MANALYSIS

by jessica jones


HOW TO ATTRACT A MAN

 

    

 

 

I've learned a few things about men over the years and have come to realize that my  mother's words of wisdom (which I heartily rejected as pathetically out date as a teen) were spot on.  She observed me suffering through one of my first and most deadly crushes and said, between drags on her Marlboro red and sips of sherry, that I shouldn't chase boys.  More specifically, she said, "There's no mystery, Jessica. If a boy wants to be with you, he'll call."

Didn't she understand that I could make ANYTHING happen through sheer force of will?  How could my mother fail to grasp my Nietzschean will to power and all it would undoubtedly bring me?  I was dismayed at her inability to see the real me.  I was even more dismayed that a grown woman could be so wrong about the ways of the world.  Of COURSE boys would be flattered by being pursued like a gazelle on the Serengeti!

My mother turned out to be right.  I was wrong.  Boys and men were not gazelles at all.  They are pigeons.

I've asked boyfriends, husbands and male friends the same question over the years and they all reply with a shrug and "I don't know."  The question is simply, "Why don't you want a woman to pursue you?  Why do you edge away the second a girl or woman expresses serious interest in you?"  They may not know the answer, but I do.

Men did not evolve as human women did, from amoeba to missing link to primate. They went straight from globule to pterodactyl to pigeon.  In the same way a pigeon (this goes for all pigeons, be they in London, Rome or New York) will slyly edge away if it thinks you're coming at it, so do men.  The instinct seems to be the same: avoid being caught at all costs or you will die (poisoned, married, same thing).  If, however, you show no interest in the pigeon at all, it will inevitably fly right at you, possibly attack you and most likely shit on you.  These are facts.  Don't bother second guessing me on that.  Ask any woman with a few years on her and she'll say the same thing.  

The moral of this brief and fowl tale is this: if you're hopelessly in love with a man, forget about him as quickly as you can.  He'll be yours within the week.  If you are a man and are hopelessly in love with someone, let your beloved express how s/he feels and try not to crap all over them. Your chances of holding onto your true love will skyrocket. Not hard to understand, but if all observations continue to prove correct, hopelessly difficult to do.

In the mean time, I still struggle with my inner Nietzsche and his ongoing argument with my mother's voice in my head.  While I want Friedrich to win every time, it's mom who comes out on top.

 


MANALYSIS

by jessica jones


YES SIR, I AM INDEED CALLING YOU A DRAMA QUEEN.

 

 

I know there is no way on earth that I'm alone in my irritation over the phrase "drama queen".  Reserved for women and some gay men, this put-down not only works to belittle anyone who displays any sort of emotion BUT also identifies anyone who displays this unacceptable behavior as feminine, regardless of gender.  So the equation works thusly: emotion is bad, women are emotional, so women are bad, if women are bad then their defining qualities are too, ergo emotions are bad. QED. And so the vicious little circle of woman bashing and emotional repression goes on.

With this in mind, I'd like to share a few experiences I've had that neatly explode the idea that emotional outbursts, in both personal and business settings, are reserved for women and gay men.  In fact, some of the most egregious examples of whacked out emotion-driven behavior I've ever seen have come from avowedly straight men.  

I'm sharing this for the sole purpose of getting an unpleasant phrase and stereotype out of the way, not to hassle straight men.  But if you're a straight guy or know one who might benefit from this, please keep reading and pass this on.

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Throughout my adult life, I've seen men throw some primo hissy fits in both public and private spheres.  Here are a few of my favorites:

1) The boyfriend who, upon realizing I was breaking up with him, followed my silent self down the street, hurling invectives and crying.  When I got in a cab, he stood in the street and pulled a full Shatner, screaming "Khaaaaaan!" (actually, it was my name) to the heavens.  He proceeded to call me at work every day for over a month.  Crying.

2) The head of my department at Company X who, upon hearing that I had received a promotion (I was one of very few women to do so), falsely reported to HR that I got the promotion because I was banging a member of the management team.  When it became clear that Head of Department was not able to dispatch me in that manner, he was as heartily back-slappingly cheery with me as possible.  He beamed at me every day but he was dead behind the eyes, clearly wondering how, when and why his brilliant plan had slipped off the rails.

