Friday, November 20, 2009

All I Need to Know about Women I Learned from Oprah Winfrey

No human being has been hated more for making absurd amounts of money in a way that is ostensibly altruistic than Oprah Winfrey.

As I write this, Oprah just announced that she is quitting her daytime talk show in 2011. It's hard to find a woman alive who has not felt her influence. Therefore, any serious effort to understand females must involve a careful study of Oprahness -- her magazine, her show, the whole works.

I undertook this grueling task, which absorbed all my free time and attention for many, many minutes.  Gentlemen, I highly recommend you take note of my findings. They will change your life.

The most common complaint women have about men is that they don't communicate. We fellas just don't see what there is to talk about once the relevant biographical details (who you've slept with) are out of the way.

Suppose you hear the question, "What are you thinking about?"  Why do women ask this question? Because no one taught them how to fish, so they have no other way of building bonds with people.

Typically, the honest answer will be something like "baseball" or "sex." These answers won't do.

Women want to believe their men are deep thinkers.  But there is no need to lie, because you are, in fact, a deep thinker. You're just thinking deeply about a topic she hasn't learned to appreciate, and it's not a priority for you to frame it in the proper context for her.

But give it a try.

Women love context.

(It also helps if you start with the words "I'm feeling.")

So if you're thinking about sex, for example, your answer needs to be "intimacy;" or, even better: "I'm feeling intimate/a lack of intimacy." 

Now you're speaking her language.

If you're thinking about whether or not the Red Sox will continue to use Ortiz at DH if his power numbers stay down, you need to say: "I've noticed that I like to feel like I can accomplish a lot athletically, so when I ponder the drama played out by highly paid athletes, in a sense it helps me feel more powerful. Watching one hero in the declining stages of his career gives me a parallel to my own fears that my best days are behind me."

Get the idea?

More examples:

Wrong: "I'm thinking I'd like to put in a new tree stand down by the property line."

Right: "I'm feeling frustrated by limited recreational opportunities, so I'm pondering some specific strategies to address that issue."

Wrong: "I'm thinking about maybe washing and waxing the truck."

Right: "I wonder if I'm doing enough to maintain our vehicles, because feeling like I can providing for us is very important to me."

Wrong: "I was remembering a Sylvester Stallone movie I saw a few years ago."

Right: "I was remembering a Hugh Grant movie I saw a few years ago."

Okay, that one probably requires a fib. This is hard, even for me! Again, better to stick with the truth, but reframe it:

"I was reflecting on how Hollywood war films promote reckless loyalty and violent physical domination as masculine traits. This is probably a side of myself that I need to explore more deeply in one of my four therapy sessions this week."

Hey, the ancient Greeks said "know thyself." Oprah reminded us that to be absorbed in your own self-improvement might be the greatest gift you can give to those around you.

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