Once upon a time men were hunters and women were child-bearers and life was simple, if precarious. We’re a long way from that now, and yet how far after all? asks Spa! (Oct 27). Men and women love each other, certainly, but they also irritate the hell out of each other. Spa! in the past has explored men’s capacity for irritating women; here it surveys 600 men, company employees in their 30s and 40s, married and single, how women irritate them.
In many, many ways, they answer – depending on time and place and circumstance, naturally, but boiling down to one central fact: men as hunters were once in unchallengeable control of their women but no longer are. Rationally, for the most part, they’ve accepted it and even learned to enjoy it – but instincts are instincts, genes are genes. When society imposes one set of norms and genes another, there is conflict and irritation.
Guess, reader, which complaint ranks above all others in the domestic sphere - far above, for example, disputes concerning the children’s education, which at number 9 barely makes the top 10; or the number 5 complaint: “If I don’t immediately reply to her LINE message, she thinks I’m having an affair.” The top grievance among husbands and boyfriends is: “Even if I help with the housework, she’s not satisfied; she makes like she’s the only one whose working!” Ninety-five percent of respondents – 567 of the 600 – feel victimized in this way. It seems trivial, but then, so does anything that, recurring on a daily basis, swells to monstrous proportions with the passage of time. “And when I play with the kid, she doesn’t even consider that housework!” fumes a 34-year-old husband and father.
The number 1 complaint among male employees regarding female coworkers is the latter’s alleged tendency to beg off working overtime for personal reasons, whether a date or housework piling up at home. “If you insist on working fixed hours and quitting at quitting time, don’t work full-time – get a part-time job!” is what one 41-year-old man would like to say – but prudently keeps his mouth shut – in such cases. A close second in the long list of office complaints is women’s perceived readiness to cry “Power harassment! Sex harassment!” to anything, however allegedly innocent. And third, not very far behind, are the short skirts, tight sweaters and sexy perfume that seems to encourage precisely the behavior that regulations against sexual harassment are meant to thwart. Can men be blamed for being confused?
There’s no help for it: men’s brains and women’s brains are different. They see the world differently – and it’s a difference that kicks in in infancy, around age 8 months, Spa! hears from artificial intelligence researcher Ihoko Kurokawa. In an evidently over-simplified but useful nutshell, the brain has two hemispheres; right: art, imagination, intuition; left: logic, science, math. The two hemispheres, Kurokawa explains, are better connected in women than in men, which helps account for women’s emotional response to things men scarcely notice.
Thus, the number 1 grievance of men about the women they date: “She suddenly gets angry and won’t tell me why!” – presumably because she thinks he should know, but it’s not stupidity that keeps him in the dark, it’s the configuration of the male brain.
There’s a solution to all this, says relationship consultant Mayumi Nimatsu, and it turns out to be the obvious one: frank and open dialogue. Men and women are different, but not to the point of being beyond each other’s intellectual reach. The sexes can understand each other. When are they going to start realizing that potential?© Japan Today