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Friday, June 02, 2006 

A ghost in my machine

The gf says I have anger issues, and I fear she may be right. I can be an inconsiderate arse, and many times, there exists a distinct disconnect between my brain and my mouth. I hate it when someone (anyone) uses an absurd statement to underline a point or to emerge as the victor in a spat. I feel compelled to react, which as the gf points out, is not good and that sometimes there is greater value in simply keeping quiet. I do however find it disconcerting that society and individuals, through their silence, appear to endorse utter baloney when it is paraded it in front of them as the truth. What pains me even more is how easily men in particular, will accept gratuitous society-sanctioned faux pas, simply because they feel ill-equipped to challenge a woman verbally. Let’s face it; women are more evolved when it comes to debating and the use of language. A guy would rather sit there quietly and pretend to agree, than engage in an argument, because: a. He has no idea what women are on about, and b. How does a guy go about disproving something when he is unable to quantify or relate to what is being said? But, I digress and let me not turn this into a gender specific issue. Instead, I'll attempt to illustrate why [S] says that I have anger issues. [S] and I are in Melville, Jo’burg’s quaint little capital of hippy-dom. For those of you who do not know what Melville is like… just wander back to your campus days. Think art studios, writers, second hand furniture shops, spiritual healers, quaint little restaurants, live bands and bars filled to capacity with ppl who shun the norm and whose aim it is to be different. It is the kind of place where dreams hang out when they are not swimming through your unconscious brain in the middle of the night. We having drinks with [S]’s friend, Jen, The Man Slayer, and her boyfriend. We haven’t, and by that I mean the gf, seen them in a while and the conversation mostly centers on, “Have you heard, “Did you know”, and “What-ever happened to so-and-so?” In short, it is about as scintillating as having a gyrating vagina thrust in your face in a strip club… only significantly less pleasant. I am bored out of my skull, but I play the role of the good other. I smile at the right moments and throw in the occasional, “Oh really, that is nice” It helps that they serves the most incredible Vodka Martinis in this joint, because my head feels all warm and fuzzy and I sense that I can actually catch one of those elusive dreams by merely reaching out my hand. At some point, I excuse myself from the conversation to go to the toilet. When I get back, I hear Jen saying to [S], “A man would never be able to tolerate the excruciating pain of childbirth” Oh crap!! I have no idea how the conversation deteriorated to this level in the time it takes to have a piss, but it is not unexpected and I have been here before... many times. When a guy hears a declaration like that, all he wants to do is run away and find something to hide behind… preferably something big and impervious to light. I am thinking this is a good time to do a 180 and head back for the men’s room, but they have already seen me and I have no choice but to sit down. I take a deep breath and tell myself, “Be cool. Change the subject and pretend you have not heard a word of what she said” I manage to do that very effectively for about 2 seconds(!) and then my lips part and I ask casually, “As apposed to what, Jen?” “Have you fallen out of a tree lately and banged your nuts on a really thick branch on the way down or have you ever been kicked so hard in the groin that it feels as if your testicals wound up in your chest cavity?” “Ha ha”, she laughs, somewhat puzzled. “Don’t be absurd [K]. I am a woman. How would I know what that feels like?” “So how would you know that a man would NOT be able tolerate the pain of childbirth? There are some things, thankfully, a man can never hope to experience. And as much as I would like debate the intricacies of childbirth, I believe that drawing comparisons of this nature to illustrate a point is just plain unfair. Giving birth must be excruciating, but it is also an experience that is filled with much happiness, joy and gratitude. In many instances, when you are man, you are just dealing with raw pain and nothing else” [Silence] Of course, the [S] is horrified. She kicks me under the table and asks me to go with her to the bar to buy another round of drinks. “You just had to do it, did you? You could not pretend to let it slide” she says with a somewhat aggrieved look on her face. “After tonight, Jen is never going to speak you again, you know that don’t you?” “I know”, I say…”it is an unexpected perk, but I am sure I can live with that” I guess we won’t be going to Melville anytime soon, and I had better come to terms with life in the dog box. Damn those anger issues… sigh.

dude, what i want to know is, why didn't your gf come right out and tell her friend she's full of shit? Is she the kind of person who lies to people so they'll like her, and expects you to do the same? Fuck that. You were absolutely right in what you said. Besides, plenty of women don't handle the pain of childbirth... otherwise what the hell did they invent the epidural for?
And really, if Jen is so weak in character that she'll stop talking to anyone who disagrees with her, then being avoided by her is a perk.

I'm a girl and I take issue with such a sweeping generalization. Sexism swims both ways baby. And, I would have called it on the spot too. However, science has spouted some such studies that men do indeed have a lower pain tolerance threshold than women.

Chitty, I agree fully with what Moonflake and Robbie said. I can't understand this stupid one-upmanship that women tend to indulge in. What is the point of trying to prove that women are better then men because they aren't, they are different. There is no way on God's green earth that I can do half the things Flyboy does every day in his work because his physically stronger than I am and surprisingly, he has an extremely high pain threshold.

I think it's time you trade your chick in for a new one, dude. She's got her priorities WRONG!

moonflake: When you've been friends for as long as they have, then perhaps you can see past the idiot comments and moronic remarks, and adopt a it-is-just-not-worth-getting-into approach. Some ppl are just beyond help and to be honest, I don't really understand the dynamics of the friendship.
Robbie: In have seen those studies and they do not necessarily make spoecific refernce to child birth. Besides what does it prove... certainly not superiority of any kind?
Sweeping generalisations usually mean nothing, because one can find as many people who will disagree as those who'll agree.
Katt: Better the devil you know, than the one you don't know.
I think I'll hang in there for a while longer... there are more "plusses" than "minuses" to the relationship, Jen being one of the few negatives.

So Jen won't talk to you again. I fail to see the downside here.

A lot of people come out with constant crap. You have to call them on it, either to show them what an ass they are (which very few will ever realise) or to make them spew their crap on other unsuspecting ears instead of yours. Somehow, calling them on their crap never makes them shut up, does it? Shame that.

I wouldn't call it anger issues, I'd call it a great comeback.

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