I've been reading Judith Warner's Domestic Disturbances blog recently. I'm trying to make up my mind about whether I like it or not. Generally, I find Ms. Warner to be a source of sensible wisdom on several topics. Take, for instance, the current mania about the (completely unproven) link between immunization and autism: Ms. Warner points out that about 50-60 children have died in the last year or two from the measles and rubella in Europe and Japan where immunization has long been purely optional. She suggests asking the parents of one of those dead children if they still believe not immunizing their child was the right thing to do.
Her blog took a turn for the more annoying in my mind when I read her latest entry "The Inner Lives Of Men". In it, she talks about how her husband calls her up one day to tell her something of personal import to him. Before he can tell her, she drops everything, shoos the children out of the room, and gives him her undivided attention. Well, undivided in real life... in the entry she digresses into a non-quite proven theory that men just don't put their feelings into words like women because of a smaller, less complex corpus collosum... less connections between the hemispheres the brain make men less likely to put feelings into words. She then returns to the action: her husband calls home to say that he tried a sandwich with rye bread... which he really liked. Thus, it was proved that her husband really had no profound inner thoughts and feelings that he wants to share with her on a daily basis.
It's all told in good humor, with tongue firmly planted in cheek, but it annoys me a little bit. She seems to want to pose the inverse of the question put to Eliza Doolittle by Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady: why can't a man be more like a woman? I know that we men probably deserve this question, given how often we've railed about women not being more like men. I also think that we, as human beings, learn over time (as incremental and glacial as that learning can be)... and that we should recognize that men and women are different in a lot of ways. Can't we all just be different and get along, people? Is not diversity in thought and discourse a politically correct ideal?
My anxiety level really ratchets up a notch or two higher when I read comments to the blog entry like this:
I was amused and a little frightened to read this because, as a college senior who has (as yet) been pretty much disappointed in the realm of the romantic, I’ve probably been secretly deluding myself with the belief that men improve after college. Clearly this is not the case. Clearly, too, I need to accept that if I want a guy to have a conversation like a “normal human being”, I should just stick to talking to the “normal human beings” known as women and gay men.
Yeah, I like hearing that I'm not a "normal human being"
But seeing as how I am a man, and therefore possessing no real inner life that I would want to share with my spouse, I suppose I can handle it all with a certain silent stoicism. Well that and take comfort in the sentiment expressed by Ms. Warner in the postscript to her entry:
For now that I’ve determined, once and for all, that he indeed does lack depth, has a rather limited inner life, and, I’m afraid to say, may well be far less intelligent than we’ve all previously imagined, there’s only one thing left for me to do: Treat him like a sex object.
on 2006-01-25 at 8:43 p.m.
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