It’s Not About the Nail

Saw this over at Aewl’s journal and had to share, because it’s funny… but it also brings up some serious issues.

“Don’t try to fix it. I just need you to listen.” Every man has heard these words. And they are the law of the land. No matter what.

Piggybacking on my previous post about Shopping Strategies, no one in their right mind would dispute that men and women are wired differently. John Gray has made gozillions of dollars touting that fact, and others before him. Yet we still continue to have difficulty in the area… mostly because as humans, we suffer from the greatest addiction ever know… being right.

<stereotype>Men want to fix. That’s why hardware stores have such a powerful attraction. It’s one of the things we do.  You know, women are good for teaching, nurturing, healing, shopping, managing, cleaning, organizing, loving, supporting, sharing, socializing, volunteering, helping, beautifying, serving… and guys are good for picking up heavy stuff.</stereotype>

But there’s some incontrovertible reality between those HTML tags; for every guy that loves kittens and knitting and cooking and cuddling, and for every girl that loves a good blood-n-guts / sword-swinging / explosions-are-many / bad-guys-get-ground-up action movie, there are a thousand who “fit the mold.” And the little video above is all about staying within the box. Men want to fix, and women want to be valued for nothing else than who they are.

However, as I commented over at Aewl’s place,

For a good relationship to succeed, both partners have to step out of their societal boxes. No, it’s not about the nail; but in the [slightly modified] words of Monty Python’s logician, ‘even given that the activities of listening to your feelings and removing the nail are mutually exclusive, now that the listening is over, surely then, the nail may now, logically, be removed.’ A better response would have been (if one can dream of a perfect world,) “Thanks for listening to what I was feeling. That helps me feel valued and considered. I’m open to input on how to get rid of this nagging pain…”

For open, honest, responsible communication to take place, partners need to give up their sense of entitlement – the concept of “that’s the way I am, you just need to understand me” is only half of the equation. The other part is eminently captured in Emerson’s quote: “Shall I tell you a secret of a true scholar? Every man I meet is my master in some point, and I can learn from him.” So when the rubber meets the road, it’s not about the nail – but if you’re happy hanging on to that nagging pain when there’s someone sitting in front of you with a pair of pliers, then by all means, continue suffering.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

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8 responses to “It’s Not About the Nail

  1. It’s something of a human quantum anomaly, being simultaneously about the nail, and not about the nail. A kind of Schrödinger’s Cat issue, if you will. If a woman has a nail on her forehead, and no man is there to listen to her complaining about it, is it still a problem, and if so, does it still require talking about without attempting to solve it?

  2. Pingback: Daily Motivation | Aewl’s Abode (Keeping up with old friends) | Hey Sweetheart, Get Me Rewrite!

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