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It's Not About the Nail
June 5, 2013 4:26 PM   Subscribe

Don't try to fix it. I just need you to listen.
posted by Cool Papa Bell (96 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

 
What did I just watch?
Seriously.
posted by daq at 4:40 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Liked it. Felt like part of a series though.
posted by Faintdreams at 4:44 PM on June 5, 2013


I laughed but I can't help but read it as a somewhat sexist denial of people's experiences and needs. It says to me, "Even when the issue is very clear the woman doesn't 'get' it."
posted by wemayfreeze at 4:44 PM on June 5, 2013 [22 favorites]


Oh daq, don't you see? Women are irrational, and only mansplaining can fix our problems, cause our poor wee brains just want to talk and talk, but never solve real problems. We are just too silly. It's a good thing we have men.
posted by dejah420 at 4:45 PM on June 5, 2013 [36 favorites]


...that was uncomfortable.
posted by odinsdream at 4:46 PM on June 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


Some people see a nail where there ain't a nail. Some people can't see that there's a nail where there really is a nail. From the perspective of someone who sees a nail, this is what it feels like.
posted by Longtime Listener at 4:47 PM on June 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


"Don't try to fix it. I just need you to listen." Every man has heard these words. And they are the law of the land. No matter what.

i am a man. i have never heard these words.

and yah, straight up sexist.
posted by jammy at 4:47 PM on June 5, 2013 [17 favorites]


I'm not 100% sure this is universally a man-woman thing. I've had similar conversations with my SO, which made me laugh, anyway. People can have different expectations about communication.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:48 PM on June 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yes, a little frustrating that it underlines stereotypical male/female roles, but I'm not sure that was the point. I'm a woman, and in my relationship with a male partner, he is definitely the one saying "It's not about the nail!" I still thought this was pretty hilarious and identified with it easily.
posted by samthemander at 4:48 PM on June 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


From the perspective of someone who sees good comedy, this ain't what it feels like.
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:48 PM on June 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


lolwomen

great.
posted by edheil at 4:49 PM on June 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


And who would that person be?
posted by smidgen at 4:49 PM on June 5, 2013


My whole professional life has been, "If there is a problem, fix it." People ask me a question and I have to have an answer or find the answer. But . . .

This is one of the most difficult things for me in relationships with women. I want to grab a hammer and pull the nail. But sometimes, I have to wait for her to pull the nail, or wait till it falls out on its' own.
posted by ITravelMontana at 4:51 PM on June 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


Well now I feel bad for hitting that rat with a poker and throwing it out.
posted by Artw at 4:55 PM on June 5, 2013


I mean, I get that some people (and no, it is not limited to women, AT ALL), just want someone to listen to them gripe about how things are for them, and that has it's place. However, when something is as obvious and "simple" to fix, I have a really, really, really hard time accepting that I _must_ just listen and allow that person to take up my time and energy because they want me to sit on my hands or not say anything that might be constructive. I get that some people feel that they need affirmation from others that their particular perspective is valuable. Hell, I do that myself, a lot, sometimes, and it probably frustrates the hell out of those close to me.

But this? This makes me feel like the 'message' is to completely failing to see that sometimes, maybe, possibly, just a little bit, that person with the nail in their head needs to shut up, listen to what the other person is saying, and try, just fucking try to see that the other person might feel that you are taking them for granted by asking them to keep pretending that all you really need is someone to be a sycophant, rather than, you know, a whole person who might care about you and want to help, if it is at all possible.

Maybe I'm also reading the context wrong. I'm going to ignore the sexism (because really, wow, the bad man is touching me wrong), but this just slaps of the same "reasoning" that allows so much neurotic behavior to really fuck up interpersonal communication. And maybe, just maybe, there might be other reasons that the guy wants her to take the nail out of her head, like, you know, getting poked in the eye every time he tries to kiss her. Sure, that's awfully selfish of him, but by making that change, which only affects him some of the time, all these things that are affecting her all of the time might go away. But I guess that is ruining her autonomy or something. Though, allegorically, it could also be that the only way the nail can be removed is if the woman, herself, wants it removed. Kind of zen, in that manner. But her refusal to allow her partner to attempt to help her achieve enlightenment just makes me sad for both of them.

Plate of beans. I overthink them.
posted by daq at 4:56 PM on June 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


My wife uses those exact words. Except not usually about a nail in her head, that's only happened a couple of times.
posted by Hoopo at 4:56 PM on June 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


I hear white people dance weird.
posted by fleacircus at 4:56 PM on June 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


Vimeo staff pick? Wow.
posted by jessamyn at 4:57 PM on June 5, 2013 [17 favorites]


Also, I don't this really fits under the guise of "mansplaining" -- or is a particularly gender related thing. It's a relationship thing in the general sense.

