Friday, May 22, 2009

unruly soapbox: say anything

I played blogscotch this morning and landed on a blog i'd never heard of before, by someone i've never met to whom i'm not going to link. But she's in the "funny mom" genre and has loads of followers and comments, so she's apparently well-liked and respected.

But one post just irked me.

The post in question was about "Woman as a Second Language" and had several "translations" of what a woman says vs. what a man hears, the sort of thing to which other moms are supposed to shake their heads wryly and say, "Yeah, girl, that's so true!" But it reminded me more of watching Married with Children and trying to figure out who you hate more, Peg or Al, and deciding that they just deserve each other.

For example, and to paraphrase:

You say: I'm going to the drugstore to pick up some "supplies".

He hears: I'm going to spend an hour laboring over which feminine hygiene products I need to adequately stem my horribly bloody flow that makes me into an untouchable.

What you really mean: I'm going to Starbucks to enjoy a grande skinny caramel latte and an almond biscotti while you unknowingly watch the kids.

Here's what I say to that: barf.


Here's a novel idea: SAY WHAT YOU MEAN.

If men are hearing the wrong thing, perhaps it's because you're not saying the right thing. You're not being truthful. You're not trusting that your spouse, in this instance, is prepared to understand you and meet your needs. And you choose to spend your life with this inconsiderate moron, and possibly bear his children?

Here's what I say: I need to go to Starbucks and sit by myself with a chai latte and a vampire book for an hour before I lose my mind. Could you please watch the kids?

See how easy that is?

Do you see the outrageously simple elegance of honesty?

I mean, I guess he has the option to say "no", but then I would counter with, "Okay, that's fine, but how can you help me decompress after a day with these monsters? Can you handle dinner and bedtime? Or maybe you could take them out early tomorrow so I can get time to myself? I really need just an hour."

I suppose compromise is never perfect, but I would be embarrassed to admit that I had to lie about tampons just to get an hour to myself.

I guess I just don't believe in using little lies to get your way with the one person who should always be on your side, supporting you. And if you're not at a place with your spouse where you can equably discuss eachother's needs from the kitchen to the bedroom, maybe you should have a little talk about that instead of making up lies about why you keep buying expensive status bags. Address what's missing in your life that needs replacing. Find out why you need dishonesty when honesty would work even better.

I'm sure she was edging into hyperbole for a laugh, as all humor bloggers do. I mean, I know a blue and red toy dinosaur didn't eat my cupcake. I don't shout "Bring it on down to Omeletteville, JT!" during intimate moments. I may occasionally ham it up for my own, and possibly your, amusement.

But I think that much of what that blogger wrote, including lying to her spouse about buying bags, getting coffee, personal upkeep, looking at other women, going to the salon, and weight and attractiveness of both partners, is utter bullsh*t of the sort that makes all women look bad.

Much like Peg Bundy makes all women look bad.

And, at the same time, it assumes that men are idiots, incapable of understanding women or seeing through their petty lies. I, for one, would not want to be married to some gullible pansy who swallowed such utterly lame stories with open heart and wallet.

So, to step off my soapbox, I implore women everywhere to say what you think and feel to the man in your life. Ask for what you need and want in plain language without manipulation or guilt or anger. It took me years to figure it out, but I wouldn't have it any other way.


MindfulMama said...

I'm am wicked with you, as we say in Massachusetts. Wicked.

Caroline D. said...

"But it reminded me more of watching Married with Children and trying to figure out who you hate more, Peg or Al, and deciding that they just deserve each other."

just referring to that show made me throw up.

I agree with you. your way is good when you want to work on your marriage, and it is a place of intimacy and support. the other way is when you have given up and look at this person as a semi-stranger. I've had it both ways and in the latter you just don't give a flying fuck about working on it. just saying.

stinestrain said...

gah! I hit some random key and lost my comment. stupid blogspot!

anyway, like I said earlier, her husband is either a moron, or also speaks his own language.

he says: "I'm going on a business trip"

he means: "I'm boinking my secretary who is prettier than you and we do lots of things you won't try"


Blair said...

I agree 100%. Maybe this is why I have trouble feeling "womanly." I read those kind of cutesy accounts from other women and I think, "Really? That's how it is in your house?"

I think some people (don't want to pin this solely on women - it goes for men, too) have been telling white lies to their spouse since before they were married, and if they've been doing it since day 1 there's not a lot of hope for honesty now.

Glad I'm in a relationship where I can fart in front of my man, literally and metaphorically!

Virginia Valerie said...

word up, lady! so true. Thanks for your wisdom.

this also fits my daily mantra of "yes, well, i'm not like other women"

I say this to myself so many times i'm thinking of starting a religion around it.

also the confirm word today is "noodesse". Trying to decide if this had more to do with noodles or nudity. either way is great.

Misty said...

Amen sister.

Lynn said...

Sing it. My husband never has to wonder what I really mean, because I always tell him exactly what I really mean. It would be like prison living any other way.

Maggi said...

I'm on Team Soapbox! Excellent post!

maidenshade said...

Amen. You know I go to these blogs and think, "what planet are you from???"

I never did fit into the "norm", thank goodness... I tell it like it is to my partner, and he sits there silently and takes it. As it should be. JUST KIDDING!

Another "good" one was this post I found yesterday on Brad Pitt (blech). These women were fawning over poor Brad who had to deal with an interview that was uncomfortable for him (tried to think of a good blog term for fawning... could only come up with fawnging and that just didn't do it, lol) It made me nauseous.

Anyway, I like this post and the answers being given. I'm sitting here laughing out loud, really.

faemom said...

Great post! I loved it! I couldn't agree more. I hated Married with Children, hate lying, and hate when women look like manipulative, lying b-. (Ok, I won't cuss, since I just met you.) While I have a hard time getting through to the husband, as in look into his eyes so he listens to every word, we work it out without the lies. Now I need to go get some "supplies," I mean caffiene. ;-)

MindfulMama said...

Oh, and meant to add -- LOVE the term "blogscotch." I play it so often I should wear pigtails and giggle maniacally.

katiri said...

way-way-way -WAIT a Minute! You DON"T think the believe at the cupcake? Might have to stop being a "follower" 'cept that you are so right on about that shit. That's just what I hate about trying to talk to other moms in the burbs before/after school and such.

You and Crog are way better than Peg & Al--but I am not at all opposed to seeing you tease that hair up and get into some animal print leggings!

noodesse conjures the image of a semi-nude goddess, with wild hair of noodles strategically covering her private bits.

Heather said...

People wonder why their marriages fall apart, where the distance in their relationships came from, and why they can't talk to their partner... and all while the example you gave is how they "communicate".


Sign me up for team honesty.

You want to get anywhere with your partner in life? Be honest with them. If they love you, if they really are committed to making this thing you call life together working out, then they'll work with you to make something work. If they can't find a way to make things work, then it's time to sit down and have a serious discussion about what you both want from your relationship... but it starts with honesty.

Because you're right: If you can't be honest with the person you promised to spend your future with, your tomorrows and the days after that... well, what the hell are you doing with them? Why waste both of your time?

Captain Awesome said...

It's Saturday and I'm broke and the house is clean and I'm reading through all your old blogs. FYI. Thanks for the entertainment! I can't believe how many I missed.