Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Vagina Resolutions: What the Men Had to Say

In the last post, I laid out the five most immediately helpful New Year's resolutions anyone with a vagina (or immediately pre-op) could adopt to help make life, and specifically relationships, a little easier on everyone of any gender. I didn't just pull them out of thin air (or plagiarize them from a combination of Dr. Phil's column in O and back issues of The L magazine...that would be wrong). I actually talked to a total of 35 functional or near-functional adults, all of whom had strong opinions on the subject of what we need to do differently to make relationships more ecstasy and less agony in the future.

Before I launch into Resolutions Everyone With a Penis Should make (and that list is a-commin', don't you worry...), I wanted to share a few highlights from the men-folk themselves, as they almost all stem from the same issue: men and women still don't know how to talk to one another. While there's nothing groundbreaking about that news, the research is still fun to read when it's laid out in front of you.

The gentleman interview subjects, all hetero and between the ages of 22-49, were asked this question:  What is the ONE thing women, as a gender, should resolve to do to make us all, as a species, happier? Below are some verbatim highlights and insights from their occasionally impassioned responses (and my totally glib, entirely unserious first reaction to each while transcribing the interviews). All names have been changed:

Greg, 28: "Learn how to play video games. Trust me, that will help a lot."
Because all arguments should be settled via a winner-takes-all death-match down Mariokart's Rainbow Road.

David, 30: "No comment. I need some time alone in the shower to think about this. I'll call you back."
Odds he used shower time to masturbate: 3 to 1.  

Joe, 27: "It's shallow, I know, but keep dressing sexy? I love the woman I'm with no matter what she's in. But when the girl you love comes out in something sexy as Hell it's like Christmas. And when it's like Christmas, I'm like Santa."
Hoe, hoe...hoe?

Zack, 38: "Please remember men are from another planet and we really have no idea what language you're speaking. Like, we understand the words. They sound like words we know. Just not the way you say them. We don't know what you mean."
So dealing with women is essentially like dealing with a stroke patient? Interesting...

Philip, 23: "Stop lying. Little white lies especially. Like what? Like compliments you hear a woman give to the same woman she bashes 15 minutes later, or a lie about why she broke a date...picking and choosing what days she's into me, that's a lie too, either on the day she likes me or the day she doesn't. The point is lies are disingenuous and unpleasant and confuse the Hell out of us."
Omigod, I love your bracelet...no, no, no jokes, he's right. The sentiment is totally valid. So we'll stop lying...as soon as men do. Riiiiiight, that's what I thought. The Mexican standoff continues.

Jacob, 31: "Stop beating around the bush. If you're into me, grab an ass cheek or pull in for the kiss."
Kissing is for pussies. Next time, I'll grab the scrotum. 

James, 27: "Stop expecting us to know what you want. You can't spend 5 minutes telling us what you'd really like to do, but you can spend the next day AND night bitching about how we 'should have known' what you wanted--NO I SHOULDN'T BECAUSE YOU DIDN'T TELL ME. And lemme set this straight too: It's not that we're not capable of deciphering women's covert signals, it's just that we're not programmed to. That takes time."
You should come preprogrammed to know that The Olive Garden was a shit choice for our anniversary. 

Tim, 26: "Please don't date until you've completed rehab/therapy/work-release, etc. I'm begging you." 
Sorry, what was that? I couldn't hear you over the sound of this bong rip.

Sam, 23: "Give all guys a chance. Yeah, there's a lot of dicks out there. But if you start ruling out everyone in one category entirely because of a couple of dicks, you might miss that one worth having."
I'm trying not to be cynical. But the urge to pinch his cheeks and go, "Oh, Jesus, you are just so young and SO pretty that that really does make sense to you still, doesn't it?" was overwhelming. Then I got all distracted and starting thinking about dick...

