frugal? Domineering, or indecisive?

Why are men invariably so bright, and so amazingly creative? Why do they all think I'm beautiful? Why are they all so very very verbal? Why do they all have talents that go in so many different directions? Why do they all want to give me presents and dry my tears and be my best friend and send me money and tell me I'm the bee's knees?

Why do they all notice my brains? And my breasts?

But—most of all—why is it so unusual for a man to notice details? Why are the majority of males so oblivious to the small things that tell entire stories? Why must they train themselves for so long in order to make decent students of human nature?

Posted by: Attila Girl at May 26, 2008 09:53 PM


You have breasts?

Kewl.

Posted by: Desert Cat at May 26, 2008 10:53 PM


Ooh, Desert Cat, I ain't gonna go near that one. Ooh. :)

Attila, you want viewpoints, right? Not something that's genetically/hereditarily decided, right? Or specific traits... So I won't do teh height issue, teh languages (also genetically decided, believe it or not), or teh gardening (which is either genetic or God-given - either way, I ain't touching it), teh business skills (which is genetic - I have yet to see a Chinese who truly sucks at entrepreneural skills)... but the rest? Sure thing! (And you can check with your men friends and see how I'm going)

1. Marry - because we're in love, religiously inclined and can't get laid until we're united in holy matrimony. Sometimes, it could be money, money, money as well. Not marry - because we've seen the shit people call 'marriage' and want no part of it, it cramps our style, we only want to be f*kbuddies.

Or, we're gay. Um. Maybe strike that, since the California decision.

2. Want kids - well, they're cute, pass on our heritage (genetic or cultural). Don't want kids - can we say high-maintenance? Not to mention they're snot-nosed bratty b*ards?

3. Want sex - well, we're men. Not want sex? Shoot, I dunno this one. Coyote Ugly, I guess. Or maybe 'she' is a shemale. And even then... OK, I'm stumped. You got me.

4. Analyse things - because it interests us and we wanna know how it works. Not analyse things - well, quite frankly, my dear, we don't give a damn, that's why.

5. Cook - like cooking. Don't cooking - don't feel like cooking, especially when there's a broad already in the kitchen.

Or, more than likely, has been chased out from kitchen by said broad. Whichever idiot said that the woman's place is in the kitchen didn't mention it was an exclusive place only for women, men not welcome.

6. Good at s/w eng - well, we rock. Uninterested in computing - got a real life outside computing; includes girlfriend in package, possibly extreme sports kinda guy but not necessary.

Or, you know, gay.

7. Sensitive to order and beauty or not - this is nonsense. *Everybody* would prefer a pleasing atmosphere to work and play in - the only question is what do you believe is order and beauty?

8. Free-spending - want or need what I bought. Frugal - not interested in what's on offer. Or, saving up for a wedding. Or, broke until next paycheck.

Or, you know, an accountant. Bean-counters, right?

9. Why so long to study human nature? Women nature, that's a lifetime study. Men nature, about half an hour should do it. Jesus don't count; He's God, He knows everything. Of course He understands women nature.

And like I said to DC, er, I ain't touching the breasts. If only because AtH would beat me to a bloody pulp if I did. ;)

But really, Attila, while I'm not saying men are complicated (we're actually quite simple beings), we do react differently to different stimuli. That is to say, we all use the exact same heuristics; it's only the values that get plugged in that are different - and even then, only by a certain range. I can be both frugal and free-spending; it just depends on which item classes you're talking about.

And let's be frank, men aren't the only ones doing this. Women generalise about themselves all the time!

Case in point; Cassandra...(sorry, couldn't submit the linky)

"And because men are, when one gets right down to it, such visual creatures,"

"Because - according to the biological imperative - men love the chase and despise anything won too easily we learn (sorrowfully, because duplicity is not our nature)"

"I just think that it's harder to describe that the male one, because being a woman is not as straightforward as being a man."

"Women have many roles in life and unlike the way men deal with the work/home disconnect, with women everything in life is wrapped into one big ball. You can't separate the different pieces of our lives - we don't compartmentalize. Most of us don't go to work and "turn off" Mom/sister/wife/friend/lover mode from 9 to 5."

"Did I mention earlier that men like the chase? That they never respect that which is won too easily?"

"Women, though, will often throw themselves into friendships, marriages, jobs without considering the personal cost. We are little builders. In an article I read recently, the author uttered a thought I've often had myself: we women often forget that it's awfully hard to help others if we forget to put the oxygen mask on our own faces first."

Yeah, that's enough, I think. Basically not only does Cassandra generalise about women, she generalises about men too!

Soo... goose and gander?

Posted by: Gregory at May 27, 2008 08:01 PM


or, to put it more simply,

boys are dumb!

Posted by: Rin at May 28, 2008 02:00 PM


They are dumb. We should throw rocks at 'em, or at least not let 'em into our treehouses!


Actually, Cassie tends to be right on the money about male-female differences. And some of what you're saying is fundamentally correct, Gregory. Remember: all stereotypes are true, up to a point.

And the stimulation issue is infamous: the male organ seems almost to be hard-wired to each guy's eyeballs, whereas there's no real formula for getting a woman turned on. (Other, than perhaps, licking the tips of our earlobes: very few of us don't like that. Butterfly-soft strokes down our panties while we're still wearing them are also a nice appetizer.)

