Speaking with women

Posted on April 2, 2013 by

It’s a common opinion that women are inherently more frivolous than men, and that it is therefore pointless to speak to them about anything important. I.e. that they are less inclined to consider philosophical topics and are preoccupied with the concrete and ordinary rather than the abstract and deep. I think this is true, and that this can be proven to be true, but that the differential is not as large as is commonly thought and largely matches the IQ differential.

The reason this interests me is because I have the exact opposite experience: most of the men I meet just want to talk about cars and sports and even *shudder* the weather. If they do speak of politics or faith, it is purely concrete and mimics their sport-speech (they promote Team Liberal/Conservative, but don’t give much thought to the underlying system). Economics makes their eyes water. They spend a lot of time talking about what tv shows they watch and never read anything that isn’t adult twaddle, if they read at all.

They are, in short, like most of the women I meet. This makes sense, as the sexes generally match up across the population. Most people aren’t deep thinkers and this would be perfectly alright if we didn’t have a system of universal suffrage.

When I was younger, I was under the impression that Boyz R Dumb because all of my friends were girls, and we were all of similar intelligence and interests. The few boys I interacted with were generally brilliant, but I assumed that they were some sort of oddball, not realizing that the girls I spent time with were also oddballs because of the sex ratio.

This flipped when I started working in software engineering because the population changed. I’d hang out with my male colleagues and marvel at their mental quickness and introspection, and then meet random women and struggle to focus on their conversations. I like to discuss fashion and media and parenting and such, but I’ve found that I discuss it too… well… deeply, and struggle to remain superficial enough to entertain my audience.

This has now flipped back again, as I live a more sex-segregated lifestyle. Hanging out with classical homeschooling moms leaves me with the impression that women are so deep and that it’s perfectly normal to stand around with a toddler on the hip while discussing whether equality is a purely social construct. Then I try to share our best conversational tidbits with the men I meet and am generally met with glazed eyes and redirection to the weather.

So, I would suggest that the accusation of women’s frivolity is largely one of perception. Yes, I think most women are slightly more frivolous than their husbands (which is a good thing and makes for a stable match), but that — among the least-frivolous 10% of the population — women make up a large minority. Furthermore, I would suggest that most men in that 10% are aware of that fact and therefore occasionally welcome female company even in more philosophical discussions — as long as that female company reflects the women most similar to them in intellect and temperament.

Posted in: Gender Dynamics