He Said, She Said
He Said, She Said
Adrienne BoettingerThursday,5 November 2015
Men are from Mars and women are from Venus. Or are men from a land of tactlessness and egoism and women are about ready to lose our collective shit? I can’t remember how the saying goes. You know how it is – my lady parts keep clogging up my thinking so that every time I’m about to have a sensible thought I get my period and have a nervous breakdown. Golly, I should leave all my decision making to a man! If only there were such a man around! Sigh.
The other day I was thinking about how I could create a new job for myself where I would act as a translator for clueless men who can’t understand what the women in their lives are saying or how to respond appropriately. Sort of like the app I was going to design that would take terrible things political punks say and un-fuck them so that they could serve as actually helpful dialogue rather than just another soundbite to set the other side of the aisle’s teeth on edge.
But then I had a conversation with a male acquaintance that made me realize I would rather wake up with my head sewn to the carpet than try to translate what guys like this were saying. See, like most single ladies of a certain age, I spend a disproportionate amount of time either wondering why I can’t have a successful relationship that lasts longer than a professional hockey season or being questioned as to why I’m still alone. Usually these inspiring conversations take place at weddings or engagement parties or christenings where I absolutely adore explaining to the curious questioner why I repel men who are not criminally insane.
This time it wasn’t at a wedding and the questioner wanted to play the role of advice-giver. After asking why I thought men my age wanted younger women, this acquaintance helpfully explained that all I needed to do was to lose some weight, tighten all this up (while gesturing to various sections of my body deemed most egregiously jiggly) and get some confidence and I’d be fine. Yup.
The thing is I’m positive this guy actually thought he was being helpful. I’m sure he didn’t intend to reduce me to a writhing mass of insecurities, endlessly questioning my worth. He thought I didn’t realize that “men are visual creatures” and that if I wanted to snag one, I’d better get my ass in gear.
Sadly, at that moment, my words failed me. I can only be grateful I didn’t burst into tears or viciously dick punch him though I thought of doing both simultaneously. You know how us women are – we can never make up our minds.
So what’s the answer? I wish I knew. Were his words painful to hear because when I look in the mirror I think he’s right or were they painful because it’s just a really shitty thing to say to someone? Should I just concentrate on the idea that his intentions were probably good or should I move far away and change my name? Should I even give him a second thought? And if not, how do I stop from thinking about it?