Now this is a post that was in the making before I decided (for the umpteenth time) to commit blog-i-cide. And my blog-i-cide (I lurrrve that word, it’s an IdeaSmith original!) phase was over a year back so this is really a senior citizen of a post. I thought I’d burst when I found it, still lurking in my brain, unposted. Incidently, I was tempted to temper the ‘I-hate-men’ness of this post down but did not. Id don’t feel that way anymore but I guess I did once upon a time. So here’s to honest expression as well! Now proceed to read and laugh plizz….
Good communication, I’m told, is the foundation of healthy relationships. No, I’m not going “Bah, humbug!” The wise one said good communication, not mindless all-out communication. There is a fine art in communicating with men. You see, Martians and Venusians may both speak Earthese but they seem to process them differently. Sometimes I think it’s a wonder I manage to talk to men at all. And yet, since I pride myself on being a good conversationalist, maybe its time to examine exactly why.
A conversation with the opposite sex (when endowed with a brain in the correct head, even if they don’t usually use them…well, they do, at least initially) can be interesting, enriching and delightful. It’s a cross between an African safari and a minefield. It’s almost always a trip through a brave, new world….ooh, how exciting…but watch, watch, WATCH your step (and your words).
Career: Forget about equality in the workplace. Or wait, let’s just understand that better. Men have never bothered much about our opinions of their professional lives, have they? Just so long as we look up to them with adoring eyes and coo over the bread-winner bringing home an extra loaf or two. Here’s to equality then. Why should it matter what his opinion of your professional life is, then? Don’t even go into the potentially explosive areas of who earns more, whose job is more important. I mean, really…you didn’t need him to get a degree, an interview and a job. Obviously he’s curious about what you do (or he pretends to be, in an effort to seem interested). There’s no need to lie, all I’m saying is, there’s no need to discuss your professional goals and dreams with him. Take it from me, he’s not interested…or worse, he’ll feel upstaged and threatened. He wants to know you’re intelligent, sound the part, you don’t have to hold it up on flash cards for him (though the idea has crossed my mind several times….why do men never understand the simplest of things???) It isn’t even an issue if he’s in the same line of work as you are (though it could be if he works with you). From what I see, men can distinguish their professional and personal selves as clearly as they do love and sex. Take a cue from him and do the same. Don’t of course follow suit, when he starts to talk about his work. All little boys like showing off, they do need our approval after all.
Family: There’s nothing more annoying to me than a man who goes on and on and on about mama dearest, the big sister he’s always looked up to and the dad he never got along with. No, actually there are several other things about men that annoy me but this is right up there on the list. So don’t subject him to the same thing. This is difficult, some of us actually like our families and it is hard to make conversation while all the while avoiding talking of the people in one’s life. Well, just don’t overdo it. It’s fine to love your parents and siblings, only don’t take it to the extent where the listener wonders whether you’re just out with them because the family was sleeping in that day.
The past: I’ve always advocated honesty, especially about one’s past, in relationships. However, it occurs to me that there are degrees of honesty. He is not your sounding board or your therapist. He does not need to know how many people there were and what you got upto with all of them. He may be permitted to know that you’ve been schooled in dealing with his kind but really you don’t need to lay out the curriculum for him. This has always been debatable but I find men make a bigger deal of this than women do. Let’s face it, a cliche holds true again: A man wants to be a woman’s first love. Women are more subtle; they just want to be a man’s last romance.
Secrets: Please do not make the mistake of assuming that you can be best friends with him and romance him at the same time. I’m not saying couples can’t be best friends. But a real friendship takes time and understanding. Even more so between people of opposite sexes since they don’t have the intuitive understanding of each other’s randomness (women) or an instinctive grasp of the other’s linear thinking and actions (men). People who are dating are also grappling with the billowing clouds of game-playing, mischievious romance, sexual chemistry and all the jazz that goes into it. It is just way too much to expect to get to be friends as well. I’ve made this mistake myself (several times over, I admit it!!!!). Just because you get along well, does not mean that you can or even should be friends. It just means that you share some great chemistry and both of you like each other enough to play along. Give it some time, get past the clouds, shake out the sparkly dust from your eyes, have a few arguments and then see the other person and think about whether you actually want to be friends with them. And hence corollary to that, please don’t talk about things that you would only discuss with a close friend. Your most embarassing moment, your greatest fear, your wildest fantasy…..these may make for some exciting conversation-starters but they can also turn into demons later on. Sharing little intimacies too early is just an attempt to speed up the ‘getting to know each other’ process…some things just require time and effort so give it that.
A quick check-list of the things one must never say to a man on the first few dates:
- My best friend is getting married. I want to be married this year too.
- What was I doing when you called? I was watching Titanic. The scene where Jack dies always makes me cry, wouldn’t you agree?
- 45 girlfriends! Will you remember me tomorrow then?
- I really like you. We have this amazing connection.
- Is your friend single? Because I know this lovely girl who’d be perfect for him.
- What would I like to do tomorrow? Oh, would you help me pick out a dress?
- Will you be my date for my friend’s wedding next week?
So now that leaves us with what to talk about? Ah, that’s for another post. In the meantime, enjoy your drinks. And each other.