Saturday, April 14, 2018

Why I have no intention of being nicer

Imagine this situation:

A guy, lets call him Bob, is doing business with someone and they make a mistake that costs him significant money or inconvenience. They incorrectly charge his debt card by a huge amount making his bank account overdrawn, the travel office in his company forgets to book his ticket so he's standing at the airport counter with no seat to that conference in Paris because the flight is sold out. The person who made the mistake says they are sorry, but there is nothing they can do to correct the problem. After all, what can they do?

Should Bob:

A. Accept their apology. The person is sorry. Everyone makes mistakes.
B. Say, "Fuck that. I am not paying for your mistake. Your company is going to fix this."
C. 'Ask nicely' is not an option because he already tried that and we are back to A or B

Or, try this one.

Bob, who is apparently having a really bad day, is standing in line in a dark theater waiting to go see the latest blockbuster. The guy in line behind him starts rubbing up against him, clearly excited to see him, if you know what I mean, and I am sure you do. Bob turns around and says, "Hey!" Pervert Pete says, "Oh, I'm sorry. I thought you'd be into it."

Should Bob:
A. Accept his apology. After all, some people would be into it. An honest mistake.
B. Say, "What the fuck? Do that again and I'll punch you in your fucking face!"
C. 'Tell him firmly but politely' is not an option because he already tried that. Choose again.

Do you have your answers ready? If you wouldn't mind, I'd really appreciate it if you post in the comments if your FIRST response was A, B or C. You can do it anonymously, if you want. All comments are moderated, so they won't show up right away.

Now here is the second part and this takes more honesty than most people have, seriously. 

Think about if the situations involved Mary Lou instead of Bob. Would you have had the same response? Most people would say yes but virtually all research says no, you wouldn't. Here is a discussion of one study finding "men's anger works for them but women's anger works against them'". There are literally hundreds of such studies. If you are interested in finding more, I trust you have access to a search engine since you are reading this.

I have never aspired to be a nice woman. 

I have tried to be a good person, a fair person, a kind person but nice has never been on my list. I'll tell you why ...

Nice women get screwed over.

Recently, I was in a similar situation as Bob and I said, 

Fuck that! I'm not accepting your apology. You need to do something.
The situation was resolved and later I was told that I should have handled it nicely. I disagree. Initially, the suggestion was maybe it wasn't a big deal, like I could get to the conference a day late and so what if I missed meetings with customers.

Women get that a lot when they object to being mistreated.

"What's the big deal?"

I have seen this happen over and over. Whether it is a promotion, an upgrade to first class, the opportunity to speak at an event or an executive who sends you a picture of his dick, 

Yes, I understand you being unhappy, but you could be nicer.

Let me make this clear:

I am NOT "unhappy", I am fucking pissed and I have every right in the world to be.

Really the only reason I refuse to be nicer is that I strongly believe in being the change you want to see in the world and modeling that for my children and grandchildren. Very often, it is suggested to women, but not men, that they should overlook mistreatment, from sexual harassment to abysmal service, and, particularly, they should overlook unfair treatment in favor of men.

When I was a kid, my mom told me a story about how a girl in her high school class got the most votes for class president but the nun who was running the election announced that the boy who got the second-most votes would be president because it would help him get into college and that girl didn't need to be class president. My mom said no one spoke up because, "What good would it do?"

In my life, it has been suggested to me that I give up raises, promotions, offices to a man who 'needed it more' for either his family or his ego. It has been suggested that I should let bygones be bygones with people who have been blatantly dishonest in deals because "we need to get along" or "you don't want to get a bad reputation."

In short, throughout my pretty long life, over and over, I have seen "Be nice" said to girls as code for "Let me take advantage of you."

I'm not fucking having it.

And neither should you.


Anonymous said...

I pick B, although my inclination is to respond somewhere between A & B... That is, be a little nicer. No doubt, as a female, this is due to a lifetime of the socialization you mention.

Anonymous said...

Nice game, but a most games, their real-life application i diverted because part of the answers derive either from the rules, and also from the - usually forgotten/not foreseen - assumptions.

It might read as obvious, but a whole chapter of the world's wit (and particularly British heritage) springs from precisely finding a new angle of things, humor or just thinking out of the box.

In your second example; option "C. 'Tell him firmly but politely' is not an option because he already tried that." is artificial.
Since if there's some chance for A. response being backed from an "honest mistake" then a polite (firm or soft) "telling him" will stop the situation.

Once the above is stated, it is then ease to spot that the first example does not provide the option of action being polite but firmly exerted.

I don't know the particularities of such airport situation, but I could guess that the clerk's boss would be in better position to solve/repair/compensate or at least register and communicate responsibilities if any of that would help.
Furthermore, your possibilities of getting reparations will increase if the situation is adequately handled.

There are many more interesting things that could be talked about this, possibly in person Dr De Mars, I'd promise to bring more angles than just my Venusian one. I look forward for this chance shinny red one.
Kind Regards

Unknown said...

B! It's not in my nature to be nice.
I can be fair, reasonable, honest... I'd been told "why can't you be nicer?" and my response is "because you are not and you deserve everything I did or said."

Kevin said...

I usually accept their apology. But that doesn't mean you're not fixing a fuck up, YOU caused.

Dr. AnnMaria said...

As far as the airport situation, there were no particularities, it was a hypothetical example.

dsimon3387 said...

I deal with these issues regularly AnnMaria. I am a White Male, but in all cases given the response to the problem "Sorry but there is nothing I can do" I would expect any man, woman, Asian, Transgender, Black, Latino, Aboriginal, etc to respond the same way, which coincidentally is the only way to stay in business. That would be the aggressive, agrieved mode. While I agree with your take on sexism I don't see this issue as being about sexism...this happens everyday to everybody in our society and a man yelling is just as apt to be ridiculed as a woman yelling under the circumstances.