We've all had situations where we have to bite our tongue. Struggling artist friends who complain about it, but are struggling for a reason is one of the canonical examples. Unless they ask, it's usually not a good idea to give an opinion.

I think of "mansplaining" as the sexist action of explaining things to women you wouldn't attempt to explain to men in the same position. E.g. Treating professional women like idiots. This does not fall into that category. This is a problem (but not a fatal one) I have with the term "mansplaining" actually -- it's *not* whenever a man explains something to a woman unnecessarily -- but the term obfuscates that for people (who don't look up the definition on the internet) in a mildly sexist way.
posted by smidgen at 5:02 PM on June 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


If someone has a foreign body lodged in them DO NOT PULL IT OUT!

They WILL bleed to death on the spot sometimes.

Really.

Call an ambulance.
posted by poe at 5:04 PM on June 5, 2013 [50 favorites]


Actually, I think that might be the real metaphor here. The man thinks he can fix the woman, the woman thinks the man just needs to listen, metafilter thinks everyone is sexist, vimeo is looking for pageviews...

What really is needed is professional medical attention.
posted by poe at 5:07 PM on June 5, 2013 [89 favorites]


It would have been funnier if they had switched the genders (and taken the characters seriously, not in a 'it's funny cuz he's acting like a chick!' way). You lose the gender issue but keep the different needs.
posted by wemayfreeze at 5:07 PM on June 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


A bit long, for a piece of metal, but sharp nonetheless.
posted by Smart Dalek at 5:09 PM on June 5, 2013


When you only have the one tool,* everything is going to look like a thing that's solved with that tool.

*Or when you are, in fact, a tool.
posted by headnsouth at 5:09 PM on June 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


If you resist the urge to over think it (I know, wrong crowd) it's a mildly funny skit.

Of course I'm a person who chooses who he shares his problems with based on what sort of response he wants. I've never quite understood why you would syeek emotional support from a fixer or vice versa.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 5:13 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


This world is the nail. The man and the woman each represent a different faction of terrible, ancient gods who conduct eons-long, universe-obliterating hell-wars, in vast dimensions beyond the reach of our pathetic human perception.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:17 PM on June 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


i am a man. i have never heard these words.

I have heard this sentiment fairly often. But never from men.

It does make me wonder: do I treat men differently, have more respect and empathy for them, or do men frame problems differently, and so signal what they want? ("my boss is a jerk," rather then "I feel bad about what happened with me and my boss").
posted by zippy at 5:23 PM on June 5, 2013


a little frustrating that it underlines stereotypical male/female roles,

I read it as a straight up parody of those stereotypical male/female roles and thought it was pretty amusing in those terms.

But I seem to have lost track of the difference between parody and real life ever since the Bush administration, so what do I know. I mean: Tao Lin exists now, for example, and somebody named Snookie is apparently a real thing too, so, really, who can explain anything anymore? Nobody, that's who. Nobody.

c'mon, "all my sweaters are snagged" didn't make you at least a chuckle a little bit?
posted by ook at 5:37 PM on June 5, 2013 [11 favorites]


I'm completely torn by this, because I can't figure out if I think it emphasizes stereotypical gender roles or laceratingly satirizes them.
posted by scrump at 5:42 PM on June 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've heard the sentiment from men and women, and from what I've seen it's usually someone who knows damn well what's really wrong, but they're not trying to talk about that, they're trying to articulate the rage it's causing them to someone who cares. If you absolutely can't resist the urge to try to "fix" something, try suggesting a mutual activity that blows off steam or gets their mind off of it so they get some breathing room to actually deal with the root problem when they're ready.
posted by jason_steakums at 5:42 PM on June 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure it's about framing it differently. I think it happens equally across gender lines, but the response to "not listening" is different between men & women. Men seem to respond to the implied insult rather than the lack of empathy. Often, it seems what women refer to as a "sensitive ego" in a man is exactly that. She's offering to fix, while he wants her to listen.

So, even if you just switch the "fixer" role in the skit, there's going to be different kind of exchange. More along the lines of "I'm not an *idiot*, I know I have a nail in my head!" In this case, he would be an idiot, but that's part of the humor.
posted by smidgen at 5:44 PM on June 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, PRO TIPS FROM A HAS-BEEN PARAMEDIC:Above all, DO NOT EVER PULL OUT AN EMBEDDED OBJECT.

