Problem Solving Men


Yesterday I had a puzzle to solve. A problem. At 12:05am, with the crowd-sourcing help of fellow male gaggers, I figured it out. I'd love to say that after that celebratory moment I fell into a heavy and blissful sleep that only the self-satisfied ever truly experience, and it was without chemical aid, but a little blue pill was involved. Was it the blue pill of blissful ignorance ala 'The Matrix'? No way. I've always been a red, truth, harsh realities of life, kind of girl, even as a child, I now think that is clear. And it wasn't the 'Mother's Little Helper' that the Rolling Stones referred to. And it wasn't the one that rhymes with jolly. It was just boring old diphenhydramine. Anyhoo, I did eventually fall asleep around 2:30am, got my stupid six hours, waking up at 8:30am. I didn't feel good, must have been caught up in REM sleep again, and tried to squint the way-too-much-sunlight coming through the bedroom window (I'm a blackout sleeper so this situation just won't do)... and where did my mind first go - to the accomplishment of last night. I'll link it down below. It was a lock/mechanical problem; no point getting into the details here again now.

No, what really jarred me awake was this thought - that men are problem solvers. Women are too, of course, but they don't have this reputation in the same way, do they? (That's rhetorical.) Women have the distinction of being the complainers that men are too much problem solvers, damn it. "Why can't they just listen?!" (insert exasperated tone here.) Now, I don't know if I, personally, have ever really complained about this. If I did, it was many, many years ago and I have no memory of that at all. But there are lots of ways that I'm different, an outlier, so whatever. What I have said, more times than you can probably count, is 'Men do not have the same level of patience that women do when it comes to the intricacies of the emotional world.' (I like inversions.) I always notice, and therefore approach it, from this angle. As the immutable Edna Mode of The Incredibles says, "Gabagabagaba. It's too much, Darling!" This is a words vs. pictures issues preference; and a somebody's spouting off 20,000 wpd on average vs. the other's 7,000 wpd difference; and a problem solving issue vs. finding a way through the complex maze of social harmony framework. Get it? There's no fight here then, see? These are just differences. Not inadequacies.

I am tenacious. At least, about certain things. Ooooh I don't like riddles or mysteries or puzzles unsolved. It gives me the itches so bad, I'm discombobulated. I am a hard 'J' in the MBTI (thanks to the mother-daughter team, Myers and Briggs - did you know they were female?), and I like closure. Who doesn't, in a way. But some people are the 'P's of life - they much prefer open-ended situations. Their homes are not clutter-free, they don't know where their keys always are (by the door in a leather valet tray, of course!), and if you're in a restaurant you'd better go ahead and order that drink, and appetizers, because they're going to be a while. I am not all 'J'. I don't like so many rules, or have unwavering respect for authority figures (orange pumpkin men don't deserve any just because there were some kings before him), but I do follow a certain order, for the sake of social harmony. At least, a semblance of it. That is an over-arching goal. But I digress.

And I am not mechanically inclined. And I can't easily or quickly do those damn IQ rotate-the-box-and-add-a-dot visual puzzles. But I'm good with jigsaw puzzles, word puzzles (especially unscrambling letters), and I can fit a piece of furniture through a door like a mother******. Ha za (ala Sheldon Cooper of 'The Big Bang Theory.') I've got to tell you this one: I was moving. Movers came. Big, strong, lots of moxie, you know how they are. The foreman may or may not be the best guy. Sometimes he's just the bossiest. Or can crack the jokes and add levity with the clients. But sometimes the foreman is the most sexist one of all. I have a large, heavy, top-grain (that means genuine leather - do not fall for 'bonded leather' which is almost no leather at all) leather 3-piece sofa, and it needed to be moved into the truck, out of a small den (my gorgeous navy blue, low-ceiling, media/entertainment room cave - because caves aren't just for men - I was a former rabbit you know. We are specialists in this.) It's an L-shaped sofa and the largest piece is the corner. Two out of three moved out quite efficiently, bing, bang, boom. The corner, not so much. Four guys struggled, and sweat, and muttered, and there was some definite hierarchical stuff going on there too. Much time went by. They pushed so hard, white paint from the not-freshly-painted baseboards was mashed into the espresso brown leather, and after I don't know how long, Foreman declares "It won't come out." "Yes it will. The delivery guys got it in here fine. I was here. I saw it." "Look, we've tried everything. It must have been before some renovations or something. Maybe the door was changed." "The door wasn't changed. This 'den' used to be the car port and the rest of the house was built in 1924, and I assure you, this sofa came in here after we moved in. It's got to come out. We've sold this house and this is it." He flat out refused to try and get it out. Well it went back and forth like this, with my husband and all other three non-in-charge guys standing by, watching me and Foreman verbally duking it out. My entire life I have been dancing on this knife. I know this choreography well.

