Thursday, July 9, 2009

Manipulation 101

While browsing the main Yahoo page this morning, I noticed a particular link: 6 Ways to Train Your Boyfriend. Irritated about this obvious bit of sexism, I clicked on the link, thinking it might be ranty blogging fodder.

And it was. While it was written in a tongue-in-cheek style, she was deadly serious about using these manipulative techniques.

The author of this article compares men to lower animals and insists that we can be trained as such in order to always do a woman's bidding. She quotes another author:

"Males are card-carrying members of the animal kingdom, and they exhibit a lot of the same behaviors as many other mammals," says Amy Sutherland, author of "What Shamu Taught Me About Life, Love, and Marriage: Lessons for People from Animals and Their Trainers." "So they're likely to respond to some of the same training techniques."

She follows with six tips from animal training experts, with input on how to use each technique on a man.

Here are her six relationship dilemmas, with her suggestions for women on how to manipulate their men:

1. He's Allergic to Chores

She suggests treating him like a chimpanzee by "indulging his playfulness".

For chimps:

"When we need the chimps to perform a task, we get on their level and play with them for 5 or 10 minutes," says Eugene Cussons. " Once they've had some fun, they're more willing to heed commands because they instinctively know it's their turn to return the favor."

For men:

"Indulge him with a few minutes of acting goofy," says Anthony Riche, PhD, author of "Finally! How to Stop Dating Losers Forever." Then tell him you'll finish playing with him later, as long as he takes out the trash or does whatever else you need him to do."

Yeah, we're just big, dumb, silly kids that way. *rolls eyes heavenward*

2. He Lacks Social Graces

Her suggestion is to treat him like a dog, by "ignoring the bad and rewarding the good."

For dogs:

"Trainers reward the dog when it behaves and ignore any actions they don't like," says Sutherland. Since dogs crave affection, they slowly begin to avoid bad habits and opt for good ones."

For men:

"Men don't want to be treated like children, and if you correct him, he'll feel like you're mothering him," says Patricia Covalt, PhD
"Instead, ignore him when he's being obnoxious, and give him some PDA (think a kiss or a tap on the bottom) when he's acting sweet. Since guys, like dogs, aim to please, he'll instinctively begin to avoid the behavior that makes you freeze him out."

I guess she thinks it's more respectful to treat a man like a dog, I'm guessing. She goes on to say

Timing is crucial. Be sure to reward him at the exact moment he engages in a positive behavior; otherwise, he won't be able to make the appropriate connection.

Yeah, we're dumb that way. Like dogs, we don't understand words. Sheesh.

3. He Bolts When You Argue

She suggests to treat him like a horse by "keeping a cool head".

For horses:

Beneath the powerful stallion exterior lies a skittish animal. "That's why they generally respond well to a calming voice and touch from trainers," says Patricia Barlow-Irick

For men

Like horses, men seem to be hardwired to want to bolt at the first sound of irritation. So even if he's been working your last nerve, try to approach him in a cool, collected manner. Place your hand on his as you speak. Not only does this buffer the blow of your words, but it also mimics the comforting way a trainer strokes a horse's mane to calm the animal down.

I'm surprised she didn't suggest the woman say, "Easy, boy!" while doing this. I suppose it never occurred to this woman the reason many men remove themselves from arguments is to avoid saying something in the heat of anger that we might regret saying later.

4. He Stands His Ground

In other words, he has an opinion of his own.

She suggests you treat a man like a cougar by "using proper body language"

For cougars

"Instead of trying to submit or dominate a cougar, trainers try to form a cooperative relationship," says Sutherland. They walk tall with squared-off shoulders. This stance ensures that the trainers don't look like prey but they're not threatening either."

For men

"The best way to stay on equal ground is to stand with good posture, your head up, and an open frame so he sees you as being on the same level as he is. This way, he'll be more apt to want to talk things through with you," says Wood.

Good luck with that. If I'm convinced of my opinion, all the good posture in the world won't change that. You'd have to come up with a reasonable argument to have a chance of that.

5. He Won't Drag Himself Off the Couch

She suggests to treat him like a lion by "approaching him at the right time".

For lions:

Lions are, in a word, lazy. According to trainers, they sleep for up to 20 hours a day and only move when they see it as beneficial to themselves. "That's why we make use of the animal's active time instead of trying to force it into doing something it doesn't want to when it's chilling."

For men:

"You have to gauge when he's in a productive mood and then pounce to get him to do what you want. Motivate him by making it worth his while. When you feel like you haven't been able to have a heart-to-heart but he's in a coma in front of the TV, try plying him with his favorite snack. If his cravings for the food outweigh his interest in the TV, he'll eventually cave."

Yeah, we're incapable of getting our own snacks and returning to watching TV, you know.

6. He's Not Romantic

She suggests to treat him like an elephant by "taking baby steps".

For the elephant

These mammals can learn a variety of tasks but only on an incremental timeline.

For the man

He's not hardwired to plan out the little details. So if you can't remember the last time he put together a romantic night for you both, you'll have to show him the way.

Again, we're dumb that way. We can't get the big picture; we have to be led every step of the way.

So, there you have it. Men are not rational human beings worthy of respectful, honest, or direct communication. Instead, we're nothing more than an amalgam of chimpanzees, dogs, horses, cougars, lions, and elephants -- we're just big, dumb animals who must be manipulated as such.

I can just see the fur flying if there was an article advising men to treat women in a similar manner.

If any woman tried to "handle" me by manipulating me by viewing me as a trainable animal, her ass would be at the curb so fast her head would spin. To get respect, you have to give it and I guarantee that treating a man like a big dumb animal isn't the way to do it.

I much prefer women who are honest and direct when communicating their needs to me. Of course, that won't guarantee that I'll always dance to her tune, but it does generate respect from me, along with the lust, and sometimes, love.


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