Sunday, November 13, 2005

Female Answer Syndrome

We held a competition to define Female Answer Syndrome, since Male Answer Syndrome has already been defined. Here's a sample of the answers readers sent in:

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From Sleeping on the Couch in Charlottesville:

I tried for a while to think up a clever way to sugar coat the answer
(or perhaps smother it in chocolate, 89% of women love chocolate
covered things), but I could not. So here is the real answer, damn the
consequences: FAS is the tendency for women to bring every
conversation to a personal level and relate every fact to their own
life experience. If MAS commonly makes up statistics, FAS commonly
fails to understand statistics. Allow me to illustrate by juxtaposing
man-facts with their FAS responses:

Man: "Did you know that historically the leading cause of death in
western civilization has been Germans?"
Woman: "I used to a date a German guy and he was real nice so I don't
believe you!"

Man: "I just read a study* saying twice as many women prefer sushi as men."
*note: a lie!
Woman: "Well I'm a woman and I don't like sushi."

Let me finish with a 100% true example:

Me: "Did you know that left-handed people die an average of seven
years earlier than right-handed people."*
*note: I'm pretty sure I read this somewhere…
Female: "Lincoln, I'm healthier than you, there is no way you are
living seven years more than me."

So there you have the un-sugared truth.

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From Adrift in Arkansas:

FEMALE ANSWER SYNDROME: a response based entirely upon the emotional state of the responder at the time the question was put to them. the responses can vary across the entire emotional spectrum, but the dominance of emotion over logic, forethought, common sense or even science is consistent.
Fun Experiments to Try At Home: want to see Female Answer Syndrome in action? find a female. ask her a question that you believe to have good odds of triggering an emotional response (almost any question will do). record her answer, then ask again in ten minutes. continue to ask this female the same question at random intervals in order to catch her in different moods and catalog her responses until you have a great variety of female answers to study and learn about.

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From Nick:

As always, thanks for your great blog. Here's my stab at "Female Answer Syndrome"

"The tendency for some women to repeat the posed question verbatim. She will then shrug her pretty little shoulders, indicating the question is unworthy of a response, and launch into a tirade about how we have just not been paying her enough attention lately."

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A note on Man-Facting from Gruntled in Ory-Gun:

Glad to know that good old-fashioned bribery still pays off!

Don't feel too self-conscious about man-facting - you are clearly more informed than us (your audience of would-be-MFA-ers desperate for every scrap of know-how we can finagle).

And remember, just because man-facts aren't necessarily verified "facts" (oftentimes they are things that no one would ever bother verifiying), they are often very helpful as subjective analyses when coming from a knowledgeable individual. ('Scuse that sentence, please.) A it's still an audience's responsibility to filter information through our own critical sensibilities, no matter how expert the source.

In fact, i would say that a key part of man-facting is gleefully pointing it out after you've done it. Or, I could rephrase that to say, "I would say about 73% of man-facting is..."

Man-facting, while a characteristic common to men, is also not unfamiliar to the ladies. I man-fact regularly - in my old job, my old EVIL job as an IT recruiter, I had to man-fact frequently to satisfy people's trivial, unknowable questions.

But I believe that most *solicited* man-facting arises out of a genuine desire to help. It's not an attempt to mislead, to BS, or pretend expert knowledge, but simply one's best guess. Now, unsolicited man-facting - that's a whole nother armadillo. And man-facts also seem to be habit-forming; the more you man-fact, the more you man-fact.

So, man-fact away! More power to the man-fact.

Now I will have to send a separate set of musings on FAS - which, as you will see, will itself be an illustration of FAS...

Today I am feeling very positive and hopeful - the opposite of disgruntled. So I hope multiple monikers are allowed, because today I am -
warmly yours,

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From Erica:


I need to say I don’t have the most friends, just the most vocal. And now they all think I’m some kind of MFA expert ‘cause I pointed them to your blog.

So…

Female Answer Syndrome (FAS) – also know as Female Exasperation Complex (FEC) – is when a woman answers your question even though you should already know the answer and probably do and are just asking to be annoying.

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From Banks on the Brink in Grand Rapids:

I believe you have it right, Tom. It is FQS.

I am so certain of this I will, right here right now, hypothesize that MAS is an evolutionary response to FQS. Through the centuries, males have caught on to the need for such a defense mechanism. And make no mistake about it, MAS is a defense mechanism, perhaps similar to that of a blow fish or porcupine. How often have we witnessed the expertly devious posing of a question by a female, trusted or otherwise, that led the male recipient straight into, what I like to call (now), the Void of the Unanswerable. It’s a tangled web weaved by a practiced, shrewd predator to capture a simple prey. An aged, obvious example:

Female: Honey, do I look fat in this?
Male: Uh, Uh…no? Yes! Sh*t.

Now, how did the numerical work into this? Well, the onslaught of increasingly sophisticated and sadistic strains of FQS naturally led our side of the species to see that, though in a situation where no right answer exists, the highest chance for survival in the face of such an efficient predator was to hit that predator where it hurts. Right in the logical kisser.

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From Simpatico in Santa Clara:

I can't resist responding to the question about Female Answer
Syndrome. Here's my definition: The tendency for a woman to respond
that she knows exactly how you feel because almost the same thing
once happened to her.

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From Beki:

"Female answer syndrome. noun. The tendency for some women to give an answer
to a question based solely on personal experience and/or feelings
regardless of the need for factual, unbiased information. Also known as
Female Anecdote Syndrome."

4 comments:

The Oregon Avenger said...

hey FCTC, did you also know that
%72.6 of all chicks dig fried dough? ...with honey, or cinnamon and powedered sugar, mmmm... haha!

Peter said...

Female Answer Syndrome: the tendency of some women to downplay their intelligence and not give an answer, or at least not to the best of their ability, in order to avoid appearing too smart and thus possibly scaring away eligible guys whose egos might be threatened by a woman smarter than they. Hopefully a relic of the twentieth century, but sadly not extinct.

Keith W. Boone said...

The ability of the Female to ask a question that has only one correct answer. Often noted as also baffling the male of the species to come up with the correct result.

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