The Frisky’s Annika Harris discusses child-rearing plans for her future sons in the article 22 Things to Teach your Son about Women. Ms Harris prefaces her article by stating that she’s at the age when a woman starts to think about having children and she wants to make sure any yet-to-be-conceived male progeny that might pass through her loins do not grow up to be like her oh-so-annoying boyfriends. Ms Harris writes:
We’re not mothers yet, but we’re at a point in our lives when we’re thinking about our future families. We know an awful lot about women and how to treat and please ’em, so we plan to pass that knowledge down to our sons.
We hope to rid the male sex of all the things that make us rant by raising boys with balanced male and female perspectives. Here are the 22 things we’ll teach them.
I found Ms Harris’ male child rearing tips a little . . . off (with one notable exception), so I’m offering an alternative Shrink4Men version to her original list. Ms Harris’ points are in blue boldface; the rest of the text is mine:
1. Pick your battles. Especially if you have the misfortune to become involved with a high-conflict woman and/or an abusive personality disordered woman. These women will keep you engaged by creating constant, pointless conflicts. How will you know they’re pointless? Because try as you might, you won’t be able to resolve them.
If your girlfriend expands the argument while you’re trying to resolve the conflict (especially if you’ve just pointed out her role in it), she may be a high-conflict person. If she’s always right, even when it’s obvious to everyone else that she’s wrong, you should probably think about ending the relationship. If this kind of woman tells you things will get better after you marry, it’s a lie. If she’s not on her best behavior before you pop the question, it will only become worse after you propose.
2. Going down is more intimate than sex, but it shouldn’t be scary. Actually, some people consider cunnilingus and fellatio sex. I agree, sex with your loved one shouldn’t be scary. Not sure what Ms Harris is talking about here.
3. Walk on the outside (closer to the street) of your female companion. If women and men are equal, then isn’t a man’s life just as valuable as a woman’s? Why should he assume all the risk of being clipped by an out-of-control bus? Treat courtesy with courtesy. She may be a damsel in distress, but that doesn’t mean you have to fall into the trap of being her knight in shining armor. Damsels in distress maybe charming initially, but if you’re not careful, you could end up pushing the broom behind a sixty-something year old “princess” in distress. Not good. Damsels who expect you to fix all their problems are also likely to blame you and everyone else for all their problems. I’d steer clear if I were you.
4. Saying “You’re being crazy” is never an appropriate response, unless you want her to go postal on you. Especially if she really is being crazy and/or abusive. Pay attention. Crazy + abusive rarely changes for the better. You can’t fix broken and crazy, particularly if it was broke before you met her. Furthermore, if a woman goes postal on you for saying, “You’re acting crazy” when she is indeed acting crazy; odds are she has some issues. It’s not okay for your girlfriend to “go postal” on you. Anger is a healthy emotion. Out-of-control, abusive rages are not. You don’t have to take a woman’s abuse. Ever.
5. Cooking, cleaning, and taking care of kids are things men can actually do as well as women. Earning a full-time salary, paying child support, taking financial responsibility for your own children, paying your fair share of the bills and managing your own debt are things that women can actually do as well as men. By the way, most of the world’s top chefs are men and most men do 50% or more of household chores and childcare nowadays.
6. Keep back-up supplies of quality chocolate in the house for her to raid. We’re all in charge of our own emotions. Other people may do things to upset or anger us, but it’s not your responsibility to make your girlfriend happy, calm or psychologically stable. If your girlfriend or wife requires chocolate, antidepressants or mood stabilizers, it’s her responsibility to self-soothe and take care of herself. It’s not okay for her to take her issues out on you. Just because she’s in psychological turmoil and/or was abused as a child doesn’t mean it’s okay for her to abuse you nor should you have to keep a pint of Haagen-Daz on hand for “emergencies.”
7. Buying tampons and other feminine products shouldn’t embarrass you—everyone knows they’re not for you. Gimme a break. If men don’t mind doing this, fine, but spare us the shaming tactics. If a man doesn’t want to buy his wife’s or girlfriend’s feminine hygiene products for her, he shouldn’t have to do so. Plan ahead and purchase the products yourself; you know it’s coming every month, so there shouldn’t be any surprises. Is it child abuse when a mother makes her teenage son buy Tampax for her at Walgreen’s? I think I can make a reasonable argument for yes it is.
8. Women like compliments and gifts. Women may like compliments and gifts, but you shouldn’t feel obligated or that your relationship is dependent upon feeding her ego and her materialistic streak. If she doesn’t reciprocate compliments, gifts and affectionate gestures in kind, then you may be involved with a woman who’s just using you to bolster her ego and to collect trinkets, baubles, cars, computers and townhouses, which makes her a prostitute. One wonders if Ms Harris planning to raise a son or a manservant?
9. Earning less than her shouldn’t be emasculating. In fact, should you marry a woman who earns more money than you, she may end up having to pay you alimony, spousal support and/or child support should you divorce someday. Equal rights means equal. If men have to pay to play, so should women. Furthermore, joint income means joint; whats yours is hers and what hers is yours. If she hoards her money while expecting you to share yours, it’s unfair and you should stop sharing your money. In fact, be very wary of a woman who insists that you co-mingle your assets—even after marriage—especially if your assets are greater than hers.
10. Your legs really don’t need to be open that wide. If your girlfriend is constantly criticizing, nitpicking and putting you down for just being you, you may want to find another girlfriend. If you’re comfortable and you’re not making lewd gestures, who cares?
11. Be on time, even if she usually isn’t. If your girlfriend is chronically unpunctual and it bothers you; tell her. If she continues to disregard your feelings, it means your feelings aren’t important to her. If your feelings aren’t important to her, you should probably find another girlfriend. Your feelings and needs are just as important as hers. If she tries to insist otherwise, look for the nearest exit. Additionally, when your girlfriend behaves one way and expects/demands that you behave another—e.g., you must be on time; she can show up whenever she wants—it’s an unfair double standard. Contrary to the belief system of many women, it’s not different when she does it.
12. Don’t be a pouty puppy when shopping with her. If you don’t want to go shopping with your girlfriend, you don’t have to do so unless she’s willing to accompany you on outings that you enjoy, but she does not. While we’re on this topic, you shouldn’t be expected to do everything with your girlfriend. It’s okay to have different interests and to engage in them without one another. This includes shopping.
13. She should never be able to control you with sex. Ms Harris got this one right.
14. Find out what her favorite flower is. Unless she’s willing to find out your favorite beer, author, sports team, flower, etc., you shouldn’t be expected to know the minutia of her personal preferences. If a woman wants flowers, she’s quite capable of purchasing her own bouquet. It’s lovely if you want to buy her flowers, but don’t let her make you feel guilty for not doing so, especially if she’s not surprising you with flowers or concert tickets or whatever your thing is.
