Yes, I'm spoiled, but we were having such nice weather here right up until Friday evening. After work on Friday, I was out working in the yard and it was in the 70's and sunny. Then, as the weather forecast predicted, about 8 PM the rain started and the temps dropped down into the 40's overnight. Yesterday and today, overcast, windy and high's in the 50's . . brrrr! It feels like we should be approaching Thanksgiving here instead of May.
I went grocery shopping yesterday. In the produce dept. there was a lady dressed in an Ohio State hoodie and short black shorts! I asked her, "Aren't you cold? I would be freezing if I had shorts on today." She responded, "No, I've been digging in my yard for three hours and I've been hot all day . . and you aren't going through menopause, so don't say another thing!" I took it as the truth-based humor it was intended and nodded agreement (pretty good-looking 50-ish woman . . loved her hazel eyes . . but if she is crabby from being menopausal, it might still be better not to have that in my life!)
Admittedly, I am a flirt. I especially do it at the the deli counter, which tends to be busy. I figure that if the women customers aren't very friendly (I think less so than the men, on average), the least I can do is try to brighten the day for the ladies behind the counter with a little harmless flirtation. If I think they might not be so receptive (e,g., the young girls don't want an older guy flirting with them), I either don't do it or do something fairly safe. You can usually tell a woman that her hair looks nice without her being offended (whereas if you comment on her clothes she can assume you are talking about what is underneath the clothes). Complimenting a mother's children is also safe . . such as, "Your children are so well-behaved". They may reply, "Well you should see how they act most of the time!", but I still think they like hearing it.
When I go to shop for women's clothing, I always flirt with the women staff. Women love men's admission of ignorance -- "I need to get something for my female supervisor that she can wear to work but still be comfortable. I have no idea what that would be." The lady will ask me how my boss usually dresses, what colors she likes, etc. Then (if she is good), she will show me various combinations that she likes and see what I think. Complimenting a woman selections (rather than saying, "I like what you have on", which again can be too strong) is always good. Even if you don't like, don't say "no, not that" or "nah". I like to take my time anyway, but taking the time to make a good decision like this shows any woman that you do care and are thoughtful. And I NEVER speak critically about ANY women to the sales lady . . . saying, "Well she wants to look feminine, but she is big so forget about that." would get you dirty looks, even if the sales lady is slim. I always say things like, "I want to give her something that will make her feel pretty" . . women love hearing guys say stuff like that. After the purchase, I always thank the women profusely for all their time and help and say something like, "I know she will love it. Thank you so much." Some might call this common courtesy rather than flirting, but I never say stuff like this to male sales staff, who don't really go out of their way for male customers and don't want men being too emotional around them. If they help me, so what? . . that's what they're there for!
Ah Bob, you are a skilled practitioner in the art of sexual politics. I must admit I'm not.
I'm very wimpy in fact and avoid saying anything that anyone could conceivably find offensive when dealing with women.
But this reminds me of a joke I heard many years ago....
A man commenting on his friend's bold flirtations with women....
"You must get slapped a lot"
"Yeah, I do... but I also get a lot of pussy."
Regardless what anyone wants to say about "men should be more sensitive" and "men need to be backed down by women sometimes", I think the reality is that most women expect men to make the approach and risk the rejection. Everyone talks about "male ego", but I think women also have an insecure vanity that says implicitly, "I am the woman. I have the goods. You are supposed to want what I have, so you make the move or just forget it. I don't have to approach men . . I field the offers and decide what to accept or reject." That just seems to be the way.
Does anyone else notice (I know I've said this before here): The women who are more appealing and who get more approaches are tired of flirtations and are the quickest to reject them. The less market-worthy females don't get approached or flirted-with so much, so they tend to respond more positively to being approached or complimented (There is also the category of women who already have a brutish, more mascvuline appearance, and then they add to that by dressing "butch" . . maybe they are lesbian, or they had bad experiences with men from the get-go, but they are the really hostile ones. Fortunately for men, they are also the least likely to be approached by a man).
As I noted in my previous post, HOW you say something is really important to women. They have radar for anything even remotely construed as sexual. That is why referring to their clothing is usually a no-no. Anything not too closely associated (in their minds) with their body is usually safer (hair, jewelry, shoes, nails, etc.). You can compliment the job they did for you . . their expertise and helpfulness . . that goes over well. Again, women like male admissions of ignorance, so if you need help and the woman can be the authority, that also is smooth sailing.
