The Difference Between Men and Women in a Conversation

Monday, May 26, 2008

A little story that shows the essential differences between a man and a woman:

Let's say a guy named Roger is attracted to a woman named Elaine. He asks her out to a movie; she accepts; they have a pretty good time. A few nights later he asks her out to dinner, and again they enjoy themselves. They continue to see each other regularly, and after a while neither one of them is seeing anybody else.

And then, one evening when they're driving home, a thought occurs to Elaine, and, without really thinking, she says it aloud: "Do you realize that, as of tonight, we've been seeing each other for exactly six months?"
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And then there is silence in the car. To Elaine, it seems like a very loud silence. She thinks to herself: Geez, I wonder if it bothers him that I said that. Maybe he's been feeling confined by our relationship; maybe he thinks I'm trying to push him into some kind of obligation that he doesn't want, or isn't sure of.

And Roger is thinking: Gosh. Six months.

And Elaine is thinking: But, hey, I'm not so sure I want this kind of relationship, either. Sometimes I wish I had a little more space, so I'd have time to think about whether I really want us to keep going the way we are, moving steadily toward . . . I mean, where are we going? Are we just going to keep seeing each other at this level of intimacy? Are we heading toward marriage? Toward children? Toward a lifetime together? Am I ready for that level of commitment? Do I really even know this person?

And Roger is thinking: . . . so that means it was . . . let's see . . February when we started going out, which was right after I had the car at the dealer's, which means . . . lemme check the odometer . . . Whoa! I am way overdue for an oil change here.

And Elaine is thinking: He's upset. I can see it on his face. Maybe I'm reading this completely wrong. Maybe he wants more from our relationship, more intimacy, more commitment; maybe he has sensed -- even before I sensed it -- that I was feeling some reservations. Yes, I bet that's it. That's why he's so reluctant to say anything about his own feelings. He's afraid of being rejected.

And Roger is thinking: And I'm gonna have them look at the transmission again. I don't care what those morons say, it's still not shifting right. And they better not try to blame it on the cold weather this time. What cold weather? It's 87 degrees out, and this thing is shifting like a garbage truck, and I paid those incompetent thieves $600.

And Elaine is thinking: He's angry. And I don't blame him. I'd be angry, too. I feel so guilty, putting him through this, but I can't help the way I feel. I'm just not sure.

And Roger is thinking: They'll probably say it's only a 90- day warranty. That's exactly what they're gonna say, the scumballs.

And Elaine is thinking: maybe I'm just too idealistic, waiting for a knight to come riding up on his white horse, when I'm sitting right next to a perfectly good person, a person I enjoy being with, a person I truly do care about, a person who seems to truly care about me. A person who is in pain because of my self-centered, schoolgirl romantic fantasy.

And Roger is thinking: Warranty? They want a warranty? I'll give them a warranty. I'll take their warranty and stick it right up their ......

"Roger," Elaine says aloud.

"What?" says Roger, startled.

"Please don't torture yourself like this," she says, her eyes beginning to brim with tears. "Maybe I should never have . . Oh, I feel so......"

(She breaks down, sobbing.)

"What?" says Roger.

"I'm such a fool," Elaine sobs. "I mean, I know there's no knight. I really know that. It's silly. There's no knight, and there's no horse."

"There's no horse?" says Roger.

"You think I'm a fool, don't you?" Elaine says.

"No!" says Roger, glad to finally know the correct answer.

"It's just that . . . It's that I . . . I need some time," Elaine says.

(There is a 15-second pause while Roger, thinking as fast as he can, tries to come up with a safe response. Finally he comes up with one that he thinks might work.)

"Yes," he says.

(Elaine, deeply moved, touches his hand.)

"Oh, Roger, do you really feel that way?" she says.

"What way?" says Roger.

"That way about time," says Elaine.

"Oh," says Roger. "Yes."

(Elaine turns to face him and gazes deeply into his eyes, causing him to become very nervous about what she might say next, especially if it involves a horse. At last she speaks.)

"Thank you, Roger," she says.

"Thank you," says Roger.

Then he takes her home, and she lies on her bed, a conflicted, tortured soul, and weeps until dawn, whereas when Roger gets back to his place, he opens a bag of Doritos, turns on the TV, and immediately becomes deeply involved in a rerun of a tennis match between two Czechoslovakians he never heard of. A tiny voice in the far recesses of his mind tells him that something major was going on back there in the car, but he is pretty sure there is no way he would ever understand what, and so he figures it's better if he doesn't think about it.