15. If you like her, then don’t buy her shoes; it’s bad luck. This one’s too silly to address.
16. Smiling and nodding aren’t the same as listening. And an endless stream of consciousness, rant about her bitchy, frenemy co-worker isn’t a conversation. Neither is a can’t-get-a-word-in-edgewise monologue about how insensitive, inconsiderate and clueless you are, complete with a laundry list of all the ways you disappoint her. It’s okay to just smile and nod when a woman (or man) is just talking to talk and doesn’t want any input from you—except to tell her how right she is and how wrong everyone else is. Sometimes the best thing you can do is smile and nod, smile and nod. Just be sure to intersperse it with some, “Wow, really’s?” and “Oh my god, I can’t believe she had the nerve to do that’s.”
17. Skid marks aren’t sexy or hygienic. Alright, Ms Harris makes another valid point.
18. It’s OK to cry in front of her, but keep the blubbering to a minimum. This is another example of a double standard and a double bind. Women complain when men “don’t express emotions” or aren’t “in touch with their emotions” and then freak out when men actually express their emotions and/or become angry if men express emotions that differ from their emotions. If your girlfriend isn’t supportive or mocks you for expressing your emotions and/or tries to turn the attention onto herself and her feelings, she may very well be a self-centered, unempathic individual who isn’t capable of a reciprocal relationship. In other words, you may be better off finding another girlfriend.
19. Personality goes a long way. But personality disorders do not. Personality disorders are difficult to treat and many individuals who have them are unwilling to admit that they have problems. No matter how wonderful your girlfriend’s “good side” may be, you can’t change or fix her “bad side.” By the way, if your girlfriend has a Jekyll and Ms Run Away and Hyde personality, it’s a BIG red flag. When a woman has a personality disorder, she has to do the heavy lifting in order to make positive changes. You can’t do it for her. You can’t love someone well nor should you feel guilty about ending a relationship with a woman who doesn’t treat you well and/or abuses you.
20. At some point she’ll be more important than your mother. Where to begin? During early childhood, it’s normal for both parents to be the center of a child’s universe. Children rely utterly on both their parents; not just their mothers. It’s also normal for children to develop into their own autonomous beings during adolescence. However, if a girlfriend or wife tries to isolate you from your family, it’s probably an indication that she’s not a good person and has issues that preclude having a happy and healthy relationship with her. Gentlemen, if your mother is trying to control your love life after you reach adulthood, you may need to cut the cord for her. Parenthood is not synonymous with ownership.
21. You will never completely understand women. Because men are too dense to comprehend the mystery that is women. Puh-lease. People are people. Entitled, selfish, angry, controlling women are not complex. You’ll never please them. They’ll never be happy—except when they’re torturing you. There’s no great mystery to their madness, anger, coldness and maliciousness. They’re unhappy people who only feel good about themselves when they hurt others, so don’t bother plumbing the depths of her tortured soul. There are no depths; just superficial layers of inconsistencies, self-serving BS, half-truths and contradictions. Mystery solved.
22. Oh yeah, and no woman will ever be good enough for my baby! Unless his future girlfriend also expects him to supply her with chocolate, go shopping, buy her Maxi-Pads, and suppress his emotions. Then he can take his mom and his girlfriend shopping while he stifles his sobs at DSW Shoe Parade.
What words of wisdom do the men reading this wish your parents had taught you about women when you were a child? Did they warn you that abusive, predatory women exist and that you should be wary of them? What do the fathers and mothers reading this plan to teach their sons?
Links to follow-up articles:
Teaching Young Boys about Women and Dating, Part 1
Fathers and Mothers: Teach your Children Well, Including your Sons
Want to Say Goodbye to Crazy? Buy it HERE.
Shrink4Men Coaching and Consulting Services:
Dr Tara J. Palmatier provides confidential, fee-for-service, consultation/coaching services to help both men and women work through their relationship issues via telephone and/or Skype chat. Her practice combines practical advice, support, reality testing and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Shrink4Men Services page for professional inquiries.
“What words of wisdom do the men reading this wish your parents had taught you about women when you were a child?”
Watch carefully how she interacts with parents and siblings, and to a lesser extent, how she interacts with her friends.
Does she treat a sister with contempt? Is she continuously telling a friend how she should be running her life? Does she get into shouting matches with a parent?
Because if you stay with her long enough, the way she treats her family will be the way she treats you.
never again says
“Watch carefully how she interacts with parents and siblings, and to a lesser extent, how she interacts with her friends.”
About 3 months before we married, her mother came to visit. There was a major screwup in logistics because her mother had been visiting her (equally NPD) sister, and the sister didn’t feel in necessary to honour the arrangments we made. So, we ended up picking Mum from the bus station at midnight.
My soon-to-be-wife was angry at the manipulations of her sister, and that her mother had gone along with it. They started arguing in the car, when suddenly, my STBW turned to her mother with a look of pure evil and said “You’re a f*cking liar!!” :0
Later, I told her that I was embarrased and shocked at her behaviour, and told her if she ever spoke to me like that, I’d leave her in a second. This was before I married her, so I still had my stones. Over time, she managed to gently chip away my resolve, so that I did lose my stones, and that’s when the treatment was transferred to me. She never spoke to me in exactly that way, but sometimes I wish she would have. Better to have the contempt in the open, than the subtle emasculation I underwent.
“You’re a f*cking liar!!”
Oh, I get this all the time. Translation: “I disagree with your last assertion.”
Regarding point #2, maybe she was referring to fellatio. Actually, who the fuck knows what she is talking about?
Dr Tara Palmatier says
Still don’t know. Don’t really care.
“There are no depths; just superficial layers of inconsistencies, self-serving BS, half-truths and contradictions. Mystery solved.”
This is a good point. Intelligent, fair-minded self-aware women aren’t mysterious; psychotic women are mysterious.
And they’re not really mysterious so much as insane.
Dr Tara Palmatier says
Excellent point, typhonblue, re: insane does not equal complex.
“What words of wisdedom do (wo)men reading this wish your parents had taught you about (wo)men when you were a child?”
Healthy people take responsibility for their own emotional states.
Dr Tara Palmatier says
(applies to both sexes): When someone warns you about who they are early in a relationship (i.e.”I don’t know how to treat [gender] very well,” or “You are too good for me; I don’t deserve you,” etc.) BELIEVE THEM. Because they will spend the rest of the relationship proving it to you.
Dr Tara Palmatier says
Ding! Ding! DIng! Exactly, TGI. People will give you very early warning signs, but you need to be paying attention.
I got early on in the relationship, “you make me want to be a better person.” Damn it all makes sense now, but back then I had no clue 🙁
This can be applied to everyone in life.
“indirectness is the calling card of self-interest.”
If she can’t directly approach you, tell you how she feels and be completely open and honest about her life…..take to the higher ground, young man.
This is great. I have some young men I work with who need to see this. The frustration these men have in finding an emotionally adult young woman to date is intense and confusing. This will certainly give them a clear understanding of where the boundaries are.
What a phenomenal load of bollocks. Dr. T has already ably Fisked this article, so I don’t have a lot to add. One thing that struck a chord with me (well, a lot of this struck a chord with me) was in the remarks to number 18:
This is a pervasive and particularly cruel double-standard that women maintain. I don’t call it a double-bind, though, I call it getting whipsawed. This is especially the case when a man expresses feelings that are not directly in synch with what the woman is feeling. She’s upset with you because of X, you’re angry with her because of Y, but if you tell her about Y she’ll completely lose it because it’s not X. A few weeks after that blows over, she’ll start complaining that you don’t communicate enough and need to see a therapist.
