Thursday, March 13, 2008

Men are from Earth, and so are women

It seems a simple question "Do you want a lift this morning?", but little do most people know that this is a dive into the mindset of the stereotypical man and women.

Q. Do you want a lift this morning?

Female Answer: Well I am running out of [X] it might last to [day] when I do the main shop, but I'm not sure. Then again [Y] is coming over, she's just [Z], so I'd have to make sure I'm back in time. I'd better not risk it.

Male Answer: [pause] No thanks.

The important point is that both answers are correct while at the same time being completely incorrect; it all depends on the sex of the questioner. If they're the same sex - no problem; otherwise - wrong followed by tension.

So as a public service here's how to stop the tension arising.

Tips to women when being asked a question by men:

Think of men as simple creatures, a bit like dumb dogs, when they ask you a question all they want is the answer. They're not interested in the reasons behind your answer, just the answer itself. This isn't to say they don't care or aren't listening, they are; it's just they're parsing your response for the answer to the question and everything else is discarded. So with that in mind here are some things to consider:

  1. Telling a man about X, or Y's problem with Z during the response to a question is not the same as informing them about X, Y or Z. Do not be frustrated/surprised when the man in question expresses no knowledge about these events at a later point in time.
  2. If at any point during your response you give a definite answer do not be frustrated/surprised if the man interrupts you. As far as he is concerned the question has been answered and no further discussion required.
  3. If at the conclusion of your response you have not given a definite answer or you have done so in a way that can be interpreted in multiple ways, do not be frustrated/surprised if the next thing you hear is "So is that a yes or a no?"
Therefore to please a man - keep your answers short and definite.

Tips to men when being asked a question by women:

Think of women as chatty social creatures who will happily use ten words when only one will do. It is important to remember that any time they ask a question it isn't solely about what they ask, it is instead an invitation for social interaction. So with that in mind here are some things to consider:
  1. If you respond with a simple definite answer do not be frustrated/surprised if the if the next thing you hear is "Why?".
  2. If your answer is slightly longer do not be frustrated/surprised if you are interrupted with other questions or statements regarding your response.
  3. It is important to note that anything you say will be remembered. If you cannot do something because of X and later mentioned you did Y instead expect questions to follow.
Therefore to please a women - give reasons for your answers, if these reasons change and at some point you are discussing this form your conversation in the manner "Well I was supposed to do X but [reason] so we ended up doing [Y]."


Tension may arise when a conversation does not follow the pattern expected by the participants, hopefully these guidelines will help explain and remove any frustrations that may be caused by some inter-sex conversations :-)


Anonymous said...

…so you're saying that women are like Java and men are like Haskell?

Wow, that's some public service announcement!

Interestingly, it doesn't seem to tally with my experience of reality.

Generally, when somebody asks me "when will be computer be fixed?", any answer other than "in ten minutes" is met with extreme hostility. Even the females aren't remotely interested in any kind of social interaction beyond reminding me that I don't have the right to breathe the same pure air as them unless this computer starts working again right freakin' now.

Also, I see a very high incidence of people asking me "why did it break?" when they have absolutely no interest in the answer. This is a little perplexing. (Perhaps they're trying to hint that I should grovel at their feet and appologise unresurvedly for impairing their work?)

I have however noticed that females tend to utter a question that is somewhat indirectly related to the answer they want. For example, when a female asks "why isn't my computer working?", what she really means is "when will my computer be working again?"

Similarly, "how do I do X?" generally seems to mean "why can't I do X this way? I don't want to do it your way."

In fact, in general I find that people I speak to are usually angry, no matter what I say. I guess I'm just not a very likable person…

FlipC said...

Ah see that's not social interaction that's technical interaction; the rules are different.

For instance, as you say, "When are you going to fix my computer?" isn't a question it's a statement i.e. "I want you to fix my computer now" and this is why you can't win.

If you answer the exact question you aren't satisfying the unspoken statement, if you answer the unspoken statement you'll be told "Well I didn't ask you to do it now"

As to you being unlikable, in the work environment the majority of interaction you're likely to get in your job is when something has stopped functioning. Now think how you feel when you have to call the States to ask why your mail server isn't working.

Anonymous said...

I hate my job…

[OTOH, when else am I likely to speak to human beings?]

FlipC said...

I hate your job too :-) As for talking to human beings... hello [waves]

Anonymous said...


You're human?!

I thought this was an online Turing test…

FlipC said...

Yes Alan Turing was human. Do you like humans?