Men! How have they managed to survive this long, clueless as they are? Without women to prop them up, they’d have gone extinct millennia ago. And yet they call women the weaker sex.
Take heart, women, says Shukan Josei (May 12-19). Men are manageable. They are manipulable. Incurable sluggards though they are, and stupid into the bargain, they can be made to assume their fair share of responsibility around the house. All you have to do is learn how their brains function – to the extent that they function at all.
The reader will have guessed, even without knowing that “josei” means women, that Shukan Josei’s readership is primarily female. Truly, a woman’s lot in modern Japan is a hard one. Housework, child care and elderly care are all considered her domain, while her husband, when home, is permitted by custom to relax after a hard day’s work. But as often as not, the wife has a job too.
You explain and explain again: you’re tired, you need help with the household chores; it just doesn’t penetrate. Is it mere laziness? Or something more?
Something more, says Shukan Josei – to wit, the male brain. Unlike the female brain, which can perform numerous functions simultaneously, the male brain is a “mono-tasker.” That’s the first thing to understand if you want to reduce the stress of having to coexist with the human sloth who is your husband. He’s not slothful on purpose. He would help willingly enough, and maybe not altogether incompetently, if you can just master the art of penetrating his mono-tasking brain.
Step one: realize that it is not out of malice that he seems not to hear when you ask him to do the laundry, or clean the bathtub, or whatever. You think, “All right, he’s a mono-tasker, that means he engages in one task as opposed to several, and yet there he lies on the sofa, while I…” Yes, but, says the magazine, even as he lies there, looking like idleness personified, his brain is not idle; it’s spinning images of the work piling up on his desk at the office, or the new car he wants to buy, or last week’s golf game. That doesn’t sound too demanding, and isn’t – you, as a woman, could easily spin your images and do a hundred other things besides, but you must make allowances. Break into his thoughts slowly: “Dear? Can we talk now?” Give him time to empty his brain – then fill it with what you want him to do. You’ll be surprised how readily he responds.
A man around the house, says Shukan Josei, is a bit like a rookie employee at work. He needs orders. Tell him what to do – but gently, and without criticism if his first efforts are clumsy. Display impatience or irritation and he’ll start grumbling about “housework harassment,” the latest spawn of that most prolific of nouns, “harassment,” whose offspring include sex harassment, power harassment, paternity harassment, maternity harassment and so on, housework harassment being the supposed bullying men are subject to when they are judged to perform their assigned household tasks incompetently. Criticize by all means, if criticism is warranted – but mix in a little flattery. What harm can it do? The male brain thrives on it.
One final point about the male brain – it is stodgily conservative. It hates change. A new restaurant has opened, you’re keen to check it out, but no, he favors the same old place, where the waiters faun on him as a regular customer, making him look good, he thinks, in your eyes. That too can be surmounted – but slowly, patiently, indirectly! Think of your man’s brain as a musical instrument and learn to play it. Fortunately, it’s an uncommonly simple instrument. A little practice will turn you into a maestro.© Japan Today