Lost in Translation

February 5, 2014

in Uncategorized

I had some trouble with my last post (Ginger or Mary Ann?). I said something that I think virtually every man would have understood, but some women heard something else. (And this after my ever-helpful wife warned me and I tried to fix it.) I think this is one of those cases where men and women mean different things by certain words and phrases.

I had several close female friends in high school, and I think I understand “female” better than many men do. However, it is still a second language to me, and I am far from fluent. I understand some, I speak less. So, when I try to explain something to women I sometimes fail badly. 

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I have had the same problem in my marriage on occasion. It works both ways – me hearing something other than what my dear wife meant, and her not hearing what I meant. I know it is not just me, because I hear the same from other men and women.

I have made an effort to assume I misunderstood when I think Lori has said something weird, and to suspect she has misunderstood when she looks at me as if I just suggested nude skydiving into a volcano. I also do my very best to give her the benefit of the doubt when she says she did not mean what I heard. 

~ Paul – I’m XY, and sometimes I have no clue what she means!

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Anon. February 5, 2014 at 4:04 am

I’m having difficulty figuring out the intention of your Ginger or Mary Ann post and am not seeing how a translation problem would be saying anything more than confirming it’s ok for men to judge women by looks, categorize them and prize them for the superficial. The message I got is men want a “smoking hot” babe but settle for a not-so-much Plain Jane who is easier to live with. Aren’t the words “caring a great deal about appearance” used as a negative attribute of “smoking hot women” in fact exactly what you are saying men do? Why is this accepted and seems to be a given when men do it to women (“men will be men” argument? . Ugh.) but is bad if a woman does herself (even though you confirm she is noticed and valued for this by men)?

I think what bothered me-was even hurtful-was I let my husband see my inner self and know he is a smart man who does appreciate and values my inner beauty, intelligence and light :-) but I deeply need to know I am the most beautiful women to him in his eyes-I don’t care what any other man thinks about my looks or beauty-but no woman wants to think her man prefers something else physically but settled in that area and I think this is the message I took from your post.

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Daniel Robertson February 5, 2014 at 10:28 am

I really think you misunderstood Paul’s point. Men who like Mary-Ann aren’t settling, they’re getting something much better than what Ginger has to offer. Ginger only has outward beauty, but inside she is conceited.

Mary-Ann is beautiful on the outside and also has good character. Caring for your outward appearance AND your inward character shows respect for yourself. So yeah, dress up and show off for your man AND let him see your inner beauty, intelligence, and light.
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Paul Byerly February 5, 2014 at 12:42 pm

Daniel,

Well said, thanks. Ginger is hollow, Mary Ann is solid.

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Paul Byerly February 5, 2014 at 12:36 pm

The original intention was to show that most men do NOT judge women primarily on how they look. My conclusion was “All of this is to show that once men get past the testosterone poisoning of puberty they tend to see more than just a woman’s body.”

That some women think I was saying or defending the opposite is humours example of how we can fail to understand each other.

The stereotype is that men are all about looks, that it is more important to them than anything other part of who a woman is. While there are men who are this way, they are the minority, and that was what I was trying to show. I am in no way excusing the men who are that way, I think it is shallow and stupid.

I understand what you are saying about settling, but that is not what happens. If a man sees that Ginger is fake, he loses all interest in her. He does not want her looks, and she is high maintenance, so he has no desire for her at all. He does not settle for something else, he seeks something else, something real.

For me, beauty is not just about what I see with my eyes. I see my wife as a whole, and I really cannot break that down. She is the most beautiful woman in the world to me, and she would be no matter how her body looked. I am attracted to HER, I desire HER.

Finally, “plain Jane” is not the opposite of “smoking hot”. Smoking hot is not about looking good, it is a very artificial look. That look does trigger something in a man, but those who have a working brain realise it is fake and not something to be desired. Women who are not fake are far more attractive.

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Carly February 5, 2014 at 9:04 am

I read your Ginger/Mary Ann post and I think I understood it. Maybe it is because I didn’t have cable growing up and I watched more than one rerun of Gilligan’s Island.

To me the poll results show that you’ll get in trouble if you are seeking a mate strictly focusing on one quality to the exclusivity of everything else, and those who were polled recognize this.

So in the end the total package of Mary Ann is much more beautiful than Ginger ever was.

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Paul Byerly February 5, 2014 at 12:37 pm

Your last sentence puts it very well, thank you.

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