What's Tony Thinking

What Women Want


Like I’d know! But hang on, we’ll hear from someone who does . . . know what women, and men, want.

David French has a longish essay today on friendship. And loneliness. And why our politics are so toxic. A lot of good points. I encourage you to give it a read.

But since it’s Sunday, and since we so often take on weighty topics like American politics and Pelagianism and Critical Race Theory . . . let’s take a break and hear a delightful and amusing riff from Kurt Vonnegut, as quoted by David French, on what women want.

“OK, now let’s have some fun. Let’s talk about sex. Let’s talk about women. Freud said he didn’t know what women wanted. I know what women want. They want a whole lot of people to talk to. What do they want to talk about? They want to talk about everything.

“What do men want? They want a lot of pals, and they wish people wouldn’t get so mad at them.

“Why are so many people getting divorced today? It’s because most of us don’t have extended families anymore. It used to be that when a man and a woman got married, the bride got a lot more people to talk to about everything. The groom got a lot more pals to tell dumb jokes to.

“A few Americans, but very few, still have extended families. The Navahos. The Kennedys.

“But most of us, if we get married nowadays, are just one more person for the other person. The groom gets one more pal, but it’s a woman. The woman gets one more person to talk to about everything, but it’s a man.

“When a couple has an argument, they may think it’s about money or power or sex, or how to raise the kids, or whatever. What they’re really saying to each other, though, without realizing it, is this: “You are not enough people!”

“I met a man in Nigeria one time, an Ibo who has six hundred relatives he knew quite well. His wife had just had a baby, the best possible news in any extended family.

“They were going to take it to meet all its relatives, Ibos of all ages and sizes and shapes. It would even meet other babies, cousins not much older than it was. Everybody who was big enough and steady enough was going to get to hold it, cuddle it, gurgle to it, and say how pretty it was, or handsome.

“Wouldn’t you have loved to be that baby?”

A final word, then, about getting together on Zoom. It’s great, but it’s not enough. And Vonnegut tells us why. Zoom makes purposeful people even more purposeful.

You don’t schedule a Zoom call to just shoot the breeze, to hang out, to stand around awkwardly waiting for the other person to talk or not talk, to people watch together, or play catch or listen to music.

It’s also why we need to get back to in-person church. The open-endedness of it, the casual interactions, the lilt of a voice, the grin, the awkwardness, the touch on the shoulder. It’s what people want, and what people need.





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