3) A colleague wanted me to work for him but didn't want to pay me.  Why pay if uncomfortable pressure and harassment might get him the same results?  Good thinkin', Lincoln.  I understand playing dirty, but if you want to go that route, best not to tip your hand by revealing all your anxieties and nefarious doings to me from the get go.  Not to mention divulging exactly how you fear those shenanigans will bite you in the behind later.  No need to get into the insanity of this dude's screaming fits, threats and doubts about my loyalty (to whom?). I know it's possible to distract people with loud noises and shiny objects, but I'm not as think as you dumb I am.  

In light of the above, I suggest that we either implement the term "Drama King" with the same careless shrug that we do "Drama Queen", or, use the handily non-gender specific blanket term "pain in the ass".  

Let's face it, whatever your chromosomal makeup may be, most of the time an asshole is just an asshole. 

QED.

 


MANALYSIS

by jessica jones


I ACCIDENTALLY TAUGHT A GUY HOW TO DUMP ME

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I taught the man I was dating how to break up with me

Here’s how this particular moment of dating psychosis went down:

This young man (I have a few years on him, perhaps the basis of his search for my instruction) needed to get rid of a girl with whom he was being ambiguous about his intentions.  I told him that ambiguity is nobody’s friend. All it does is drag what is unpleasant through the mud until it is wretched, defiled and vile. I told my young paramour to be direct and clear and honest.  I let him know that the girl deserved that level of respect even if it would be painful for both of them in the short run. I explained how effective and appreciated the conversation would be by the recipient, as well as how kind he would seem to her.

A few days later, he told me how well my technique had worked and that “everything was chill” with the other girl.  I was delighted.  I assumed that he had been clearing the decks so we could embark on our burgeoning relationship without strings attached.  He had, after all, been very upfront with me about how much open communication meant to him and that it was essential for a relationship.

One week later, he used the exact same lines/technique I had patiently taught him on me.  I was stuck, not unlike James Franco in 127 Hours between a rock and a hard place.  More precisely, a clown and a stupid place. I was both gobsmacked and highly amused. 

Did he not know that I had the capacity to recognize my own words even if they were coming from his (bearded hipster) lips?  Did he think that, like the girl he had successfully dispatched, that I would blithely accept his attempt to exit stage right passively?  Poor thing didn’t know what hit him.  It started when I laughed in his face.  It ended with him being lured back into my bed and now being burdened with the task of having to contact me for his clothing that had found its way into my laundry basket.  He claims that, unlike his past relationships, he’d like ours to continue. He's like to keep me in his life. 

I have yet to find out if it’s for my sparkling wit or my gratis laundry service.


MANALYSIS

by jessica jones


HAVE WEINER, WILL TRAVEL

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This always struck me as a bizarre advertising campaign. I'm imagining  a Don Draper-esque cad signing off on this while snickering and rolling his eyes.  


MANALYSIS

by jessica jones


NO MAN IS GOD

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I am not a particularly religious person.  I fall squarely into the classic New York City mold of "cultural Jew".  In other words, I've spun the dreidel, lit the candles, reclined while I ate, and have seen everything Woody Allen ever committed to film.  I didn't really stand a chance when you think about it, because my parents sent me exclusively to super WASPy Episcopal schools where my friends were named Muffy, Dini, Maggie…..you get the picture.  And they made the weird decision of offering me the following choice: "Would you like Hebrew school and a Bat Mitzvah, or a Sweet 16 party?"  What kid chooses more school?  When 16 finally rolled around, it was the mid '80's, I was wearing Doc Martens, and a Sweet 16 would have been tragically uncool.  So my refusal to be observant saved my parents a mint.  Which was good, because they wound up having to pay for years of therapy.  See what I did there?  Cultural Jew.

The upshot of all this is that I have a major live and let live attitude about religion.  As long as no one is doing any harm to anyone else, you can worship however and whomever you like.  Jesus, Hashem, Ryan Gosling…take your pick. So it's safe to say I'm not your go-to girl for a major theological discussion.  Consequently, I was alarmed when one of my absolutely favorite and bestest girlfriends on the planet called me up and engaged me in conversation with, "No man is God."

Well, duh.  Unless you count several major religions that DO equate a single man with all things divine (Jesus, the Buddha…you fill in the rest).  I desperately tried to recall anything from the one semester of theology I paid a little attention to sophomore year for a response beyond the aforementioned "duh." No dice.  But then she saved me by continuing what turned out to be a mini-rant.

