Real stories about dating and relationships in New York City. Truth is more interesting than fiction.

Vive la Difference. But are we really that different?

I’m trying to get better about using . I know that there are many (strange) people who actually prefer it to , or who don’t (gasp) use . For those of you who don’t know, I’m a twitterholic. I came late to FB. In fact, I started to use it about a year after I got on twitter. Yeah, I’m so weird.

Anyway, last week I posted a link to something on MSN (that originally appeared in Glamour):  23 Things Single Women Wish We Could Tell Men.  My fb update mentioned 2 of my faves, #9 “Texting a girl twice a week does not count as staying in contact. It’s meaningless and a waste of everyone’s time. Let her go.” And #22 “Taking us for granted is probably the worst thing you could do after cheating and lying. Since women are very good at appreciating each other, your behavior looks kinda selfish to us.”

I can’t remember what brought me to read it in the first place. I usually don’t read these things. Lists. Someone must have tweeted it or linked to it.  Anyway, I read it and found a few nice points and so I posted it to my fb page (which is different than the blog’s fb page).

This led to an interesting discussion between me and a couple of my male FB friends/readers.  First off, I guess there was a misunderstanding.  They, maybe, thought that this was some kind of list of things I want a guy to understand/know. Or, god forbid, my ‘must-haves’ (can you imagine someone with a list of 23 things their future mate MUST HAVE?!). Which is not at all what I thought/meant.  I couldn’t imagine saying any of those things to a guy.  Or meeting a man who magically GOT it.

The way I see it, men and women are different. Physically, emotionally, mentally.  And we see the world in very different ways. I know, from experience, that lots of guys don’t fully comprehend the idea of taking a person for granted.  Then again, neither do some women.

I see posts like that as a form of venting.  We girls, talking amongst ourselves (while knowing full well that the boys might be listening) about things we wish were different.  Because honestly, as much as I like guys,  my life would be a heck of a lot easier if we worked from the same rule book.

So… Getting back to that fb conversation, here’s where it got interesting:

“…as much as one can generalize about these things, I’ve always found that love to women is being understood (and by extension living up to their personalized list) and love to men is being accepted as they are (including not having to live up to some list)…and in that lies the rub.”  said by a very smart man, but I’m not sure I agree with him.

Do men and women really view love in such extremely different ways?  And do I, as a human being (forget gender), have to choose between being understood and accepted?  Can’t I be both?  Because honestly, if I had to choose between the two, I’d rather be accepted. Maybe that’s why I have so many guy friends? Hmmm.

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6 to “Vive la Difference. But are we really that different?”

  1. Cougel says:

    I like this post a lot. I wonder if it’s not about choosing between being accepted or understood, but rather about changing our definition of what it means to be understood (the criteria). Some women, men too, will always feel misunderstood by others- b/c perhaps they are unrealistically expecting some kind of “ah moment” or click to just naturally occur in conversation or when you’re hanging out. But realistically, I think it takes work to get to that place. Just like it takes work to learn to accept a person for who they are, men and women both. Good stuff. I tried to RT this but I mighta goofed because I’m a tweetard.

  2. Lucky Girl says:

    ac*cept [ak-sept]: to receive as to meaning; understand

    Men and women ARE different. But not so different that what we seek from the people who love us can be found on opposite ends of the spectrum. In fact, acceptance and understanding are a semi-detached house joined by a hallway, curtain, door or brick wall depending upon your awareness level. Acceptance cannot happen without some level of understanding, and vice versa.

    We both want the same thing. The difference is that we are different, our body chemistry, physiology and brains, and that, by its very nature, defines how we behave in the world. I think this division between “understand” and “acceptance” is relevant as to that.

    For example, women tend to be intuitive thinkers, utilizing non-verbal cues along with the verbal, taking in a broad spectrum to inform our perception. This technique often results in a difficulty separating a personal experience from the problem. Men, on the other hand, tend to be linear thinkers. This allows them to separate themselves from the problem, but can equally result in failing to appreciate subtleties that can be crucial to solving the problem.

    Interesting then, that the words “understanding” and “acceptance” would be applied to women and men respectively. Because it seems to me, these are the same thing, just through the eyes of different thinking sexes. At the risk of oversimplifying an already oversimplified argument, one party seeks understanding, implying an acceptance on her broad spectrum, just as she tends to apply thought, and the other seeks acceptance, sequentially and independently, just as he tends to.

    Great, provocative post, Simone. Thanks for making me think, and for the much needed distraction to an otherwise “eh” workday!

    • Simone Grant says:

      Very good points. I, also, feel there’s a bit of a false dichotomy here. But then, I tend to feel that there is almost never a black and white – just lots of gray.

  3. pansophy says:

    Well perhaps I should start by saying that my last significant relationship broke this ‘rule’. I was the one who felt like I was fundamentally misunderstood and she was the one who did not feel accepted. But maybe that is why I have so many female friends?

    Anyway, to me acceptance and understanding are deeply related, but aren’t the same thing. Here are the definitions I found at Wikipedia that start to tease out the difference to me (words I added are in parentheses).

    Acceptance is when a person agrees to experience a situation, to follow a process or condition (i.e., the other person in the relationship) without attempting to change it, protest, or exit.

    In contrast…

    Understanding is a psychological process related to an abstract or physical object, such as a person, situation, or message whereby one (i.e., the other person in the relationship) is able to think about it and use concepts to deal adequately with that object.

    So bringing this back to the ‘list’. There was nothing on that list that was unreasonable. It was just a list.

    But what is a ‘list’ if not an itemization denoting the “experience of a situation…attempting to change it, protest (it), or exit (from it)” in the hope that by doing so their partner “is able to think about it (i.e., the list) and use concepts to deal adequately with that object (i.e., her).”

    I think at issue for me about the list is that every woman has their own personalized list that a guy is expected to figure out in real time, without ever really being told what’s on the list!

    How many evenings are ruined because the guy did or said something (or didn’t say or do something) and now the girl is upset. The killer of course is when you actually get past that moment and a similar situation arises another time. So you do what they said they wanted you to do from the last time, except this time the guy should have done something different, and so it’s a mess again anyway.

    For guys, lists are exhausting because they are unknown, completely context dependent (which is in their head, not ours), and changes. Why can’t we (guys) just be in room with you, do whatever we do, and have that be enough, i.e., accept us for what we are and are not, and not expect us to know what is going on in your head at every moment and behave accordingly.

    That’s why I said what I said. Love to men is being able to sit in a room and just be however, and love to a woman is to be with someone who actually gets them and behaves accordingly.

    It’s a breakable rule, but for the most part I think men and women fall on those sides of it.

    …having re-read what I’ve wrote perhaps I have painted a picture of innocent men being subjected to crazy unreasonable women. Maybe the best way to end is to say that in my mind the only thing worse then having to date women would be to have to date men – I couldn’t do it.