The bore of the sexes

Women don’t understand there’s a very good reason why men are “boring”:

Recently, at a friend’s 40th birthday dinner, I sat between an advertising executive who expounded on his son’s musical talent and academic promise, and a commercial lawyer who was keen to drum home the possessive in the phrase “my team”. By pudding, I wanted to push back my chair and introduce them. “John, meet Josh. You’ve a lot in common. He’s an insufferable bore as well.” In the car afterwards, I asked my partner – who, as usual, had been a mainly silent presence – how his evening had been. Did he answer? It was blood from a stone if he did.

I find it very, very amusing when women complain about men being boring. Nine times out of ten, perhaps ninety-nine times out of a hundred, this says more about the woman’s inability to amuse herself or be interesting than it does about the men of whom she’s complaining. Women don’t seem to understand that the boredom goes both ways more often than not, and that frequently the reason the guy has nothing to say to you because he knows that you’re no more interested in his interests than he is in yours. My Dad is not the funniest guy in the world, but he had me in hysterics one evening when he and my mother arrived home from a big charity ball and I asked him how it had been.

“I was sitting between [chatty woman X] and [chatty woman Y]. Now I know what Hell is like.”

Women are interested in gossip and relationships. They’ll unhesitatingly launch into long and involved minutae about people you’ve never met, heard of, or care about within five minutes of meeting you. Men are interested in ideas and accomplishments. They’ll furiously lecture you about something you’ve never heard of, thought about, or care about before they’ve even told you their name. These are general statements, to be sure, but they hold true a lot more often than they don’t. If you want to be a good conversationalist with the opposite sex, then you need to be able to ask questions about things that normally hold zero interest for you. If you’re a really good male conversationalist, three-quarters of the women of your acquaintance should have no idea what you do for a living or what more than one or two of your primary interests are. If you’re a really good female conversationalist, three-quarters of the men of your acquaintance should have no idea what any of your siblings or relatives are called.

(Actually, they don’t anyhow, but only because they haven’t heard a word you said. The point is that they shouldn’t have had to ignore your pointless genealogy in the first place.)

So, women, if you find yourself being ever so charming and delightful to a boring guy who doesn’t have much to say to you, keep in mind that there’s a very good chance he’s thinking “Won’t this idiot airhead ever shut up about her sister’s cousin’s niece’s grandson? Sweet Natural Selection, take me now!”

The reason guys used to be charming is because they wanted something from you. They were flirting with you and motivated to entertain you. A married man or guy who is uninterested for any other reason isn’t going to bother; if you’re not going to meet him halfway, then why shouldn’t he abandon you to your own devices?