A Double Standard

Wednesday, March 31, 2010
When I react negatively to an email I get from some guy I’ve started seeing everyone around me - men and women - encourages me not to judge so harshly. Its suggested that I give him the benefit of the doubt, that I read between the lines to come to an alternative, more preferable version of what his email means. I’m reminded that men don’t think about what they write (and apparently don’t spell check), and how they don’t want to come on too strong or are afraid of rejection.

Now when I write emails, or respond to the aforementioned undesired email, I typically ask someone to proof it first because I want to make sure it has the right tone. The feedback that I receive usually includes the phrases “that sounds harsh” or “you don’t want to crush his ego”, encouraging me to soften the language and make the email more upbeat… never mind what I’m actually feeling.

Uh, double standard much? I’m supposed to run through several iterations of what some guy really “meant” to say with his email because I might be misinterpreting it but I’m also expected to create multiple iterations of my own emails to make sure that they can’t be misinterpreted by that same guy? That’s bullshit.

If I have to think about word choice and tone and worry about how my interest level might be construed, then so should the men I am writing to. They can’t have it both ways - if they aren’t going to pay attention to what they’re writing, then neither am I.

! Note to men I’m going to date in the future: If you want me to think that you’re an intelligent individual, use correct grammar in your written communications. If you’re trying to express feelings or say “no” to something I suggest, maybe take a few minutes to read your email to see if it could be read differently than how you meant it. Adjust said email accordingly.

! Secondary note to those same men: If you get an email from me that sounds like I think you’re lame, I do. If it sounds like you’ve totally jacked things up with me and I’m not really sure I want to see you again, it’s because you have. I would see you again, though, if you could you show me that you aren’t lame, or that you’re sorry you jacked things up.

There are plenty of traditional male/female roles that I think have value, but the ability to communicate effectively isn’t one of them. I'll say it to my friend's toddlers and I'll say it to you. Use your words.


Lifebeginsat30ty said...

This is the second blog I've read today expressing consternation at men's unability to use their words. If I find one that can, I think I shall marry him.

I agree, every computer has spelling and grammar check. Use it!

Nicole said...

Yep, totally agree that it's a crappy double standard. But the reason for it is that men and women operate differently - women just think and analyze more than men. So, when a woman gets a crappy communication, she can chalk it up to him not using that silly little brain thing when he sent it. But when a man gets a similar communication, he can pretty well know that the woman thought through what she was writing and means it. But that's fine... because it sounds like if you were harsh, you DID mean it. And another thing we tell our toddlers is that honesty is the best policy!

I remember a quality piece of advice I got from a friend in college: boys are dumb.

Plentymorefishoutofwater said...

If you saw my inbox on Plenty of Fish, you would not think this was a uniquely male problem.
*Plentymorefishoutofwater - One Man's Dating Diary*

Anonymous said...

::wondering what the email said::

AndThatsWhyYoureSingle.com said...

It is bullshit, but there's a reason for it. Men have smaller mirror neurons than women, which means most (MOST!) attempts at anything from kindness to sarcasm get misinterpreted. Women have larger mirror neurons so we pick up on tone easier. So basically, yeah, this is the main area where men can be ridiculously high maintenance.

Dater at Large said...

Ah Scotty, If you'd like I can forward you any number of ridiculous emails. There isn't one in particular that set me off.

Nicole/ATHYS: Biology or not, these men could be making an effort to overcome their tiny neurons.

I know, I know, I'm asking too much again...

Anonymous said...

i don't think you're asking too much :) if a guy really wants to impress you, you would think he would use spell check AT LEAST.