Dr Tara Palmatier says
I believe ‘whipsawed’ is layman’s terms for ‘double bind.’ ;^)
I guess I’m one of them thar laymen, then. 😉
My advice to sons can be summed up, a bit crudely, in the following three statements:
1. Find your balls.
2. Keep your balls, no matter what.
3. See steps 1 and 2.
John P says
that’s what I’m talking about
seriously should be a tee-shirt
Thanks, John P. That’s not a bad idea!
I chuckled and cringed as I read this article. Before I had children I had all the answers on relationships. I remember attending a parenting class and thinking “this is all so obvious and easy – who needs a class?” Boy, was I naive and arrogant! When I was her age I thought I had all the answers to life, though I didn’t have the gall to actually author a book as a supposed expert.
Treating a woman like she is special and loved is a good thing. So is chivalry. But the danger is that it goes too far, and her thoughts provide insight that she stepping over the line. She will either find the man of her dreams who will be able to meet all of her needs or she is setting herself up for a miserable life. I truly hope she finds the man who lives up to all of her expectations, but I also hope she will laugh off the small things that don’t really matter, and that she takes ownership of her own issues when conflict arises, as they always do. I fear, however, from the tone of her writing that she may take on the “Queen Bee” mentality and rule with an iron fist, prejudiced of course through my own experience.
Now approaching 49 years of age, I am beginning to see a few patterns in my behavior and in my ex-wife’s behavior that led to an unbalanced, unhealthy relationship that eventually became too complex to unravel through counseling. I intend to teach my teen son about how to treat a woman with respect while being on the lookout for unhealthy expectations from a woman. A balanced approach will benefit he and his future wife more than so-called expert advice from non-experts.
Dr Tara Palmatier says
Why aren’t we teaching children to respect others, period? Respect women. Respect women. Respect women. Respect women. Respect women. Squawk! Polly wanna cracker? So tired of the broken record.
Respect is earned. Yes, some authority figures should receive automatic respect—a coach a teacher, the police, your parents—until they demonstrate that they’re not to be trusted. For example, abusing their authority would lead to withdrawal of respect.
How about teaching children to respect women and men equally if they are deserving of respect because of their actions and the way they conduct themselves? Sorry, but “I have a uterus!” is not enough reason for me to grant someone unconditional, automatic respect. Respect should be merit-based, not sex organs based.
I never bought into the whole “women are goddesses” nonsense that sprouted in the 1990s.
Wow,this one answered a few questions for me.It is not okay for your girlfriend/wife to yell and scream at you in public.Then use the excuse that,”you need to be yelled at in order for you to do anything.”
Also,it is easy for an abuser to turn a man into a manservant/slave very easily.This article also points that out as well.
#2 is a bit of a mystery.
And yes,I am getting a little sick of hearing all about all the Women’s shelters and the need for all types of support.This just continues to beef up the view that all men are bad/women are good mantra.
There does need to be an equal playing field created and that is where you are the groundbreaker Dr Tara!!
Keep up the amazing work…please.
Well said & I agree with all but the following:
Number 7: it would depend on if each person’s personal care items are considered part of a household’s shopping or not. If I’m married or living together with a guy or the relationship is close enough where I’d pick up say, shaving cream for him, he should be able to pick up feminine hygiene items for me. But the key is being willing to do it for the other person. If either person is always demanding while not willing to do it for the other person, then there’s a problem.
I don’t have kids, but I realize teens, even girls who use the products themselves, may be understandably shy about picking up these items, so I would never ask a child or teen to do so. I also wouldn’t ask them to pick up beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes, birth control products, etc.
A grown man in a relationship is a different story. Menstruation is a normal part of life for adult, pre-menopausal woman. It’s not “cooties”. I don’t necessarily need to go on about, describe it during dinner, but the function of it and the necessary gear should be treated the same as other bodily functions. We don’t take care of waste elimination or pick our nose at the dinner table, but there’s no huge stigma, issue or embarassment to buying toilet paper and tissues.
Number 10: having spent a fair amount of time on public transit, some guys do like to take up a lot of room by spreading their legs out really wide. I understand the boys need to “breathe” a la Seinfeld, but they don’t need to paraglide and the subway or bus ride isn’t a try out for the men’s gymanstic team. Taking up space in this way on public transit when there’s not ample elbow/knee room is rude, as it is when a woman had her handbag on the seat next to her on a crowded train/bus. But if there’s sufficient room on transit or in the privacy of your own home, go for it!!! 🙂
Cousin Dave says
“Paragliding”… I like that… Let me toss out a few words about the public-transit thing, since this has also come up recently at Amy Alkon’s. I don’t know how it is with women, but with men, the hip joints are constructed in such a way that, when seated in a relaxed position, the legs open up. It’s unconscious. I won’t deny that some guys way overdo it as a way of passively-aggressively asserting their manhood, but it’s not always a conscious behavior. I just now tried it in my desk chair; when I sit in a relaxed position and totally relax my legs, my knees open up to a slightly wider width than the width of my shoulders. I’m a fairly broad-shouldered guy, and while I could stand to lose a few pounds, I’m not obese and I don’t have particularly large thighs for a guy.
For most men, to keep the knees together while seated requires a constant exertion of effort. You can’t keep that up for the duration of a long flight, especially if you’re sleepy. And men are generally not flexible enough to sit with their legs crossed with one thigh over the other, the way women do. Coach airline seats today are just barely wide enough for a man who is average-sized in the hips (forget the shoulders; they don’t fit). I’ve learned that I can sit without my legs opening up too much if I stick my feet under the seat in front of me and cross one foot over the other; that way I can relax and my knees don’t spread a lot. But if I’m in a middle seat and my row-mates are built about like me (or bigger), we’re going to touch now and then and I can’t help that. You can’t buy a seat that is, say, 3” wider; your choices are to fold yourself into a coach seat or pay through the nose for first class. (And my company won’t pay for anyone other than executives to travel first class.) I’ve gotten pretty good at finding ways to cram myself into an airplane, but coach seats keep getting smaller and there’s only so much I can do.
On short-haul public transit, like a subway, I nearly always stand if that option is available. I take up less room that way.
As I said, breathing room for the boys is ok, I don’t expect a guy to keep his knees together. It’s the ones who really abuse it who annoy me. For example, there was an entire empty seat between me and this one guy. He had his legs open so wide that he leg was up against mine on my side. Sure if we were sitting together right next to each other, I could see it, but not with an entire seat between us. He had quite enough room with a seat on either side. He shouldn’t be touching anyone. I’ve seen guys take up the equivalent of 2 or 3 seats doing this.
The interesting thing is for some reason, they won’t sit next to other guys. They will deliberately sit next to women when they do this. They will pass up other empty seats near fellow men.
Cousin Dave says
I’ll take my own crack it:
1. Pick your battles. Absolutely, but even more important, as Dr. T points out, is to pick who you want to “do battle” with. Don’t waste your time with someone who divides relationships into winners and losers.
