There’s so much discussion about what makes us different, that we tend to forget that we — men and women — have many of the same feelings, fears, and emotions. And, instead of looking at the opposite gender as a person with a few biological differences, we sometimes act like we’re dealing with an entirely different species
This paragraph is a response to a question a woman asked last Wednesday on my weekly live chat at Madame Noire. She wanted me the name the most common mistake women make in relationships, and instead of going gender-specific with the answer, I wanted to touch on something that affects both of us.
With that being said, even though I do still think that the “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” way of thinking causes more harm than good, there are (general) differences between us, these general differences do definitely matter, and an experience last weekend made of think of one very important (general) difference that I hadn’t really thought of before.
I was at a club Saturday night with a group of friends. Two of these friends happen to be a couple, and since I’m the resident “mediator” — and since, according to one of them, I turn into a “Black Bill from “Kill Bill” when I’m intoxicated (still haven’t figured out if that was a compliment) — they asked for my opinion about a disagreement they were having.
They’re both in a local MBA program, and they have a couple weeks left before the grind starts back up again. The guy wants to spend this time chillin at home, hanging out, and just generally doing the type of mundane relationship shit that’s great if you’re in a relationship with someone you actually like. Basically, he just wants to relax until school starts.
She, on the other hand, thinks they should take a trip together. Apparently, she just got an outrageously cheap deal on some tickets, and she wants to go somewhere, anywhere, before school starts and they don’t have the opportunity to travel as easily.
Both had compelling arguments. He just wanted a chance to exhale for another week or so before shit got hectic again, and she’s thinking “Why waste this time doing something that we can do whenever?”
At this point, other members of the group began to chime in. Predictably, all of the men sided with the guy, while the women agreed with the woman. My epiphany came when hearing the following exchange:
Man (addressing the women): “Why y’all always gotta make things so hard?”
Woman: “What’s hard about a damn vacation? Can you all not be so damn lazy all the time?”
After a few more increasingly spirited replies, it dawned on me: (Generally speaking) We (men) want life to be easy. Women want life to be interesting.Ă‚Â
It wasn’t some male solidarity that made all the men in the group agree that staying home was the most attractive option. It’s just that, if given a choice between relaxing for a week or going on a trip just for the sake of going on a trip, most guys would probably choose to chill. It’s less work, it’s less time-consuming, and it’s less hard.
And, while the trip discussion is the current example, this state of mind permeates pretty much everything we do. There’s a reason why so many guys fall in love with the first cute girl who’s nice to us, why we have no problem eating the exact same thing for dinner four days straight, and why many of us list “chillin” — the word to describe what happens when you’re not doing an activity — as one of our favorite activities. We like easy because “easy” usually means “less potential for pain.” We’re not avoiding effort, we just prefer putting ourselves in positions where we can predict the outcome.
Basically, you can say that we’re avoiding pain. Women, on the other hand, don’t seem to be as afraid of the unknown. You could even say that they embrace the unknown, the potential for pain, because it’s engrained in them. I’ve joked before about women being natural masochists, but when you think about it, many of the things separating women from men are inherently and excruciatingly painful.
Think about it. Unless a man happens to find himself in a scene from a Eli Roth flick, we will never experience the level of pain a woman does when she gives birth. Actually, lemme rephrase that. We will never experience that level of pain…and actually survive and recover…and willingly do it again!
We’ll also never have a sexual experience as painful and awkward and bloody as many women do when they first have sex. We’ll never know how it feels to spend 20% of every month randomly cramping up and continuously bleeding, and we definitely won’t know how it feels to have another person growing inside of you, kicking, scratching, growing, and feeding off of you like a parasite.
And, according to what I’ve heard from many women, the best sex, the toe curl and full body quiver inducing sex is usually also somewhat violent. Not violent in the getting punched or shaken sense, but violent in the getting f*cked sense. (There’s a reason why every little kid who walks in on his parents having sex initially thinks Daddy is beating up Mommy.)
Everything I just mentioned, though, is thought to be a positive thing, and I do think that having pain and joy so closely correlated makes it so that they’re almost on a permanent rush. The need to always be doing something, for life to always be interesting is them attempting to extend that high, and the main reason why, to paraphrase Chris Rock, (most) women can never be truly content. We, on the other hand, all still remember the little bit of pain we felt 20 years ago when Jasmine Porter gave Jimmy a Valentine’s Day card instead of us, and we follow the path of least resistance from that moment forward…which is another way of saying we do everything possible to make sure we never, ever, ever experience pain again.
Oh, and getting back to the couple, I suggested that they split the difference and just spend the week in a hotel. This way you’re getting away and chillin at the same. damn. time. An easy, painless answer, but since I’m a man, you shouldn’t expect anything else from me.
—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)