People are increasingly not taking responsibility for their actions. It is a duty of people to understand the situation before making a judgement...For example, a woman was kicked off a plane and she pulled the race, religion and sexist card... A careful look at the situation revealed there were, to put it mildly, other factors involved and a lot of intelligent people came to the conclusion this woman got what she deserved.

Finally. My wife often says to me and my two boys "well I yell because nobody listens to me if I do not yell." This is another aspect of human behavior, perception and reality. I know for a fact that the opposite is true regarding my wife, but she is convinced! Sometimes people believe they need to act out when it is not called for. Perhaps in a similar situation you describe regarding Peter and Mary, neither has made an attempt before resorting to more aggressive tactics, to state in calm cool language, something to the effect of: "I understand that mistakes happen, but this absolutely has to get resolved in a manner where my business interests are not injured with no compensation."

I don't know if woman are less likely to get results, I don't know if a woman would look worse than a man yelling and getting aggressive... I do know sexism exists, I just do not know if this situation is one where a screaming woman is stereotyped more or less.

Anonymous said...

It strikes me as feminine that a person would ask about getting angry, rather than just being himself.

When women get angry it can be a bit different; that might be why it would get discouraged in a woman.

Men are much less likely to show anger to larger men. Or in the office, more powerful men. If you show anger but you don't intimidate, what then?

Best office I ever worked in was all IBM retirees. Very intelligent people obviously, and IBM must have raised them in a very gentlemanly culture back in the day.

--random Bill

Anonymous said...

My responses to these situations are always to start off with C and switch to be after trying C three times. I disagree that a man's anger always works for him and a woman's anger always works against her. This is probably because I was raised in a feminist age where women have a lot more control than they used to but I find that women can be angry, shout, yell, scream, and even be mentally and physically abusive to a man with relatively little push back. Some people may even find it charming.

I understand that it can be frustrating to think that giving up promotions etc. to a man when you're just as qualified if not moreso can seem like a bummer. You're right, it's not fair but it doesn't come out of nowhere. This is not excusing it, there is no excuse, my only purpose for stating this is to breed more understanding. Historically and in much of the present day, women can depend on men to be breadwinners. Some women will choose to give up their careers and stay at home with their kids even when they are perfectly capable of working. There are always exceptions to every rule but if women depend on men to protect and provide, who do the men depend on? Nobody. There are less safety nets for men. A woman can move back with her mother if things go wrong and she's not seen as less of a woman for it, yet a man is seen as less of a man if he's in a tight spot and needs to stay with his parents. Our culture has an odd tendency to associate life circumstances with character without even bothering to ask crucial questions such as "is this circumstance temporary?" or more importantly "what got the man there?"

Having to tell a prospective employer that you had to move your wife and kids into your mom and dad's basement is not going to make you look good, especially compared to other applicants who have sustained a wife and kids. If the kids are growing and are going to need college money soon, then typically, the man will need more money. If they continue to make the same money while their expenses are rising due to their life's circumstances changing, well, it's not going to turn up rainbows and sunshine if you know what I mean. You are definitely a standout among women, Dr. DeMars, but the general rules are: 1. most women are not like you and 2. People's perceptions are formed by what they find familiar and "familiar" often means "most common" 3. most people are stupid, compulsive creatures that respond in generalities even if they are face-to-face with an exception.

I understand that there's so much conversation surrounding a woman's experience. It's all over the place these days. However, there is very little conversation a man's experience except for the feminists who purport to speak on our behalf. Some would even say that we "already know a man's experience because it's been culturally ingrained in our society" but if this is true then why do the feminists always get it wrong? I just thought I would shed a little light from a man's perspective. I would also like to clarify that I would give the position to the most objectively qualified if it were me in the CEO's chair. I don't care if they're a man, a woman, or have Kuato from Total Recall in between their legs (as long as they kept the little bugger quiet while they worked.)

Anonymous said...

C, changed to B, for the first scenario. A for the second.

Anonymous said...

I'd be picking B for the first scenario, and probably a slightly milder version of B* for the second. I say this confidently because I've picked these options in similar scenarios in my life. That said, there's definitely been times in my less recent past that I've been so angry, I just decided none of the options were worth my time, so I just said some colourful words and walked away to find a different solution.

*Note on "sightly milder version of B":
I'm a woman (roughly the size of Ronda, with less muscle), I've been doing BJJ for about 6 years now, I like to think I'd have *some* idea of how to defend myself in a shitty situation. Granted that's probably a better position to be in that about 90% of the women out there who are smaller, don't do martial arts (or they think Aikido is a valid form), and might be out of shape.
But there is no way I'd be physically threatening a man who might be way bigger/stronger than I am. I'd tell him to "Fuck off and stop pulling that bullshit or I'm calling the cops." but not "Or I'll punch you in the face." I personally don't want to be knocked out by some aggro perv on a power trip.

(PS: I really needed to read a post like this today. I really appreciate your zero bullshit attitude.)

Anonymous said...

thank you, this blog is helping me a lot with new ways of thinking about judo and life.:). Ive been having issues with some people at my club and it has been affecting my confidence in judo dramatically, thank you for taking the time out of your day to blog. i hope it can help other people like it is helping me.
thank you,
alexandria lefort :)

Dr. AnnMaria said...

Alexandria -

There will always be people that try to put you down,that tell you you cannot reach the goals you set for yourself. There will always be people asking "Who do you think you are?" Fuck those people. You're amazing.