2. Going down is more intimate than sex, but it shouldn’t be scary. Agreed it shouldn’t be, but what’s the point? Actually, I think I see what the point is, or at least what Harris intended it to be. The point is “most men don’t work hard enough to satisfy their partners”. That pendulum swings both ways.
3. Walk on the outside (closer to the street) of your female companion. I’m actually not sure I get the point of this one, in this day and age. Yes, one should be courteous and all that. And back when streets were basically mud pits full of horse dung, it made a certain amount of sense: having the man walk on the outside ensured that the lady’s long dress and petticoats would not accidentally drag in the street, and in the event of unfortunate splashing, the man’s clothes were probably easier to get clean. But nowdays, if you go for a stroll with your lady friend and you’re constantly shuffling positions as you go around corners to stay on her outside, she’s likely to wonder what the heck you’re doing.
4. Saying “You’re being crazy” is never an appropriate response, unless you want her to go postal on you. I concur with Dr. T: going postal on the person you supposedly love is never an appropriate response, no matter what the provocation. And the women most likely to go postal are the ones who take *everything* as a provocation. There’s a theme I want to expand on here sometime, which is: children in general don’t get enough information from their parents on NPD and BPD and how to spot it in members of the opposite sex. Perfectly well-adjusted men and women wind up thinking that they are mentally defective because they can’t deal with crazy-making Cluster B partners.
5. Cooking, cleaning, and taking care of kids are things men can actually do as well as women. That’s true. In fact, quite a few of us lived on our own and kept our own houses before we met our partners — hard to believe, I know, but it’s true. However, we did not obsess over every last detail. We did not dust the bookshelves or sweep off the patio every single day. We did not spend hours and hours arranging and re-arranging the dishes in the cabinets. And, most importantly, we did not berate our wives or girlfriends just because they didn’t do everything exactly the way we did it. Further: Although Harris’ statement is true, it is not relevant. I will admit its relevance when she is willing to state that women can mow a 1/2-acre lawn, mix concrete by hand, or change a flat tire in a downpour as well as men.
6. Keep back-up supplies of quality chocolate in the house for her to raid. Actually, it’s not a bad idea to keep a few treats handy, in general. However, it depends a lot on the particular woman: she may not like chocolate, or she may be trying to diet and would rather not have the temptation laying around. So don’t go crazy. And: a wise and gentle woman will not abuse the privilege.
7. Buying tampons and other feminine products shouldn’t embarrass you—everyone knows they’re not for you. Well, it doesn’t embarrass me, not now. But yeah, it sure as heck would have when I was a teenager. Store clerks won’t pop wisecracks at the 50-year-old me, but they would (including the female ones) when I was 17. Let’s face it, it’s like being asked to hold the purse: it’s widely perceived as emasculating.
Cousin Dave says
8. Women like compliments and gifts. Yes, they do. You know what? Men like a compliment occasionally, too. I think that pretty much covers everyone.
9. Earning less than her shouldn’t be emasculating. Stating that “it shouldn’t be” doesn’t change the fact that, in the eyes of most women, it is. There’s plenty of research that backs up the fact that women in general are less attracted to men who make less money than they do. There is always individual variation, of course, but in this day and age, a man who doesn’t make much money is going to find that most working women are not interested in him.
9. Earning less than her shouldn’t be emasculating. I already said my piece on this in this thread, so I won’t belabor the point.
11. Be on time, even if she usually isn’t. Excuse me, why is it that *I* always have to be the adult?
12. Don’t be a pouty puppy when shopping with her. I won’t, but if she’s doing a serious clothes-shopping trip, I’m probably not going. There is nothing more tedious than spending the afternoon walking around to a bunch of stores which have nothing I’m interested in. I don’t expect her to go to the dirt track races with me either.
13. She should never be able to control you with sex. I agree, but I’m willing to bet that what Harris meant by this is: “If she consistently denies you sex, don’t make it a big deal out of it, just live with it.” Sex is something to be expected in most committed relationships and certainly in marriage. There’s obviously room for debate about how often and what. But if a woman leads you on with promises of sex (or lots of sex at the front end of the relationship) and then turns into a cold fish, that’s manipulative. Don’t waste your time with manipulative people. Dump her.
14. Find out what her favorite flower is. Er… well, for one thing, not all women are all that interested in flowers to that extent. I will say this much, though: I’ve never known a woman to turn down red roses. Other than that, I wouldn’t worry terribly much about it.
15. If you like her, then don’t buy her shoes; it’s bad luck. Well, the “luck” thing is dumb, but I would never buy her shoes anyway. I have no concept of what women do or don’t find attractive in shoes, frankly. Besides, from what my wife has told me, there’s a lot of variation in women’s shoe sizes, and I have no way of knowing if a given pair will fit her. Same goes for bras; it’s too much of a specific thing to her for me to be able to guess at what will fit her properly.
Cousin Dave says
Finishing it off…
16. Smiling and nodding aren’t the same as listening. No, but they don’t always have to be. Now and then my wife needs to let off a bit of steam, about something that’s happened at work or whatever. So I smile and nod. It’s not that I’m not paying any attention, but she doesn’t really want my input — she just wants to get it off of her chest. Everyone needs to do that now and then. So I let her go for a few minutes; she gets it out of her system, and then we talk. One thing I’ll point out: she does not go on and on, and she never implies that whatever she’s upset about is my fault.
17. Skid marks aren’t sexy or hygienic. Ergh… I’m not touching that one!
18. It’s OK to cry in front of her, but keep the blubbering to a minimum. Well, as Dr. T has pointed out, the “I wish you would express your feelings more” statement often sounds like a trap to men. Yes, there are women who, when they say that, actually mean “I wish you’d validate my feelings by mirroring them”. Some women actually prefer the strong silent type, and are not all that crazy about men expressing feelings in front of them — it scares them.
19. Personality goes a long way. Well duh. However, I think what Harris was really getting at is: “Son, only shallow men pay attention to a woman’s looks. If your wife gains 100 lbs. and wears nothing but sweat pants after the wedding, you have to love her just the same.” Besides the obvious narcissism, the fact remains that a person’s appearance says something about how much respect they have both for themselves and other people. And yes, men are hard-wired to look at attractive women — although men have to watch it because Cluster B women usually know how to use attractiveness to draw in male victims.
20. At some point she’ll be more important than your mother. Yes, that’s true; no one respects an adult mama’s boy. But the time will (maybe) come when the son’s mother will enter her elderly years, and her son may become important to her once again, as her caretaker. Harris would do well to remember that. And women, do you really want to get involved with a man who has no respect for his parents?
21. You will never completely understand women. Dr. T already fisked this one, but I will also point out that the statement is ridiculous on its face; it is neither possible nor necessary to understand *all* women. Of all the women in the world, I have close relationships with about 10 of them. Even if it were possible, I’d have no need to have a detailed understanding of all the rest. Of course, it helps a lot to have an understanding of general characteristics, but there’s no guarantee that any random woman I meet will share all of those characteristics.
22. Oh yeah, and no woman will ever be good enough for my baby! I understand the general sentiment… but it directly contradicts #20.
