It has come to our attention here at the SparkNotes offices that guys and girls are actually different in some ways. This startling revelation will clearly send many bowties spinning with shock in the scientific community, but we figured we would share the details of our findings with all of you first.
Obviously, we can't address every way the sexes differ, because that would be a lot of ground to cover, and because some differences are best illustrated via uncomfortable health classes or raunchy puppet shows. So we will limit ourselves to expressiveness, and how it is as different between guys and girls as it is between girls and rocks. Imagine the following scenarios, and we will explain the deeper workings of each.
1. Girls Feel; Guys Solve
Situation: An unemployed clown is commiserating with both a girl and a guy over his recent misfortunes. His tragic story is winding down. "And that's when my thrown pie missed its intended target, tragically hitting the President in the butt," he concludes unhappily. A "bweoop" slide-whistle noise comes out of nowhere, and the flower in his lapel wilts.
"It must be so sad to be an unemployed clown," the girl thinks. Her thoughts turn to the clown's five small children, who are also clowns, and his dog, who is not a clown because that would just be silly.
"Yeah, uh huh, sad," thinks the guy, "But what should the clown do now? He's two months late on his ostrich payments, and he needs that ostrich to ride around the city looking for work!"
Explanation: If you were to examine a man's brain and a woman's brain—which you should not attempt unless you have a very good attorney—you would find a region called the insula, which is full of empathy, and probably also some brain goo. This region works the same in men and women, at least at first. But after a while of listening to someone's problems, men's brains stop empathizing and start thinking about how to fix the problems, perhaps so that the person with the problems will go away and let them play video games. A guy's brain seeks ways to fit a square peg into a round hole; "Oh no," thinks a girl's brain, "That poor square peg!" By and large, this is why women make better listeners, and guys are fond of robots.
2. Girls Express; Guys Internalize
Situation: A girl and a guy have both just been through a distressing event, e.g. watching their new friend (an unemployed clown) get hit by a dump truck full of feathers as he crossed the street. "Oh nooo," says the girl, bursting into tears and reaching out in search of a hug. "HUGS ARE STUPID, EVERYTHING IS STUPID," exclaims the guy. "QUIT TALKING SO MUCH," his brain tells him. "GO KILL A WOOLY MAMMOTH, YOU PANSY."
Explanation: Girls tend to be vastly more expressive, again because of 1. Brain Things and 2. Society. Boys and girls both cry the same amount when they're kids; but by eighteen, girls cry four times more; the intervening years have taught guys that crying will get you nothing, except to have jocks shove pine cones down your pants and push you off a cliff. Eventually, guys literally learn to have less expressive faces, just in case a jock sees them smile one day and decides to light them on fire. Of course, all the time men are learning these things, women are honing ways to understand and articulate emotions. This is why when a woman asks, quite reasonably, where a relationship is going, a guy punches himself repeatedly in the nose, until he drifts mercifully into unconsciousness.
3. Both Extremes Totally Cannot Stand Each Other
Not An Actual Situation: A dating couple goes out for lunch. "Waahh, everything is terrible!!" shrieks the girl, for absolutely no reason, because she is insane. "Duh?" the guy thinks, utterly insensitive to the world around him. "Blug," he decides, because he is dumb and emotionless. "It's my brother's birthday!!" the girl continues, sobbing, apropos of nothing. "Mmph," the guy adds, cramming an entire sandwich in his mouth.
Explanation: This is not a true scenario, because women are not unpredictable lunacy generators and men are not oblivious robots, but it is how things can seem when a couple doesn't see eye to eye. Couples at the extremes—very expressive girls paired with very withdrawn guys—get along worse than any other pairing. Psychologists say so, and if you didn't already have enough trouble taking them seriously already, they call this expressiveness trait "blirtatiousness." If there's a moral to this story, it appears to be that you shouldn't date anybody whom you constantly want to strangle. And there you have it: another startling revelation that will revolutionize gender relations forever.
Have you ever had a failure in communication with someone of the opposite gender? Did it end by someone getting hit with a dumptruck fill of feathers?
Related post: Ask Jono: Dudes Feeling Feelings