Warning: This has NOTHING to do with Voice Over. Nothing. You have been warned.
Alrighty - so here's De Voice's insight of the week... month... day, whatever. The point is, I've come to a very clear realization about something and it actually has little to no solution. If anyone is reading this and has a (real) one - feel free to give me a shout out.
For years... and... well... let's see my entire life after puberty I've been hearing jokes and complaints and gripes about why women are *SO HARD TO UNDERSTAND*. My male friends have come and complained to me, I read about it in various forums.. and of course... the memes... Ohhhh the MEMES... here are a few in case you don't know what I'm talking about:
and these ones...
I think you get the idea.
It appears that the underlying theme of this is that women just constantly, maddeningly "keep stuff" in the dark and expect men to be mind readers.
I admit, to my shame... for YEARS... I smugly thought to myself "Well, I'm not like that. I'm straightforwad, and I don't keep any sort of mystery - I tell my partner exactly what I think." - I was a smug, arrogant little jerk, thinking "Well, these women are obviously unrealistic and high maintenance"
Well... I will admit fully...
Let us put aside for a moment the matter of gender. Let's just say there are two people who are having this conversation. I'll give you a moment...
Okay? Oh, need a few more? Okay...
ready? Okay... so picture your two... generic people having a conversation... let's call them X and Y (ha ha.) Here is the conversation:
X: You know I wait for you every night to come home before eating dinner because I want to spend time with you - and I feel like you don't care about that because you always take your time and come home really late... knowing that I'm starving myself waiting for you.
Y: So what *I* want to do doesn't matter? So MY needs don't mean anything? That's where this is going, right? YOU need something so I have to just HURRY UP and bow to YOUR needs. That's what this is.
X: No.. no... I just... it makes me feel like spending time with me means nothing and... look, do you just not want me to wait for you? It ... just tell me if it doesn't matter. It matters to me. To me it feels like I'm making a conscious decision or sacrifice to wait for you so that we can have dinner together.
Y: See. There you go... ALL about you again. JUST ALWAYS about you.
X: So... it doesn't matter? My efforts really didn't mean anything? Can you just... tell me if you don't care about eating dinner with me or ... ?
Y: WHY can't you consider that maybe *I* want to do something - this is just another case of you not respecting MY needs.
Okay.. so that's conversation one - X and Y are obviously having a disagreement. Seems to me, and I could be wrong... but it seems to me that X has been making a sacrifice, feels unappreciated and just wants Y to advise/confirm if it really means nothing or if there's some other reason s/he just lets him/her starve while waiting for dinner (ie: there are lots of last minute emergencies, the traffic is constantly crappy, etc.).
I think it's pretty straightforward... but Y doesn't... seem to get it... s/he's feeling pretty disrespected because y'know... X is asking him/her to be considerate... or really just to answer a question.
Okay, here's another example of a conversation... c'mon X, c'mon Y... sorry guys, you're my actors for this... okay... conversation number 2:
Y: Hey, I hear your birthday is coming up... I really want to get you something special... I mean... it's a significant birthday (ed note: pick one: turning 21, turning 30, first birthday together as a couple, whatever). I was thinking... hey, I know you always wanted a car. I know it's a lot of money, but I want to do something special for you.
X: Seriously? Omg. I'm so touched... you... I've never... I've never asked you for anything before... and... yes. I was hoping you'd want to show me you think this is special too... so... uh... yeah. THANK YOU. I... I could never get this for myself... and... yes, I really really want this- I know I can even customize parts... because that's how you know... that makes it SPECIAL... and I don't care if it's a sedan from the junkyard that got somewhat refurbished... I just... wow... THANK YOU. You know... sedans are symbolic of the only time my family was ever happy because we'd go for family road trips in it.. and... this means SO MUCH.
Y: Yeah, this is super special... so tell me what you want.
X: Okay. So... I really REALLY want this car to be a sedan and have... white walls. Yeah, I know... it's really unconventional for an old, probably not top of the line car - and really not your style... but... you asked what I wanted for my gift... and ... this is for me, right? Like.. it's something for ME? Really for me?
Y: Yup. Totally for you. I wouldn't even drive it. Not mine - all yours.
