I recently saw the perfect TikTok to explain the phenomenon that is the woman’s brain. This girl turns to her boyfriend and says “Do you want to go get milkshakes?” He replies, “Sure, we can go get you a milkshake.”
No, sir. That is not how this works.
Let me break this down for you. The female brain takes words in through the set of ears on either side of your girlfriend/wife/friend’s head and those words pinball around in her prefrontal cortex or rear-end suspension axle — whatever is up there — and then is fed through this little tiny portion of the brain that most women have (and a few men have) that changes those words around to say the COMPLETE OPPOSITE of what you actually said.
What you said, “Sure, we can go get you a milkshake.”
What she heard, “Yeah, fatty, I don’t want a milkshake, but we can get you one.”
Don’t ask me how it works or why some people have this brain add-on option and others don’t, but it’s the truth!
I’ll give another example. You both sleep late, and get up together on Saturday in a good mood. You walk into the kitchen and look at the cluttered island, and zero in on your coffee mug, the sugar and start a pot of coffee for the two of you.
She walks into the kitchen and through those pretty blue eyes you love so much, she takes in the kitchen island and sees not only your coffee mug (from yesterday!) and the sugar canister, but also mail from last week, the empty water bottle you were drinking from last night, her wallet, a phone charger cord, six dish towels and a pot holder. And she sees you grinning because you sweetly made coffee for the two of you this morning. Mix that around in the “Female Brain 2023” and she’s pissed. And you have no idea why. “I made coffee!”
She’s not mad that you made coffee — it may be the only thing keeping you alive at the moment. She is upset that of all the things she sees that need to be done in that moment, you only saw the one. You bypassed the messy island to get what you wanted — coffee. Thus, leaving that messy island for her to deal with.
Here’s another scenario for you. The woman in your life turns to you and says, “I’m so tired. I could use a nap; you want to take a nap with me?” And you say, “No, I’m not that tired. You go ahead.”
Spin cycle in that pretty head of hers computes that… what she hears is not even close to what you said (or probably meant).
She hears, “I’m not lazy. I don’t need to go lay down, but if you feel like you need to, go for it, you bum.”
You’re thinking to yourself “Women are crazy! How do they get that from what I said? That’s not what I meant at all!”
Here’s the kicker. We KNOW that’s not what you meant. We KNOW that you aren’t that much of an ass (or we hope!). We also know that you like certain things we do and will refuse to do if you really said those things. Lastly, the majority of us have watched enough true crime documentaries to make you disappear — and you know it.
There’s something in our brains that needs the added support of a partner in crime, a support group, or a co-conspirator. We know that milkshake isn’t the best thing for us, but does that mean that the ice cream flavors at Baskin-Robbins aren’t calling to us like a siren’s song? No! We can hear them loud and clear, over traffic, through the woods and over the television show we’re watching. Those sounds know no distance or obstacle. And we know it’s a pain to get off the couch, put on clothes you don’t mind being seen in and driving into town to get a milkshake. We’ve already debated that in our heads before even speaking the words that we want a milkshake. We’ve tried to rationalize, remind ourselves that the phone bill is due this week and all of those things before we even say it. But once it is said, it’s no longer a desire. It is a need.
And since we’re inconveniencing you by making you pause the show/movie, put on decent clothes, and driving to town, then you deserve a milkshake too. When we’re going together for a milkshake, those calories cancel out. Your milkshake cancels mine out — because it’s an experience we’re having together. It’s not me just wanting a milkshake. So when it seems like we’re burdening you with our want for a milkshake…we don’t want it anymore (100% lies, but we won’t tell you that at the moment, we’ll wait to bring it up in an argument where you want something we aren’t willing to get/do.). Or when we will be the only one indulging, suddenly it seems like it’s too indulgent — and we shouldn’t do it.
Women are complicated (not that men aren’t…).
It’s been determined that women tend to associate productivity with worth. In pre-COVID years, motivational quotes and sayings were perpetuated by the idea that you had to overcompensate, overwork and overserve in order to get any recognition. Come in early and stay late. Skip lunch. “Stay on the grind.” Luckily, somewhere amongst the work from home culture, society discovered that “grinding” was exhausting. It was the root of anxiety, of some health issues related to exhaustion, anxiety and depression.
Grind culture made you feel like if your phone vibrated and it was a customer or client or coworker, you had to take that call and solve that problem right then and there. Your boundaries and work hours had no meaning. That 8-5 job became a 24-hour job. But you weren’t getting paid for 24 hours. We started letting employers and customers take advantage of us. Add into that mixture children, service organizations, school PTA, kids’ extracurricular activities and more and its no wonder that people were experiencing burnout at a high rate!
In that light, let’s analyze the nap scenario. If your wife or girlfriend wants to take a nap, she feels that it is going to hurt her productivity for the day. Which will devalue her — make her less worthy. If you don’t rest with her, she feels like you will be carrying the load of the home and even in today’s modern society, women feel like that’s not the way things should be.
I’ve personally struggled with each of the scenarios I’ve detailed above and I know that my husband finds himself dumbfounded when we talk about it. Or when I get upset over silly things like the fact that he doesn’t want a milkshake. Maybe something is wired wrong in my brain, maybe it’s just anxiety talking. Who knows?