Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Stolen from the Editor's Desk

Stolen from the Editor's Desk: There are a lot of opinion columns, write-in articles, and advice articles in the greater medium of the written word. Virtually none of these advisors are particularly qualified, either. There's nothing to stop them from giving bad advice. Except me. Stolen from the Editor's Desk involves me taking some sort of advice column and tearing it a new one, all for your sake. Bad advice, meet the nerdery.

Seven Things Women Get Hung Up About When It Comes to Guys, But Shouldn't
Excerpts from MSN's lifestyle page, original article by Erin Meanly

1. His Job
What Erin Meanly has to say: "On a superficial level, if you've always imagined yourself the wife of an attorney or politician and he's a used car salesman, get over it. What really matters is that he enjoys his work and has goals."

What the nerdery has to say: Of course it matters what his job is. Enjoying one's work and having goals are not virtues, so it is not 'what really matters'. What if your guy is a pornographer? I'm sure he enjoys it and has goals--icky though they may be--but that doesn't justify his career choice any one bit. If you have a dream of marrying someone with a label, you should probably get over it, but men define themselves by their job, so you absolutely should look at why he does whatever it is he does. You might learn something about him.

4. His table manners
What Erin Meanly has to say: "Unless he eats like a barbarian, don't dismiss the dude because he put his elbows on the table while there was still food out. Manners are only an issue when you're raising kids and you want him to set a good example. You can bring it up then."

What the nerdery has to say: First of all, you should never save an issue for when you're raising kids. You should never save an issue for when you're married. If you notice something while you're dating someone, you definitely should bring it up then, even if it seems trivial. Don't make a bigger deal out of it than it is, but if you sit on it for years before pointing out that watching him eat is like watching an Animal Planet special, he's going to react badly--"If you think I'm a slob, why didn't you bring this up three years ago when we were dating?". Give him time to fix his bad habits by letting him know before it ever becomes an issue.

Secondly, way to perpetuate damaging stereotypes against barbarians, Erin Meanly. I'm sure non-Greeks everywhere are slamming battle-axes into tables in political outrage at once more being invoked as the standard of uncivil behavior. Conan should be delivering a summons to you shortly, Erin. And no, it's not a legal summons, barbarians don't play like that. It's a summons to a sand-filled arena ringed with cast-iron spikes the size of rhinoceros horns. Remember, go for the legs, but whatever you do, don't make any cheap shots for the groin--believe it or not, barbarians hold back until you go for gonads.

5. The hangouts he likes
What Erin Meanly has to say: "So he frequents divey, dodgy, immature places and it worries you. These establishments don't fit in with an image you want to project. Perhaps you want him to settle down and you think he's going to regress to spring break mode. But exchanging ribs and beer for filet mignon and consomme won't make him grow up. So choose your battles."

What the nerdery has to say: Relationship columnists like to use the expression 'choose your battles'. Which, of course, makes perfect sense when you assume that the average reader of romantic advice columns is a twenty-four year-old, war-gaming enthusiast with a deep interest in military history. Wait, it's not? Then why the frak do they use silly expressions that have no concrete meaning? The phrase 'choose your battles' does not mean to completely abandon some and focus on others; it means you should be prepared, rational, and rested when you do fight. If you give in on occasion on something you feel strongly about, only insisting that your man-child stop when it really steams your broccoli, I've got news for you: that's the definition of a relational pyrrhic victory. Look it up. Anyways, the key to a good relationship is the key to a good military campaign, be deliberate, be proactive, and invest heavily in the conflicts that matter most to you.

Oh, and Erin Meanly did a pretty good job: only 3 out of 7 of her pieces of advice fell under the swift sword of the nerdery. That's at least weatherman-level performance.

So says the nerdery.

If you witness bad pieces of advice being foisted upon the innocent readers of the world, let me know, and it might show up on future Stolen from the Editor's Desk features.

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