Anyway, they go to lunch, sit on the porch having their sandwiches. I recruit my husband to help me. It was heavy, that is always more the problem for me than anything else, but I directed us, and... ta da. Of course I got it out. What was impressive was how quickly. And guess where the den was - right across from the porch where they all were sitting or standing, with the perfect view to the show. Foreman: One sentence: "How did you do that?" Seeing he is not congratulating me (that is loudly absent), I am one step away from gloating, but hold it back. Though I am visually pumped. My husband and I high-five. "I told you it was possible!" What was the trick? I don't know exactly - I think facing the soft cushions down, towards the floor, and the more rigid backside up, so that we could finesse it in plain sight. I just tipped it here and there, with a subtle (woman's?) touch. This was not about (male?) brute force. I was 'one' with it, not against it. My coercion is subtle. Like how you 'ask' your car, when 'she's' dying... "Come on, Baby, stay with me." Or your boat, I presume. Certainly Scotty's ship, "Cap'n, I can' hold her anymore. She's goona' blow." But then later, "Ah, she's a good girl."

That sofa (which still has the white paint marks on it, by the way, which drives me all kinds of crazy, since nothing will get that off - not even paint thinner or the ever-magical lighter fluid) was one of the most satisfying, memorable moments of my life. (Another was getting my mum's boxy red leather club chair into her bedroom, which no other family member could do - my two strapping, tall, seemingly-strong cousins both gave up.) Firstly, who wants two pieces of a three piece sofa, or to disappoint the nice bachelor actor who just bought your home (it does not pair well with the bottle of champagne you left him, saying 'Congratulations and welcome to your new home!'), but of course, it was about men subtlely, and in my case not so subtlely, disparaging women for not being as good problem solvers of the physical world. But, maybe we had that coming, because we (well not really me) have been criticizing men for trying to 'solve the problem instead of just listening.' Listening to a who-knows-how-long 'story' about [you fill in the blank.] Could be a work issue, a girl friend, sister, whatever. It's all about relationships.

Now I'm not going to go so far as to say that women are the superior species when it comes to relationships. I don't think they are, but they do have some definite upgrades to their software on this one. They notice many intricacies. Glances, looks, and word choices, they will remember. They'll remember (dredge up) events and conversations from the past which may or may not be related (they do relate... usually.) "Are you ever going to let that go?" Some will, some won't, depends on the girl. And they are very good both at and after a party, to do a play-by-play of everything that happened, every nuance between the guests. So if you want help with your emotionally-complex relational problem, go to women. They'll help you out whenever you need, and they'll sit with you for however long it takes to help you (see, help you, not solve it for you) figure it out, together, with sympathy, and hopefully with some red pill truth (delusions will get you nowhere.) But if you want help with a mechanical problem, a 'real world' problem, as they call them - something not in the abstract, nebulous, but in-your-face, call the guys. (Or me.) They seem to appreciate the challenge (determination will get you everywhere.) Sometimes guys are confrontational (certainly as compared to girls), and they definitely do enjoy a 'good' debate, but throughout history they have had to figure out a lot of practical problems (fire just being the most famous, early one, but it certainly has never stopped there.)

When I woke up this morning it occurred to me that we, the genders, are who we are. As individuals, we can all improve (you may know how big I am on self-awareness and improvement, a healthy dose of objectivity, and striving to be a better version of oneself over time), but as genders, can we all just cut each other some slack? The rope is getting rather tight, isn't it? Time for some expansion. (Or, to use another analogy, back to the mean, for some retraction.) Evolution can't happen too quickly. Struggling against some knots only makes them tighter, and gives you rope burn. In all of this change, we have lost the appreciation for the other. Equality is not about being the same. It is about having equal value. This is not a problem for me. I am a steadfast egalitarian. I find I am fighting more and more each day for this. And I like contrast. I eat that up, always have. I aim to get rid of [almost] all friction points in my life, whether that be through verbal reconciliation, or in the physical world, with an extra long screwdriver and a rubber mallet. The same desire to [sometimes too quickly] fix the emotional problems of the world, stems from the same innate drive to solve the stuck locks of the world. Maybe we shouldn't try to separate the two. You cannot extract what you like about the opposite sex, like some sort of not-yet-invented brain surgery, and leave only the tasty bits. We are all a package deal.