The next day Elaine will call her closest friend, or perhaps two of them, and they will talk about this situation for six straight hours. In painstaking detail, they will analyze everything she said and everything he said, going over it time and time again, exploring every word, expression, and gesture for nuances of meaning, considering every possible ramification. They will continue to discuss this subject, off and on, for weeks, maybe months, never reaching any definite conclusions, but never getting bored with it, either.

Meanwhile, Roger, while playing racquetball one day with a mutual friend of his and Elaine's, will pause just before serving, frown, and say:

"Norm, did Elaine ever own a horse?"

Dave Barry


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89 comentarii:

Natalie said...

*facepalm*
Sigh, my gender is so retarded sometimes.

I'm a female. :P

Anonymous said...

Awesome

Anonymous said...

Hey, just found this post on reddit. Pure brilliance :)

Anonymous said...

except you didn't write this ... this is just recycled

TalSh said...

Brilliant.

Anonymous said...

I had to read this in my college public speaking class

backdoorman said...

well recycled - an old reader's digest article . gosh ! i think its more than a decade old.

Charlie said...

this sounds exactly like sumthing my ex boyfriend & i would go through lol. now as good friends, we realize how stupid something like this was and just laugh & are like "wow we're both pretty stupid"
*shakes head*
girls r way to obessive compulsive
guys r too laidback & clueless
lol
there needs to be a nuetral point!!!

Anonymous said...

slovakia and czech republic! ;)

Anonymous said...

As a male, I feel compelled to indicate my lack of identification with Roger. I also think that most of my girlfriends were more reasonable than Elaine. I get what is trying to be said though, and I do somewhat agree.

Rolando Garza said...

Damn. I've been there, on both sides of the conversation; but I have fortunately changed my way of thinking about stuff...

Anonymous said...

Calling Dave Barry... your copyright is being violated (again...).

But seriously. This was written by Dave Barry many, many years ago. It's still funny, too, so give credit where due.

Anonymous said...

I dunno, I'm a girl and I identify more with Roger. Elaine sounds more like my ex-bf...

Anonymous said...

Wow. Good to know that people nowadays don't subscribe wholesale to belittling gender stereotypes. *bangs head on desk repeatedly*

Anonymous said...

I am a girl and I find this "funny"piece SO depressing. :(

While women, in truth, may be overly analytical, on occasion (haha, I agree) I also think it makes men look completely retarded. And that is the part that depresses me.....

but glad to see some male commenters felt it was too simplistic. phew.. WAY TOO DEPRESSING to believe otherwise....

Jansen said...

Just goes to show. A real man maintains his own car and a happy wife. ;)

Anonymous said...

Dave Barry was credited at the bottom, albeit small, with a link to his site.

Herval said...

brilliant... just brilliant!!! :-)

Anonymous said...

Generalisation is such bad thing.

Anonymous said...

This is great, I laughed so hard, wonderful way to start a morning! Thank you! :)

Jyotsna said...

Had me all smiling and yes i feel it is absolutely true..
:)

Martin said...

Good Job! :)

humorplus said...

Yeh.. it's still funny.

chiliamazing said...

This is a completely sexist post. Not all men are that stupid. We may make mistakes in relationships but some men actually understand a relationship very well.

Anonymous said...

"chiliamazing"...

Do you take all jokes this seriously?

Anonymous said...

Anyone (regardless of your gender) who got offended or depressed by the clear use of stereotypes needs to stop being like Elaine.

Anonymous said...

dude, chicks do obsess abt it way too much... but men need to stop being insensitve morons!

muñeca said...

*facepalm* that brings back some memories...*giggle*
I'm a girl...and jeez, sometimes it's my boyfriend in the girl's situation...I'm the one thinking about something completely different in a seemingly serious conversation...lol

Anonymous said...

>>but some men actually understand a relationship very well.

Yeah, they're called homosexuals

Anonymous said...

I relate with this situation so well... the only difference?? Majority of time, I used to think like Elaine,, and she used to think like Roger... funny but I think it was due to age difference.. She was 9yrs older than me.

Anonymous said...

This post delivers

Anonymous said...

lol. funny xD

Anonymous said...