Dr Tara Palmatier says
Thank you very much for taking the time to write such a well-considered series of comments. Much appreciated.
Marshall Stack says
My parents, especially my mother, taught me to do as I’m told, don’t ask questions, and be nice. I learned from their example how a typical marriage should function – honor each other, don’t fight in front of the kids, and present a united front to the world. These have all made me into a good husband and father. The only thing I remember them disagreeing on was fighting. My mother used to tell my father that she didn’t want me getting in fights, while my father used to tell her that some people don’t understand anything else than a good beating. My mother won out, and I have struggled with standing up for myself as a result.
Unfortunately, these same lessons unwittingly taught me to be a perfect victim. My verbally and emotionally abusive wife has turned obedience into subsurvience, my niceness and passivity into character flaws to be exploited. I’ve had to learn the hard way to stand up for myself.
I am trying to teach my kids the same things I was taught, with some significant differences:
1. Do as you’re told, as long as it’s me, your mother, your teacher, a first responder, or other authority figure you know and trust.
2. Ask questions. You might not like the answer, but’s healthy to ask.
3. Be nice until someone gives you a reason not to be. If someone treats you badly, cut them out of your life.
4. Don’t pick a fight, but if someone hits you, hit them back. If they get back up, hit them harder. Like my old man said, some people don’t understand anything else.
1. Pick your battles. – yes, dont bug us about some insignificant thing.
2. Going down is more intimate than sex, but it shouldn’t be scary. – That goes double for the ladies. 3/14 should be about twice a week.
3. Walk on the outside (closer to the street) of your female companion. – Seriously? If an out of control car comes careening towards us if you dont have the sense to get out of the way maybe the gene pool is better without you in it.
4. Saying “You’re being crazy” is never an appropriate response, unless you want her to go postal on you. – Its a completely appropriate response if indeed you are being crazy. Its not necessarily an insult, more an observation.
5. Cooking, cleaning, and taking care of kids are things men can actually do as well as women – Yes, so we dont need constant direction, criticism, advice, badgering on how to do it just cuz were not doing it ‘your’ way.
6. Keep back-up supplies of quality chocolate in the house for her to raid – I have to agree with what Dr Tara posted. Youre a grown woman. Youve had your Mr Monthly since what 13? Twelve times a year at almost the same time every month, YEAR AFTER YEAR! Your poor planning does not constitute an emergency on my part.
7. Buying tampons and other feminine products shouldn’t embarrass you—everyone knows they’re not for you. – not the point, it makes other men think we are PW’d and henpecked. Its emasculating.
8. Women like compliments and gifts. – Which is all fine and good. Dont expect them if you dont earn them. If you have been a raging harpy and fought with us about everything under the sun for the last 6 weeks dont expect a romantic dinner and lots of jewelery and a romantic evening afterwards. Its hard to be romantic when youve been chewing our ass for weeks.
9. Earning less than her shouldn’t be emasculating. – Well guess what, it is.
10. Your legs really don’t need to be open that wide. – Look, you woman get to wear skirts and that in summertime, the boys are always cooped up in the heat. Sometimes we like to have a little air circulation down there.
11. Be on time, even if she usually isn’t. – Can you just go with the first outfit you tried on? Youre going to cycle through 4 others and end up going with the first one anyways.
12. Don’t be a pouty puppy when shopping with her. – Fine, but dont drag us to some botique thing and expect us to hold your purse. You KNEW we were going shopping, all you should need is the checkbook and maybe the credit card. Everything else can be left in the trunk.
13. She should never be able to control you with sex. – True words. Something to remember ladies, you indeed DONT have the only one. We may like yours A LOT, but there is a limit to the crap we will put up with to play with it.
Oh gracious i just gotta chime in… where to start?
(he says with a smiling face) Dr. T, you’re a little feisty on this one. good for you!!! i’ve always appreciated your candidness and blunt sense of humor. this one had me nodding my head enthusiastically and laughing at the same time.
I’ve told every girl that i’ve dated that i’m not an easy guy to date. If you’re looking for that same old guy who’s emotionally unavailable (even tho they say they’re not), then i’m not that guy. i AM the guy who is HUUUUGE on communication. i am not a mind-reader and my crystal is permanently in the shop for repairs. most people will tell you that i’m a very intelligent guy, i try really hard to understand what is that’s put in front of me, and that i really am pretty darn intuitive (for a guy). what this means is that i pay attention, nothing more. i’m not born with anything other than good listening skills and the attempt to please. but here is where i run into a problem… i’m they type of person who takes people at face value – as most men do. if you tell me something is blue, then i’m going to think that the person i’m talking with believes that something is blue. not red, not brown, not mauve (guys don’t see in that color by the way), but blue. why??? because you just told me that you believe that it is blue. so if i ask a question and you tell me the answer is “yes”, then i take you at face value. but if you tell me “yes” and the answer really is something other than “yes”… that’s on you. so when i remind the girl that she told me the answer was “yes”, she has no right to be angry or confused because i couldn’t magically divine that the answer was something other than yes. “they” (and i really wanna know who “they” are) say that men need to work on their communication skills. i’m in my mid-40s and i’m here to tell ya that most men communicate fine. if the answer is “yes” they will tell you “yes” and that answer will be “yes” at least 95% of the time from here on out. i’ve found that most mis-communication, whether in the workplace or in relationships, derives from the woman giving 50% of the information needed to fulfill a task and expecting 100% completion of that task to her satisfaction. HOW EXACTLY is that successful communication? guys don’t usually do this. and how exactly does that give us men the bad rap of poor communication skills…?
there are plenty of men out there who really ARE emotionally unavailable. i am not that guy. i’m not a crier. i’ve been thru a lot and i’m honest with my emotions. i also will take responsibility for those emotions and realize that the person standing in front of me while is display those emotions is my lover, my heart and soul, my girl. what i require in return is reciprocity. i understand that many times women need to just vent and know that you’re there for them. but it’s REALLY hard to roll with the punches when its your lover throwing the punches – at you. in the end they may feel better about getting it off their chest and puking up whatever it is that’s poisoning them. but when i’m the one covered in vomit – and had nothing to do with the process other than being the target – then yeah, i’m not gonna like it. i’m just as entitled to my emotions as she is. and when i’m the target of something i had nothing to do with, when she feels better and now i’m upset, and then i’m told to deal with it (be a man)… gets the blood boiling and the mind racing. makes me want to say, “time out. i was there for you, so how about being there for me?”. the problem with that is NOW you’re keeping score and there is no fun in that… because now she’s held accountable. and i remind them over and over… i am just as entitled to my hurt, my own happiness and everything in between as you are. the difference is i try my best to be accountable for my own situation.
