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Mpls, MN, United States

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Thrifting

I went Christmas shopping today at two different thrift stores on Lake Street, and although I didn't end up buying anything, I did pick up (and later replace) hardback copies of Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (a Ted favorite, if I recall) and The Botany of Desire. I just really don't read nonfiction for pleasure--although now that I've finished Harry Potter, I'm back to Henry James, and that's not actually very pleasurable either.

I also saw a book called If Men Could Talk, which made me smile but which I didn't pick up; I read Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus for a project in high school, and that first and last encounter with the genre seemed to be plenty for me.

When I googled the former, though, I did find this poem:

"If Men Could Talk," by Alon Gratch, Ph.D.:

If men could talk

They wouldn’t think with their penises
They would say, I’m tired of being on top
They would say, I want to be a woman

If men could talk

They wouldn’t leave their wives for a younger woman
There would be no more erectile dysfunction
There would be no more war

If men could talk

They would say, I feel inadequate, instead of taking it out on you
Women will understand them
Women will stop saying it’s like having another child in the house

If men could talk

They could also listen, feel, and find things in the refrigerator
They could ask for directions
Their sons would also talk

If men could talk

But they do, they do talk, if you only know how to listen

It's certainly not stellar poetry, but what's more interesting to me is whether or not it's actually true. Men, what do you think? Ladies?

7 comments:

strovska said...

hmm, interesting. you're right, it's not stellar poetry, but it is interesting. of course i can't comment from a male point of view, i can only raise the question: does this mean that if we learn how to listen they will be able to find things in the refrigerator?

Curly Sue said...

Or their wallets?

Curly Sue said...

And I can't believe you didn't get Botany of Desire! One of my favorites...

Cerise said...

I'm intrigued, too, by the concept that talking=feeling; that verbalizing makes it so.

I Hope So said...

huh.

i need to think about this one.

but strovska's comment was hilarious.

Ted said...

Blink's great! I wish he'd cited his sources throughout the book instead of only at the end, but by and large it really made me think. If you enjoy it I'd recommend Freakonomics.

nmrboy said...

this poem starts out with the line 'if men could talk', and that in itself should set the alarm bells ringing. men do talk, by the definition found in reference materials, and so what this line is missing is the implied section '...the way women* think they should' and the fact that the reader is not encouraged to look for it sets the tone. the last line, clumsy thought it is, then tries to bring that implied section back, but it is too little too late. the continued use of 'if men could talk', even despite this refutation at the end, serves as a validation of the assumption that 'to talk' is defined the way people who are unsatisfied by men's talking choose it to be. this is insufficient; such subconscious validation is liable to linger in the mind long after the message of the poem has left, and so is less than constructive.

as to some ideas in the poem, they seem sketchy at best. why would 'talking' lead to eradication of erectile dysfunction? an end to war is perhaps conceivable (although still arguable), since we imagine arrogance and pride being instrumental in escalation of hostilities rather than good cause, but erectile dysfunction? or finding things in the refrigerator? no; the link from one to the other is too tenuous, too tortuous. all that is being achieved here is to claim a link between two things that women wish men would do. there's no defensible causal link. why wouldn't they leave their wives if they could 'talk'? if the idea is that they would be more open, is it not possible they would discover irreconcilable differences sooner and leave earlier? i've no idea, but its just as strong a proposition as saying they wouldn't.

men can ask for directions; on occasion they do, but mostly they choose not to. men are also more likely to own a map, but that's different. are men to be condemned because someone else would make a different choice? this is all it is, after all.

i find this poem to be entirely unhelpful. if men could talk - they do talk, stop interpreting words the way you want. if you want men to talk in a particular way then that's up to you, and good luck, but what authority have you to demand it? since men might tend to communicate in a different way that may not always be picked up on there is, as the poem feebly attempts to point out, a converse argument. i have written it as a poem:

if women could talk

maybe they'd shut up occasionally

ooh, get me! handbags at dawn. but i make that point so obviously in order to point out the ridiculousness of the propositions in the poem that, in my opinion, they are not (sufficiently) asked to question.

i think some of these things are true, and some are not. if men could 'talk' to women the way that women want them to, then perhaps women would understand them. but if women could 'listen' the way that men want them to, then the same would be true. i'll admit to the possibility of bias, but i find that this latter argument is not raised as often as the former.

i am available for further arguments.

n.


*not necessarily just women, of course, but used here for simplicity