I love it lol I'm not one for chain letters, but I'm gonna send it to my friends

Anonymous said...

luv'd it cheer's!

Anonymous said...

This puts me in mind of a childhood story,"The Tortoise And The Hare"

Anonymous said...

haha. yeah. girls like to over-analyze everything.

it's just what we do.

Anonymous said...

eh they were both retards obviously.

Anonymous said...

giving characteristics to someone because of gender (which is a social construct) is sexist. Yes, ALL women are obsessive and ALL men are clueless right?
This is not true, stop falling for this simplistic BS. In reality human beings are complicated and different and DO NOT act a certian way because of "gender". Men are not simplistic dolts who are not capable of basic understanding of intimate situations.

Anonymous said...

absolutely brilliant
for a gentle laugh, this is a great stereotypical piece

Anonymous said...

funny post, but it looks like a few people on this board are being a little too much like elaine

Emily K said...

Brilliant. Absolutely Brilliant.........

Anonymous said...

I like the story,kind of funny it reminds me how I think and makes me think of if most women are that way.Any way women are extremely interesting and it makes me want to try! and learn more.Womens psych up next semester!!

ROBYN said...

Thet are not yet emotionally connected enough with their communication. Normal, been there. Learning to be honest with your feelings is hard work. Its the first phase, doing good .

Anonymous said...

I have to say this for Speech at my school and then for Contest this Friday. :)

damn foreigner said...

This really is an old story, as Czechoslovakia hasn't existed since 1993.

Anonymous said...

Christ... as a female, would have to completely disagree with this. Made me feel slightly ill to read, its idiocy

Anonymous said...

Stereotyping is fun isnt it? I chuckled a few times,so I think this whoever wrote this could have a future on those crappy American sit-coms.

Yes, this is a joke but were this joke to poke fun at racial stereotypes there would be uproar.
It is the same humour and the same ignorance involved.

Thanks for sharing though.

Terry Ó C

Anonymous said...

sigh. lovely stereotypes you got there. clearly written by a guy, and to him i say get over yourself. Most women I know and myself, in this situation would just go up to the guy and say: dude i need space, lets see each other less, and then get over it, stop thinking about it ("cries till dawn" pshhhh). and I've had boyfriends that initiated serious relationship talks, as adults do, you know, when they are in a relationship...

Anonymous said...

It was a humor column written for the express purpose of amusement. It is exaggerated and stereotypical on purpose. It's not to make some grand social or psychological statement. It's funny! Written for a laugh. No, there is no Czechoslovakia. There is also no Roger and no Elaine and no Santa Clause.

I was laughing really hard till I got to the comments. The article was great! Most of the comments made me wish I never found the page. Then I remembered, I'm not the one without a sense of humor. This can be funny too. And so it is.

Anonymous said...

Stunbled from Malaysia!

Funny story. Wymyn are krazy!

Anonymous said...

You people arguing that these are negative stereotypes do realise that this is meant to be humorous right? lol... I think people need to lighten up around here, it's called a 'joke'.

Anonymous said...

I thought this was absolutely hilarious!!! I realized that i am very much like Elaine. I just hope that my guy isn't as clueless as Roger. Though I do think I spring stuff on him and he has no idea where it comes from. (:

Anonymous said...

A real man doesn't take his car to the dealership...

Anonymous said...

Ah, nothing like stereotyping a person's personality according to gender to brighten your day.

It was an amusing story, but it's the same thing I've heard a thousand times; a girl over-analyzing human relationships and a guy thinking about nothing in particular.

Anonymous said...

So if he had just acknowledged that he had heard her comment instead of ignoring her and thinking about cars, this cycle wouldn't have commenced... A simple "Oh really, that's great hun" in response to her statement regarding their relationship would've eliminated the whole process :)

Raphael Braga said...

women are so stupid and selfish and ever pretending to care about him. no matter whats his name but if it comes preceded with husband

Anonymous said...

Wow, way to have NO sense of humor people. The whole thing was written in jest by a humorist, & a VERY good one at that, Dave Barry. So everyone/anyone who got angry or offended or riled up, chill out & go take a class to learn how to freakin' laugh.

Anonymous said...

Although, yes this is quite the sexist joke, it does have true origins... I for one have partaken in both sides of this story. I know it gave me a good laugh! :P

Anonymous said...

Man these Czech tennists are good.

