What I want to know is: do women all argue the same way, or just every one I’ve been with?
I swear, I really try to understand and argue fairly but sometimes I have to wonder if there are any rules of logic that apply. I’m not just talking about Pinky here, I’ve seen this from everyone with whom I’ve been in a relationship. It doesn’t matter what the argument is about, or whether it’s trivial or life-changing.
Here’s what I see:
Get out of jail free card. It comes out like: “Because I was the one that did the job, it doesn’t matter that I did part of it wrong… Example: “I just did all the shopping. So what if I didn’t get the one thing you put on the list?”
I don’t see why it’s an argument. She’s shopping anyway, I put it on the shopping list, I mentioned it, and then she either forgets it or gets the wrong variation. I don’t care about the zillion other things that I won’t eat or use, I needed the one thing. But I’m the shit for mentioning it because she did the shopping?
Litany of side issues. Starts when I disagree with an idea or notion. I can expect a whole list of issues and statements to be brought up, none of which have anything to do with the situation at hand. These usually come up right around the time I begin to win the argument on facts. Once penned in by logic, change the subject.
Twisting my words to suit her needs. This is when she takes what she thinks I’m saying, changes it into some unholy perversion of what I actually said, then attacks that. (In other words, the “Fox News Defense.” Also known as the “Straw Man” technique.)
Claiming personal attack when there is none. Haven’t we all been taught not to attack the person, just the argument? I try to do that but it doesn’t really matter.
Me: That’s a ridiculous statement.
Her: Don’t call me ridiculous!
Now for the rest of the argument, I get to hear how I called her stupid. It doesn’t matter if I literally say, “Honey, I don’t think you’re stupid, but that idea is just not right (and list the provable reasons,)” all I hear back is the “you called me stupid” refrain.
List of Grievances. Pretty much every argument I’ve ever had with a female devolves into a list of perceived slights, errors, grievances and everything I’ve ever done wrong since the moment we met. In almost all cases, none of it has anything to do with the case at hand. The Ex-Wife was particularly adept at this one, in fact, it was her specialty. It guaranteed that we would be having the same argument in perpetuity, any time we disagreed over anything.
Do ladies really keep all those transgressions ready to use at a moment’s notice? Or is there a sacred list that you keep somewhere so that when you get together with your girlfriends in the restroom, you can compare notes on how awful your husband or boyfriend is?
As far as I’m concerned, anything that happened 2 months ago is inadmissible. There has to be a statute of limitations in there somewhere. This also goes for anything I’ve ever said.
I honestly don’t know how women do it. When I have a conversation, I pretty much consider it a transient event and when it’s done, it’s gone from my head and I move onto the next thing. I’m constantly amazed when a partner can trot out something I said 6-months ago, although it’s not necessarily something I said, but something she heard. (See the “that’s ridiculous/you’re ridiculous” effect.) But I can’t prove that because I don’t really remember the conversation. I only know it’s inaccurate because it’s some wingnut statement that I would never make, without the influence of hallucinogens.
Seriously, can you remember a conversation you had with your mate 2 weeks ago? I can’t. That shit would take up too much room in my head. I might run out of space to put the cast members of MASH or what year Bat Out of Hell came out.
Constant interruptions. This one drives me berserk because it usually happens when I’m making a solid point. Apparently, the best defense is to not let the complete thought be expressed, so loud interruptions (usually on side points) are the natural defense. Works on talk radio…
Raging generalizations or over-simplifications. I hate them. I should have a T-shirt made that says “Generalizations are Always Wrong.” (See, that’s a joke, but I kind of mean it.) The ones that start the most arguments are like “All [these people] are…” because I can’t stand such broad-based swipes. If all I have to do is come up with one instance where the claim is not true, then why make such a claim?
The one I so frequently hear during the quarrel is the accusation of “Yeah, you’re always right,” or “You’re always perfect.”
To which I answer, “So there, was that so hard?”
Naturally, that rarely ends the conversation. So I say, “Of course I’m not always right, no one is… but I am this time.”
No, that doesn’t end things either, but it’s so hard to turn off the Smartass Button.
Is all this really just an inbred difference in the way men and women think? Is it as simple as men needing things to make sense but women are not so encumbered? Please tell me that there are women that can have an argument in a rational manner, without throwing everything in the warehouse against the wall to see what sticks. (I know that my Mom is one.) I would be so happy to know that logic and reason still have a place in domestic disagreements.
I should note here that I’m only talking about disagreements at home. All but a very few women with whom I’ve worked make their points during a disagreement or discussion at work in a completely logical and rational manner. I have to assume that domestic issues with a loved one trigger a different set of impulses.
I also fully acknowledge that my choices of companionship may have a lot to do with it. I tend to seek out feisty, high-spirited types. Could be I’m just getting what I’m asking for.
I know that the obvious answer, the one that’s been passed from Father to Son for generations, is to just drop it and let her win. And you know, I used to do that, a lot… and not just with women but with everyone. But the older I get, the less I’m content with letting things go.
Is that just a natural consequence of getting older?
Or am I just becoming a more of an asshole?
I know there are some points I should not even start with but sometimes I can’t help myself. And most of the time, I’m perfectly content to just let the point drop. But unfortunately that rarely stops the argument; it just means it continues one-sidedly.
Please weigh in… I really want other women’s opinions on this. Do you go batshit crazy during an argument, or do you calmly and rationally work out your differences of opinion? Be truthful… how many of those things I listed do you do? The last thing I want to do is labor under a raging generalization of my own.
Meanwhile, the clip below demonstrates the Male Argument at its best… one of the all-time great Monty Python sketches.