[Adir complained to me that my posts are often too short and leave him wanting more. As a response, this post is a little longer than usual. Give me feedback! Do you prefer the shorter or longer format? Comment below.]
Recently, I discussed the issue of miscommunication between the sexes with my friend Lia. She said that “boys are stupid,” a common complaint I’ve heard from women, pretty much throughout my life. And being that I am a member of the male gender, I can say that, yes, for the most part, we are pretty stupid. But miscommunication is not entirely our fault.
The problem lies somewhere between our stupidity and the fact that women tend to be confusing, impossible to read, and generally inconsistent among their gender. The analogy I gave Lia is as follows:
Each of the fifty states has completely different traffic laws. Some only allow U-turns at intersections, some allow them anywhere, some anywhere except intersections. So we grow up and we learn the traffic laws of one particular area, then one day, enter a new state, and get a ticket for breaking the law.
If every girl had the same traffic laws, or better communication about their laws, boys wouldn’t be under the speed limit in some cases and running reds in others. But this is not the case. It’s unrealistic to suggest that drivers memorize the traffic laws of every state; even if one learns all about U-turns, there’s plenty of other laws that will surprise any driver. That is, we don’t know what girls want and they don’t communicate with us. (i.e. there’s no sign in Wisconsin that says “U-turns illegal at intersections in this state.” Had there been, I would have avoided a traffic warning.)
This definitely applies in the real world, especially in the dating world of young twenty-somethings such as myself. In discussions with my male friends, I find that no man is really aware of the proper etiquette before or after a date, and even though we try our best to do the right thing, inevitably we make mistakes.
A common example comes in the manners I display as a Southern gentleman. Thanks to conditioning by my mother from a very young age, I always hold doors open for women, allowing them to go in before I do so. However, though most women enjoy this treatment, I have noticed that some (let’s call them ultra-liberal New York types) find this to be offensive or even chauvinistic. Frankly I find this ridiculous, but nonetheless, it is the case.
More importantly, I have heard from many female friends that the post-date call is a serious point of stress. Some men call too early and sound too eager, but most men don’t call until much too late, causing their dates to think they are disinterested. This seems to be a major point of miscommunication, but really it all stems from the problem that different women have different windows of when the call should come, yet very few communicate what that window is.
Because there was no feedback in these and other situations, that is, no traffic signs or flashing lights from a cop car, men are often left in the oblivion of the murky inter-gender pit of miscommunication usually described in books with titles suggesting interstellar origins of the sexes.
Ultimately, I don’t think the onus is on men to become smarter or on women to become more consistent. But I do think it would be nice if the female highway patrol would let men off with a few more warnings before making arrests or issuing fines.