Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Advice to Men: The "We Don't Want Your Advice" Edition

Both of the contributors to this blog consider ourselves to be pretty unusual girls.  “Unusual” in that we are pretty drama-free, like football as much/more than the average male, and don’t get all “SQUEEEEE!” over shopping (ok, except for shoes.  I like shoes.  Me, Stephani.  Melody does not).  We don’t like playing mind games with members of the male gender.  What we say is usually what we mean, no hidden subtext involved.  So, all of you out there with the penises, listen up.  Here’s some straightforward advice from a girl who skips out on all major life events from September to February in favor of football-viewing.  You and I, we speak the same language (unless you're a man who doesn't like football.  In which case I do not understand you, nor do I care to try).
Advice: Just LISTEN to us vent.
We need to bitch to you about our problems so that they don’t become big scary drama-monsters that eat away at our souls.  We need to tell you about how our girl friend is super upset with us because we said “Haha” to her joke instead of “lol” and we only know she’s mad because she didn’t put a smiley face at the end of her text message and that means she’s probably doing Voodoo magic against us or posting a passive-aggressive snarky status about us on Facebook, but we can’t actually SAY something to fix the perceived “problem” because she’s being the Queen of Passive-Aggressiva (note: The girl friend in question is playing girlish mind games.  Cool blog-contributor girls would like to have a mature, adult conversation to sort out issues, but immature girl friend is incapable of this and would rather be secretly, yet openly, snarky.).  So while we (women) feel the need to vent, you (men) feel the need to do one of the two following things: 1) trivialize our problem, or 2) offer your advice. 

First, the trivializing.  We appreciate that you are trying to be helpful, because your man brain honestly thinks that the situation will play out like this:
Woman: So then that bitch said “Ok girl see you later,” but there was NO FUCKING SMILEY FACE and you know that when she doesn’t put a smiley face what she actually means is, “Fuck off whore,” and I didn’t even DO anything to her, but I can’t say anything about it because all she actually said out loud was “Ok girl see you later,” and now she’s going to post about it on Facebook and—
Man: I mean, it’s whatever, babe.  Who really cares?  Just forget about it.
Woman: Oh, my, god.  You are so right.  What was I even worried about?  Wow.  You are such a tower of wisdom, masculinity, and raw sex appeal.  Can I get you a beer?
However, what we actually hear in your response is:
Man: I mean, it’s whatever babe [you’re being stupid and silly].  Who really cares?  [I know I don’t.]  Just forget about it [because I already did.  And if you forget about it too maybe you’ll just shut up and get me a beer.].
You can see how this response might not work out in your favor.  There’s a chance that whatever has upset us really is trivial, but as women we’ve been cursed with these things called emotions (not to mention PMS, periods, pregnancy, and all the various womany-evils starting with the letter “p”) and as you do not have to deal with any of these things, the least you could do is just listen to our emotion-explosion (which, I might point out, is at least not directed at you).

Next, the advice-giving.  This is certainly a step up from the trivializing, because we recognize that you are trying to actively listen and help us.  However, there is one very important thing that you should know about women: we usually already know how to handle situations.  Before we started venting to you, we intrinsically knew how to handle the bitchy, smiley-omitting friend.  We’re going to do whatever we were always going to do.  So when your response to our bitchfest goes like this:
Man: You need to talk to her about it.  Sitting here and talking to me about it isn’t going to do you any good.
what we hear is:
Man: You need to talk to her about it [isn’t this obvious?  Why didn’t you already think of this yourself?  Wow, I’m so much better at handling woman problems than you are.  Maybe I should be awarded my own set of boobs now so I don’t have to ask permission to play with yours.]  Sitting here and talking to me about it isn’t going to do you any good [because for some reason you actually thought that it would solve the problem.  Wow, again, you suck at handling these things.  I’m superior in every way.  Now stop talking to me about it and get me a beer.].
Again, this situation is not good for you (and probably does not result in desired beer delivery).  We like to feel like we can handle our own problems, because we actually can.  We just need a sounding board to talk out our problems and arrive at our own conclusion.  (Note: This is true 99% of the time.  Sometimes, we actually don’t know what to do with big life decisions or situations and will ask your advice.  But notice: we’ll ask for it.  It’s really that simple.)
So, a quick recap of what we have learned here.  Two don’ts:
1.       Don’t trivialize.
2.       Don’t offer advice unless asked.

A couple of dos:
1.       Listen.
2.       Be on our side.  Get pissed at whatever we’re pissed at.  Act protective and offer to kick something’s ass in our honor.
Following these simple rules is an easy way to ensure happy girlfriends/wives (which makes for happy boyfriends/husbands).  Heed my advice.

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