This month, Elle, a lifestyle magazine for women (whá-myn), and Esquire, a lifestyle magazine for men (mēhn), are teaming up to offer readers an invaluable look into to the mind of the opposite sex.
WELL, IT'S ABOUT DAMN TIME. I've been waiting forever to learn why men drive like this (mimes driving car) and women drive like this (flaps arms like a bird).
"We—you and us—have been made to think that we are from different planets, that we communicate in different ways," Esquire's Ross McCammon writes in the May issue of Elle. "This is nonsense. We are from the same planet. And we speak exactly the same language."
While we might be speaking the same set of words, McCammon wants you to understand that some bumbling (particularly from the man) and miscommunication is bound to occur in this crazy little chess match that we call love. He begs you, hard-hearted woman, to be a little more understanding of that.
The author then — jokingly, I think — goes on to write the most Esquire-y paragraph to have ever been Esquire'd:
And when we are not bumbling, when we seem in control—a little haughty maybe, a bit asshole-ish, a little cold—you must also bear with us. Think of the burden we carry into the conversation. Our fathers and grandfathers fought in wars. Some of them not by choice. These were men with heavy souls. These were men who believed they earned the right to be an asshole every now and then. These were the men who taught us how to comport ourselves. We weren't coddled by these men. They didn't text us selfies on a business trip and tell us they missed us! We do not carry their burdens, but their darkness has shaped us.
I am really looking forward to this to showing up in a plagiarized Shia LaBeouf apology several months from now.
Honestly, the overarching ideas of McCammon's advice — to make your expectations clear in relationships and not to overanalyze or criticize another person's actions — aren't bad ones to consider, no matter your gender or orientation. Be honest. Be understanding. While it remains unclear why the piece is written in the collective we like the author is Jeffrey fucking Eugenides, the author's point, well, has a point.
Unfortunately, the specifics of the piece still smack of double standards. Women are repeatedly asked to be understanding of men's mistakes, while little understanding is offered to them. McCammon insists, multiple times, that women take responsibility not only for their own behavior, but the behavior of their partners, writing, "What mostly determines which version of us you will encounter during any given conversation is one crucial variable: you." He bemoans that men are forced to analyze everything a woman says, but then, in a different post (that's helpfully presented in .GIF format!) jokes about the female propensity to do the same thing.
Don't get me wrong — the way we act in relationships should be mocked because people, by and large, are morons and morons deserve derision. That being said, we're a diverse group of morons. Some of us over complicate things, some of us overly simplify. We can be manipulative and mean. We can be nice and dumb. This is regardless of race, class, gender, creed or who we take to the bone zone. All people are different, even if there are some generalizations that tie large groups of us idiots together, and this is why articles that decode the sexes are largely unhelpful.
(The Elle-authored article that appeared in Esquire, by the way, is all about how women have sexual fantasies, too. Enjoy, boys!)
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