But, I admit, I'm moody. Sometimes I tire of the game and the work of it. Sometimes I say stuff to elicit a negative reaction from women . . to be the "dog" most think men are. After my bitter divorce, a woman asked me what I was looking for in a women. I told her, "uncomplicated behind". Of course she grimaced and walked away, but at the time I wanted to be offensive. I like to push buttons sometimes, but this is mostly with women closer to my age and not with ladies 10+ years older than myself or young enough to be my daughter. I don't feel as aggressive with those age groups as much as I feel toward my own generation of women. I would guess that this is because women closer to my age are the ones who I count on but who also let me down. Whatever . . .
Nat, flirting can be fun. If you have any interest in it, I suggest doing something as simple as calling the store clerk/cashier by her name (usually she is wearing a name tag), smiling, asking about her day (this is easy, cause they may ask about yours), and relate a funny story (short story -- not like the books I write here). Next time, recognize and greet her if you see her again. You can sort-of make a buddy just by flirting, even if you only see her at the store. I am better at this kind of flirting than the bar-scene flirting . . . how do you not feel stupid saying a pick-up line? How do you not feel foolish standing there, attempting a pass, and getting shot down in front of her friends and nearby patrons? I'm chicken -- I don't do much of that.
Well its very hard to know what to do in these post-feminists days. What one women considers friendly flirtation another would charge "sexual harassment". Companies routinely lecture employees about such matters.
And men's lot is getting very precarious and uncertain these days, it's not like is use to be when men and women's roles were clearly defined. Men were the bread-winner- women the housekeeper. Now many women make more than their husbands and more women are graduating college than men now. We men seem to have lost our way. And women are as confused about it as we are. No doubt it is why there are so many failed-marriages- and non-marriages these days. I read the percentage of adults who are married is now the lowest in recorded history.
Bob, As you've been writing about this before, we all know that dealing with women is a central concern for you. Unfortunately I can't help much about flirtatious approach of women. However, I strongly believe American women behave in a totally different manner form European or Asian women....
Granted, I haven't had much face-to-face experience with European or Asian women, but if internet interactions are in any respect true-to-life (not sure they are), it does seem like women from cultures other than U.S. do appear to think differently than your typical American woman. If I were to briefly state the difference, it is that women from other cultures tend to seem less critical and distrustful of men in general. They seem more sincere. There seems to be less conscious head/game-playing with them than occurs with American women.
If so, could the actions of American men be part of the reason for this difference . . and that the men in other cultures behave in a way that their women don't need to learn games, or manipulations, or distrust and how to protect themselves? Maybe U.S. is just a more socially-predatory culture than in many other ciuntries?
Yet, I also realize that things seem very different on the net, as interactions become intimate much faster (in my experience) than in-person. So, it could be that part of the difference that appears between women (or people) of various cultures is an artifact of communicating via internet. Certainly, you would know the truth better than I.
between how you experience women and how I experience them . . in addition to differences that may exist between women in various countries . . . is our sexual orientation. You are a gay man and I am straight. In U.S., that difference is very important in affecting how men and women interact. One fairly accurate stereotype of gay men is that they tend to befriend women easily. Straight women say that they enjoy gay men . . that they enjoy hanging out with them, going to gay bars, etc. Obviously, there isn't the sexual attraction issue for women to be concerned about . . they aren't going to get "hit on", so I suppose they feel more relaxed and less on-guard compared to being in the presence of straight men. If the same is true in your life (Marseil), then your experiences would be very different from mine on that count alone.
An example of mine: You know that I work in an environment made up of approximately 90% females -- almost always have. I find that I cannot be "normally" friendly to women there, as they will accept smiles, compliments and joking from other women (or from openly gay men), but not from myself or other straight males. The younger they are, the more this is true (I swear, I have seen nursing students in their early 20's pass me in a hallway, hugging the wall and looking alarmed . . all I did was glance their way, smile and say, "Hi", and they freak. I'm not looking them up and down, not calling them "baby" or moving closer . . just normal behavior on my part can elicit this response -- shaking head here).
The most hostile females, in my experience, are white women that only date black men . . talk about the cold shoulder! So, what I started doing with them was acting just as they do: I don't speak as we pass, don't even look at them. If they say anything, I just mumble a one syllable response and keep on my way. They do see that I talk and laugh with other people . . just not to them. Guess what? These women often start talking more to me . . as I avoid looking at them, they ask me to look their way and acknowledge them and what they are saying. I could not have predicted this -- seems contrary to logic, but then I find many things women do are that way. The only sense I can make of it is that if I act friendly toward them, they instinctively believe I'm coming on to them, and as women their role is to make sure that men's advances (real or imagined) are repelled. But, when I start behaving as they do, maybe the reaction is more than they expected or wanted. So, safe in the knowledge that their rejection has been understood by me, they feel like it isn't necessary that we act as if the other does not exist. Mind you, I don't actually go back to being friendly toward them, as this might elicit the mistreatment again. I just operate in a minimalist, business-like manner toward them, without actually be unfriendly. Seems to work. If there is any alternate explanation, I'm open to hearing it.