"No man is God.  Fuck that shit.  They don’t have the power to make or break anybody other than themselves.  WE have the power to make or break OURselves.  All the crying and drama is our choice to be victimized by our own conviction that our happiness rests in SOME MAN'S hands. Fuck that shit.  Stupid idiot moron asshole guitar-player."

I had to agree.  In this context, indeed, no man is God. Whatever you believe in, no matter where you think you go when you die (I'm assuming it's Paris but I'm feeling glass-is-half-full at the moment), whether you believe in heaven and hell, it is a true fact that no man is God.  When we're in love, it's easy to lose ourselves completely in someone else, devoting the same feverish energy and adoration to our beloved that someone else might point toward the deity of his or her choice.  The intensity is pretty much the same. But from what I hear, if you're a true believer, God is always your co-pilot.  He, she or it will always be faithful and by your side.

I can guarantee, without a moment's hesitation, no one has EVER said that about a guitar player.

 

 


MANALYSIS

by jessica jones


IS ONE WOMAN'S TRASH ANOTHER'S TREASURE?

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In the not so distant past, I went on a date with a nice man.  I'm sure this isn't lost on anyone, but my use of the phrase "nice man" sums up exactly the level of chemistry happening on my end of things.  But he wasn't an overt asshole, so I stayed for the whole date. Then I went home and promptly forgot about him. Yes, I know the asshole was on the other foot (huh?!?).

Apparently, the nice man is (or was) an optimist.  Disregarding my complete disregard, he emailed me about a month later.  It was a very flattering email.  He extolled my charms, a lot, and was quite insistent that we try it again.  He was, truth be told, a bit forceful yet still managed to pull off a courtly vibe.  About half a second after reading the email I shot it off to one of my oldest friends from college.  She didn't bother herself with emailing. She called immediately and also didn't bother with any of the usual niceties.  This is what blared out of my phone:

“Oh my God!  Oh no!  Oh my God! You’ve got an email from a CRAZY man on your hands.  No! Not just a crazy man. He’s TED BUNDY crazy.  You’d better run, girl!  Run out to the outhouse!  You know how I know it’s Ted Bundy time? Because it’s crazy. But…here's where he gets you…...at first, that email seems sane. But when you really think about it, holy guacamole.  Sane, crazy, sane, crazy. Total psycho killer qu’est-ce que c’est.  It’s Ted time. That’s it in a nutshell.  No, a nut job.” 

I swear I did not make this up.  

The thing is, I thought the missive was rather sweet and just wanted to ask my pal if she thought I should give him a second try even though there hadn't been any chemistry.  It didn't occur to me that she'd put the kibosh on it by going straight to serial killer.  What did she see in that first nano-second of reading the email that I didn't?  After I hung up on my concerned (if possibly alarmist) pal, I attempted to indulge in a little independent thought. Maybe I was right and he's just a sweet and quirky guy who deserved another chance?

By the end of a night of rumination, it didn't matter. Once someone you love and trust even brings up the idea of you possibly taking up residence in multiple garbage bags and 20/20 covering your untimely demise, the bloom is off the rose. Even if the person doling out advice also advocated that I "run out to the outhouse."

I still don't know what that meant.

There was no second date.

 


MANALYSIS

by jessica jones


TAKING AIM AT THE AGE OLD QUESTION: WHAT'S HE REALLY THINKING?

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I had a conversation with a female friend last week that was pretty much the same conversation I've had with every one of my girlfriends since I was twelve.  The details of last week's pow-wow aside, what we spoke about boiled down to that same question we've been asking each other for years, "What did he mean by that?"  All these decades later and we still don't really have a clue. Well, we have a clue.  We just don't have a solid answer.

Which presents us with the question, "Do we really need an answer?"  Is truly knowing what men are thinking, feeling and saying what all of our man-analysis is about? Are we more invested in dealing with the men in our lives, (and the men we'd like to have in our lives, not to mention the guys who were once in our lives but are now banned, or conversely, banned us) OR, talking to our girlfriends about the weirdness that went down the next day?   I think it would be nice to know what the hell men are talking about without having to use an Enigma machine.  But I wouldn't want to figure out their code at the expense of the fabulously insane conversations I have or hear every day as the women in my life try to make sense of their relationships.

In honor of my female friendships, and the unsung comic genius of so many women I've known, this blog is dedicated to recording our Manalysis. Some of it will horrify, some of it will delight, but I'm pretty sure all of it will be pretty familiar. And a comforting reassurance, dear reader, that you're not the only one searching the bottom of your cereal box for that elusive decoder ring.