Rule # 53: Slot Machines and Parking Meters
I have been recently finding myself explaining my view of the nature of men and women to my family. As my children develop relationships they are constantly amazed at how difficult the waters are to navigate. I get a lot of questions about “why’ did this happen, or “what” happened? The nature of relationships are very complex , and I’m not claiming I know the answers, I’m just claiming I know how to survive.
George Carlin made it into a joke when he blamed most of the problem on men being stupid. And from what I can tell he is dead on. Men just don’t get “it”, hell half the time in discussions with women I don’t even know what ‘it’ is.
This is because men aren’t necessarily stupid, we just don’t know what we are talking about. For men things are what they are, yes we understand the emotions associated with events and actions, but are blissfully unaware of the hidden meanings in things we are talking about.
When men get together and start talking they generally do so by starting to talk about concrete things like sports, movies or beer. We find common ground in how we like or hate Ohio State Football, and our views are not underlying some deep meaning they are just how we see that thing. When I say I think the Buckeyes suck its because I think they suck, I’m not trying to tell my friend he is stupid or mean, I’m just trying to them I think the Buckeyes suck.
But when women have the exact same conversations the questions center around thousands of other issues such as ” how” I said it, the ” tone” I used and what I “really meant” by what I said.
As a man I think it must be exhausting to think about all those other things…and to women we must appear really stupid to not feel any inclination to explore these other issues.
Men are basically parking meters. You put a quarter in and you get 20 minutes of parking, its always the same and never a surprise. Its simple. You never get more than 20 minutes, and only rarely when the meter is broken do you get anything less than 20 minutes. It is what it is.
Women are slot machines. The input is the same quarter but sometimes you get nothing, other times small wins and rarely a jackpot. But slot machines are so much more exciting than boring parking meters. The uncertainty of the outcome makes you want find more and more quarters to put in because you never know what you will get.
Well you sort of know, because you know from putting in coins over time you aren’t going to lose forever, and you aren’t going to get 3 jackpots in a row. But each quarter offers that hope for a great outcome.
This uncertainty over time have men become less confident in their own judgments when women are involved. They become stupid.
When Bobbi is called by a friend to stop out for drinks on the way home she simply says yes or no because she understands the outcomes that will occur. She will simple email or call me and tell me she is stopping off for a drink and the she knows the parking meter response will be “no problem”.
She has often asked why I and my male friends always have to check with their wives to see what is we should do. Several use them say, ” I have to check with the social director” and will get back to you. My wife hates that, she says, “can’t you guys make a decision on your own?”
Short answer is no we can’t.
Well we can, but we really don’t know what the quarter will do when we put it in the machine. Sometime we will get ” sure no problem”, sometime we will get ” you idiot, we have teachers conference schedule”, and sometimes you will get ” why didn’t you ask me if I wanted to go”. You just never know.
We don’t know because we have become stupid from playing all our quarters in the slot machine of women in our lives. From the man’s perspective the slot machines look like crazy machines that can do almost anything. They confuse us and make us look stupid.
When my kids talk to me about relationships and we are discussing how men react, I find myself focusing on that parking meter. Understanding why he was tried when he came home from work isn’t that complex, it has nothing to do with anything but being tried. Understanding why he didn’t call you has nothing to do with anything more than he it just didn’t occur to him that after talking to you in school for 3 hours that you would have anything else to say to him.
When explaining the slot machine to the men I find myself saying, ‘”well you should have known better than to put another quarter in to a machine that isn’t paying off that day” or just simply saying ” its a slot machine not an ATM”. Accepting the amazing variety of outcomes of a slot machine as gift from God helps you to embrace the insanity of placing quarters into it in the first place. Let’s admit to ourselves the slot machines are a lot of fun.
The relationship pain we feel in life is when we do one of two things.
When we expect parking meters to give us anything more than 20 minutes of parking. No mater how many quarters a woman places into one its never going to have a jackpot.
Or when we place money into a slot machine and expect to have a win every time. As with Vegas the house always wins, and the moment you accept that as the only certainty of life everything becomes increasingly easy.
Too much of our lives are spent trying to get men to behave as woman and women to behave as men. It will just make men appear more stupid and women more crazy. Accept that we have different responses to the quarters being put into us, and embrace who we are and who they are.
Oh by the way, The Buckeyes still suck.