From the Editor’s Perch…

Editor’s disclaimer:  Just because we talk the talk doesn’t mean we can necessarily walk the walk.  If we all had to be good at what we talk about, not much would get said.

This takes place at the funeral home. BERNICE has angered her other son, BERT, who has decided to bury her in her underwear.

This takes place at the funeral home. BERNICE has angered her other son, BERT, who has decided to bury her in her underwear.

 

Two Guidelines for Relationships

 

These are two nuggets of wisdom, which in my experience, should be fundamental in guiding any relationship – but especially those between men and women.

 

This first was related to me by a psychiatrist years ago.  He said, the secret to dealing with women is to listen to what they say, and then to do what you want.  He said that the way most men get into trouble is that they either listen and don’t do what they want; or they don’t listen and do do what they want.  I believe this advice is also useful when the roles are reversed and for nearly all relationships.  It’s hard to maintain a head of steam when you really listen.  And when the other person won’t listen it’s hard not to get a head of steam.  When a man only does what he’s told, the woman comes to wonder why she needs to be married. And when a man doesn’t listen at all, a woman comes to wonder the same thing.

 

The second guideline is that doing is not listening; listening is listening.  I’ve heard this rule memorialized in a hundred country songs.  Typically the husband is brought around to the fact that he has not paid enough attention to his wife, and so he brings her flowers, buys her a diamond, gets her a dress, buys a bigger house, takes her on a trip…  anything to shut her up.  But he’s still not listening, and the resentment abides.  Or, we’ve seen this rule broken in a numerous families.  The worldly parents either refuse to take the childrens’ concerns seriously, or they don’t take the time to grant the children an audience.  To smooth their feelings, they buy them stuff.  But it doesn’t make matters better.  The parents have alienated their children and taught them to harbor and monetize their grievances.  Each family gathering becomes another trial through which the children receive punitive damages for pain and suffering.

 

Gifts have a long history of being used to shut people up.  Politicians typically greet a hostile crowd bearing gifts.   Explorers offer gifts to native tribes whose lands they are crossing.  Corporations give gifts to the leaders of the nations they exploit.  When the local theater heads finally spoke to the local playwrights, (whose plays they had refused to produce), they came for the sole expressed purpose of offering them ‘opportunities’.  Whenever anyone offers you a gift – especially one you’d like, it makes it bad form to bring up a grievance.  So you contain your bile, and smile.

 

It’s very common for someone to try and make up for some rudeness by doing something for the aggrieved party.  This is fine and good the first couple of times around.  But eventually, it becomes what it is: purchasing the right to treat another person poorly.

 

In my estimation, the best thing to do when you have refused to listen to somebody – is to listen.  That’s it.  That’s all.  All it takes is a little time.  Just listen, and then do what you want.

Photo by Candice Kerwin of scene from a play by Carl Nelson, “Into the Wild Blue Yonder”.

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2 Responses to “From the Editor’s Perch…”

  1. dangblog Says:

    Would you like to know what kind of gift would placate me? Do what you want, but I want two freshly baked chocolate chip cookies with a slab of vanilla ice cream between them.

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