[LMB] Rabid Foaming Weasels OT:

Marna Nightingale marna at redmaplegrove.org
Thu, 07 Feb 2002 12:38:18 -0500

*sigh* I used an example of Nature Boy's Adventures in the Grown-up World,
because, well, because I figured it was far-enough out to really make the
point.AND to avoid making anyone on-list think I was using THEM as a bad example
:-) Because I'm not. 

I think it may have misfired. 

Because, see, here's my point: 

This sort of clash in world-views: 

> > Eric Oppen wrote:
> > > I like to explain to people that, contrary to popular opinion and
> rumors, I
> > > am NOT superhuman and SUCK ROYALLY at mind-reading.  "I am a _guy,_ and
> I Do
> > > Not Do ambiguity...or hints...or indirection.

I wrote: 
> > And I am a grrl, and I DO do all three, having been, from a very very
> young age,
> > raised to think that this is my _job_. Having to be TOLD most things is a
> sign
> > of selfishness, personal failing, cluelessness, generally humiliating,
> etc.

Happens all the time.  The guy thinks she's being passive-aggressive and he's
being asked to be a mind-reader. 

The woman thinks he's being clueless, or possibly deliberately obstructive,
because she's merely expecting him to notice the meter high bright-red letters
on the wall.  Or the spray-paint can in her hand.  Or possibly the fact that she
is pointing at the wall. 

I mean, it is OBVIOUS to her. There's no real attempt at subtle, here.  It's a
different communication style. 

And of course, there's that whole 'ask nicely' thing. I've made large efforts to
be good about this in my life. But in the end, I do resent having to perpetually
'ask people nicely' about things that I regard as extraordinarily obvious.
Because you run into that reciprocity problem I mentioned: YOU are always
'asking nicely' for things. HE has to ask for things far more rarely. 

And if I 'ask nicely', it becomes all about me. Suddenly, it's MY weird little
quirk and whether or not it ought to be treated seriously that is under
discussion. ("sweetie, dearheart, I hate to be all weird about this, but could
you possibly as a personal favour to me bring yourself to at some point when it
is your week to clean the bathroom, take a book out of the library and read up
on what the constituent parts of a bathroom are generally understood to be and,
um, figure out how each of them is cleaned, and then do it instead of saying "I
did the bathroom, I did the sink, I did the tub."? OK, that's unduly sarcastic.
But you know what I mean.)

And eventually, asking nicely turns into 'nagging' (a verb I have been known to
cynically define as 'a reasonable request made for the second or subsequent time
to a man who has previously acknowledged its reasonableness but prefers to
ignore it'.) 

And this particular dynamic, properly nurtured, leads merrily to an
ever-increasing threshold of how hostile things have to get before requests will
be honoured (I don't have to do it until she yells/He never does anything until
I get angry) 

I mean, going back to another thread, women "hit on" men, like, ALL THE TIME.
Even women who don't 'officially' hit on men. 
In stages, usually. 

The haul out the little "if you ask me, I'll say yes" sign. They wave it around.
They have neon lettering installed.  They add a few sequins. They give up. 
Because if at that point, you're not getting anything, you're not going to ask.
Why ask? It would be a formality. He's apparently not interested. 

Should they be more aggressive? Maybe. That seems to be the usual conclusion.
But consider this: if almost every woman in the room knows what's up and he
isn't getting it, maybe, just maybe, a LITTLE more perceptiveness on his part? 

I mean, it's a skill. Just like being assertive is a skill. This can be learned.
It's not some weird mystical female endowment. 

Marna Nightingale
marna at redmaplegrove.org
"Women should not be enlightened or educated in any way. They should, in fact,
be segregated as they are the cause of hideous and involuntary erections in holy men."
St. Augustine.