as i said… i’m not an easy guy to date. i really do consider myself an equal, entitled to just as much as the girl. i never expect anyone to read my mind. if somebody does something wrong, i will them that it is wrong, i will tell them why it is wrong, and – – – – most importantly – – i will tell them what right is. i won’t leave them guessing about something in order to give myself an easy out and a magic card to play just in case i need it. too many people – many women – will tell you what wrong is… but won’t tell you what right is. so when you continue to try to please and guess wrong… very quickly you gotta conmsider if there really IS a right…
lastly… as guys we get really tired of the PMS excuse. “oh honey… i went off on you because of PMS… it must be that time of the month” (i left out the i’m sorry for a reason… cuz it ain’t coming, tho they can’t really say for certain whether they even know if it really is that time of the month. its like they want a free pass for any indiscretion. oops… PMS, strike from the record. as a guy, i’ve gone into work, or in the course of a given day, or within a relationship, with: my back so beat up i can hardly stand, 3 knee surgeries, a fractured neck (hockey injuries with lingering effects), massive migraines, vertigo, a family member dying, an ulcer, my past, lupus (which attacks my body in ways that are not cool)and the general stresses and strains of a busy life, and my awful job. as a man, do i get a pass? no, and i don’t want a pass. there is nothing that i’ve gone thru that gives me any right or reason to be a prick to anyone else, especially my girl. no reason whatsoever to mistreat her. as a man, i gotta suck it up, be a man, and go on because i have obligations. THE MOST IMPORTANT of my obligations lies within my relationship with my beloved, my heart and soul, my girl. so when a woman goes with the “i’m gonna wig out and blame you for everything because i don’t like myself and i’m feeling bloated” ploy, it gets a little old (i SWEAR i’m not trying to be insensitive). again, there are PLENTY of guys out there who really are jerks. for those of us who try so hard to keep our end of the bargain (within or physical and mental capabilities), and then go a little more… trust me… we require – and deserve – some sensitivity on the woman’s part as well. sometimes PMS seems like a cheap way out.
ok… now call me an insensitive bastard…
You’re an insensitive bastard. An insensitive verbose bastard, at that.
Hey, I’m all about validation, what can I say…
I don’t think you are being insensitive at all. However, while every woman’s cycle doesn’t work like the clockwork you described it, she should still be prepared. Cramps can be debilitating, sometimes requiring surgery (hysterectomy or otherwise) to fix the problems. BUT that doesn’t give women an excuse to treat everyone around them like dog crap.
I really don’t think you are insensitive – just tired of women using their femininity as a weapon. I call it a cheerleader complex. My favorite is “I can’t do that, I might break a nail.”
Everybody has times where they let things get to them. everybody has times when they totally misrepresent themselves. everybody has times where they said things that they can not take back, and hurt somebody greatly. the mature person will realize what they’ve said or done to hurt the other person, sincerely apologize, and work on it/do their best to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. if guy has a bad day at work, is stressed to the max, and isn’t feeling well, that doesn’t mean he gets to come home and be an abusive jerk to his girl, then shrug his shoulders and say “bad day, stressed out, free pass”. i know guys like that, and i can’t stand it when they’ve done it. conversely, the same goes for a woman, regardless of the circumstances – including PMS. again, i’m really not trying to be insensitive, but i’ve dated women, and have worked with plenty of women, who will go off on someone else then when asked to explain what the heck happened, will blame PMS, as if its a free pass, like its no big deal. it is a big deal. and people allow it to happen. PMS exists, i know that, and some women are severely affected by it. but its not an excuse to go off on someone, then blame it like its a cure-all. people are always responsible for the words they use, no matter the situation. everybody makes mistakes, and everybody has the responsibility for their words and actions.
sorry for being so verbose…
Dr Tara Palmatier says
I always appreciate your comments. You’re not an insensitive bastard; you’re the complete opposite.
I’m tired of the PMS/I was abused/I’m a victim of . . . something . . . anything excuses, too. Because that’s what they are; excuses and lame ones at that.
Yup, some women have extreme PMS. However, instead of lashing out others and playing the uterus card, they should seek medical and psychiatric attention if it really is so bad that they can’t control themselves. Can you imagine if their were a male medical condition that caused men to be raging, insensitive jerks? Big PHARMA would come up with the adult male PMS equivalent of Ritalin and you’d all be medicated right into Zombie Land.
You know I’m just yanking your chain, right?
Honestly i felt horrible for putting that up there at first. i swear to God i’m not a jerk, but i had an incident at my job where the woman (very much an adult) went off on everyone – especially me – and when she got called in to HR she played the PMS card… AND SHE WON!!! i was like “you gotta be f–king kidding me??!! i’ve come in with all of the things stated above and while i might not have been the best at what i do, by golly i did it the best that i can. I came in today with vertigo so bad i was off by at least 2 inches on everything i touched. i felt like i was on Wheel Of Fortune… but actually ON the wheel! i didn’t come in and be a prick to everyone, and i felt horrible. i told the customers that i had a migraine because many people don’t know what vertigo is, and why it happens, but most understand migraines. but no… i did not get a free pass. i didn’t ask for a free pass. it’s my problem, and my problem to fix, if i can. but this woman/employee that i work with went blasted nuts on almost all of us and when i took her to HR (because i was the only one who had the balls to do it, everybody else bent to her ways) she claimed the victim role, blamed it on PMS and wanted a free pass… and she got one!!! i stood there in complete shock, my mouth hanging in my lap. if that were me, or any other guy, we’d be at least on a final write up, or fired on the spot. and when the time comes that she goes off on a customer… then i’ll play the “i told you so” card. but hopefully i won’t be there by then. but it really IS a question of when – not “if” – it happens. she’s been there for 12 years, and yet she’s been this way for 12 years, without any major repercussion. sorry, folks, that’s PC taken to an extreme.
if i were to protest this, then it would be my job on the line. and this is not the first time its happened in a work environment. in fact, its the forth time its happened. as a guy, i’m told to “suck it up, she’s a woman and you know how they can get”. seriously, this excuse gets old. but when it plays out in a work-related field, or even in a relationship, as a guy sooner or later it gets old.
i always take everything i see on-line with a grain of salt, and with a critical eye. too many thing people see on-line is garbage. the link i’m sending, i’m assuming, is true. please check it out. perhaps it would be a good topic for further discussion. but it at least backs up my plight…
this article is flat-out scary!!! assuming its all true…
thanx Dr. T for having my back.
It’s still “a hostile work environment” and there mey be remedies. If you push things via the Equal Employmnet Oppotunity Commission and you have sufficiend evidence to back up the claim, you’re employer will likely have to do something. On the one hand, she’ll play the PMS card and have to be accommodated. If you have the EEOC backing you up, they’ll have to make some accommodation for that. If you belong to a union and she doesn’t, you may be able to file a grievance or Unfair Labor Practice.
Since it’s less than a perfect world, they’ll probably promote her and move her somewhere where they don’t know her but at least she’ll be off your back.
“i’ve found that most mis-communication, whether in the workplace or in relationships, derives from the woman giving 50% of the information needed to fulfill a task and expecting 100% completion of that task to her satisfaction.”
Ah yes, the cryptic or incomplete instruction sets. I know them well. And just when did I become her personal steppinfetchit boy anyway?
Dr Tara Palmatier says
It’s like giving someone a recipe and leaving out the two most vital ingredients. I’ve known some women who do this just so the other’s woman’s recipe doesn’t turn out as well, so they can appear to be the better cook. Sometimes it is deliberate sabotage.
