31 October 2002

Mostly for Laura

When a woman tells a man that she is broken, the man’s first reaction is generally to want to fix her. Most men enjoy fixing things, or at least tinkering with them until they run a little better.

A man will generally use the same approach to fixing broken women that he would use to fixing anything else broken: He’ll prod and poke at the damaged bits to see just how badly broken they are, and see if the prodding makes the problem any worse. Then he’ll try some quick and easy approaches to fixing things, in the hope that maybe they’ll work and save him from having to seek a more complicated solution.

Unfortunately, this is rarely what the woman wants. Typically women tell men that they’re broken because they want sympathy or compassion, or because they want the man to listen to them and provide some kind of validation for what they’re saying. When they instead get simplistic guesses at how they might be fixed, it tends to make them angry. (Of course, this is a generalization. I’m all too aware that some women react to sympathy the way a cornered raccoon reacts to dogs.)

So the message to women is: Don’t expect men to give you what you’re looking for unless you spell it out to them. Men are simple-minded creatures.

And the message to men is: Approach with caution, and wear gloves.

© mathew 2017