Sometimes the embedded object is the only thing maintaining blood vessel integrity, and if the blood vessel is an artery, the person can bleed to death between the time you hear the ambulance's siren and it arrives at your house.

The More You Know ☆彡

PeopleAreHorribleFilter: I once saw a family, the same family that contained both the assilant and the victim, start shouting at an ED nurse about where the knife had gotten off to because it was an expensive knife and, goddamnit, don't you people try to steal it.
posted by scrump at 5:52 PM on June 5, 2013 [180 favorites]


JESUS CHRIST THERE'S PLATES OF BEANS EVERYWHERE I DON'T EVEN DID A FARM EXPLODE
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:53 PM on June 5, 2013 [24 favorites]


*Bpppppppppppppppbbbt*
posted by smidgen at 5:53 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Simon and Garfunkle: I'd rather be a hammer than a nail.
posted by Postroad at 5:54 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


PeopleAreHorribleFilter: I once saw a family, the same family that contained both the assilant and the victim, start shouting at an ED nurse about where the knife had gotten off to because it was an expensive knife and, goddamnit, don't you people try to steal it.

So, uh... how's your new knife?
posted by jason_steakums at 5:55 PM on June 5, 2013 [16 favorites]


smidgen: "Also, I don't this really fits under the guise of "mansplaining" -- or is a particularly gender related thing. It's a relationship thing in the general sense. "

Really? I mean in the description it says, "Every man has heard these words."
posted by brundlefly at 6:01 PM on June 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


The male version would be a guy with a nail in his forehead who holds a hammer and repeatedly hammers the nail deeper into his skull.
"Why are you doing that?" says the woman.
"Don't worry, honey, I've got it under control," says the man as he swings the hammer into his head.
"Why don't you just stop hitting the nail?" she says. "You're scaring the children."
"Listen, my father hammered a nail into his head, and he had it way worse off than we do. Are you saying my father was an idiot?"
"No, I'm just saying that –"
"IT'S FINE," says the man. "THERE'S NO PROBLEM."
He cracks a beer and they watch Netflix in silence, sitting on opposite sides of the sofa.

FIN
posted by deathpanels at 6:02 PM on June 5, 2013 [34 favorites]


sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
posted by lampshade at 6:12 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


A fun and simple game: use the comments in this thread to identify the people that harbor a secret, resentful fear that they've been the nail-headed person before.
posted by dephlogisticated at 6:16 PM on June 5, 2013


A fun and simple game: use the comments in this thread to identify the people that harbor a secret, resentful fear that they've been the nail-headed person before.

I would be really surprised if anyone hasn't at one point in time.
posted by jason_steakums at 6:18 PM on June 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


The "every man has heard these words" bit is unfortunate. I've been the 'listener' in many relationships. Damn sure I've had a nail at times too.
posted by Catch at 6:18 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


This puts the character Pinhead from Hellraiser in a completely different light....
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:21 PM on June 5, 2013 [3 favorites]




This is certainly reinforcing sexist stereotypes, which, like many stereotypes, may have a foot in the truth but are lazy reductive shorthand that keep people from examining more deeply the underlying reasons why things are the way they are. My Limbaugh-loving brother put this on FB a few days ago, and I just know how he saw it. "Ha! Women!"
posted by Red Loop at 6:25 PM on June 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Huh, my agency hired that actress to be in a commercial for Kelly-Moore paints recently. She was very professional, and quite nice as well.
posted by Pecinpah at 6:27 PM on June 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


AskMe- I've been having splitting headaches for the past week, as well as visual irregularities, a weird taste, dizziness, and general sleepiness. I should probably see a doctor, but for now I need to know how to work through these issues and focus on just being able to get through my daily life. Note: there is a nail embedded in my forehead, but I do not think that it is related to the headaches, and I am not interested in responses that mention this.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:34 PM on June 5, 2013 [39 favorites]


Earlier I said some people can't see a nail that is really there, which is true. But in this case they both acknowledge the nail. It's only a question of whether the nail is the cause of the problems. I've known a few nailheads. The nailhead who insisted the steroids were not messing up his personality. The nailhead who insisted the tottering high heels were not causing her foot and back problems.

I wonder how many times I've seen a nail and failed to consider that maybe it's not really the problem that it appears to be. Maybe she has a brain tumor. Maybe she bangs her head into things a lot. The nail could be a decoration that's only stuck onto her head like ... um, like the prop in the video. OK, I've finished my beans. Can I go out and play now?
posted by Longtime Listener at 6:34 PM on June 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Of course it's a gender thing.
posted by professor plum with a rope at 6:35 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


If someone has a foreign body lodged in them DO NOT PULL IT OUT!

