Since both Ann Landers AND Dear Abby are now deceased (RIP, cool gals), I feel like I can step in and offer the interhappenings a few slices of hard-won or completely-made-up wisdom. I know, I know...I can hear you all whooshing this huge sigh of relief while exclaiming, "Oh, THANK THE LORD! There just aren't enough people on the internet giving advice to me! What a blessing to find someone so generous of spirit and arrogant of character as to offer their utterly-unwanted musings on life! Hallelujah!"

Because of and despite this, I'm going to go ahead and lay this funky trip on you. This knowledge is something you can use every day, and is handy as eff. If you remember it and adjust your expectations accordingly, you will save yourself possibly YEARS of confusion and frustration. Seriously. OK, here it comes.


If a MAN tells you something NEGATIVE about himself, BELIEVE IT.

If a WOMAN tells you something NEGATIVE about herself, DO NOT BELIEVE IT.

Why is this so? I shall explain.

Men are socially conditioned from birth to be winners. Winners know that in order to win, they must never show weakness to anyone, lest competitors use that knowledge to take advantage and beat them out of a job, a mate, or a week's worth of buffalo meat. Winners also know that sometimes they must "fake it to make it," therefore men also have a tendency to over-inflate their skills and accomplishments in order to impress others. They do this so often that sometimes they are not even fully aware that they are either bragging or lying, or at the very least, omitting truthful crucial information.

Women are socially conditioned to be nice. There are heavy and very real penalties for women who don't present a sweet and accommodating temperament to the world. If they try to do the whole "winners" thing, they are labeled "hard," "cold," "unfeminine," or the classic, "a bitch." If they tout their accomplishments or skills, they are "uppity," "too forward," "pushy," or "a bitch." Women get socially rewarded by both men and other women by being self-effacing and modest. They will most often underplay any positive quality about themselves, or even attribute negative qualities to themselves that are simply untrue. It's the human equivalent to a dog with lower pack status rolling over on his back and/or peeing in front of an alpha dog.


Take all those wimpy denials of competence from women with a forklift of salt. They are often just shields to avoid the harsh backlash of social disapproval, and is a weakness of a particularly insidious, self-fulfilling, and sad kind.


If a guy makes a point of telling you something unflattering about himself, LISTEN UP, because he is actually handing you a RED FLAG that you need to pay attention to. It's kind of a heads-up so much later on when you are freaked out by something awful he did, he can say, "'s not like I didn't tell you..." and then can avoid the uncomfortable emotions of responsibility and/or dreaded loserdom.


There. It seems like we all should have moved past this Neanderthal stuff years ago, and in some ways we have, but at the core of things, this is still in force. Do be aware of it, and be aware of it in yourselves. Do be do be do.

With love, your Internet Friend,

Dear Mariannelanders