Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Man Talkings

Since my first day on the mats, I've noticed that practicing BJJ has given me deeper insight into the male mind, body and socialization. 

I've noticed that over the last few months, I've heard more about the emotional states of some of the men in my life...all of which have been relayed through sports analogies and experiences of physical challenge. For example, last night, my father, after me telling him about my night in class, began to explain to me some of the processes aging athletes go through, explaining that even though he knows he can't jump as high or run as fast as he could when he played college basketball, there's still a part of him that thinks he can. He doesn't think that will ever change. (That explained something that had confused me...when I was in high school, one of the deacons at my church--he was at least 70 at the time--challenged one of the kids--17, state champion--to a "foot race"...swearing, quite seriously, that he would win. I'd been confused for years.)

All that made me realize that women...we speak the language of emotions fluently and readily. Articulating thoughts, causes and transitions between emotional states almost effortlessly. Men? Most need a translator. I don't know if sports is the only one...it might be, but it definitely seems to be the most common. 

5 comments:

Bobby Murray said...

Wait... what? I'm going to go punch something... ;P

The Part Time Grappler said...

Firstly, it's so wonderful that BJJ is becoming what it should be: Something that enriches a life, not just a spor.

Hmm. I don't agree with "women...we speak the language of emotions fluently and readily. Articulating thoughts, causes and transitions between emotional states almost effortlessly". Maybe some women, but deffo not most.

I feel women often THINK in those terms. When it comes to communicating them to each other, many women (especially within the same circle) can rely on the others GETTING WHAT SHE MEANS and since they too often think in those terms, they nodd in agreement*.

When it comes to men, there is a prevalence of wanting to "do something about it". If I was to tell a friend that my hanstrings are tight, I'd expect him to say the three magic words:

"Why don't you..." and then part with advice.

I once told my (female) yoga instructor that my hamstrings are tight. She replied "sometimes we have emotions and memories stored in our muscles and joints"

Fantastic and mucho poetic. Didn't really help me much :o) I wanted her to follow that up with:

"Why don't you...do this stretch for 30 seconds 3 times a day for a month and note down the emotions or pictures it may or maynot conjure in your head"

---------------------------
*I have come across many women who have though nodded in agreement amongst other women and later exclaimed they didn't agree but didn't want to seem weird or strange. Men don't care as much.

Megan said...

Yeah…I'm still mulling this one over. There are men (like my brother) that communicate his emotions very literally...and women that, well, as you said, don’t.

This is something that pops into my mind a lot because I'm female, working in an office of women, and I personally communicate much like a man. I have the "hamstring" issue at least four times a day.

Your hamstring example is a great one. "My hamstrings are tight" when said to a man, would likely be interpreted as a physical problem. Interpreted by your female yoga instructor...it sounds like she interpreted it as the statement of the physical manifestation of an emotional problem (one of the central principles of yoga?) and in explaining to you that emotions and memories are stored in muscles and joints, was inviting you (in woman speak...seldom the direct path) to share, or explore more of your emotions and memories. I think in both cases, they were addressing your problem with a solution, there was just a difference in opinion as to what that problem was. I also think those opinions tend to align with what the respective genders tend to value…and that we tend to hear in our own gender language.

I do believe that (in general) women speak the language of emotions and men, the language of action…but I also believe that there are a lot of people on both sides that aren’t very good at getting to the heart of what they’re really trying to communicate.

All that said, I’m thinking that “fluently” may have been the wrong word choice, but “readily” was right.

In the example of women nodding in agreement, I don't believe that comes just from thinking on the same terms, but a constant emotional communication that reinforces that thought process...but I think all that's what you were getting at. Women not wanting to make waves in their in-group…that’s more an issue of social acceptance than communication…maybe that’ll come up one day on the mats:)

Megan said...

Yeah…I'm still mulling this one over. There are men (like my brother) that communicate his emotions very literally...and women that, well, as you said, don’t.

This is something that pops into my mind a lot because I'm female, working in an office of women, and I personally communicate much like a man. I have the "hamstring" issue at least four times a day.

Your hamstring example is a great one. "My hamstrings are tight" when said to a man, would likely be interpreted as a physical problem. Interpreted by your female yoga instructor...it sounds like she interpreted it as the statement of the physical manifestation of an emotional problem (one of the central principles of yoga?) and in explaining to you that emotions and memories are stored in muscles and joints, was inviting you (in woman speak...seldom the direct path) to share, or explore more of your emotions and memories. I think in both cases, they were addressing your problem with a solution, there was just a difference in opinion as to what that problem was. I also think those opinions tend to align with what the respective genders tend to value…and that we tend to hear in our own gender language.

I do believe that (in general) women speak the language of emotions and men, the language of action…but I also believe that there are a lot of people on both sides that aren’t very good at getting to the heart of what they’re really trying to communicate.

All that said, I’m thinking that “fluently” may have been the wrong word choice, but “readily” was right.

In the example of women nodding in agreement, I don't believe that comes just from thinking on the same terms, but a constant emotional communication that reinforces that thought process...but I think all that's what you were getting at. Women not wanting to make waves in their in-group…that’s more an issue of social acceptance than communication…maybe that’ll come up one day on the mats:)

Bobby Murray said...

...Still Punching.... :)