Seriously, Peggy!
posted by Sys Rq at 6:36 PM on June 5, 2013 [7 favorites]


Never going to lose the keys again.
posted by arcticseal at 6:49 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's sexist, but I can definitely empathize with that guy...
posted by diogenes at 6:49 PM on June 5, 2013


My local radio station never made it about the nail either. They just wanted me to listen. And win. By being the 9th caller. And responding with the phrase that pays. And that phrase wasn't, "It's not about the nail." In that case, I'm pretty sure it was about the busy signal. And the crappy repeated songs and extended commercials. So I stopped listening.
posted by tservo at 6:51 PM on June 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Am I right in thinking that the the bloke playing the guy is also the writer / director? Because if so that somewhat multiplies the already heavy axe grindy vibe to this.
posted by lucidium at 7:00 PM on June 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I find it easier to not have any solutions for anyone whatsoever.
posted by Brocktoon at 7:13 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


[Comment removed. Folks maybe act like you're aware that women hold up half of MetaFilter?]
posted by jessamyn at 7:16 PM on June 5, 2013 [18 favorites]


I was at a powder coating shop today, and they had coated pink a bunch of pry bars, and thought of this video.
posted by dubwisened at 7:19 PM on June 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


My wife thought this was hilarious. She has a different but related problem where she gives her friends advice, who think it's brilliant, but they come back to her with the same problem weeks later because they don't follow it. I tell her that most people don't really want to change—they have what Freud calls the unconscious compulsion to repeat.

If you really want to help, of course it's not as simple as telling someone to pull out the nail. And the people who pride themselves on being supportive and sympathetic are probably kidding themselves about how strong they are when shit really hits the fan in someone's life—I've seen plenty of naive, well-meaning people who advertise themselves as supportive, but suddenly aren't around in dire circumstances. People are attached to their traumas, the real trick is to get them to confront that.
posted by AlsoMike at 7:25 PM on June 5, 2013 [9 favorites]


sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

True enough, but sometimes it's une pipe. So there you have it.
posted by heyho at 7:28 PM on June 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


That was evidently a reenactment of every other argument my wife and I have ever had in the nearly 25 years we've been together.

Dare I say...nailed it.
posted by hwestiii at 7:43 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Don't ya think I'd have gotten the nail removed by now if it was that simple? I mean it is right in the middle of my forehead. Obviously I've noticed it. Do you think I'm some kind of idiot? Do you have such a low regard for me, that you think I'm oblivious to the goddammed nail stuck in my forehead. I don't want to talk to you about the nail, because fuck the nail. I've got doctors and surgeons and nurses talking to me about this stupid nail. My mom is calling me for nail updates on the hour. If I wanted to talk about the nail, I'll bring it up.
posted by humanfont at 7:49 PM on June 5, 2013 [19 favorites]


Metafilter: a guy with a nail in his forehead who holds a hammer and repeatedly hammers the nail deeper into his skull.
posted by salishsea at 8:01 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


"See, if I'm thirsty, I don't want a glass of water, I want you to sympathize. I want you to say, 'Gloria, I too know what it feels like to be thirsty. I too have had a dry mouth.' I want you to connect with me through sharing and understanding the concept of dry mouthedness."
posted by bpm140 at 8:13 PM on June 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


The thing is, and a few comments have touched on this, when a person is upset and emotional, it is not the time for problem solving. It only agitates and increases the emotion, and you can't solve a problem when you're emotional.

So just listen. Whether they're crying or shouting, just listen. Let them work through some of the emotion, and later, when things have calmed down, you can maybe help them try to find some better ways to handle whatever it was.

And yes, stereotypically, men have a hard time with this. I know I do. I just want to fix everything for you right now. I have to remind myself that that's not always what you need or want. I found the video funny and true, but not because of "Dumb girl with a nail in her head," but because of "Dumb guy who won't listen when she specifically says, 'Please, just listen.'" I've been that guy.
posted by LEGO Damashii at 9:00 PM on June 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


She is not everywoman and he is not everyman. That was a cute video.
posted by asra at 9:03 PM on June 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


This is great comedy. Understandably, if you're female, it has the potential to trigger outrage. But perhaps try to consider that someone in a "relationship skit" is often male, and the other is often female, just by chance if you will. You can switch them just to buck stereotypes - you can make them both male or both female to hit that queer sweet spot where you get those hot bonuses that reassure literally everyone that they're okay - hell, you can make both of them trannies (hey, this is getting good!) ...or you can write it the way you see it, because that's been your experience. Or you can roll the dice and say, "Hm, it came out female with nail in the head. Shall I change it just so people don't feel outraged?" Doesn't make the humor any less valid or less funny. All genders have members of the nail-in-the-head type. And these actors play this to a T.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 9:09 PM on June 5, 2013


