Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Quiet Man

The following is a typical scenario:

During a divorce or separation, a woman rallies round her friends.
She tends to be very vocal, even if she is usually not very talkative. This is good for her in many ways. As in, 'a problem shared is a problem halved'. Sometimes it may not be so good for her, as in, the collective rationalisation hamster of a group of provoked women can get unbelievably out of control and become destructive rather than constructive.

The man stays 'shtumm' and goes about the cold business of sorting out the logistics. The legal proceedings, the financial paperwork. The moving of personal belongings from one residence to another.
At least on the surface.
He says nothing. He does nothing. He just ignores and avoids.

Away from absolutely everyone.
Until he can work out something in his head.
Until he rejoins his social setting as a returnee from wherever he went, or he becomes The Angry Man and then The Indifferent Man.
That's how things are. Both men and women revert to their respective natures especially during times of stress.

Neither party is 'wrong'.

But no-one is enjoying this party, so something has to change.

Otherwise men and women will drive each other literally insane.

Albert Einstein said this: 'the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results'.

So what can de done differently?

In general, it is clear that women tend to get more sympathy, from both men and women, during situations like divorce.
There are at least 3 reasons for this:

1. Women are physically and emotionally more vulnerable, at least on the face of it. To this effect, I believe it is right that support in the shape of sympathy is accorded to women.

2. Women are simply more vocal in a social setting. They advertise their needs more. Unlike a man, who is bound by concepts like 'pride' and 'stoicism' and 'honour', a woman has free rein to vent her frustrations in public for all to see. She is also an exceptional spin-doctor, because she is a great rationaliser.

Here's the crossover line between 'nice girl' and 'not so nice girl':
Even when 'not so nice' is in the wrong, and knows it, she can spin it to look like the other party is the culprit.
'Nice girl' will get all emotional too and make a scene. But it will not be as venomous and as far-reaching as the damage done by 'not so nice'. There is a big difference in attitude.

The 'nice girl' will calm down after a 'cooling down' period. She will be civil to the man again. Even if the marriage is irreparable, she will be pleasant again whether or not there are children involved. She might even 'chase' him a bit.
The 'not so nice' will go for the jugular and in fact get the carotid. She doesn't want the man back in the village ever again. She wants him dead.

Most women need a 'cooling off' period after an emotinal outburst, same as most men need  'peace time' after coming home from work.
Some will use this time well. Some will not.

3. The post-feminist world encourages mindless male-bashing.
This is a sticking point for many men, and the women who care about men.

Reasons 1 and 2 can be to some extent explained away as 'female nature'.

Reason 3 is a social 'add-on' and does not reflect female nature.
It is why men are demonised unnecessarily.

Here are examples of specific male behaviours that may be interpreted wrongly by women:

1. A beautiful woman passes by a couple and the man of the couple stares at her for 3 seconds. The woman of the couple gets offended.
This is a natural biological response, like a woman's response to a newborn baby. It need not escalate into an affair. If it does, I agree the man has crossed a line.

2. A man in a longterm marriage is denied sex on a longterm basis outside of reasonable circumstances such as illness, pregnancy, extreme life-changing events like grief and physical separation from partner . He resorts to porn, affairs or prostitution.
No need for explanation.

3. A man takes a good two minutes to answer what to a woman is a simple question.
This I agree is frustratingly difficult on a day-to-day basis. But there is actually a scientific basis for this. Rather than label as 'slow' or 'inattentive' and interrupt his thought processes, a woman would do so much better to wait for the answer.

And so on...

The point of this post is that, in keeping with human nature, we tend to hear and see what's thrown 'out there' much more than what's hidden.
That's the whole point of advertising. If you have a great product to sell, you make sure it is highly visible to your target market.

40+ years of feminism have 'advertised' the 'sins' of men to women. Even to women who weren't looking to buy.
 We now know it was a case of 'false advertising' because feminism was not such a great product afterall. It has made life worse rather than better for everyone concerned.

Women can bridge the gap by taking time to gently probe and try to understand The Quiet Man instead of following the herd and beating him down.

But will the Quiet Man pipe up sometimes and tell 'his side of the story' at the time it is happening and not retreat? Is this an admission of guilt? Is this a way of getting away from a source of stress? Is this because he is being gallant? Is he simply giving a woman her 'cooling off' time? Or is it simply his Nature?'