X: Okay okay.. so yeah... I REALLY want it to have white wall tires... and... the body to... to have a painting of a Phoenix... like an Asian phoenix. I know... I know... totally weird for a car - and totally not "car couture"... but I have been thinking about this.. and the design is totally in my head... and ... YES. I ... can't believe you're going to get me a CAR!
Look - I know you never really go car shopping at actual dealerships... so... you know there are *LOTS* to choose from so if what I want isn't in one or they won't do the work for it... there's another one just down the block... Bring a friend with you... ask someone to go with you to look at the cars if you're not sure exactly what style... just... please... This gift is SO SPECIAL... it's a symbol of how much you care about me... and...
Y: Cool... well... you'll get it sometime soon.
Okay... so we'll pause here for a moment. Let's summarize this conversation: X has laid out in specifics... AND provided Y with instructions and informational resources on how to get the perfect gift for X. Y has confirmed the gift is for X... not a "shared" gift like... the car both of them are going to drive... no - it's specifically for X and no one else.
Just take a moment... and ask yourself... What would you do? You know that this gift is going to be a super special thing... it's for a VERY important birthday - you're... frankly probably NEVER going to be giving a more symbolic gift ever to this person. What would you do?
Really - Occam's razor this - take the simplest route. There is no mystery. X has provided Y with exacting details on what would make him/her happy, has provided Y with several ideas and resources on HOW to make it happen if the first place Y goes to doesn't work out...All Y has to do is... actually get the RIGHT THING.
So... here's what Y actually does:
Y proceeds to go to the dealership... but which one? Y has never really bought a 'dealership car'... but hey... s/he heard of this ONE dealership that's always on the news and radio. Okay, yeah... s/he'll go there.
Y sees that this dealership has absolutely NO sedans. Oh well, s/he made the effort of coming TO the dealership... so that should be good enough, right? I mean... gawd, yeah, s/he knows X said something about other places - but whatever... s/he made the effort to get to this ONE place... so good enough. S/he's sure that there's someone in there who can totally just get something nice looking.
Then Y gets to thinking "Yeah... she wants white walls... and a phoenix painting - but that's totally not cool. I don't like it... I think that the sleek racing stripes is totally the way to go. Yeah. That's tradition - that's the way it should be... whatever, I'll get her a phoenix themed keychain or bike or something in the future, should be fine." So Y, with his/her perfect plan to get the perfect car in Y's mind... goes up to the dealer and says "Hey, I want a car... it'll be like... a super one-of-a-kind gift for my partner... can you show me something nice... like.. traditional?"
Here we are at X's birthday... she is brimming with excitement... almost in tears.
Y comes up... and... proudly... whips the car cover off the car and presents her with:
A hatchback that's flat black with white racing stripes and standard, but high quality Michelin tires!!!
X... is... stunned. Well... yep... s/he got a car alright. S/he guesses the sedan was too expensive... so... that's fine... was ... were the details too costly? Why would Y go through all the financial foibles of getting X a car... X's car... and... completely bypass and flagrantly ignore everything X wanted?
Then X... actually asks: "what... happened? Where's... the ... whitewalls... where's.. the phoenix... was the sedan too costly?"
Y (responding): Well, I got to thinking that you know... whitewalls... the phoenix... that's not traditional, you know? It totally doesn't fit ... so I thought yeah... the better idea would be to go with something timeless... CLASSIC...
X (trying to figure out what is happening): So... you figured your ... idea for ... the gift you were giving to me... was more important than what I actually wanted?
Y (now getting pissed off): SEE, this is it again. My opinion obviously MEANS NOTHING. That's it right there. That's what you're saying... my opinion means NOTHING on this, isn't that it?
X (realizing...): what?
Y: Look... I WENT to this one dealership and they didn't even HAVE sedans
X: So... you... didn't try anywhere else... you...
Y: LOOK. I DID THE BEST I COULD.
X: So the best... you could... was to not make the effort to go to more than one dealership and to override what I wanted for my gift with what you thought was better?
Y: You're just PUTTING WORDS in my MOUTH and JUMPING to conclusions now. You're just saying my opinion DOESN'T MATTER. I knew it. Well... What do you want me to do now? SCRAP it? Huh? Melt it down? SELL IT?
Oh ... as a fun bonus... there are memes about women jumping to conclusions too... like this one!
So to recap - all of the above:
A person (giver) offers to get another person (the receiver) a thing... a precious thing, a symbolic thing... because h/she loves him/her.