Well that was a pretty disdainful and sexist thing that I watched I guess.
posted by threeants at 9:18 PM on June 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Vimeo's visitors are apparently evenly split between men and women, but the positive comments on the video look like they're at least 90% male. Not exactly a good sign.
posted by Wemmick at 9:22 PM on June 5, 2013


I thought it was funny and relatable, in the sense that many of us have listened to a friend or loved one kvetching at length about some problem, when the solution seemed blindingly obvious to us. But I do kind of wish that they had switched the genders, or made the characters both women or something. As it is, it can be read as this unfortunate "women, amirite?" thing, when (as other people have pointed out) this is hardly a universal female trait, and it's something plenty of men do too. I am really, really not a fan of "gendered" comedy, with jokes about how guys are all like this and women are all like that... Taken as that sort of comedy, I think this sucks. But if you see it as something more universal, the frustration of listening to somebody who would rather complain about a problem than address it, I think it works well.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 9:25 PM on June 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


Yeah this film struck me as familiar. Let's try that in the real world.

One day I just get home from work and my phone rings, it's my ex-girlfriend. She lives nearby.

exgf: Help! Come over right NOW I need help!
Me: What?
exgf: No time for that, you'll see when you get here, it's an emergency.

I rush over. I come in and she's laying on the carpet holding her foot, and blood is all over the carpet.

Me: Holy SHIT what happened?
exgf: I was doing the dishes and I dropped a pizza cutter right on my toe! It's been half an hour and it won't stop bleeding!
Me: Well let me look at it. Holy SHIT you are cut right through to the bone! You need stitches. We're going to the emergency room right NOW. I'll go in your kitchen and get a plastic bag to put your foot in so you don't bleed all over my car. And hey I just happen to have a club soda in my jacket pocket, isn't that handy, I'll just pour this on the bloody carpet, maybe it will lift these blood stains...
edgf: No! I don't want to go to the ER! It will stop bleeding!
Me: If it hasn't stopped by now, you need stitches.

Over the next half hour, I got into an intense debate with exgf about whether she needed to go to the ER or not. She refused to go, and just to prove she was right, she decided ask for a second opinion, which would surely agree with her. She phoned her mom, a nurse. Mom said go to the ER immediately. She didn't like that opinion, so she called her idiot exhusband. He said no, just put some duct tape on it, it will be fine, he duct taped up lots of open wounds when he was in the Army. She says it's two against two, me and her mom say yes, exhusband and exgf say no ER. She wins. She put duct tape around her toe, trying to hold the split toe together. It didn't stop the bleeding. Eventually, I ran out of club soda and patience.

Me: Ok, if you want to go to the ER, just call me and let me know.

By now her 11 year old son is home from school and he is freaking out at all the blood. I figure he knows my phone number, if it gets bad he'll call me, rather than his idiot dad who will just suggest applying more duct tape. I left and went home. Four days later, I ran into her on the street, she's limping towards me..

exgf: Hey you were right, I went to the ER, nine stitches.
Me: Oh really.
exgf: And what did you do to the carpet? The blood stains completely disappeared!
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:43 PM on June 5, 2013 [15 favorites]


I could never imagine this video being made with the genders reversed. Sexist.
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 9:49 PM on June 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


I hate everything about this, and I am far from being the PC-humour-police.

A guy I know (who happens to be married to the most submissive woman on earth, and Loves it That Way) posted this to his FB feed. He tagged as 'Perhaps the greatest description of male/female relationships ever'. Cue reposting by every other guffawing, high-fiving misogynist around.

'Geez, you just try and help those women with a bit of manly logic, but their hormones and stuff make them so irrational. Bless their pretty little heads!'. BARF.
posted by Salamander at 9:56 PM on June 5, 2013 [13 favorites]


Shall I change it just so people don't feel outraged?" Doesn't make the humor any less valid or less funny. All genders have members of the nail-in-the-head type. And these actors play this to a T.

