Jezebel posted a study done for the journal PLOS ONE about men and emotions; mainly that while men can read other men pretty well, they’re still clueless when it comes to picking up “emotional cues” from women. Here’s an excerpt from the study’s findings:
The findings suggest that men are worse at reading women’s emotions. This “theory of mind” is one of the foundations for empathy, so the deficit could lead men to have less empathy for women relative to men, the researchers write.
[...] ”As men were more involved in hunting and territory fights, it would have been important for them to be able to predict and foresee the intentions and actions of their male rivals,” the researchers write in the paper.
It sound a little silly, but the overall conclusion of the study is the overwhelming duh that NBC’s Thursday night comedy lineup has been recycling for years: men are not mind readers. Chandler, Monica is mad because you didn’t notice the subtle decorating changes she made in the apartment. You’re both overreacting and now Monica is yelling at you and you’re wincing and trying to be charming because it’s so funny! And so forth. And then we’ll see this same plot line next week, but this time, Ross will be the one who doesn’t know what’s bothering his date and rather than sit down and talk about it, wackiness will ensure and he’ll whine and the studio audience will laugh, ’cause no one told you life was gonna be this way.
It’s true: men are not mind readers. (Fuck you, David Blaine. You don’t know me.) But also, women are not mind readers. (Fuck you, Sylvia Browne, you’re worse than David Blaine.) And the problem is that after all this time, after making it a decades old trope for film and television, we still forget and we still get angry.
Example. A few months ago, I got really, really mad at a male friend of mine. I was convinced that he was ignoring me, because we hadn’t texted or called or had any form of communication in a week. Rather than listen to that logical part of my brain that says, “Oh God don’t do this again, please just step back and be reasonable” I turned to my friends fraught with complaints and annoyance, to which they came to my defense and told me to never speak to him again. After thinking about this for a few days, I decided to be an adult, and text him. He didn’t know I was angry. He came right over and we talked. He wasn’t purposefully ignoring me, he was simply busy, had no idea I was upset, and he wondered why I hadn’t gotten in touch with him. The studio audience laughed and then Joey walked in wearing a silly hat and said, “Now THIS is gonna be one crazy summer!” and everyone applauded and we faded to black.
I really and truly believe that men still aren’t good at reading women. We are wired differently. Sometimes, I think that women have a tendency to jump to the worst possible conclusion, because we’ve been subtly trained by society to be passive and wait for him to call (text, whatever) and for him to take the lead, even though it’s 2013 now and we have more examples of strong women than ever before. “That is BULLSHIT, I NEVER let a man dictate what I do, I–” awesome, then sit the fuck down, I’m not talking to you. I’m talking to those of us who sometimes don’t listen to the rational “strong woman” part but instead surrender to the “I’m sitting by the phone like it’s the 1950′s even though I know this is ridiculous” part. I am not saying that I cave to the 1950′s side every time. But I am saying that I’ve recognized that I’ve done it, that it’s stupid, and that I don’t want to do it again.
And yes, men do this too; men can also assume the worst and run with it. So let’s all agree that none of us are mind readers, and that we need to stop playing these bullshit “I’m gonna wait for them to make the first move” games and just be open so that our lives are a little bit easier and a little bit happier.
Photo of Mia Farrow by Bill Eppridge for LIFE.
Almie Rose is a writer from Los Angeles. She has a blog, Apocalypstick. In addition to Dating & Hookup she also writes for Hello Giggles, The Frisky, Thought Catalog, and Genlux Magazine. Her book, I Forgot To Be Famous, is out now. You can follow her on twitter @apocalypstick. Her favorite pastime is eating and drinking and sleeping and then eating again.
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