Thursday, August 18, 2011

THE BRAINS OF THE OPERATION – The Difference Between Women and Men


When my wife and her women friends get together, I listen in awe to how they communicate. Indeed, they seem to move seamlessly from one topic to the next, following what might best be described as a non-linear train of thought. At times, conventional language comprises, if anything, only part of the conversation.

A woman will start out with what sounds like it’s going to be a sentence, but then, after little more than the subject comes out, she’ll either start a new sentence or be interrupted by someone else’s sentence fragment. To a male, it would seem that almost no real information is exchanged, yet everyone seems to understand completely.
My wife does this with me too, often with disappointing results. She knows exactly what she’s saying and assumes I do too, even though her actual words have not delivered a complete thought.

   Occasionally she’ll take 
   issue with something I never said, but which she 
   knows I must have been thinking.

To be fair, she's equally confounded by my thoughts and how I attempt to convey them—or not convey them. It baffles her how much time I devote to assigning my thoughts and plans their proper boxes. She’s sometimes hurt by the fact that my box for apologies (like that of most men) is either missing or in very poor repair.

Occasionally she’ll take issue with something I never said, but which she knows I must have been thinking.

Men and women have different concepts of time.

While I have separate compartments for past, present and future events, to my wife they’re not so easy to distinguish. I choose to think only about the present and maybe, once in a while, the future—not at the same time, of course.

For her, the present and the past blend together, the latter continually haunting her (as it does lots of women) through guilt. Because this requires stuff from two boxes to intermingle, men tend not to do guilt very well.

Remember, these things are not just momentary reactions to specific circumstances. Nor, for the most part, can they be changed. They’re hard-wired (or, in men’s case, hard-walled) into our brains, and for good reason.

Ages ago, before evolution worked this wonder, lots of men multi-tasked and harbored guilt. But those who did were all either slain by enemies or eaten by wild animals, both of which were, in those days, better equipped than they were to focus on the task at hand.

  Isn’t it a miracle how those respective strengths  
  have come to compliment each other so well?

And some women, before they’d mastered their comprehensive thinking, sensitivity and intuition, failed utterly at raising children and maintaining social connections. Neither those women nor their families survived either.

So here we are today, women and men, both products of that evolution, both very good at some things, not so good at others. Isn’t it a miracle how those respective strengths have come to compliment each other so well?

My wife and I once took a community education class in meditation. After a few frustrating sessions, she declared that, alas, she was going to be the first person in history to flunk meditation. She just couldn’t, she explained, shut off the flow of thoughts, plans and worries going through her head. Now, as I picture that endless tangle of wire in her head, I finally understand.

"A woman marries a man expecting he will change, but he doesn’t. 
A man marries a woman expecting that she won’t change, and she does." SOURCE UNKNOWN

* Apologies to Dudley Riggs's Brave New Workshop, Minneapolis, for using the title of their hilarious comedy production.


Davidlind said...

Awesome post. I have realized also that if I talk to my wife for any length of time and just pretend that it is sex we both are satisfied completely.

Jeffrey Willius said...

David -- I don't think I'm that good a pretender! Who does most of the talking? ;-)

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