Abstract: The psychology of why men should believe women are always right. Sometimes…
My wife has a habit of being right all the time. Part of it’s because she has multiple degrees, a searing intellect, a virtually photographic memory, and three best-selling books to her name; but it’s mainly because she’s a woman. What she and other women don’t know though, is why this is so, and especially now.
Before I explain everything I must plead guilty to the anticipated charge of generalisation. This is purely because of deadlines – I can’t account for the behaviour and opinion of all women and still write it up in time for you to read it.
There are three reasons why women are always right, sometimes; and interestingly science has a part to play in it, again, sometimes.
Firstly, women are always right because you can’t argue with them. This is because they don’t like to bother themselves with the trivialities of rationality.
It’s a known fact that women entertain flaky and unscientific concepts such as astrology, destiny and superstition. The proof is there in black and white: you’ll find astrology pages in Cosmo, Marie Claire and Destiny, but not in Sports Illustrated, GQ or Soccer World. There’s nothing wrong with astrology, just as long as no one thinks it’s real.
‘Destiny’ is another one of those ‘new-agey’ concepts typically embraced by women, where they’ll always right be right. This is because it is provable only by hindsight. Example: “Don’t they make a beautiful couple? It was their destiny to be together.” It’s hard to argue with this because you can’t prove otherwise. So it’s easier just to agree.
Of course men can use this to their advantage by knowing what time the rugby’s on TV (but feigning ignorance); presetting the correct channel in advance; then sitting down at the appropriate time, switching on the TV, and when the rugby ‘miraculously’ appears on the screen, saying, “it must be my destiny to watch it”.
My wife likes to say, “Things happen for a reason”. She is, of course, right; and science supports her on this. Nothing in this world is spontaneous: That crack that’s just appeared on the wall? That’s not spontaneous; it’s possibly a result of shifting foundations. The woman in the car ahead unexpectedly turning left? That was caused by her panicky realisation that she was going in the wrong direction. And the accident that’s just occurred in the road ahead? That was caused by a woman suddenly turning left.
But just because something is unexpected, doesn’t make it spontaneous. Scientists call this cause and effect, and nature is full of it. A seed doesn’t just burst into bloom. It is the result of a chemical reaction within the seed. So things do happen for a reason – but because of cause and effect – not because of any purpose. However, I’m not going to argue with my wife on this one. Her rationale may be whimsical, but it’s what makes her adorable.
Superstitions also can’t be argued with, because some of them do have an element of reason to them. My wife often says, “Don’t put your shoes on the table, it’s bad luck.” I’ve just been stomping round the garden cleaning up after our two Jack Russells, so I’m not going to gamble with luck by contaminating the table top with whatever’s smeared underneath.
The second reason why women are always right is because it’s often not worth arguing with them. That’s because they are sometimes captains of the seemingly trivial. How many wedding plans have ground to a halt over disputations around the colour of napkins and the choice of hors d’oeuvres? It’s not worth arguing over such trivialities when children are dying of hunger somewhere; and, besides, the rugby’s about to come on TV.
Another example of such trivialities is what to wear for a particular occasion. My wife, who has been dressing herself since she was about two years old, still feels it necessary to ask me if what she’s wearing is suitable. I have no problem with this except she will invariably ask me five minutes before I’m supposed to drop her off at the airport, which is a little over 10 minutes away.
This is not an occasion for debate, and certainly not a time for disagreement. It is just one of those many moments when a husband has to agree, but not with a dismissive “that’s fine, darling”. Oh no. It has to be done with carefully selected phrases such as, “I think it makes you look elegant, sophisticated, and quite sexy…why don’t you and I…” at which point she’ll rush things along and say, “Don’t be silly – we’ll be late.” She’ll been proven right in her selection of clothes, and you’ll speed things up a little. Everyone wins.
The third reason why women are always right is because, right now, they just need to be, OK? The London Olympics have just started, and that means hours and hours of exciting sport on TV, specifically those that cater to the tastes of real men: football, shot putt and women’s beach volleyball. This requires negotiating extra time in front of the TV, or to put it another way, not being quarrelsome.
So men, no matter how illogical or seemingly trivial your girlfriend or wife’s argument may be, just agree.
Just don’t tell her why.
Originally published in the Sunday Tribune, 29th July 2012