Sorry if I bore anyone with my gender issues, but I think I do have reasons for thinking and feeling as I do (it's called "my life"), and the reasons are not all my fault or my doing. A lot of American women are just . . difficult drama queens.
I'm going to give this some serious thought and get back to you. My gut reaction is "oh no." But I have to at least consider that other women may think and behave differently. Maybe im just to much of a romantic.
As I said to Marseil above- its imprudent to generalize about women. Each can be very different and very opposite. That's true of all people really. I think the problem we have in this country today is that there's so much diversity that we can't agree about what to do about our problems so nothing is being done.
One of my first cousins married someone from Puerto Rico over 60 years ago and then a few years ago, one of my wife's first cousins married someone from Serbia (It's good to have fresh blood in the family). And I'm hardly an American Indian. We have always been diverse and to think otherwise is to be kidding yourself. We liked to pretend otherwise but you know how that is.
I'm talking about our politics which is so polarized with diversity that no one is willing to compromise and work together. Whatever one side proposes the other automatically opposes. This is no way to solve the serious problems the country is facing.
Don't you follow the News?
Every time Dole has reached a compromise on legislation with the Democrats the "Tea-Party" Republicans say Hell No.
This group of radical right-wingers who came in 2010 want no compromise at all- they want Their way or No way.
Well that's not how politics works- to get things done you have to negotiate compromises with the other side.
And since these Tea-Party Republicans won't budge a inch- Congress has gotten nothing done the past two years.
Actually they are running things- or at least preventing them from being run. Most actions in Congress require a two-thirds majority so when a small group is determined to deny you the necessary votes they are in fact running the place by not allowing what the leadership and majority wants.
Both Democrats and Republicans, and Liberals and Conservatives, work hard to thwart the other. As for "what the majority want", that seems to change depending upon how the question is phrased. For example, you ask Americans, "Do you want our government to secure our borders and stop illegal immigration?," people overwhelmingly respond "yes". But if you ask those same people, "Do you think families should be detroyed simply because a child's parent has lived in this country for decades but never bothered to file for citizenship, and now they would need to be deported?" . . a lot more people will express doubts about doing that and disrupting children's lives. Yet, it is really the same thing.
Same with abortion. If one couches the question, "Do you think the govt should limit women's choices over their own bodies, " and a majority of people will answer "No". But, if you phrase the question as, "Do you think govt should protect human life?" and a whole lot of people will agree with that. When it's a "choice", not a baby, people like the freedom of individual choices . . but if you emphasize that the matter involves ending human life, then people are more conflicted about that.
Same with economics: If you ask people if they think health care should be a basic human right, many will respond "Yes". But if you point up how much more taxes they will need to pay to provide this to everyone, and the likelihhod that some procedures they previously had access to may no longer be available, due to only having so much money to care for everyone, then they have more doubts if that is the way to go. If you show little kids, and even their unfortunate, destitute mothers and ask, "Shouldn't America take care of these poor kids and their mothers?", a lot of people will agree. But if the picture shows young men sitting around getting drunk or high, or gang-banging, or running around fathering multiple babies and refusing to work to support them . . . or just average, unemployed men . . people tend to have a problem paying higher taxes to pay for that.
Or, you could ask people if they think we should "Buy American", and they resoundingly say "Yes!". But if you then show them that instead of buying the WalMart cheapie, made-in-Asia stuff, they will need to spend 2-3 times as much for the same products made in USA, many will say, "I'm not paying all that! I'm going to WalMart!"
Nat, it is much more complicated than this we-vs-them stuff you come with. That is why I called you a hack for the Democrats . . . you cherry-pick as suits your arguments.
Blue -- the weather is getting a bit better here. I'm sure you are relieved.
Sure there has always been disagreement and competition between the parties but I don't know of a time when the Congress has become essentially non-functional as it is now. Mitch McConnell even admitted the Republicans goal is to thwart everything Obama wants and see to it that he's a one-term president. So the House has done practically nothing since Republicans took control in 2010- not even routine things like confirming presidential appointments.
Weather is ok here, just in case you wanted to know.....
Now, for once, I do agree with Bob, all depends on the way you ask questions... The debates we have here are not exactly the same... For instance, there is no debate on whether we hold or not have a national healthcare system, but on how shall we pay for it, and how to balance its permanent deficit. There is little debate about abortion, accepted by all (or almost all). But there is a debate about immigration.
Well the trouble with the US is that is no agreement about hardly anything! On every issue you mention and many others there is a roughly 50-50% split which is why these issues never get settled. I dont know of a time since the Civil war that the country has been so divided about so many things.