Thursday, January 5, 2012

Catch 22

Something occurred to me on my morning walk today. Women have a reputation for being emotional (read: feminine), as opposed to logical (read: masculine). Popular culture tells us that women respond to stressful situations with tears, and also use those same tears to get what they want. Men are defenseless in the face of a woman's tears, ergo: women are emotionally manipulative.

Men, in self defense, have adapted to this phenomenon by developing an emotional innoculation to the wily females' machinations. Picture the sobbing woman, hair a mess, dress torn asunder, clinging to the arm of her debonair husband while he grits his teeth, sets his jaw and proceeds to do the "right thing" while resisting the sobs of his erstwhile Lorelei.

I call bullshit.

I mean, have you ever actually seen or heard of this playing out in real life? Setting aside that crock of shit "Gone With the Wind," have you ever actually witnessed this? Because in my experience it is the man who has the emotional outbursts, and is impervious to logic.

Recalling my first marriage to Hee-Haw, I can literally think of two episodes where I became emotional, and the entire balance of the marriage was my being thoughtful, logical, and fucking walking on eggshells so as not to spark an angry outburst by that demon. And I am not only talking about irritation/frustriation here, I am talking about a full-blown emotional outburst. Let's compare, shall we?

Embee's Emotional Outbursts
  1. A week prior to returning for my second year of law school, I lay in my bed crying because I did not want to return to that institution. I was frustrated to be attending a school that never made my list of law school choices, notwithstanding the fact that I had been accepted to all of the schools to which I had applied. Of course, Hee Haw refused to move to any of the cities where I had been accepted to school (Nashville, Winston-Salem, Richmond or Washington, D.C.) and so I had applied last minute to the school I was attending, in Atlanta. I was extremely dissappointed to be attending this school, and I was scared because I could see how my life was being degraded and narrowed by my husband's unwillingness to support me. As I lay crying Hee Haw freaked out and told me that, if I wanted, we could move to Winston and I could attend school there. That was a really rich offer on his part because there was no possible way it could happen. Moreover, I didn't ASK him to do that, I was simply grieving. Of course, he had been impervious to my logical argument (and any semblance of fairness) before I had begun law school, i.e.: I have supported your career and schooling choices for the first 6 years of our marriage; it is time that we prioritized my career/education. Nope, that wasn't going to do it, but a few tears and he's willing? Who is the emotional one? The tears were grieving, not pleading. They were an appropriate reaction to my frustration. An appropriate reaction to my logic would have landed us in another city a year earlier. Fucker.
  2. Two weeks after I learned Hee Haw was having an affair with a married co-worker who resembled kermit the frog, I attempted to leave. I left work early, packed my car and took the dog for a walk. It was my intention to leave after walking the dog, and before Hee Haw got home. Hee Haw came home early, too, and prevented me from leaving. I collapsed on the couch, howling my grief and frustration. Hee Haw lay with me and held me as the snakes of self-doubt wrapped around me and chained me to that house. When finally I was spent, Hee Haw looked at me curiously and said, "Wow. You'da thought someone had told you that you had cancer and were dying."
Hee-Haw's Emotional Outbursts
  1. I burned a pie: he threw dinner across the living room.
  2. I addressed Christmas cards to "The Jones Family" as opposed to "Mr. and Mrs. Thomas L. Jones, Master Benjamin R. Jones and Miss Gretchen M. Jones" and so he threw all of the 150 Christmas cards I had addressed off our balcomy into the snow on the driveway below.
  3. On the morning of our elopement, he asked me to pick out the cds to go in our 6 disc changer. I asked for his preference but he refused to give guidance. When he heard the selections he became enraged because he didn't like them.
  4. After interviewing with a placement firm that would help him transition out of the Army, Hee Haw decided he wanted to stay in the Army. This was NOT our agreement. He threw a huge temper tantrum driving down the autobahn, swerving across six lanes of traffic at 80+ mph until I relented and acquiesced to his staying in the Army, and passing up my opportunity to attend graduate school.
  5. After 2 weeks in his coveted new position in the Army, Hee Haw quit the Army entirely, on my birthday without discussing it with me. When he told me he had done this, he also told me that he would be attending graduate school first, because he was older and needed to get it done. When I pointed out that this was a second breach of our agreement he had a huge temper tantrum and spent a half hour insulting me, my work experience (or lack thereof) and undermining my confidence that I would be accepted to law school.
  6. While riding bikes in Arizona, Hee Haw ran in to the back of me (he wasnt watching where he was going) and screamed at me.
  7. Rinse and repeat, only this time on foot, and in Georgia.
  8. My father built all but the final finishing touches on a corner cabinet of our dining room. Hee Haw was supposed to levereage his experience helping my father to build a matching one on the other side. He never did. When I gently suggested that he ought to at least finish painting the one my dad built, he took a hammer and hammered the top of his tool box until he broke it.
Who is tempermental? Who is logical?

