Comprehension test

I feel compelled to chip in my two cents worth to the “I don’t understand women / men” discussion (initiated by Champagne Heathen last week). This topic crops up all too often when people feel frustrated by their apparent inability to tap into the inner clockwork of the opposite sex. I say “apparent”, because although this may be true (and let’s face it, there is absolutely no way on Google’s green earth that anyone is going to understand an entire gender), it tends to obscure the rather obvious fact that people are individuals.

You can construct statistical models until you’re blue in the face, but the moment you separate someone from the herd, that particular person will revert to individual behaviour. Add emotion to the mix and individual behaviour becomes inconsistent, unpredictable and sometimes downright fucking irrational. Although this is generally applicable to just about anyone you might encounter, it tends to be a whole lot more noticeable when you include the ek laaik jou stukkend+ factor.

The human ability to recognise patterns in a seemingly chaotic environment is how you make sense of your surroundings++, but it also means that you tend to see patterns that aren’t necessarily there+++. It depends on your focus.

Consequently, if you find yourself considering all the confusing things the past, present and potential objects of your affection have done (as one is wont to do), it’s all too tempting to squish them together under the heading “I don’t understand [insert gender of choice]”.

+ i.e. Rough translation: “We go bouncy-bouncy, yes?”

++ this goes some way towards explaining the popularity of Sudoku

+++ which pretty much explains religion


21 thoughts on “Comprehension test

  1. While a lot of what you says makes sense, I think that there are fixed patterns in our romantic interactions with the gender of our choice. People do react in similar ways to many things and the underlying reasons for people to pass through the gates of the dismal hell that constitutes most relationships are the same.

    The problem, as I see it, is not that the patterns are not there but rather that we don’t see them. Rather, we see the patterns in ourselves and project them on to other people. When those other people don’t comply with our expectations, even though they are acting by a sort of collective route, we feel confused and disappointed.

    I suppose this is remarkably similar to what you were saying. If I have a point, its that misery usually comes from not understanding ourselves rather than not understanding our partners.


  2. Ja, what you said. And what Salman said. I was going to leave my thoughts on the subject but the comment above kind of blew my ability to think right out of the blogosphere.


  3. It was the ‘Google’s green earth’ bit that got me … yer dead funny, even when you’re being deep and philosophical. What’s to comprehend anyway? everyone’s fuckd in the head one way or t’other.


  4. My Sweetheart and Ihave this huge problem in that I don’t act like a “typical” woman–so even though he has some miles on him–they don’t do him much good.

    I suppose the best we can hope for is to find one person who is willing to try to sort things out with you.


  5. I think Salman got it. We expect others to understand us. And then don’t understand then they don’t.

    The ek laik jou stukkend factor helps focus. A lot.


  6. I think that there is a pattern to the type of partner we tend to choose. There is always a common denominator and this may be the downfall of your choice.
    Granted, we can’t help but get a bit weak kneed at the sight of a certain combination in a person, but maybe its our insecurities about ourselves that we try to eradicate in our partners. thus trying to change them after we have decided they’re perfect.
    But isn’t solving the mystery part of the fun??


  7. Well written Kyk, you raise some interesting points.

    Andrew, you’re creating quite a stir here (and on your own site with the death penalty discussion)

    On women, I know i’ll never understand. I just go about my business and try and figure out when is a good time to duck in order to avoid being frown wiff a shoe


  8. Mood swings.

    That explains everything. No giant theoretical thesis explained, no books about Men Mars Venus Women, just this:

    Men and women have mood swings. At different times.
    They rarely collide. And if they do, it’s during bouncy bouncy stukkend.


  9. salman: I agree that patterns can exist. The important thing is to recognise our predisposition to see what we want to see, rather than what is actually there.

    terri: Are you sure it’s not the thrill of two-wheeled freedom that does it?

    luke610: I see I’m preaching to the converted here.

    andrea: That conjures up a rather vivid boot-camp style image of a queue of asexual individuals all patiently waiting their turn at a counter marked “genitalia”.

    jam: You do? Quick, what am I thinking right now?

    sophie: My sentiments exactly.

    dolce: The trick is not to make the focus too narrow. That burns.

    insane insomniac: Depends on whether you like surprises or not.

    other-duke: That’s a tough call. Sometimes you get frown wiff stuffs at random.

    peas: Hmmm… so what you’re saying is we’re all swingers?


