A Big Deal Out of Nothing
By ice rivers
Many years ago, in a far less enlightened time, I was nearing the end of my incarnation as a single Iron John kinda guy. I attended a lecture by Thornton Krell addressing itself to the status of masculinity under the emerging onslaught/influence of feminism.
Krell addressed the feminist perception of masculinity as "immaturity" and predicted an increase in the use of that characterization as feminism continued to take root. Men, in response, should be prepared to hear the descriptor "immature" regularly attached to their behavior, at least as interpreted through the eyes of the female interpreter.
The masculine reaction to this accusation, according to the speaker, is to confront it with the articulation, dignity and courageous immediacy used in response to any racist, sexist comment.
Krell provided this dialogue as an example.
She: Sometimes I feel as if I'm raising another child around here.
He: Excuse me!?
She: You heard me. I said that I'm tired of your immaturity.
He: Are you calling me immature?
She: Yes I am.
He: Aha. Well I recognize and reject your faulty characterization as an attempt to execise sexist, feminine intimidation. (disengage from conversation and walk away).
"Damn", I thought, "Krell nailed it."
Forewarned, I looked ahead to the next time that a woman dropped the "I" word on me.
I didn't have to wait long.
I was making a big deal out of nothing one day when a female colleague observed:
"You guys, always making a big deal out of nothing. It's so immature."
BAM. I was ready. The Venus flytrap was prepared for the fly.
I followed the Krell script word for word, tude for tude until (walk away)
Before I could get one small step for a man away from the return fire, she dismissed me with these two little withering words......
Then SHE turned her pretty head and walked away.
Apparently, the theory of male immaturity as a sexist prefabrication was in itself, an "immature" theory probably peddled by some lecturer somewhere trying to make a big deal out of nothing. As a result of subsequent, enlightening conversations with several female experts on male behaior, I have decided to articulate further and more closely scrutinize the behavior of married men of which I am now one.
Unmarried men, that is men living outside the realm of legalized marital microscopy, are obviously immature to begin with so it becomes a question of superfluosity to concern ourselves with sexist prefabrication on their behalf.
Married men, according to a recently convened blue ribbon panel of married women, are not immature when compared to single men. Married men according to the panel can be best characterized as either annoying or aggravating.
What is the difference between immature, annoying and aggravating other than the presence of a wedding band and a recital of vows? According to our panel, at least the married men were mature enough to make a decision but having made that decision they almost immediately descended into a perpetual state of "annoying" and upon too frequent occasion, push the edge of the envelope of annoyance into aggravation. In mathematical terms, annoyance is a constant, aggravation a variable.
Aggravation is a more active, more masculine version of annoyance.
Let me illustrate.
A husband returns home from work, kisses his wife and lies down on the couch. He turns on the teevee and relaxes after another soul draining day of back breaking number crunching amidst soul crushing office politics. The hunter is home. The gatherer has gathered.
The wife is too familiar with her husband's inner visual so EVERYTHING about the example above is annoying except for the kiss and sometimes even the kiss if delivered too perfunctorily is also annoying.
Now, if the woman comes into the living room with her husband and the husband is checking the scores on his fantasy team or doing a crossword puzzle or drinking a beer or watching some sport shit on teevee, well any of those activities move the husband into the arena of "aggravation". Notice, that in each of these areas, the man is actually DOING something....gambling, crosswording, drinking, remote controlling. The fantasy teams, the puzzle, the beer, the remote are all variables that add up to ANNOYING.
This is in the first minute of coming home to the castle.
Many wives at this juncture, always vigilant and reluctant to enable escapism/isolation, will take the opportunity to articulately point out the variables of aggravation currently on exhibit in the husband's behavior. This articulation, depending upon the variable, can and does often result in the "broken record" which transmogrifies into an escalation into an examination of past tresspasses.
The mate can respond defensively, which is aggravating and a guarantee of escalation or passivity which is annoying which keeps the broken record groovin'.
Men being the gentlemen that we, er they are, will generally opt for annoying over aggravating so we, er they, will put our heads down on the couch and zone out in the annoying dormant stage recognized by women as a "pout."
When men are in the dormant stage, pouting on the couch, we are in our own way extending an olive branch to our mates. We are saying, in effect. "I know that you find me annoying honey but I love you so much and need you so desperately that I don't want to aggravate you, so I'll just lie here in the mud with a bird on my head while you go about your, puposeful, productive, perky, pretty little life."
Please forget the thre four 'p' words iin the last alliteration if you're a woman reading this foolishness because I imagine you will find them aggravating in a typical mansplaining, patronizing way so, sorry..sorry, really sorry.
Whoops, I forgot, you're annoyed by apologies. Well whaddya want me to say? Why don't you write it out and I'll say it for God sake. Whoops, I'm getting aggravating again.
At this point men usually leap into action.
"Uh, honey, I'm going into the garage and put some water in the radiator or one of the tasks that have been sanctioned as legitimate but if repeated too often become annoying and if performed with the slightest bit of attitude may become aggravating enough for an escalation.
I hope in this rant, I have more articulately descibed the conundrum of masculinity as percieved through the intuitive, sensitive, down to earth, intelligent, lovely even without makeup feminine point of view.
Too many adjectives ath end?
Stop dicking around on the computer?