The giver is provided with a fully informed list of details on how to get the thing right.
The giver is also provided with options on where to go, and how to get advice on it.
The giver then decides their idea is better, and gets something that is completely and totally not what this other person wants and is now very bitter at the receiver for "not respecting" the giver's opinion. The giver fully admits not even trying to go to another location, also confirms s/he did not ask anyone for any advice - made the decision all on his/her own.
But the moment X confirms that Y chose his/her own decisions as better and more 'fitting' than what X wanted (for X's gift)... X is now jumping to conclusions. Let me repeat... X confirmed what Y did but it didn't sound nice so now it's "Jumping to Conclusions".
What kind of message does that give to the receiver? What would you do? What do you think?
And in Conclusion...
I was wrong about women and these memes. In fact, there are whole articles about why women say they're "fine" when they're not... like this one here.
What I suspect is actually true... is that we have explained exactly what's going on... what we're feeling, what we want, but because our partners have decided that they're already doing a GREAT JOB... that what we're saying must be total garbage - so they ignore it, dismiss it and follow it up with "You're not TELLING me anything. Why don't you just TELL me something".
Essentially... it doesn't register unless it is something they want to hear. They do not want to hear that they actually have to stretch their consideration... they don't want to hear that they have to consider how their actions affect another person... they don't want to hear that their decision isn't always the one that is going to most please their partner.
In fact... the ONLY thing they will "hear" is: "You're doing great honey - it's all my fault. I should appreciate you more". Because of course... the other stuff is nonsense, right? They're doing a GREAT job... they're putting in SO MUCH EFFORT already - so all that other stuff we're asking for is insane... not worth the listen.. so it's literally 'nothing'. We're literally telling them 'nothing'.
So. If *ANY* dudes have actually read this far... I'm going to tell you more "nothing" that you want to hear. Your woman is probably saying "fine" because of months, maybe years of conversations like the ones above.
Just because she has told you something you don't like doesn't mean that she hasn't told you anything. It means that... yeah... you actually did something wrong. You actually did something she doesn't like... and YES SHE HAS THE RIGHT TO NOT LIKE WHAT YOU DID.
Being self-entitled and justified and dismissing everything she says does not negate that she actually told you something concrete.
If she says:
"I asked you to fix the light... it's been 6 months"
This is NOT your cue to go:
Then dismiss it in your mind as "Crazy woman ranting" - followed by "I am the GREATEST partner EVER... she has NO reason to complain".
Guess what... SHE JUST TOLD YOU SOMETHING. Yeah, you know that "something" that you keep complaining she never tells you? That you keep whining about "She expects me to read her mind" - well, no... actually she told you. She literally JUST told you... and you literally just said "Whatever, not a big deal to me, so I'll just forget it".
WHAT DOES IT MEAN???
What does it mean... well... okay dudes... let me put it for you like this:
All you want every friday... end of your long ass work week is to sit down... and not move... and have your wife crack a cold beer for you... and let you watch sports until the wee hours of the morning with a hot panini sandwich (I don't know... sorry... I'm not a dude). It's ONE day a week. She can handle it, right? I mean... c'mon... you work hard, you provide for her... you deserve at least ONE... piece of respite.
Buuut she blows you off. Serves you cold mac 'n' cheese, tells you to get your own damn beer, switches to "Say yes to the Dress" and refuses to let TSN grace your cable box in the slightest.
Okay, now you're pissed. I get it. You clearly told her how much this one day means to you. You just ... want a LITTLE... just... a LITTLE rest. You KNOW she knows. You KNOW it's not going to KILL her to do this ONE thing for you... but... hell... she don't care. She just... figures you can go do you. Why should she bother?
What kind of message would you read from that? What would you feel? You not important enough? You not GOOD enough for just that little bit of consideration? Why is she being such a b*tch? Why ... why... why? And she just tells you "I didn't feel like it. Isn't my opinion IMPORTANT ENOUGH for you to get that?"
Okay guys... I know you're a little miffed by this situation. And it's just over a beer, sandwich and some cable tv. Go read those other situations again. Go read those other conversations again... imagine YOU are X.
Now imagine that Y is telling you (in an and amongst all of this) "Well, if you don't like it JUST LEAVE".
After all that... wouldn't you end up just saying "fine" too? Is this really such a mystery?