The codes of conduct for relations between the sexes can be paradoxical. Depending on the perspective, they can appear as either insightful, healthy guidelines meant to assist and protect those who follow them, or arbitrary stipulations devised to benefit those advantaged by them.
Such confusion is deeply rooted. Scientists and wordsmiths have told us that men and women have been fighting to get along since their spaceships crashed into each other en route to Earth from their respective planets. Fortunately, Internet technology has helped solidify our ideas about sex and gender relations with commonly accepted lists of good behaviors and attitudes. Whether written, spoken or understood, these have proven an effective way to keep people from throwing pink and blue space loofahs at one another.
Here are samples from two such online guides. The first batch is from a list written by men, for women; the second batch is by women, for men. Utilize these and other behaviors to construct a common framework of understanding, a helpful set of boxes in which to neatly fit all the confusing concepts in your dealings with one another.
Men’s Rules for Women
(See the full list.)
1. “‘Yes’ and ‘No’ are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.”
Men generally prefer to be more direct, efficient and time-conscious than women. They also aren’t usually practiced at either subtlety, or deception. Women would do well to understand this communicative difference and learn to work within men’s limited conversational tendencies.
2. “Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument. In fact, all comments become null and void after 7 days.”
When a relational conflict arises, it is best to bypass the convoluted and distracting emotional, psychological and personal issues to address the circumstantial facts directly and at face value. As we all know, memory is faulty and shaped by the aforementioned distracting elements. Men’s minds are best fitted for focused, immediate problem-solving, and it is unhelpful to demand of them accountability for secondary details their biology predisposes them to forget. You will more readily, and happily, resolve the matter if only the most important factors are considered.
3. “If we ask what is wrong and you say ‘Nothing,’ we will act like nothing’s wrong. We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle.”
Though men are ill practiced at subtlety, they can sense it from others, as a dog can smell a turkey cooking in the oven without being able to cook. As a dog will wisely wait to nibble until the door is opened and its master extends a bit of meat clearly visible in her hand, so a wise man will wait to dialogue with a troubled woman until she invites him to do so with a clear explanation of her trouble. Dogs lack the capacity to open doors, after all, and nobody likes to get burned sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong.
Women’s Rules for Men
(See the full list.)
1. “My body is a temple, now get on your knees and pray.”
Women typically achieve a heightened sense of personal validation when they – and their bodies, particularly – are praised and emphasized by men to the exclusion of other priorities, and beyond what may seem reasonable proportions. Some of the most influential literature and popular media bear this out (e.g. Greek mythology’s Aphrodite, “Cosmopolitan” magazine, reality television). The higher the pedestal, the more value a woman ascribes to herself. It behooves men to understand this principle and apply themselves to it with rigor, never distinguishing a woman’s self-worth from the attention and affection lavished upon her.
2. “51% love goddess 49% bitch.”
As Greek mythology has Aphrodite, so it has Athena. Love and war are simply two faces of the same deity. Men should never assume that a woman’s apparently unsavory or disagreeable behavior is anything out of the ordinary. Under no circumstances are women to be directly confronted for such perceived negativity, or be expected to change or amend such, even as a frenzied lioness would never be stopped from tearing out a zebra’s throat. The wise man doesn’t fight nature; he goes with the flow.
3. “Men are like hardwood floors, lay them right the first time and you can walk all over them forever.”
It is important to remember that relationships require two people to come together and fulfill one another’s needs. An overemphasis on individual rights and selfish desires can undermine the give-and-take, the mutual trust so vital to success. Women generally understand men’s needs better (at least, more readily) than men understand their own, so it is appropriate for men to allow women to shirk traditional gender expectations and take some initiative. Once a man’s physical needs are met, his singular, problem-solving mind will be free of distraction to fulfill a woman’s relational needs. A healthy couple is the same in romance as it is on the dance floor: there is a lead, there is a follow, and both parties know the necessary moves.
As women and men continue the battle for one another, codes and guidelines like the ones above can be a hand-up for higher ground. And let us take heart from history (and her-story). The fact that we’re still fighting shows that we’re not willing to surrender. So press on, loofah lovers, and don’t fight dirty.