mal’s Weblog

{August 25, 2012}   of men and women

Phyl: Ok I’m confused. You’re saying that if she tells me she has a problem, I’m not supposed to help her?

Woman 1: Not unless she asked for your help.

Phyl: But if she lets me help her I can make her problem go away.

All the women in the parlor: Aaahhh haha. That is such a male thing to say.

Phyl: Well forgive me for being a male.

Woman on left: When you say “Do this,”, or “Do that,” all she’s hearing is “I’m smarter than you.”

Phyl: Believe me she doesn’t think that.

Woman on left: Mm-mm. She doesn’t want you to solve her problems. She just wants you to give her support so she can solve her problems herself.

Woman on right: Yes, and sometimes, sometimes she wants a sympathetic ear.

Phyl: Whoa…whoa.. Maybe it’s all the creams but that just made sense, girlfriends. So if Claire says, “I hate getting stuck in traffic,” I shouldn’t say, “Maybe you should leave earlier,”

Woman on right: No.

Phyl (continuing): Or “Don’t get on the freeway,” I should just say, “I know, that’s so frustrating”

All the women in the parlor: Yes, that’s it!

Phyl: Really

All the women in the parlor: Yes! Yes!

Phyl: And if she says, uh, “The waiter I had today was so rude,” I shouldn’t say, “Maybe you should just order something on the menu for once,”

Woman in front of him: No.

Phyl (continues): I should just say, “What a jerk!”

All the women in the parlor: Yes! Yeah! Yay!

Phyl: And if she says, “Phyl, the TV’s driving me crazy,” I should just say, “I know, there is just not enough quality programming for women”

All the women in the parlor: No!!

Woman on right: Turn off the damn TV.

Phyl: Ok, now I’m confused again.


The above is an almost accurate transcript from one of these TV shows I’m watching these days. There are several reasons I felt the need to go through the trouble of transcribing it and put this up here.

The first one being easy record and reference material, because this is one of the few times that something so important has been so succinctly expressed (minus, perhaps, all the effort that went behind on the writer’s and director’s part, but that’s behind the scenes). Often it so happens that when the need to highlight this issue comes up, emotions and frustrations on either side are already running too high, not to mention the pent up annoyance at sexist stereotypes (working both ways), that in that moment, the men and women involved would usually just count it as another tiff, rather than sit down and figure out what needs to be said and how. Communication is key’ more on this towards the end.

The second reason for this transcription and this post is to highlight the sexist stereotypes, which by the way, go both ways. For instance, women might have now been collectively driven to a point where they believe that everything a man says in a manner of being male is directly a hit on their being a female. “Jokes” such as “Make me a sandwich” or “See that car that is holding up traffic/is crashed on the road side – it must be a female driver”, don’t help. I would actually admire a man who would first assess the situation and accept it as is, rather than look for shortcuts such as stereotypes just to make a comment and sound smart, and at the same time, acknowledge that if indeed it was a woman’s fault, not all of us women would rush to defend that woman – I would and do blame the culprit, regardless of sex, age (though I am a little gentler here), color etc, and I know quite a few women who are equally fair.

I, for another instance, can make a sandwich when I need to as well as when I want to. Similarly, I am quite a bit of a planner-person, so I would actually have ensured that half the things for the next day are prepared the night before, that I wake up earlier, that I do leave earlier, in order to avoid traffic or whatever possible kind of hold up. In fact, I don’t even mind traffic much as long as I can see that it’s moving and I’m not running late, which I usually don’t. Not every woman can manage that, true, but I would get pissed off just like a woman with her hair blown off, if I was “told” to go make a sandwich, or if at everything I uttered, I was offered help in the form of solutions.

Similarly, this transcription also helps to highlight the tendency of men, despite the fact that some men sometimes get some things about women (as can be seen by the third example Phil cooks up). Matter of fact: I don’t even get that one, perhaps because I’m from the age when people watch their favorite programs on DVD’s or online at their own comfort. But, I know that belonging to either of the genders does not automatically fix all the typical characteristics expected of that gender, to every person of that gender, and that similarly, not all the effort a person (of either gender) is willing and able to put in, into learning about and trying to adapt to the other gender’s natural tendencies, will always work in all situations.

Like I said, communication is key. While we often read/learn this in theory in our management courses, or school college or whichever educational institute, most of us often fail to put it into use during practical life. Now, I am not saying I always remember to put theory into practice; I sometimes fail too. But I can safely say that I do try on several occasions, and I do reflect after every tiff (with anyone, and especially with my other half) and remind myself what I could do better next time. So, for instance, with my better half, I remember us having talked about this exact issue (that sometimes I’m not looking for solutions to every sentence I say) several times too, and I know that we had reached a point where, while I have told him to “just ‘talk’ to me sometimes, sometimes I just need to vent, and I promise to ask for his help when I actually need some”, I also try to remember that he too is a male after all just like I am a female after all, and so, he is likely to forget and act out of natural instinct, because “talking is what my female friends are for”, (sidenote: so don’t call it gossiping every time then :p).

This agreement is not always remembered, but it is not always forgotten either 🙂

I hope this post helps, not just couples, but also males and females in other settings (such as a group of friends with both males and females, or a father-daughter/mother-son duo).

what say you?

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