But you know what? By creating this mythology about an emotional female, men have the perfect excuse to NEVER listen to us. If we're being logical, they claim superior logic (owing to our "true" emotional natures we are de facto less logical); if we're being emotional, they can ignore us becuase we're acting like a chick. Meanwhile, their own emotions (anger, by default) are supposedly valid by virtue of the emotion being male in orientation.

So what is the difference between a crying female and a screaming male? Power. Pure and simple. A female cries because her anger cannot be projected outward toward its object. Be nice! Be a lady! Also implicit is the fact that if you confront a man, even verbally, he will retaliate with his greater physical strength. Think I'm exaggerating? Try it. So a woman turns that anger inward and cries.

A man is absolutely allowed to accost others with his anger and/or emotions, because after all what're you going to do about it, bitch?

All in all, men project their inferior emotional control onto the women in their lives, because it serves the dual purpose of permitting them to disregard everything women say as frivilous, and have poor emotional control themselves.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I read your comment and will not repeat it for the sake of your privacy. You have my utmost compassion, and wishes for a better future.

  3. THANK YOU... I am trying to figure a way out... I mean, what the fuck was I supposed to do? I had a job until my misogynist male boss fired me- I wouldn't 'learn my place', which meant tolerating misogynist comments, verbal and physical harassment at the hands of patrons. Was fired more than a year ago. I hired a few reference checking services since I 'had this feeling'... He's told prospective employers that I'm (guess what?) 'crazy', and 'play head games'. A Cease and Desist letter (after I finally found a lawyer who didn't have 'a conflict' since this bar owner is SUCH a 'pillar of the community', gag) only enraged him and he was all 'offended'. All about HIM, of course. The end result is the same: I am blackballed in the bar industry here. At the same time, I also was roommates with an alcoholic sociopath. Gory details here, not for the faint of heart or victim-blaming sort (which I know is not you!)- I've been threatened more than once for posting all the photos and blog posts calling me 'borderline', etc... Something about Streisand Effect? And how it's 'slander'- how can it be slander if it's true? As if I'M the one who should be embarrassed?

    So: abusive workplace, abusive home, no escape. When I lost my job I lost my apartment... and Nigel-friend offered me a place to live. Are we friends? I don't know... can men be friends with people that they don't respect? I don't know what it is to be treated with respect. Hey, at least he doesn't rape me, right? /s

    Sorry so ranty, I read your blog so far and it really resonated with me- I sat here crying at 3 in the morning reading about how horribly your ex treated you, and I wanted to scream! Oh, if only I could find a sanctuary from men... and a job... :(

    I am still being stalked and I live every day in fear. Just like they want me to.

  4. If I ever do find that sanctuary (hopefully somewhere warm?), please feel free to join me... you would be most welcome. :3

  5. I want to come rescue you RIGHT NOW. Envisioning a compound wherein the occupants are safe and not accosted. Free to explore their creativity and self-ness.