Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Dear Prudence, Won't You Open Up Your Eyes?

Since my last post seems to have been linked-to all over the internet, I've been a little hesitant to post anything new. Can I top that? Are people actually going to be reading this now? Shit.

Now, add to that my recent experience in a local Coldstone where some fourteen year old girl tried to hit on me (I'm serious). Yeah, it was cute that she thought she could flirt with a guy ten years older than her...I smiled and left the store, slightly laughing to myself. That didn't freak me out.

What freaked me out was when telling this story to my friends, they all said I should have made sure she was fourteen and not a really young looking eighteen year old.


Anyway, I figured I'd complain today about bad relationship advice:

Slate.com's Dear Prudence column recently posted a piece of outrageously bad advice.

Some woman wrote in claiming that her boyfriend is a "genius" and that she always loses in arguments to him because he sees everything logically and rational, and she feels like she always has to compromise.

My boyfriend and I are both in our early 20s and have been dating for three years. We have a really strong relationship in almost every way, and I can't imagine being with anyone else. But here's the rub: My boyfriend is a genius. In so many ways, I love this about him. He challenges me to think about things, I am constantly learning, and he is always honest and rational. Unfortunately, these last two qualities have caused a bit of strain. I consider myself a very intelligent person also—nowhere near his level, but I've always felt confident academically. This sometimes takes a hit when I am around him. I rarely win arguments because I simply can't keep up with him. In matters of politics or world issues, this can be frustrating, but it doesn't really raise my ire. However, sometimes his argumentative style and calculating rationale are applied to our relationship. In many situations, I feel as though I am the one who has to compromise because he always wins the argument. I know my positions are reasonable, but I just can't articulate them as well as he does. I have talked to my boyfriend about this, but I think he has a hard time seeing my point of view—that though my feelings may not always be logical or rational, they are still valid. Am I being unreasonable for wanting a little bit of slack, or should I just accept that I'm dating Dr. Manhattan and let it go?

She's making a legitimate complaint here, one which "Prudie" does hit upon (slightly). He isn't really as intelligent as he claims if he can't see her feelings; if he doesn't realize that being a "genius" also means knowing when to shut up and letting other people be victorious. He needs to learn emotional intelligence.

Now I'm no advice column writer, but I'm sure I could write a well-written response to this girl, pointing out my above answers, and also explaining to her that she doesn't need to feel emotionally belittled by him (his constant parading of intelligence has made her second guess her self-worth).

If I can do that while not being a professional in this field, surely Prudie can do even better, right?

Well, no.

Prudie decides it would be much better to belittle this girl further, essentially telling her she's an idiot for putting up with him for so long when he obviously has problems (and ones that anyone with a brain can see!).

Did you conclude on your own that your boyfriend is a genius, or is this one of the things he had to articulate to poor, dumb you? I don't know what his IQ is, but his emotional intelligence comes in somewhere around "dolt." I'll take your word that you're dating a virtual Einstein, but take mine that he's an arrogant twit who's got you confusing bullying for brilliance. It's also possible he has some kind of disorder that leaves him unable to process the feelings of others. If so, he should be seeking help, or else he is destined to go through life alienating co-workers, friends, and loved ones like you. Actually, you might want to examine why you have spent three years being told by Mr. Spock that what you say has no validity because it lacks rationality. Mr. Spock and Dr. Manhattan are effective characters because while they seem human, their lack of emotion and empathy means they aren't quite. So give your mastermind a copy of Emotional Intelligence and tell him it's about a subject in which he's deficient, but it's important for the two of you that he learn.

Yes Prudie, that's what the girl needed...someone else telling her that her decisions were neither logical nor rational.

Further, this girl references both Hamlet AND Watchmen in her letter. If her boyfriend doesn't make every effort to keep her, then he really is an idiot.

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