Friday, August 24, 2012


Hello, everyone! Welcome back to another edition of Ask-a-Dude!

Remember, you can ask your own question using the submission form on the right!

Today's question is:
Q: Why don't guys LISTEN?!

A: This may come as a surprise to you but we do listen. All the time. In fact, sometimes we listen four or five times per week!

It gets so exhausting, all that listening, that every now and then we'll shut down our auditory canals to protect the delicate cilia within. If you've ever had trouble getting through to a guy, perhaps you reached him during his weekly "recovery" time?

Bwaaaahhahahahahahaha! Nah, I'm just messing with ya. I have no clue why we don't listen. Seriously, I'm pretty sure the only reason we even evolved ears is to give male hipsters a place to put unfiltered cigarettes.

Colbert Ear Trick Gif
Or perhaps THIS is what ears are for
Maybe the question isn't so much "Why don't guys listen?" but "What do guys hear when they do?"

Look at it this way. You know how your friend, the one who speaks a foreign language, will be talking to her parents and her dad will wave at you and say, like, eighty foreign words? Which your friend then translates as "Hi."

Really? It took him eighty words to say "Hi?"

Guys are basically doing the same kind of translation on the fly. They're taking a multi-volume epic and distilling it down to its bare essence.

Here's how it works:

You: My new face cream is so much better than the old one because, and this is such a subtle little thing, it just leaves my face feeling less, hmm, what's the right word here, taut? No, no. Waxen? No, that's not it either. I dunno, it just leaves me feeling more like I'm going to bed in my own face and not wearing a Guy Fawkes mask that keeps--ARE YOU EVEN LISTENING TO ME?! 
Me: Huh? What? 
Me: Yeah. Of course. 
You: What did I say? WHAT DID I JUST SAY? 
Me: New face cream. Good. 
You: You. Never. Listen. 
I know it's hard to believe, but your eight hundred word screed on why Becky is no longer invited to your monthly girl's night can be shortened to two words: lying bitch. Do I really need to know intimate details about Becky's dating history, lactose intolerance or terrible taste in sandals to fully understand her backstabby ways? No. Proust's Remembrance of Things Past is over FOUR THOUSAND PAGES LONG! You know what it's about? Involuntary memory. Boom. MFA. Done.

The problem is guys just don't listen to you the way you listen to us. When you talk to us, you're giving us all the details you think we need. But when we talk to you, you're forced to extract meaning from the barest of clues.

For example, when a guy says "I think we should see other people," you're forced to figure out if he means, a) our relationship has plateaued and while I think you are the love of my life, I feel we must develop hallmarks external to our relationship by which to measure the immeasurable and bring our union back into harmony, or, b) do you think your bestie is down for a three-way?

Since you have to work so hard to understand us, you might expect us to work just as hard to understand you. But by providing an abundance of plot points, you make it easy for us to get complacent. If you lay it all out in fine detail, we're going to listen to you the same way we read Fifty Shades of Grey, we skim for the good parts.

I know, it makes us sound like douchcanoes. And honestly, that's a club all men are born into and must work their way out of through dedicated study and constant vigilance. It's kinda like becoming Batman. Not impossible but, c'mon.

There is, however, an easy way to break through and short circuit the male brain into listening on a more conscious level. This little trick derives from the fact that men will get lost in an empty room if there are no signs guiding them to an exit.

Here's the thing. Men need signposts. Without them, we will stay on the frontage road until we find ourselves in front of the Jeepers Creepers shack asking this guy for directions back to the interstate:

I said, take a RIGHT on Spencer Lane! Are you even LISTENING?!
But give us a sign and we can navigate to and from the grocery store all by ourselves.

Conversations are the same way. We want to know where we're headed. We want to know where the rest stops are. Most importantly, we want to know how long it's going to take to get there. If we know the point of your story is still a day's drive from here, we'll chug some Five Hour Guarana Booster and settle in for the long haul. We just need a clue.

The next time you're talking about how you're not talking to your mom ever again, and you look over to find your male friend sporting a glazed look and see drool pooling in his lower lip, try this. Reach over, tap him lightly on the shoulder and say these magic words: 
This is important.

The best among us will perk up, look you in the eye and engage appropriately. It helps if you turn off all external stimuli like the TV, the radio and your boobs.

Seriously, we want to listen. Sometimes we just need to be reminded that what you're saying is important to you. That's all we need to make it important to us.

Tell us anything. We're listening!

Copil refuses to listen to anyone but Pikachu. Because reasons. Everyone else can get in touch via Twitter (@Copil).


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