Whatever it is, the Quiet Man appears not to help his cause. At a time he really needs to.
Self-preservation or wilful self-destruction?

14 comments:

dannyfrom504 said...

no point talking when no one's listening.

spacetraveller said...

@ Danny,

:-)

Love your one-line answers!

See, here's the thing, that wouldn't stop ANY woman talking! Nô-one listening? No problem! She can carry on regardless. I know I can do that sometimes...

Seriously though, Danny, is it that simple? Are you implying that a man in this situation is just waiting for a woman to 'cool off'? Or is he really being deliberately 'passive-aggressive'?

I honestly don't know the answer to this question.

Sometimes the man may have people around him willing him to spill the beans because they are actually on HIS side, and still...not a squeak out of him. Infuriating and fascinating all at once!

dannyfrom504 said...

men don't like playing the victim, that's what women do.

spacetraveller said...

@ Danny,

So true!
But you know, much as it is unhelpful, playing the victim feels SO good sometimes...it's like comfort food...

But alas, it's bad for progress, because it keeps you stuck in gear 1.

So men are simply being 'stoical' in this situation, I take it.
That's cool. Shame that it often works against them though...

It's helpful to understand WHY they do it...thanks Danny, as always :-)

BeijaFlor said...

The "stoical" label may be a better explanation than many of us realize. Have you read Epictetus, or Zeno?

The Enchiridon of Epictetus, literally "The Handbook" of Stoicism, begins with the assertion that only our own acts are within our power, and what comes from outside is not; and that happiness only can reside within ourselves, whereas relying on the outside to bring it will bring only failure, weakness, and control from outside.

There is tremendous truth, as well, in what Danny is saying.

And, of course, Society today blames the man out of force-of-habit, and falls all over itself to exonerate the "poor victim woman." There's no compassion left for a man who achnowledges his own victimhood - nothing but scorn.

That, too, is "manning up."

spacetraveller said...

@ BeijaFlor,

"And, of course, Society today blames the man out of force-of-habit, and falls all over itself to exonerate the "poor victim woman." There's no compassion left for a man who achnowledges his own victimhood - nothing but scorn."

Sadly this is true...

But sometimes as in this case, ignorance is certainly NOT bliss.

I doubt that a society which resolves to educate itself on the often neglected one-half of its own population will behave thus henceforth.

I read up on Epictetus and Zeno. Thank Heavens for the return of Wikipedia!

I am not sure I could ever aspire to the degree of 'stoicism' I see depicted in these teachings...but I definitely respect it.

Thanks for sharing this, BeijaFlor.

Dannyfrom504 said...

What flor is referring to as "stoicism" can also be called "outcome independence". Ergo, if I'm chatting up a woman, I'm not doing for anything other than I either need to, or we "ended up" in a conversation.

Just like the woman in my "day game" post. If I had shown any real outward overly displayed attraction to her, she probably wouldn't have been as into it.

As I often tell women, "ok, you're pretty...now what?" kind of off topic I know. But I think I made my point with men and victimization.

spacetraveller said...

Danny,

"As I often tell women, "ok, you're pretty...now what?" kind of off topic I know. But I think I made my point with men and victimization."

You are starting to read my mind :)
Today's post covers men and their reaction to female beauty. And how it relates to your theory on Game and outcome independence. You get a special mention in it :-)

Anonymous said...

"Otherwise men and women will drive each other literally insane."

And this is different from the past 5000 years of known human civilization... how?

Isaac Asimov, the great science fiction writer once wrote a book on simplifying mathematics. He included a simple statement, which for me, sums up the entirety of male-female relations.

Man + Woman = Trouble

Dannyfrom504 makes a good point, in that it's not worth talking if no one listens. True words. But it goes deeper than that. Stoicism might be one source, Laconicism another.

Or it just might be part of being male. Not a taught gender role, but a simple way of dealing with a hugely difficult situation. Of course, this would be disastrous for all women, because it would make all the (supposed) superior communication skills women possess, worthless. No way to communicate, when no one answers back, hm?

