Saturday, February 4, 2012

His Needs, Her Needs

Brilliant physicist Stephen Hawking recently celebrated his 70th birthday which is a testament to both modern medicine and his personal tenacity. Defying all odds, he has survived decades after being diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease and continues to contribute valuable insights into cosmology through scientific journals and his own publications. While he is unquestionably intelligent, he admits there is one naturally-occurring phenomenon that continues to flummox him: women.
Stephen "girls be trippin" Hawking
Hawking, like every other male who is honest with himself, was forced to admit that even after peering into the very soul of the known galaxy he still cannot understand the feminine mystique. Women are far more complex and enigmatic than we would like to admit and it is often this very quality that draws us together.

One of the most perplexing aspects of women would have to be the application of “feelings.” Men, being the simple Neanderthalic creatures we are, tend to apply the word toward immediate situational resolutions while women can effectively utilize it to summarize the ethos of an environment.  For example:

Woman – “It just feels like there is an emotional distance between Susan and me since our argument at last year’s Norwegian citrus festival.”
Man – “It feels like a meatloaf night.”
Woman – “I feel like you no longer appreciate the sacrifices I have made in order to support your career in dyslexic vampire romance novels.”
Man – “I feel like I got ahold of some bad meatloaf earlier, so we are going to need to find a truck stop soon because if my gastrointestinal situation was a Jude Law film it would be called “Enemy at the Gates.”

As with feelings, a woman is able to employ the term “needs” in a much broader and more cerebral sense than a man. This is why book titles like His Needs, Her Needs are misleading since they imply that both sexes process the word in similar fashions. Perhaps a better title would have accurately conveyed the disconnect: like Her Needs, Is That a Ribeye?

Woman – “I need to know that you are onboard with my decision to pursue lobster racing full time.”
Man – “I need a new pruning blade for my reciprocating saw.”
Woman – “I need more stability in the lives of our children so that we do not squander their formative years   by pursuing our own selfish whims.”
Man – “I am going to need a minute with my attorney before we appear before the Senate ethics committee.”

Here again we have a term with a feminine definition as profound as its masculine definition is narrow. While a woman can wield such a word with unparalleled dexterity, a man is likely to haplessly drop it in a passing comment.

Woman – “It isn’t even the fact that our daughter seems emotionally aloof, it is the lack of respect that really hurts me.”
Man – “You gotta respect a guy who would willingly put a hood scoop on an 89’ Buick Riviera.
Woman – “I don’t know why Heather is so dramatic about her and Doug breaking up, I have always said if you don’t respect yourself you can’t expect anyone else to…”
Man – “I really used to respect Congressman Spiegel before he had that debacle with the Senate ethics committee.”

Out of all of them, this might prove to be the most confusing, primarily because men are generally unable to separate “listening” from the physical task of simply “hearing.” This leads to men assuming that they need only exhibit the emotional depth of dictation software to prove their allegiance and women expecting the undivided attention of someone willing to go below the surface.

Woman – “Were you even listening when I told you how Fran treated me at the penitentiary bake sale?”
Man – “Of course I was.”
Woman – “What did I say then?”
Man – “You said that she was upset that you brought raisin muffins because she thought you were bringing bran-muffins.”
Woman – “You missed my entire point! It had nothing to do with the muffins! The muffins represent my contributions to the group as a whole!”

While each of these on their own can leave a man baffled, their combined use in a single sentence can be downright devastating. For instance, if a woman were to say “If this relationship is going to continue to progress I really need to feel like you are listening to me and respect my views about how we interact with each other.”

At this point, most men’s cognitive faculties will shut down and they will wet themselves in hopes of creating a distraction. If that plan of action is unsuccessful, we will take a shot in the dark and immediately make the situation worse:
“Is this about that crack I made about your mother? Because she doesn’t really smell like sadness and regret.”

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