  10. KN, you and Andrew really nailed it down to the basics for me.
    I would normally want to disagree, because it would the whole discussion more interesting, but it is hard to do so when it makes sense. Frightening!


  11. I have never really thought of it like that. Maybe we should just say “I don’t understand “? *sigh* this is way too complicated for me to comprehend right now.


  12. Men and woman are born with ‘lazy’ set to the default……..ON.

    And I don’t mean lazy, as in lack of drive or ambition or having oodles of procrastination. Many incredibly successful (by so-called ‘accepted’ standards) people I know are thick, wicked or blissfully unaware. But that’s starting to meander.

    When I say lazy, I refer to this insidious habit we seem to have fallen into of accepting everything at face value, or believing everything we’re told. We allow ourselves to be dictated to, from how we brush our teeth to the kind of liquids we drink. If you like this, then you’re that. If you’re this, then you can’t do that. We buy cellphones that play mp3s and browse the internet, and never make a phone call. Women are lousy at DIY and men can’t multitask. It’s just so much easier to go through life when someone else makes the decisions for us, as much as we are deluded into believing that we are the ones making the decisions.

    Do same-sex couples understand each other far better? No fighting, no miscommunications, no betrayals? We get fed this Men are from Mars etc bull every day, and we lap it up because it’s a handy excuse when things go wrong. We shake our collective heads, shrug our collective shoulders and raise our collective eyes to the sky. Oh well, we say, I’ll never understand. And we chuckle, because in the end it’s really just all a big joke.

    Are men and women different on a genetic level? Of course. But then I’m also different on a genetic level from the guy in the office behind me. But he’s not Caucasian, so that also explains why I just don’t understand him sometimes.

    Maybe one day I’ll take an active interest in making my own decisions, I’ll treat everyone I meet as an individual and not make immediate assumptions based on gender or race or religion. When I fight with my partner, I’ll actually try to understand her viewpoint, or better yet, revel in the joy that is not understanding her. Not because of her gender, but because she exists outside of me. She breathes and thinks and speaks from a place all her own.

    But right now, I have to worry about changing the brand of milk I drink. Apparently there’s one that gives me ten times the amount of calcium I’m currently getting. Don’t know how they work that out, but they wouldn’t lie, would they?

    There is no great gender divide. At least, no greater than what divides us from everyone else. As has already been said before I decided to repeat it and try to make it seem as if I’d thought of it first, the only thing we should be worrying about is understanding ourselves. It’s funny, the more that happens, the easier it becomes to understand others. And even if we still don’t understand, somehow it just doesn’t seem to matter as much anymore.


  13. Google loves you. Google gives you all the answers. Google shows you the right path. Google communicates.

    Back to the topic at hand, cliches are cliches for a reason. We are only 0.1% genetically different from anyone else, and while that’s a big enough difference to account for individualism we all behave along the same patterns we evolved as animals to ensure the survival of the species. Pschology is the ‘science’ of behavioural patterns caused by the conflict of our hormones urging us to follow our animalistic instinct and our concious intellict telling us that some behaviours are not acceptable in the society we have created.


  14. chitty: So are you saying it’s hammer time, or what?

    acideicice: Well, it’s not compulsory, so knock yourself out.

    forgottenmachine: Boy, am I glad that’s settled! Actually, I’m pleased you raised the point about same-sex couples. There have been several occasions when I’ve heard the lament that straight people have an easy time of it, because the opposite sex is a lot simpler to understand.

    anne: I give up. What?

    granny wrangler: Just returning the favour.

    katt: Sorry, no. If I don’t buy into the idea that I’m essentially identical to 3 billion others, it’s unlikely that I’m going to change my mind, even if you reduce that number to half a billion.

    bast: – or as Luke would have it, “…everyone’s fuckd in the head one way or t’other…”


  15. Do you know what the problem is with women? I’ll tell you: they talk too much and don’t make me enough sandwiches.

    More cookin’, less talkin’

    I could package that advice into a book but it’d be too short. Maybe Cosmo might be interested in a feature. But, then again, if they took my advice, they’d stop writing their mindless drivel and fight each other for the right to make me a delicious meal.


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