Paul, 25: "Honestly? Short of tying a red ribbon around the neck of every mixed-up, insane chick I've dated in Williamsburg, I'm at a total loss about how to stop the bullshit that gets tossed at me. The mixed signals are too much. I like you, I don't, I'm into this, I'm not, etc. I'm starting to think it boils down to chicks lying to themselves about what they want. The differences from one night to the next make it seem like you don't even know yourself, let alone what you want from me."
My first reaction was to get all pissy. My second was to remind him that's what he gets for dating in Williamsburg. My third was to check my neck for a red ribbon. My fourth was to deduce he's right. 

Chris, 49: "Stop leaving anything you should talk about face to face in a note."
*crumples up paper, furtively tosses behind back. backs away slowly*

Kevin, 23: "Start wearing signs with adjectives or phrases explaining you/your damage on them."
Okay, fine: jaded; suspicious; flakey crust conceals deceptively sweet, stubborn, smart-ass filling. 115 calories per serving. Helpful, Kevin? 

Shawn, 39: "Stop playing the game. It's making me tired."
You're just pissed I own Boardwalk and Park Place. Now pay up.. 

and my personal favorite:

Frank, 32: "Stop asking us to turn the lights off. We're too excited about getting laid to notice your 'fat day,' break-out, saggy boob, or whatever you think is wrong. We're really not that observant."
And thank God for that.

Much love and thanks to all the male participants, listed or unlisted. 

Please discuss or add to this list as needed.


Hannah Miet said...

This was ridiculously amazing. I can't believe you actually interviewed that many men. And that their insight was...insightful. And often hilarious. (Though it can't trump your commentary on their insight.)


mmacc said...

James is right.

I spend a good portion of time listening to my girlfriend's complain about the things their boyfriends didn't do for them. Or things that pissed them off.

When I ask the question:
"Well, did you talk to him about it?/Tell him what you wanted?/Discussed the issue?"
The answer is ALWAYS "No, he should know what I want!"

My relationship works because CJ and I talk about what we want from each other and talk about things that bother us. It is amazing how simple it is.

- Martina

erin said...

Does it seem like a lot of these answers are hostile? Were some of the interviewees laying it on thick and joking around?

I have a hard time believing that men and women are really all that different. I think we a lot of people make issue and difference out of nothing to deflect the real problems. Or just to create chaos, which is what men are best at. ;)

Ellie said...

put anything really important on tape. Or make it their ringtone. They'll get it after 1,000 reps. (or so).

Polly Syllabick said...

Erin, I will say that some of the interviews skewed more toward sarcastic or jokey, which can read as more hostile than they were once they're on the page and not benefiting from inflection, gestures, etc.

That being said, the sentiments, hurt, frustration, etc. were there regardless of whether the guy was delivering it sincerely or with a jokey smirk on his face.

I used to think that men and women weren't all that different, that we just needed to log on to each other's systems (with guest passwords and shit) and communicating would be pretty easy.

That was when I was 23 and really idealistic. Now, more and more, I'm looking for a Rosetta Stone to help decipher what the hell is really going on on both sides.

PS: I want Hannah to start interviewing humans occasionally. I just see her transcripts being really freaking interesting...

inflammatory writ said...

That was hilarious. And my first reaction to the guy who said he dated crazies in Billyburg was IDENTICAL to yours, even before I read it.

We should make a T-shirt that says "That's What You Get For Dating in Williamsburg".

Wynn said...

I linked to this post in my last blogpost because it made me think about something, I hope that's okay :)

And, from what I've heard from many many male sources, the thing Frank dude that says that men aren't observant, is not quite the truth.

Abi Grace said...

Mixed signals aren't sexy??? You mean, when I pretend I'm not interested that doesn't make you want to try harder????

*Throws over shoulder and continues on her merry way. *

Hannah Miet said...

...I will definitely take your suggestion into consideration.


theweightofitall said...

One day, you'll sell your soul and write a column for Cosmo and all the 15 year old girls who read it will be light years ahead of their peers.

...hilarious. always happy when you post.

JerseySjov said...

all of those responses illustrated why i love men... theyre just so funny even without trying!

also i already do many of the things they suggest, yay for me ;)