Yesterday I watched an interview with Esther Perel, whom many refer to as the renowned, preeminent relationship therapist. She's been married to her husband of 36 years, Jack, a psychologist (she, the psychoanalyst - “He deals with pain and I deal with pleasure, and sometimes we meet.") She was asked, "What has changed in your relationship over time?" Her reply: "We have stopped trying to change each other.” She is a wise woman. I consider her almost a virtual mentor to me, though reading her monthly newsletters via email is about the closest I have gotten to speaking with her, so far. When I ask questions like 'Who is a great representations of their gender?"... my answer (absent before, to allow you all to be uninfluenced) is Esther. She's feisty, ("What word best describes you?" "Intense", she boldly answered. My answer, maybe not so coincidentally. My second/or first, being complicated.) I don't agree with every single thing she has to say when she conducts her therapy sessions (I've listened to over a dozen exerpeted recordings via her podcast), but to me, she is a shining example of what I respect, and if she and her husband have come to this conclusion, particularly prophetic when they inhabit a world of constant, driving, psychological change, perhaps we should all take heed. (Although I will add, once you get into your 50s you've put in the work and earned this right. In your 20s, you've no doubt still got a lot of kinks to iron out, or sand off, whichever be your tool of choice.)

So thank you, men of #GAG (and a couple of women too) for all your help yesterday. And for all your comments, and thoughts and musings, throughout my 10 months here (so far - I'm not leaving, just reflecting.) My other question of late, 'How do you think differently?' was also satisfying. Your answers were thoughtful, contemplative, even inspiring. I relish in your introspective excavation, and the uniqueness of your conclusions. But then, that is no surprise, as I always knew that people are as unique as snowflakes (I'm reclaiming back the original meaning of this now-bastardized word), and I have always loved how so many defy cliche characterization, standing resolutely against being distilled down to caricatures, and certainly labels. But I will gladly get out my label-maker (being the 'J' type that I am - and yes, the batteries in it are fresh), and label you, Problem Solvers.

Who doesn't love watching Tom... "I have made fire!"

The question/problem, which was the impetus for this take:

Lockpickers, handymen, engineers, I have a lock problem - HELP?

Problem Solving Men
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Most Helpful Guys

  • Lliam
    I simply loved this MyTake, Amanda. Both entertaining and wise. I love the way you think. And the way you write about it is like being inside your head, watching the gears whirring and lights flashing as the final product takes shape.

    You display the female quality you described - "They notice many intricacies. Glances, looks, and word choices...". Men aren't usually as observant and have less interest in dissecting every nuance of every moment of interaction throughout the day. They lean more toward "Something wrong? Mmmm [grunt grunt], me fix now!" (picture Tim Allen) before resuming some blissfully, mind numbing activity like watching sports or playing a video game. (I'm just having fun making a parody to exaggerate differences.)

    But you are an observer. You record things in your head, then analyze, turn them over and over and look at all angles. You do so objectively. And in doing so, you find interest in all the unconsciousness, blindness, good intention, silliness, irony, quirkiness and other qualities that make we humans so interesting. We're funny animals.
    Like 1 Person
    Is this still revelant?
  • Grond21
    Ha, that's a breath of fresh air. It's far more common to hear condemnation of masculinity than simple acknowledgment and praise for it, as it is and without qualification. So thank you.
    Like 2 People
    Is this still revelant?

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What Girls & Guys Said

  • blutwolfe
    yup exactly, when women talk about their problems, they usually don't want solutions, they just want comfort, a lot of guys get that wrong and then claim I'm a bad boy cause girls like to talk to me over them.

    Most men are things like problem solvers and not emotional like its black and white. That's why guys have arguments with their women or whatnot, it's a communication type thing. When women actually want a problem fixed they'll pretty much ask it like you did.
    Like 1 Person
  • Jjpayne
    I firmly believe that men and women have unqine differences that when you put us together, we help fill in each other's parts that we have blind spots on :)

    Great take! And good work out smarting that foreman! 😂
    Like 1 Person
  • Shamalien
    why is it that ladies gotta get this old before becoming all self reflective n shit. This is great stuff, never here 20 something girls talking like this. I want youth and wisdom damnit is that too much to ask?
    Like 1 Person
  • SomeGuyCalledTom
    "who doesn't love watching Tom?"

