from my notebook

My head is full of thoughts, and I have to write them down.

Men and the Electric Can Opener Syndrome

My daughter hates using our electric can opener. She can never figure out how to make it work. They are temperamental. I’ve never met one that wasn’t. I explained to her that you have to place the can just right and then push down the handle just right in order for it to work. I also used this as a life lesson opportunity for her. “Can openers are like men,” I said. “The harder you try to get them to do what you want, the more they resist.”

I learned this lesson a long time ago in my marriage. Nagging doesn’t work. Persistence doesn’t work. You have to plant an idea, let it grow (while he stews on it), and of course pray. Most of the time, if it is the right thing to do, he’ll come around. It’s not quite the same as the “letting them think it was their idea” method but close.

What I still often forget is this is not only the most effective way to deal with my husband, but with pretty much all men. I’ve run into this in the work place and other environments. I’ve noticed this same thing with my son, and have recently realized it was happening with another man I work with. It seems the more I try to help and advise him, the more determined he is to prove me wrong, even if it means working twice as many hours.

I’m sure some women are like this too, but not near to the degree as men. Corporate America is still full of this junk. A man can say the exact same thing as a woman in the exact same way, but the other men will only listen to the man. A former male boss pointed out this unfortunate fact to me. What is it about taking advice from a woman that so drives men in the other direction? Insecurity? I really don’t know what’s behind it. All I know is, it is dumb.

Maybe this is part of what is wrong in the world. It shouldn’t be a man versus woman thing. At some point all humans should reach a maturity level in which they put gender out of the way and just listen and heed good wisdom and advice. But until that miracle happens, us girls will have to keep working with the can opener.


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