On an entirely separate point, the word verification I'm staring at, to enable me to post this message, is:

friedan

Of all the irony in this world, I do appreciate the subtle forms most of all.

spacetraveller said...

@ Anonymous @ 12.27PM,

I agree laconicism is a good explanation!

Are you saying this is intrinsically male and not taught?

That would certainly make sense.

You see, it helps to understand the issue at hand.

If it is being 'true to nature', it is easier to deal with than if it is a 'learned behaviour' where another person has hopes the behaviour can be 'unlearned' or 'reversed'.

So it helps to know!

Thank you!

As a woman, I agree it is incredibly frustrating to be face-à-face with a 'blank wall'!

Not a complaint, just a statement of affairs :-)

Your last statement made me LOL.

I have NOTHING to do with the captchas, you understand ;-)

And if I had to choose a word, it would NOT be Friedan!

Thanks for sharing that one!

It provides the perfect 'laugh of the day'!

Anonymous said...

Are you saying this is intrinsically male and not taught?

That would certainly make sense.


No.. I know many men who cannot shut up their face. But, I know no woman who can. Silence is not only golden, it's necessary for my soul. Aloneness is MY time.


If it is being 'true to nature', it is easier to deal with than if it is a 'learned behaviour' where another person has hopes the behaviour can be 'unlearned' or 'reversed'.


There's an old saying... men marry thinking their wife will never change, women marry thinking their husband will. Both are stupid.

I don't think all men are 'Quiet Man' although I admit that a lot would fit the description. However, I'm pretty sure that there is no such thing as a Quiet Woman.

Once upon a time, I hired a guy to do a 'team-building' exercise for my company, it was the cool thing in the 90s. What a fraud. One of the things he had us do, was sit still, saying nothing, and just 'be'. At that time, my company was perhaps 30/70 female to male employees. The women all went nuts after half an hour. After an hour, there were only three men left, and I was one. Both of the others were Buddhists, and quite used to sitting and meditating for hours.

The point is, and this is very important, behavior is almost NEVER unlearned, almost NEVER reversed. Sure, there are addicts who unlearn, there are criminals rehabilitated, and people do change... but this is both rare, and often quite suspect. A criminal will claim to be rehabilitated just to get out of prison, a junkie will claim to be clean, to get out of rehab. And people change... but only if they WANT to change themselves. More free, worthless advice from the Navy Corpsman:

Never demand your spouse to change, and never let them demand it of you.

The Navy Corpsman

Anonymous said...

P.S.

Stillness is a Gift. Treasure it.

The Navy Corpsman

P.P.S. Yes, that comment at 12:27 on Jan 25 was me.

spacetraveller said...

@ Navy Corpsman,

I must say I too know NO woman who can be absolutely still and alone for long. That includes me.

I can be quiet, i.e. not talk, but I still have to communicate somehow. I like to write, so I do that if I have to.
The only exceptions to the above are people who have been specifically trained for this.

Catholic nuns are a good example. Vows of silence are not easy, I am told. I can well imagine!

I do see the benefit of periods of silence though.

There was a time when I went on Retreats with other young people from church into the mountains for days on end. I always enjoyed them, but there was a limit to my tolerance of them, I must admit. And I do see in hindsight that the boys tolerated this much better than the girls.

But this is just different wiring, I suppose. No-one is scoring points. It just helps to know that a man actually enjoys being quiet, because a woman might mistake his quiet time for 'something's wrong' - I guess a classic case of female projection, because afterall, a woman will NOT go quiet unless something IS wrong.

Thanks for making these concepts concretised in my brain.

You should be charging for this advice :-)

Anonymous said...

You should be charging for this advice :-)

No one charged me, when I was younger and struggling to make my way. There is truth in the phrase, Pay It Forward.

But this is just different wiring, I suppose. No-one is scoring points. It just helps to know that a man actually enjoys being quiet, because a woman might mistake his quiet time for 'something's wrong' - I guess a classic case of female projection, because afterall, a woman will NOT go quiet unless something IS wrong.

This. Men and women ARE wired differently, despite all the feminist spewing equality. Perhaps it's testosterone, perhaps it's estrogen, or maybe it's not quantifiable.

Another bit of advice...

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to
change the things I can; and wisdom to run screaming from people who give free advice.

The Navy Corpsman