    Tell me about it! 🤣

    Good take
    Like 1 Person
  • Hotboy_booblover
    Yes very true..

    But why do u guys write such big mytakes
    Like 1 Person
    • AmandaYVR

      Uh, because brains are made for using.
      Because some of us care about language and not having every single thought be distilled down to 140 characters.
      Because we believe in the art of communication.
      Because if you men want to hear a compliment - and I know many of you feel you rarely get them - then you have to take it in the way the other person wants to give it. And it has more meaning with context.

      I don't need thousands, or even hundreds, of people to read this. I just want the ones that matter to, that speak my same language. They know who they are.

    • Ok good luck

    • Text is a relatively slow medium of communication (on the receiving end) that cuts out a ton of pertinent information. Our brains are packed with hardware for effortlessly discerning spatial cues (i. e. visual, auditory, etc.), and reading as a mental exercise throws the vast majority away to overwork the select few parts of our brain designed for decision making and analysis. The worst part is that reading, as opposed to writing, spoonfeeds us all the decisions and analysis to the point where any of our own has to be done outside of and in addition to the activity itself (i. e. book clubs)! Text is to communication as alcohol is to drugs--the LEAST bang for your buck! lol

    • Show All
  • andreasderjuengere
    Your man must have nerves of steel. All this because of a key that went missing...
    I am (positively) impressed :)
    • AmandaYVR

      I'm not sure why you say this. Explain?
      He used to, but not so much anymore. An herb helps with that though. In this case I was the one who remained completely calm.

    • My thought is: initially, there was a key missing - and it motivates you to unleash a chain reaction of thoughts and activity. You must be extremely energetic.
      As I indicated: it's a 'nice' trait - but also one that will require some patience from those around.

    • AmandaYVR

      No. He began the morning with a goal - to get the internet in the office wired, as he just recently discovered the port for it on the wall. We are under federal quarantine; He's been working f/t from home for months now; Our building doesn't want any non-residents coming here; Many non-essential services are still at a stand-still; All work he does is slower and more arduous here on our network than it was at the office. He was highly motivated to get this done. He does not like asking others or relying on any others for help (common male trait.) I was surprised he wanted to pick the lock. That's how badly he wanted to improve the tech and his workflow. Even when his company orders some of his other associates back to work in more than a month, he will not be one of them. He is essential to the company and this situation will not end anytime soon. That is why it became very frustrating and very important to him to improve the ethernet situation.

    • Show All
  • Smegskull
    I've never understood the "why do you have to solve everything" complaint... If you don't want it solved, why are you consuming my time complaining about it?
    • Smegskull

      That's a huge problem and gender divide then.
      I often say "I don't need your sympathy I need solutions."

      Projecting our own desires from the opposite sex onto the opposite sex is something we do a lot as a species.

    • OMG this sounds exactly like my boyfriend! I think that's just the difference between male and female approach. He's always trying to fix my problems when I just need to have a good cry.
      'My maths homework is so hard...'
      'I'll help yo-'
      Then I throw a temper tantrum and when he finally helps me I realise it was easy and then I feel so guilty lol, I'm such a nightmare.

    meyer's briggs calls me an INFP... VIRTUOSOOOO... or somought... Q w Q am i a problem solver?
    • AmandaYVR

      You have selective memory. The Myers-Briggs doesn't say an INFP is a virtuoso. I don't know what the rest of that garbled mess is trying to say.

    • intp? i've taken the test twice

    • AmandaYVR

      No, it's ISTP.

    It has nothing to do with men vs women and who was better or who wasn't seeing the problem or whatever. There are few people, men and women, who are in one word: gifted. I myself have always been the gifted kind. My dad is smart so is my mom. But there are times that people will follow certain "rules" and will never go beyond that. If it doesn't work don't do it. The few of us including myself however can play the scenario in our minds like it is a movie. Back and forth, rewinding and playing it. So while these other guys will prefer to jam something to try to get a task done. I can move only one finger and move it with perfect ease. Easey peasey. 😎
  • Alex_988_2
    honey, could you summarize whatever you wrote, please?
  • Anpu23
    Of course you are welcome. Anytime.
    Like 1 Person
  • DJ1998
  • 1828avaava1828
    I’m a very good problem solver in the cage!! 🥊
  • Kayla45
    Very interesting take
  • GetTriggeredKid
    Did you miss me?