2010-07-22 / Sam Bari

‘Trick’ questions fuel the gender wars in relationships

You can’t beat a system you can’t understand
By Sam Bari

In order to preserve the delicate balance amongst all things living, Mother Nature designed mankind using two entities of opposite physical and intellectual make-up.

She used females and males. However, the design is living proof that mankind is an experiment that is a work in progress, because the design is flawed.

The intention was to use the opposites to produce offspring that would have properties from both sides; thus, a human being with a balanced perspective on life.

Oops! That’s not what happened.

People are born as males or females, and whatever they turn out to be dictates how they think. Either it’s one of Mom Nature’s jokes or an experiment gone awry.

I choose to think that it is an amusing experiment needing some adjustments.

According to the latest and greatest info from the shrinks and life coach gurus, relationships do not fail because of “lack of communication.” Failure results from “lack of agreement.”

Men have learned how to deal with “trick questions,” and women are tired of not getting honest answers. Thus, the gender wars.

For instance: If a woman asks a man, “Do I look good in this dress?” most men know that she means, “Do you think I look good in this dress?”

Most men will sidestep the question by saying something like, “I’m the wrong person to ask. When you love the way someone looks, they look good in anything.”

Now the woman has to ask, “Do you still love the way I look?” if she wants an honest answer.

According to the gurus, both people are being dishonest. They are verbally sparring to avoid dealing with a sensitive issue.

It is too easy to recognize the use of “diplomacy,” because it always comes out as “patronizing” when it is used between two people who know each other well.

The man in the aforementioned scenario is challenging the woman to question his integrity. He is forcing her to ask how he thinks after he implied that he loved her so much that in his eyes, she looks good in anything she wears.

She wants a little assurance that he accepts her for what she is, even though maybe she doesn’t look as trim as when they first met. Usually, she knows that he is not in a position to criticize, because he isn’t as trim as he was when they first met either.

Both know that they have allowed themselves to get out of shape and gain a few pounds. So they punish each other by playing this game of diplomacy, which does nothing but annoy, if not anger, the other person.

If either the man or the woman has taken the time and trouble to stay in shape, while the other has not, the situation is particularly frustrating.

Men think that women know when they are overweight or out of shape and they shouldn’t expect their men to feel good about it. Women think exactly the same way, according to the self-claimed authorities on the subject.

Nonetheless, I can’t see a woman asking a man a direct question like, “Do you think I look good in this dress?” and expecting an honest answer that is going to make her feel good.

The direct answer would be, “If you thought the dress looked good when you bought it, and when you put it on, you’re not sure if the dress looks good, then maybe it isn’t the dress that looks bad.”

If the situation were reversed, it would work the same way.

However, that is not realistic. If the person being asked the question is in shape and honest, he/ she could give a direct answer by saying, “I love you, but I’m not thrilled with the way you look. You’re out of shape and need to shed some weight.”

If the person answering the question is also out of shape, a good direct answer would be, “You know how you look. Are you happy with it? That’s what is important. We’re both out of shape and need to lose weight. We should do something about that.”

A direct answer with clarity doesn’t have to be mean. It just has to be true. It’s difficult to argue against the truth.

I think our government and diplomats should do the same.

If we heard clear, direct answers from our loved ones and our diplomats, living in a system we can’t understand would be a lot easier.

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