Cousin Dave says
I’m currently dealing with an issue like that at work… The group I work in has a female group lead. (I’ve had mixed results working for women — just like I’ve had mixed results working for men.) She dinged me on my performance assessment for last year because she said that I failed to address an assignment that she gave me. Here’s the problem: I have no recollection of, and I can’t find any record of, her ever giving me that assignment. For one thing, it would have been a task way outside of my area of expertise and it would not have made any sense to assign it to me. For another, I’ve been all through my emails and notes from last year, and I’ve found absolutely no mention of it. I added a disputing statement to the assessment, but HR blew it off. I’m now extremely leery of communicating verbally with her; I try to limit all of our contact to email.
Dr Tara Palmatier says
Even if you have to have verbal-no witnesses communication, write a summary of it in an email and send it to her asking her to confirm her verbal request to you in writing.
Also keep a separate record of every verbal communication and do it religiously, so you have more grounds to dispute her claims should she pull a stunt like this again.
My hunch is she dropped the ball on her end (she was supposed to take care of that task or assign it to someone and failed to do so) and is scapegoating you.
Cousin Dave says
Dr. T, thanks for the advice. In regard to this particular supervisor, it’s about to be N/A because I’m being laid off, in part because of the bad performance review I mentioned above. But I will certainly keep it in mind in the future.
Just as elementary and high schools have a duty to teach children the fundamentals, it is also the time to give boys and young men a realistic understanding of the dynamics of interacting with feminized girls and young women.
Society expects the boys to take a back seat and give empowered womynz a free pass, to the detriment of their self-esteem and purpose. Bullying is slowly being recognized as something more than physical aggression, and girls are masters at manipulation, deceit and shaming.
I would certainly hope that this is being recognized. In some ways it’s even worse than physical bullying since it’s harder to spot, harder to defend against and, as the folks who frequent this blog have noticed, in many ways societally condoned, if not promoted.
Dr Tara Palmatier says
Sadly, our apathetic society works itself into a tizzy every few years when a teen is bullied so bad that he/she suicides. Oprah makes empathic, for shame America noises, trots out some expert on childhood bullying and then we do nothing until the next victim suicides. More, “how horrible noises are made, rinse, wash, repeat.
Bullying happens outside of childhood. I would argue that bullying is just as rampant amongst adults.
I second that comment Dr. T. Bullies on the playground grow into bullies as adults. What they realize as young adults is that their overt tactics don’t go over very well, so they go to a more covert form of bullying.
I have noticed a lot in the news recently (local and national) regarding young girls getting bullied in school and how to combat this, but there is no regard for boys who have to endure the same thing. Why the blatant gender bias? I think we already know the answer to this.
I encountered a lot of bullying throughout junior high…an already tenuous time for a young person, and it was mostly ignored by school administrators and teachers.
i told a co-worker of mine, and have said this many times, as he was going thru a tough stretch with a girl (they’re both in their mid-20s) who was doing the “i am female and by golly hear me roar”…
i told him, “the really sad part is that the women at my age play the same same games, except that they have 20 years on you, and they’ve probably gotten away with it for those 20 years”. i truly know it goes the same for both sexes. i have a few of my male friends that have doing the same crap for at least 10 years… and the women keep begging them to come back. i’ve told girlfriends of a few of my closest friends to seriously take a look at her man – great friend, lousy boyfriend… been that way since i’ve known him – and give true contemplative thought about whether the relationship should continue. other friends have come up to me and said “how in the hell could you do that to your friend?’. my answer was, “he’s a great friend to me, but he’s a lousy boyfriend. if he cheats on his girl, he’s still a friend to me, but i will never supprt him in his follies”. to which, i got some strange expressions from both guys and girls.
hey… he’s my friend, that doesn’t make him a good catch. he’s got my back, but he won’t have yours. he’ll use you and throw you away. and they keep coming and i keep telling them…
funny thing is… he knows i say my mind. he still knows he’s gonna get whatever he wants. both sides can play the same game. its all kinda disgusting when you look at it from both sides. then again, i was the same way when i was in my 20s. ahh… the “innocence of youth”… great times, but silly times…
and i know from experience that women have friends who are just as bad. girls… your friend might be the greatest friend in the world to you… but if she is a train-wreck when it comes to dating, admit that she is a train-wreck.
bullies come in all shapes and sizes, and genders. time people come to realize that… they just have a “convenience” card.. its called i’m female…
doesn’t work, and shouldn’t work, for either gender…
I hope this woman does not have kids, ever. Not only does she advocate teaching her son that he was put here to serve and mollify. She insults women.
I have never understood why some women are not insulted by this type of advocacy for them. It is condescending and insulting to women, as well as harmful to boys and men.
I have three young daughters. I asked my oldest, 12, how she felt about paying her share for future dates,as she and her friends were talking about boys. She and her friends thought I was absolutely nuts. They would never consider paying for their share of the cost of a date. When asked why, I got :”because, we are the girls.”
I asked them about women being drafted or fighting wars and ,again, they thought I was ridiculous. Thye also felt that the “women and children first” policy for saving Titantic survivors was completely fair.
I think my daughters are just so indoctrinated in this entitlement mentality that they never stop to think about it. Of course, their mom models this quite well.
Her excuse for having affairs: “you did not make me feel special”(yeah, well guess what- I did not feel especially special , either, working three jobs to support your spending habit)
I have a 10yr old son and a 14yr old daughter. I’ve been married for 22+ years now and although there have been some pretty rough patches, it looks like we’re in it for the long haul. I had kind of a screwed up childhood and my wife isn’t particularly close to her family. We both believe we carried a lot of things into our marriage and we’re concerned what our kids learn.
It seems that the best we can come up with is to give them enough self-esteem to stand up for themselves and yet avoid a sense of entitlement. There’s a fine line between assettive and obmoxious. We try to teach them they’re not better than anybody else but they’re no less than anyone else. My kids may have their hearts broken but hopefully it won’t be by a Cluster B. I have this vague goal that once I’m sure they won’t be vulnerable to them because of what they learned from us, I can somewhow make them unattractive to a Cluster B.
I don’t know anything about Ms Harris but reading this article immediately made me think of another one I read recently:
“Why You’re Not Married ” – Tracy McMillan
Marshall Stack says
It dawned me (after the fact, of course!) that I didn’t really answer the questions Dr. T. was asking…..
I was taught “ladies first” by my father, which I believe was intended to impress upon me the importance of gentlemanly behavior – holding the door for a woman, etc. My parents didn’t teach me anything about predatory women, and I feel that the values instilled in me that I already mentioned made me ripe for the picking.
Any time I complained of being picked on at school, my mother would tell me that I must have done something to bring it on (I smell a P.D. here….). If I pushed the issue, I was also told that some people are just mean and that I should ignore it.
I want to teach my son (and daughter) the things I wish I had been taught. I will certainly tell them both that some people are just mean, but I will also encourage them to stand up to these people. I’m going to teach them to respect themselves and how to “spot the loonie”, as Monty Python might say. Life is a backyard – learn how to avoid the dog poop.
