Friday, October 30, 2009

Less Is More: The Beauty of Male Simplicity

Boys love going to restaurants where all the menu items are also pictured. A long-standing tradition I used to have was going to Denny’s at 2am with my guys one Saturday a month or so. This used to be where all the drag-queens in Savannah would congregate after their last show of the night; so of course, where else would I want to be?

For me the highlight of the evening would be watching all the boys order. The waitress would come over, ask them what they wanted to eat and they would respond by pointing to a picture and saying, “I want that.”

Easy. To the point. In a way I was disappointed they used words at all; I kept waiting for the day they would simply point to the picture and grunt like a caveman. Me hungry, me want that.

Isn’t there something strangely beautiful about that kind of thinking? This mindset isn’t limited to breakfast foods, it translates to their careers and relationships as well. There is an excellent book called The Sexual Spectrum by Olive Skene Johnson that presents some fundamental biological differences between male and female brains. Male brains are wired to process immediate information in order to solve the problem efficiently. Women on the other hand are wired to process information according to a bigger picture. They consider every aspect of the problem and then solve it in a way that may not be as efficient but is the most copasetic.

Both models of thinking have their advantages and disadvantages and it would be hard to argue that one is necessarily better than the other. The most efficient answer is not always the best one; just ask any guy who thought it would be fun to eat a hot pizza roll right out of the oven. Hurts doesn’t it?

Then why did he do it? Because if a man is hungry, he eats. If a woman is hungry, she considers how much her ass may jiggle the next morning if she eats and then acts accordingly. Yes, it can be that ridiculous. So while the most efficient answer may not be the best one I would argue that women have taken the “consider the bigger picture” mentality a bit too far, especially when it comes to relationships.

Men don’t over-analyze everything. It makes me wonder, why can’t women adopt the same mentality?

Or more to the point…why do women have to be so dramatic?

Suppose your girlfriend is upset because she thinks you were hitting on her brother. You’re upset, she’s upset. Resolution needed. Now imagine if you could handle the problem like men often do…throw a few punches, laugh, say “I love you bitch, get over here,” and hug it out? Seems like a more civilized solution than passive-aggressive insults, manipulating conversations and talking about her behind her back. Compared to that sort of behavior an all-out, no-holds-barred catfight seems downright debutante.

Basically having female friends is kind of like living with a minefield in your backyard. You never know how they are going to perceive something, what they are going to think, or how they are going to react. It can be thoroughly exhausting.

I try and avoid that trap by sticking with an honesty-is-the-best policy model. I don’t make assumptions, I try not to over-analyze and if there is a problem I talk about it. Saves me hours of pointless obsessing that I can use to read philosophy and watch Family Guy re-runs.

On average men say about 7,000 words a day while women say about 20,000 words a day, and miraculously men are not dropping dead en-mass around the world; they seem to get by just fine using less than half the amount of words we do. I talk a lot more than most so while I may never get down to saying only 7,000 words a day maybe I can at least limit my thinking to 7,000 words a day. If anything it would make the 20,000 words that actually come out of my mouth a lot more interesting.

If not, at least I still have the option of ordering food by pointing to a picture of it. Without that we’d all be screwed.

Suggested reading:
The Sexual Spectrum by Olive Skene Johnson
The Male Brain by Louann Brizendine M.D.

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