Except we don't live in a vacuum free of gender stereotypes and this is the sort of thing that's been discussed over and over again.
posted by dubusadus at 10:23 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


In my own personal version of this my wife and I both have nails in our heads and we just stare at each other with pained expressions on our faces and then go out for pizza.
posted by Doleful Creature at 10:25 PM on June 5, 2013 [15 favorites]


Oh and would it have killed them to just, you know, switch the pronouns, as they say? The fact that it so obviously plays into stereotype and yet they made zero effort to counter this means that at best they are simply thoughtless and at worse they actively believe this shit.
posted by Doleful Creature at 10:29 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


i thought this was gonna be a good thing

it was not a good thing at all
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 10:37 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


My SO and I have been chatting and laughing about this in bed. Sometimes, one person has to just shut the fuck up and listen while the drama clears. That's just how people are, sometimes.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:38 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


My SO and I have been chatting and laughing about this in bed. Sometimes, one person has to just shut the fuck up and listen while the drama clears. That's just how people are, sometimes.

I think this is true and valuable advice. The insidious quality of this film is that it touches on just what you're saying, but delivers it in a candy coating of sexist junk.
posted by device55 at 10:45 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I can see why this is problematic in a general sense, but this was an eerily accurate summation of roughly all dialogue in a former relationship of mine. I get that sometimes people just need someone to listen to them vent, but when it's the same set of complaints over and over again, it becomes impossible to ignore, to the point where you actually feel dishonest by playing along with the idea that this constant upset/depression/drug addiction/nail in the head/screaming/hitting/etc really isn't a deeper, untreated problem, and really is whatever innocuous daily occurrence they've rationalized it to be after the fact.

I don't think it's an attitude typical of women, just a certain type of person (I've known guys like this too, but as I don't date guys, my personal involvement goes as far as 'alright dude, have fun with that nail then.')
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 10:50 PM on June 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


when a person is upset and emotional, it is not the time for problem solving.

Maybe for you. For me, and other people, if I bring a problem up for discussion, I want a solution. I'm throwing it out for some help. I don't need you to feel my pain. Seriously, if that's what I want, I'll ask.

This is a problem in many of my relationships.

But yeah, the video is sexist.
posted by lumpenprole at 11:17 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I knew this guy who worked in construction. One day he slipped with his nail gun and nailed his hand to a piece of wood. His friends followed the 'do not pull it out' advice and took him, and the piece of wood nailed to his hand to emergency.

The nurse looked down at his hand fully nailed to the piece of wood and looked at him puzzled. "I don't understand," she said.
"You don't understand what?"

"Why didn't you just stop hammering?"
posted by eye of newt at 11:48 PM on June 5, 2013 [43 favorites]


There is no truth to this video. The reverse is in fact true. This video is sexist and bad. No one should laugh at this video. I wish it was about a lesbian or gay couple.
posted by martin10bones at 11:50 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm a Fixer. In my day job, people come to me because they have a problem they need fixed. It's rare for someone to talk to me when they don't have a problem. Sometimes they'll dress it up a bit when we're in the staff room; 'how are you, the weather sucks today. Just as an FYI, sorry to interupt your break but could you just nip and fix this for me?'

I don't mind. It's what I'm there to do. And I'm good at it. So yeah, I tend to see problems as nails. When I can't see a solution, it can stress me out, as I'm looking at this problem, and have no idea how to fix it, and I'm being relied on here - the stuff that ends up on my desk is usually the complex stuff that others have already looked at and scratched their head.

So my wife and I have an agreed system. When it's something she actually wants me to think about, or more often just have an opinion on, she'll let me know. Other times, she just wants to vent about something, and she's not looking to frame it as a problem to be solved.

This works the other way too; I'm learning to express myself in ways when it's not about asking for actual help, but just for emotional support. This is still somewhat foreign to me, as a british man of a certain age who was brought up to have 'stoic' as his middle name.

So if we take the nail as allegory, that there's actually no nail but the guy thinks there is, then it's quite a good representation of discussions I've had with my wife.

If we take it straight though, it's just stupidly sexist.
posted by ArkhanJG at 12:00 AM on June 6, 2013 [11 favorites]


I had an argument with a female friend about this a while back. She's a venter who likes to talk a lot about her problems and how they're affecting her. I, perhaps because of my upbringing, perhaps because I'm a Stereotypical Male, like to solve problems and make them go away. Our conversations used to go something like the video. I'd wonder why she didn't just do the simple thing that would solve the problem and she would complain that I wasn't listening to her. After enough of these conversations, we just decided that we shouldn't have them. She wouldn't bring me a problem and then frustrate me by asking me not to do anything about it, and I wouldn't frustrate her by trying to fix something that didn't warrant fixing.

She later found a friend who handles things in the same way that she does, and later commented that it's a much more pleasant and validating thing to talk to talk to this other friend because this other friend got it in a way that I'm apparently incapable of.