But you also prove my point, Gregory: what's this about getting chased out of a kitchen by a woman? Are you kidding me? I mean, I like to set the rules for kitchen cleanliness, because very few people wash dishes as thoroughly as I do, or hunt around for mold and dust with the same zeal. But I loved it when men used to cook for me. (And I love it still, at parties and brunch dates.) And I hate the fact that my husband doesn't like to sit and talk to me while I make dinner: I despise feeling isolated in the kitchen, which for me is a place for homey, comfy socializing. It makes me crazy to cook alone for long stretches of time, and that's a big part of why I haven't been doing it much in the past few years.

You are taking your own specific experiences, and generalizing from them.

(Gotta go; I need to find a local Chinese person to help me with my business plan.)

Posted by: Attila Girl at May 28, 2008 03:43 PM


Soo... Women can generalise about men and they get it right, but fellow men can't because they're only speaking from their own specific experiences?

Did I get that right, or do you think I'm constructing a strawman? Or is Cassandra possessing some super powers that elevate her above other women (actually, that newsletter I might subscribe to, because her posts really are quite spot on).

The woman in question (no, I'm not joking) was my sister. And my mother. And... well, maybe it's an Asian cultural thing. Washing up, sure. Talking while they cook, not much problems there. But it's only very recently my mother has allowed me to even stir the chicken stew while she's in the kitchen (that's because she's 60+ and gets tired faster than me). And my sister finds cleaning toilets therapeutic. OK, I'm not saying women in general do, but my sister does.

What I'm saying is, the questions you asked me I attempted to answer, covering the various viewpoints I know of. For instance, I want to get married, but I know men who don't, and by and large those are the reasons they give me. I understand them.

So, here's the thing. Cassandra made some sweeping generalisations (which I tend to agree with), and then she asks her male readers why this is the case. Sorta the opposite to how you want it, true.

Here's the clincher. When her male readers reply back, they by and large agree with each other!

Case in point: the post I quoted from was about 'real' men traits vs 'real' adult traits. Maybe you've read it - it hit 170+ comments and it was real fun wading through it all. Have a look :) All kinds of men from various areas (industrial, cultural and geographical) but essentially agreeing on the fundamentals.

Anyways, I don't pretend to speak for all men on all issues. What I can do, however, is provide a handy dandy guide to how two-thirds of 'em think about two thirds of the issues. Which is enough for my government to issue a staggering 600+ Constitutional amendments over the past 50 years, so really, it should be sufficient for thee also, no? :D

Besides all that, what's wrong with amateur sociology? I guess that should have been my question right from the start. If Cassandra is right about male-female differences, then those are universals right there (or close enough as makes no never mind). What the heck do sociologists do that we don't on a regular basis? We do naturally what autistic (or Asperger Syndrome) people have to work really hard at - socialising. We build up a set of heuristics based on our observations of the way people around us act. And considering how much globalisation and American hegemony has impacted our societies, our heuristics are much, much richer than they were a mere century ago.

Posted by: Gregory at May 28, 2008 05:25 PM


Well, my post was directed toward those few men who like to explain their own behavior or preferences--behavior or preferences that have nothing to do with manhood, masculinity, or male socialization--as being due to being male. I don't like that patronizing little "men are like this patronizing, lecturing tone.

Here's the same thing in reverse: a non-athletic ex-boyfriend once asked me if I'd ever encountered anyone who sweated more than I do. (Truth is, I don't sweat that much--it's just that he sweats very little.)

"Yeah, I have," I replied.

"Who?" he persisted. "Who sweats more than you?"

"Every man I've ever dated, other than you," I told him.

There are some very unworldly people out there, who assume that their narrow experiences are universal.

That's what I'm talking about.

I don't mind cleaning toilet bowls. But I hate having to wipe all those stray bits of urine off the rim because men are sloppy and can't be bothered to wipe the rim down periodically--even after all those urine drops start to smell up the whole bathroom.

That is annoying to me. And to other women I've spoken to.

Posted by: Attila Girl at May 28, 2008 10:18 PM


BTW, Gregory: do you have a link for the Cassie thread you're discussing? Or shall I get that from her?

Posted by: Attila Girl at May 28, 2008 11:01 PM


Ah, OK, got your gist. Can't say as I've met anyone do that in the precise manner you describe. The patronising schtick in general, plenty of that, though. My own self I know does it all the time, unfortunately. It's really hard, you know, to get rid of that tone? Especially when you're like me and just want to win every argument. Seriously difficult to correct bad habits.

Ah, yes, cleaning misfired pee stains. My sister doesn't like that either. She's got me trained really well - I leave the toilet seat down because I sit to piss also.

Well. Actually, it started from my mum, who hates it when I mis-aim. So she said, so being the lazy sot I am, I figured why waste time turning on the lights and everything? It turns out it ain't me mis-aiming, 'twas my father. But the habit stuck.

The Cassandra thread I'm discussing here? Sure, I'll point you to it - except Akismet or whichever system you're using didn't like me submitting the linky, so I'll just have to leave it in plain text.

http://www.villainouscompany.com/vcblog/archives/2008/05/finding_your_in.html

Did I say 170+? Let's make that 181. :)

Yes, please do ask her what she thinks about that thread. I think she gave up about 3/4s of the way through but I could be wrong. ;) The way I read it, it got that long because of the fundamental disconnect between male and female brains (of the ways we approach life). Couldn't have been me; egotistical, narcissistic megalomaniac that I am, I only stuck my oars in 3-4 times. Roughly.

Posted by: Gregory at May 29, 2008 05:58 AM




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