Transparency has been a modern buzz word. People want a transparent government, transparent businesses, and transparent relationships. The latter is a big hit with most women I have encountered although I’m not sure they know what it means, or if they do, they don’t behave like it’s a two-way street.
Personally, I don’t think men are made to be transparent. The way we problem solve does not lend itself to transparency…opacity, maybe, but not transparency. Men problem solve by retreating into themselves. John Gray who wrote Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, calls this inner place the man cave. I think it is a fitting description. When faced with a new problem men only want to talk it over with themselves. This bugs the hell out of women and leads to complaints that we are “closed off.”
The complaint is true enough as far as it goes. The trouble is, it doesn’t go far enough. It fails to take into account this is how men work. We are not, except under extreme duress and outside pressure, going to discuss our feelings about a problem or possible solutions until we have worked on it alone. When forced to do this, anger and frustration are the chief by-products of any solution under these circumstances regardless of how successful that solution might be. Yet, we hesitate to explain this to the women in our lives.
Why is that? I think every guy knows the answer to that. I’m going to piss off every woman that ever lived and say it. It’s because they are WRONG about how we should operate. We don’t explain it is because we are continually being hammered with the notion that such behavior is “toxic” and resistance to change opens the door to the twin complaints of “selective hearing” and “you never listen to me.” Neither of these is true, they are simply premature.
“Real men” listen. We take the information and we process it in the cave, not on the living room sofa. Real men do not alter what works for the sake of staving off an argument about masculinity. Modern demands men change be damned.
Men wanting a consultation will ask for it. It’s etched on our DNA. Think about it guys, when was the last time you went to happy hour with the boys to talk out a problem? Yeah, I thought so. That’s why men don’t have a television show called the Bull$*#t. When circumstances demand, we might ask one guy or girl who has experience, but only after we have wrestled with the problem in our own man cave and come up empty.
Here’s the thing, we do not need to be ashamed that this is how we work. We are not transparent. However, we can, and should, openly communicate our ideas, how we came to our conclusions, and the emotional factors involved. Like Mondovi’s wine, we will share no feelings before it’s time. Expect respect for how you operate and give the same.