This whole situation reminds me of Ask vs Guess culture, in a way. Two very different methods for handling situations meet, and then there's a lot of misunderstanding on both sides.
posted by Solomon at 2:41 AM on June 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


I like to think that whoever made this short did so just so he could read the metafilter thread about it. I so want to believe that. If so, he hit the....
posted by kidkilowatt at 3:59 AM on June 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


I have a friend - a female friend! - who is very prone to the "why don't you just..." phenomenon. She is trying to help! But almost universally, she is trying to help by cutting you off mid-grumble to instruct you to do something which a) would not in fact help, b) demonstrates that she knows hardly anything about the situation you're in (usually because she's just cut you off thirty seconds into explaining it), and c) makes it sound like she thinks you have the problem-solving capabilities of an amoeba.

"So how did the house-move go?"
"Success! I'm now sitting with my feet up and a glass of wine. Carrying thirty boxes of books up three flights of stairs is hard work on the old muscles, I tell you!"
"Well why didn't you just get movers to do it?"
"Because movers cost a fortune, and I'm broke. It's fine! I'm good! I'm all moved successfully, and I'm enjoying having a rest before the unpacking starts."
"Okay, what you need to do is buy some [weird alternative-medicine lotion] to put on the sore muscles."
"Uh... no, really, it's fine. They're just a bit sore, I'm not injured or anything. So, how's your day going?"
"I've Googled it and there's a shop about ten minutes from you that sells it, it doesn't close for another half an hour."
"Thanks, honestly, but I'm fine. I'm just a bit achy and tired, I'll be fine in an hour or two, and right now I'm really enjoying having a rest with my glass of wine at the end of a long day."
"Well why don't you just go and buy it and then you won't be in pain any more?"

And from her perspective I'm sure this is what it sounds like - you have a really obvious problem, you are telling her about it, and yet you do not seem interested in solving the problem! Even though she's told you what the solution is! So if you're talking to her about something she identifies as a problem, you get a lot of "Well why don't you just tell your boss her behaviour is totally irrational and she needs to work on her team-building skills?" or "So why don't you just tell your neighbour that if he doesn't want the police calling round looking for him, he shouldn't do things that will get their attention?" So sometimes, it is necessary to say "thanks but I'm not looking for you to fix this, I just wanted to bitch about it" when what you actually mean is "I would love a solution, but yours all suck, so please just shut up and sympathise with me."

With her I choose to see this as well-intentioned and sweetly naive, with a side-order of catastrophising the ordinary bumps and pains of getting along in the world. She does come across as though she thinks you're kind of an idiot for not thinking up these totally obvious solutions yourself, and that can be maddening sometimes, but it's nothing she's got against you personally - it's just how she engages with the world. But there is something much, much nastier about it when it comes across as someone genuinely believing that you, by virtue of being female, are incapable of basic problem-solving, and can't possibly have thought of all the obvious solutions that just occurred to them after hearing about the situation for 8 seconds, and therefore must just like to bitch about stuff and not ever actually want to fix anything.

I will reconsider the video if there's a matching one up from the woman's perspective, in which the nail in her head is really part of a surgical frame fixed to her head after a car accident, and she's actually in hospital while all this is taking place, none of which the man notices because he's so fixated on getting her to see the wisdom of just yanking out the nail.
posted by Catseye at 4:26 AM on June 6, 2013 [12 favorites]


There are extremes on either end of this spectrum. Offering unwanted "advice" is obnoxious, but so is endless complaining. I've known people on these extreme ends, and they are indeed maddening. However, every last one of those (thankfully few) people had other...problems...aside from just being overly Venter-y or Fixer-y.

I hope this isn't Dunning-Kruger talking, but I feel like I'm usually pretty good at judging when people just need to express themselves, as opposed to when people are hunting for advice. I feel like most people I know are similarly good at judging this kind of stuff. If the disconnect is truly striking, then that is not the normal state of affairs: Something Has Gone Wrong.

It's one thing if someone consistently fails to deliver a meaningful response, but if there's just a difference and not an intractable chasm, then there's no sense in getting overly irritated over someone just doing what they do. It's not a big deal that people vary on this kind of stuff. If you know that so-and-so is a Venter, then let so-and-so Vent. If you know that Fixer will try to Fix your problem, then remember that Fixer is trying to help out. If you know that there's a difference between you two, then compromise, with yourself compromising first if that makes things smoother.