Anonymous said...

okay i must say many women are kinda like Elaine, however if you are going to write anything about the genders that is slightly truthful it should have been written w/ both a male and female prospective. it is unfair to just have a guy write it where do you men get off thinking that because of a few steryotypes you know how women are? It was an okay story and a little funny...but not completley truthful because this implies all women are like Elaine and all men are like Rodger.

Anonymous said...

so what if it's a joke and the characters are fictional? How does it make stupid stereotyping any better? Would a light-hearted joke about rape or enslaving black people also be funny?

Anonymous said...

yes it's a joke, but it's not funny because it's based on outdated stereotypes. Does this make it clearer?

Anonymous said...

I've already read this on a couple other websites...

Feilen said...

Yay for ongoing sexism!

Anonymous said...

photoshopped!

Anonymous said...

You folks that are in denial about stereotypes are all the same - sensitive little crybabies. Magicians base their tricks on our stereotypical perceptive traits. Politicians and sales/marketing people manipulate the masses based on statistical studies of our stereo typical psyches.

Humor like this elucidates common tenancies that we all may want to watch out for.

Thanks Dave!

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Anonymous said...

You know what I do when my boyfriend doesn't respond to something I say? I say "Hello? Are you fucking listening?" I don't start assuming that he's some emotional pussy who can't respond because he's too busy contemplating the intricacies of our relationship. Jesus. Whoever wrote this is an idiot.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

Want to know the scary thing? The man was obsessing in exactly the same way. If not about the relationship in the terms of traditional progression, but about the nature of the relationship in general, if she really likes him or thinks she's settled, he may be worried about everything getting too comfortable and whether the feelings that brought that together are dying or even those feelings are 'true love'. Men obsess just as much as women, they just don't discuss it.

Marcia Biosfera said...

Brilliant and still funny!

Anonymous said...

What happens in this comment section is very funny. Some people consider this overly stereotypical, and comment about that - and then there are others who find the fact of commenting about it too sensitive, and compare this behavior to Elaines. Even, some say to be disturbed by those critical comments. Well, I think though the one who criticize oversentitive comments about stereotypes think they are chilled out like Roger, but in fact they are the ones just like Elaine - not able to take a critic they somewhat disagree with, and need to comment about it!!. Of course, this story is made for purpose of laughing - and you can learn form it even if WAYYY generalized - but stories also have the power to shape our stereotypes, and our behavior, and so being aware of this is also important, and certainly deserves comments. This kind of stories told to kids is part of the reason why people, always seing only the same stupid models of gender stupidity, become similar to those models when they grow up. And also, as people around them expect and can only see this side of them through the stereotypes they built with this kind of stories, it becomes even worse....

Anonymous said...

Yeah, when my boyfriend isn't listening, which is most of the time -- let's face it, I'm a woman and I have nothing interesting to say -- I just grab his leg and ask if he wants a blow job. Gets his attention every time. Plus, you can give a blow job anywhere, so it's totally convenient.

pebble01 said...

Did somebody remember to feed that horse?

Lupal Fillyus said...

Fantastic.
It's great how stories like this don't age at all.
I expected the punchline to be something about going to the mechanic though xD

sbo said...

*facepalm* that brings back some memories...*giggle*
I'm a girl...and jeez, sbo
sometimes it's my boyfriend in the girl's situation...I'm the one thinking about something completely different in a seemingly serious conversation...lol

Anonymous said...

haha, that one was quite funny ;) good job!

Anonymous said...

OMG that is so true for guys and girls

Anonymous said...

The name gave away that you're a female.

devign said...

Open and honest communication along with humble consideration would have easily solved this problem. #SayWhatsOnYourMind #DontFreakOutAtTheTruth

devign said...

Lol

Anonymous said...

This is how it goes between my boyfriend and I...

Me: Hey babe, you seem a bit off today, are you upset about something?

Him: No, I'm just a bit tired.

Me: Okay!

*thinking* poor thing. He's had such a long day. We should call it an early night so he can go home and sleep.

Him: *thinking* I wonder what we're going to eat later.


Open communication: saving time and energy since THE DAWN OF TIME.

N.K. said...

hahahaha...To the T!

Anonymous said...

well most women these days are the Dumb Ones.

Anonymous said...

hahahha...no, i can't relate, lucky me.

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lola cata said...


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