Dr Tara Palmatier says
Oftentimes, teaching boys to “always respect women” and “ladies first” does make them prime targets for predatory women. Sad, but true.
Buying tampons and other feminine products shouldn’t embarrass you
It shouldn’t embarrass you, but it’s not always a smart idea either. Women are justifiably quite picky about what feminine hygiene products they use. Sometimes the specific product is in a line of products designed, it seems, to maximize confusion.
Conversely, though not exclusively, unless they know tools, women shouldn’t buy tools for men. For cheap stuff, I don’t care, but for expensive items I’m extremely particular. I’m even more particular with what computer hardware I purchase (and other electronics.)
If you think buying them might be embarassing, try selling them as a 17 yr old boy. I worked in a pharmacy one summer and everybody had an aisle they were responsible for stocking. I happened to get the baby care and feminine hygene aisle.
Nothing made my day like dusting off tampon boxes and having some woman come up and ask me if we had Contoured Super-Dry Non-Stick Odor Eating Light Pads in a variety of pastel colors in the easy opening box that slid easily into her purse….
Haha! what I love about this list, and Dr T’s revisions, is that it shows how when dealing with a HCP or personality-disordered person the rules are the *exact opposite* of what they are for a healthy person… no.1 perhaps being that, for a healthy relationship between healthy people, no rules are necessary!
On a sick whim, I decided to look up Ms. Harris’s original article. I was absolutely disgusted by the sheer amount and assortment of steaming, misandric drivel I stepped while browsing the comments there. None of it terribly original, but off-putting nonetheless. Unbelievable!!! As a recently divorced, single dad that sure doesn’t give me a whole lot of hope for finding a nice, unselfish female partner who doesn’t revel in the age-old sport of man-bashing. The more of this crap I see, the more I realize the garbage I had seen from my ex and her friends is fairly commonplace.
I cannot understand some women’s approach to men. It is one thing to offer tips to guys about how to make their ladies happy – I mean, I’d be really impressed if a guy new what my favourite flower was, for sure, but I don’t think that’s a prerequisite for a happy relationship. The idea of training, teaching, changing, fixing, etc. my man just boggles my mind. If I feel like I need to do any of that, it is clear that we aren’t compatible, and I just won’t date that person. Why on earth women want to be with a man that is clearly not “good enough” for them I just do not understand. Save yourself the effort and move on, because you’re never going to be happy. It’s not rocket science.
#4….Made that mistake once during a tirade/episode.The word crazy slipped out of my mouth. She made an epic film production over it.Meanwhile on the other side of the coin,I have been called far worse and done nothing wrong at all.
wow. i wish i would have known all this in high school, i would have realized i was dating the spawn of satan.
Excellent article. I’ve seen this list around and thought is was pretty ridiculous. Good to see an intelligent rebuttal.
Here is what I would teach my kids:
23. I’d teach both my sons and daughters independence and self-sufficiency (both physically and emotionally). If you are never afraid to walk away, that manipulative behavior loses its power.
24. If you are caught by a bad person in a bad situation, up the ante. People fear the unknown, and there is nothing scarier than a typically normal calm person suddenly acting erratic. It will usually lead to paralysis and that is your moment to either escape or go in for the kill. Use such a strategy sparingly.
25. The only true commodity in life is time. If someone or something is screwing up your enjoyment of that time, get rid of them or it. It isn’t your job to fix anyones problems. Just cut ties and enjoy the quiet that comes with it. (This goes double for shitty jobs)
26. This is your only life, make full use of it. Anybody that claims some sort of special knowledge otherwise is either lying or delusional. Both are equally dangerous.
27. Give an inch and even the best of people will take a mile. Make your boundaries clear and never compromise. That includes the respect you demand from others.
28. It’s all about property rights. Assume dominion over your body, time, and fruits of your labor. The flip side is that you afford others those same rights and don’t infringe on them (especially if you don’t agree with how they choose to exercise their rights).
29. Be slow to war. (or anger)
30. If going to war, be ruthless, relentless, and don’t stop till victory is won. Win completely or don’t bother. This will make them think twice about creating conflict in the future.
31. Alway’s leave yourself an exit strategy (or 2).
32. The time you’ve spent with someone is a sunk cost. The only thing that should factor into your current decision making process (when it comes to relationships or careers) is the present and the future.
33. If you don’t like drama, don’t surround yourself with dramatic people.
34. Don’t ask for respect, demand it. If that doesn’t work, take it.
35. Beware poisonous people. They bring nothing but misfortune to those around them.
I could probably go on, but I’ll cut it off there.
Free at Last says
Wow! What a great list! It occurred to me that violating Number 1 — i.e. being dependent and not self-sufficient — is probably a prime motivator for a lot of manipulative behaviors. I would add four more from a terrific little book I read several years ago, “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz.
(1) Be impeccable with your word — don’t speak or think badly of yourself or others.
(2) Don’t take anything personally — you’re not responsible for what goes on in someone else’s head.
(3) Don’t make assumptions — if things are unclear, ask or otherwise find the facts you need.
(4) Always do your best — your best can vary from day to day, so let yourself have bad days.
I still keep this list in my phone to remind myself when needed. These things look deceptively easy, but in fact are remarkably difficult to consistently follow, just like many things on your list, Hyperion.
Free at Last says
Lest anyone think that (1) above means not speaking badly about your spouse/girlfriend/ex in online blogs like this one, I think it should be pointed out that the vast majority of comments here are very factual. In our context, I might re-word (1) as “don’t bash yourself or others.” It might also help to know that Ruiz considers “your word” to be your thoughts, and what comes out of your mouth is merely the verbalization of those thoughts. I tried to be brief, but he did write a whole small book about these four points. BTW, it’s written in very simple and clear language that a 10-year-old can understand. If I had kids, I certainly would want them to read this book.
I love ‘The Four Agreements’ and after I read it and applied it, everything changed. Good recommendation!
I want to hug you for this.
This was definitely a thought provoking article(led me to register as well as bookmark). that being said. I like to consider myself an equalist, and when people start out with the assumption that one sex or the other is impossible to understand. they close themselves of from understanding, or letting themselves be truly understood(except as a jackhole).
I pretty much do agree with all the counterpoints and agreements that Dr. Tara made, and I just wanted to comment on the whole double standard when it comes to emotions. This is an outdated, outmoded, dated model of thinking that needs to change.
The “classic” roles are being redefined currently between men and women. Hell, in my relationship, when we have kids I am going to be the Homemaker because I am a disabled veteran and money will still be coming in while I am not working at a job but instead at raising children.
If anyone wants to tell me when it is okay for me to cry or not, I will have a very rude(and appropriate) gesture for them.
Also, I wish to say that there might be some men out there that will fit her very stringent model of what a “good boy/man” does when dating and whatsnot, but most likely most men have been burned at this point because we do have double standards implemented on us, by other men(almost put dudes), our parents(many times not all), by women(the whole crying be a weak thing), and by our own selves after we internalize many of these things.
I hope to teach my son and/or daughter. that no one should treat you like crap. you shouldn’t treat others like crap. And if you love somebody. Make sure to still be yourself, because if they love you back, then they won’t make you change who you are.