Or, maybe there are many more extreme people out there than I'd ever realized, and I just don't hang out with any of them, and I'm fine with that.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:46 AM on June 6, 2013


I have a similar disconnect with my SO. When we get home at night she needs to vent and rehash all of the day's drama from work, and cannot understand why I don't want my (let alone her) workplace woes to bleed into our private life.
posted by whuppy at 7:28 AM on June 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Well, to put in my $0.02, my female partner just sent me a link to this saying, "I feel like we've had this conversation many times!" Her 'nail' is caffeine, which usually makes her extremely anxious about everything going on in her life, even in small quantities (decaf). So, she identifies with having this behaviour and I think it made us both smile to see it described in a manner that's both absurd and accurate.
posted by WaylandSmith at 11:36 AM on June 6, 2013


I would like to see a video where she's got a weight draped around her neck and she's clutching it tightly, and little by little as she talks, her muscles relax bit by bit, and she starts to loosen her grip on it, and her partner says things like "that's a bummer" and "I know you can handle it," which relaxes her muscles even more, and at the end of the video she feels so much better having been able to vent and be heard that she is able to just shrug and have the weight slip off her shoulders. Then the partner leans over and kisses her now-exposed neck and she says "tell me about your day." But that wouldn't mock anyone's communication style so what's the fun in that?
posted by headnsouth at 1:36 PM on June 6, 2013 [6 favorites]


I think you want a video where a man is having trouble with an emotional issue but is completely inept in dealing with it.


M: "I had a empty feeling inside so I ate a steak, but I still felt empty."
F: "Perhaps the feeling was emotional rather than a literal emptiness."
M: "Actually I realized I hadn't filled out my toolset so I picked up that 1/2 horsepower cordless drill I've been wanting."
F: "You do remember that your Mother died last week right?"
M: "No, that's not it. A new car! A little red sporty thing! Can we buy one?"
F: "How would you feel if we did? Would that help the emptiness?"
M: "Forget the emptiness! I want a shiny red car!"


Of course this does feature the woman attempting to fix the man's problem, but men are stereotypically unable to process emotions so it'll work out themematically.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 2:57 PM on June 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


I have had this conversation with my husband. However, there was no nail. I do a job that he doesn't entirely understand, and when I'm bitching about some weird co-op shit that's going on with the cover of my book, none of the suggestions that he helpfully makes to fix it will actually fix it. They are well-meaning but completely useless suggestions.

I finally told him after one such frustrating vent session that I don't need him to tell me how to take a shower, I just need him to hand me a @(#)* loofah. Now when I vent about random dumb stuff from my job, he listens, hugs me, and says, "Here's your loofah." We both smile; we're both happy.

Short version: just because you think there's a nail doesn't mean there is.
posted by headspace at 7:55 PM on June 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Short version: just because you think there's a nail doesn't mean there is.

Alternatively: Noticing a communication issue and talking to your partner about it often has splendid results.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 8:38 PM on June 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


But this? This makes me feel like the 'message' is to completely failing to see that sometimes, maybe, possibly, just a little bit, that person with the nail in their head needs to shut up, listen to what the other person is saying

The Onion did that one so much better.
posted by flabdablet at 4:51 AM on June 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


Saying "well, in this case, it really is about the nail, because they both agree there's a nail" is begging the question. Of course the video makers made the nail real -- because their perspective is that women are crazy people who can't even recognize a fucking nail when it's hammered into their forehead.

My cousin posted this to Facebook a few weeks ago with a caption like "Does this seem familiar?" or something like that, and my thought at the time was and remains, "Why, yes, I do know a lot of men who are sure that complicated problems have very simple causes and solutions and that the only reason I haven't done anything yet is that I was waiting for a man to come along and point out the obvious." That's just as valid as a stereotype (read: not particularly) as the one this video is about.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:35 AM on June 7, 2013 [6 favorites]


Cool Papa Bell: "JESUS CHRIST THERE'S PLATES OF BEANS EVERYWHERE I DON'T EVEN DID A FARM EXPLODE"

Nope, sorry. I made and ate chili without presoaking the beans. I recommend a nose clip too.
posted by Samizdata at 11:25 PM on June 7, 2013


jessamyn: "[Comment removed. Folks maybe act like you're aware that women hold up half of MetaFilter?]"

Like I COULD forget the feminine awesomosity here.

Besides, if no one has noticed, the only real person of make fun of/insult here is myself.

Because, I am a jerk and I always beat myself at solitaire/chess. Then I have to verbally abuse myself then do the naked happy dance of victory. I mean, seriously, I am going to have to kick my ass sometime.
posted by Samizdata at 11:29 PM on June 7, 2013


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