Usually, Splitter does a little introduction before my Ask Tom Tuesday posts, but I am giving him the week off. He is in the middle of his BlogTour (Are you tired of hearing about it, yet? I am. Anyway...) and way behind on his guest posts and interviews. He is also writing the third book in the series which, I am told, does not even involve me!
His loss. I bet it sells 3 copies and that's only because people owe him money.
He has sent me a bunch of questions to choose from (from which to choose? I dunno, Splitter is the writer, I just work here). Unfortunately, none of the questions were really meaty enough and they all fell into one category: Why do men piss off women?
I just want you ladies to know that, sensitive guy that I am, I hear you. I empathize with you. I am even available for free hugs later if they are absolutely necessary.
Some questions that Splitter sent me recently:
Why do men leave the dishes NEXT to the sink?
Why don't men fill the dishwasher?
Why do men leave the seat up?
Why do I have to remind him to take the trash out?
Can't he smell the litter box?
There seems to be a lot of frustration out there amongst (among? The cheap bastard won't get me an editor either...) the female side of the population. They seem to think that men are purposefully annoying them with these little habits and oversights.
Women would be correct in that assumption in many cases, but let us not forget that pure ignorance needs to be figured into the equation.
As I have said before, men do not always think. Our minds do go blissfully blank. Sometimes, we just forget.
I can hear you now, however: But, Tom, I have told him over and over again! He'll do what I ask for a while and then go back to his same old ways. And I have told him over, and over and over and over...
Oh! So you were “nagging” him? I know, I know, you will say you were just reminding him but, after the third reminder, it's nagging. Not only does that annoy us, it makes us LESS likely to comply because then it becomes a power struggle.
That is so like a sexist pig! Always accusing women of nagging...
But I say unto thee: Men nag too. Only you don't recognize it as nagging. You think it is begging. “C'mon, Baby, do that thing even though it's not my birthday...”
It all has to do with what Splitter calls “The Relationship Spiral” and all couples go through it. I did not believe him until he explained it to me.
It doesn't matter who starts it. Maybe she had a headache one night when he needed a little somethin' somethin'. He feels neglected because he knew when he signed the contract that marriage was like a 7-11: It's not always the greatest but at 2AM when you need a Slurpy, it is supposed to be open. Maybe HE forgot to take out the trash. That annoyed her so much she got a head ache and wore the "don't even think of touching me" pajamas to bed.
It doesn't matter who starts it, it just happens. That wouldn't be so bad if pride, feelings of neglect, and SPITE didn't work to prolong the downward spiral. He didn't take out the trash so she is going to make herself unavailable. She rejected his advances so he is going to leave the cap off the toothpaste. She can't believe he didn't put the cap on the toothpaste AGAIN so she is going to “inadvertently” toss his Joe Namath game jersey into the bag for Goodwill. She threw away his jersey that he has had since he was eight years old so he will be DAMNED if he is going to clean the cat's litter box (kittens always pay the highest price for these things).
It just goes on and on with each side getting angrier and upping the ante. It's silly, but Splitter was right and I don't know a couple that has not gone through it. There are couples who have stopped having sex for YEARS over stuff like this and you just know that is going to lead someone in that couple to cheat. There are couples who have not said a civil word to each other for months because they have spiraled down to the bottom of the relationship sewer.
That leaves each of us with three choices: A) Live in misery. B) Find someone new to make miserable. Or, C) Break the spiral.
Any sane person that is conscious of this phenomenon would choose “C” but that means “giving in” so they resist! Don't look at it that way. Look at it as manipulating your partner into doing what you want! Yeah, that sounds evil, but no one likes to give in and everyone likes to “get one over” on someone else every now and again.
I guess you could look at it as doing the “mature thing” but that's a little boring.
How to turn it around? For men, jewelry helps. Flowers are a nice gesture. Actually taking out the trash is mandatory. Dinner out is a good way to break the tension. It is all about the gesture! Just remind her how much you appreciate everything she does and she will stop nagging you.
For women...just go back to your basic knowledge of male motivations: food and sex. Gestures are nice but you and I both know a dozen roses is not going to reverse his spiral. A sammich and an enthusiastic schnarlin', however, will make him run through a burning building for you (after the nap, of course). Men are not smart enough to catch more subtle gestures, we need action!
The great news is that the spiral can go upwards too. Remember when you were first together and trying to impress the other one with your sensitivity, imagination, attentiveness, and charm? Start treating your partner the way you want to be treated and, if they are worth anything, they will respond in kind. She won't have to nag and he won't have to beg.
Hell, you both just might enjoy some of that stuff that breaks the downward spiral.
Speaking of which...does anyone know a good florist? I kinda screwed up yesterday...
Disclaimer: Some of the words used and subject matter in the above might be offensive to some readers. If that is the case, then we here at Splittersworld feel sorry for your significant other.