Friday, December 01, 2006

Training the American male

Michelle Fitoussi , in Elle magazine French version, had an interesting article on page 7 of the July 10 2006 issue ( I know it's funny we are in December and I'm ready the July issue, but I have so much on my plate ... ) So anyway Michelle was speaking about some American writer who wanted to train her man to behave the way she wants to and wrote about it to describe the procedure .

Why waste more time I thought this is cool let me find this article and read it first hand.

Modern Love
What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage
Published: June 25, 2006


"As I wash dishes at the kitchen sink, my husband paces behind me, irritated. "Have you seen my keys?" he snarls, then huffs out a loud sigh and stomps from the room with our dog, Dixie, at his heels, anxious over her favorite human's upset.
In the past I would have been right behind Dixie. I would have turned off the faucet and joined the hunt while trying to soothe my husband with bromides like, "Don't worry, they'll turn up." But that only made him angrier, and a simple case of missing keys soon would become a full-blown angst-ridden drama starring the two of us and our poor nervous dog. Now, I focus on the wet dish in my hands. I don't turn around. I don't say a word. I'm using a technique I learned from a dolphin trainer.

[...] I wanted — needed — to nudge him a little closer to perfect, to make him into a mate who might annoy me a little less, who wouldn't keep me waiting at restaurants, a mate who would be easier to love. [...] Eventually it hit me that the same techniques might work on that stubborn but lovable species, the American husband.
The central lesson I learned from exotic animal trainers is that I should reward behavior I like and ignore behavior I don't. [...] You can't expect a baboon to learn to flip on command in one session, just as you can't expect an American husband to begin regularly picking up his dirty socks by praising him once for picking up a single sock.(LOOOOOL) [...]

I followed the students to SeaWorld San Diego, where a dolphin trainer introduced me to least reinforcing syndrome (L. R. S.). When a dolphin does something wrong, the trainer doesn't respond in any way. He stands still for a few beats, careful not to look at the dolphin, and then returns to work. The idea is that any response, positive or negative, fuels a behavior. If a behavior provokes no response, it typically dies away. In the margins of my notes I wrote, "Try on Scott! " [...]After two years of exotic animal training, my marriage is far smoother, my husband much easier to love. I used to take his faults personally; his dirty clothes on the floor were an affront, a symbol of how he didn't care enough about me. [...] When the training techniques worked so beautifully, I couldn't resist telling my husband what I was up to. He wasn't offended, just amused. As I explained the techniques and terminology, he soaked it up. Far more than I realized. [...] One morning, as I launched into yet another tirade about how uncomfortable I was, Scott just looked at me blankly. He didn't say a word or acknowledge my rant in any way, not even with a nod.
I quickly ran out of steam and started to walk away. Then I realized what was happening, and I turned and asked, "Are you giving me an L. R. S.?" Silence. "You are, aren't you?"
He finally smiled, but his L. R. S. has already done the trick. He'd begun to train me, the American wife."

The piece above reminded me so much of how I handle Pearl; praise here , punish here , subtly giving the message , just the usual life of a mother or Supernanny ( do you recall the TV series ? ).

Funnily enough many people wrote to Amy for advice :

Dear Amy: How do you get results from stubborn hubbies without being accused of
being the “nagger.” — Gail, Tampa, Fla.
Dear Gail: Simply adopt the approach
progressive animal trainers use: reward behavior you like and ignore, as much as
you can, behavior you don’t. When I did this with my husband, I found that I
almost stopped nagging. Almost, I say, because I am human, after all.

It also seems past literatture is ric\ch in books with the same message, such as in 1994 "how to make your man behave in 21 days using the professional dog trainers" - hilarious - what is it with men and dogs ? check the excerpts:

Doggie Dos and Don'ts: "Gentle strokes and playful petting techniques are
positive motivational techniques for rewarding good behavior."
Flight and Chase Behavior: "If your dog is running away from you, the worst
thing to do is chase after him . . . remain calm, act like you're having loads
of fun without him, and soon he'll be trotting eagerly back ."

Some people compared men to buses - ok less offensive than dog I daresay.

"Bloody men are like bloody buses - you wait for about a year and as soon
as one approaches your stop two or three others appear. Wendy
Cope" check her whole poem here .
That's actually quite appropriate to my earlier Baby post .

Do you think we should treat our men like kids ( or dogs ;-) ) and use all those expert advices on them ?

Why can't men be just like women and you don't need to resort to any stratagems ?

Do you think Amy's method would work on Libyans ? Or Arabs for that matter ?


Abu Sinan said...

I am married to a Saudi lady. She said I was clean before, but she has now brought me up to "Khaliji standards."

She jokes and says if we ever get divorced some Arab woman will get a well trained American husband.

Libyan Violet said...

Hi Abusinan, so now you are 'trained' to Khaliji standards eh ? I am laughing so much here.

Thanks for visiting my blog. I'd love to meet your wife one day and shake her hand for having succeeded in this incredible feat;) But I guess women are basically the same everywhere no ?

NOMAD said...

hi, Libyan violet,

Chris told me you about your cool blog

I haven't red all the article, too long for my average english

anyhow, it's about men behaviour at home, isn't it ?

they look for a mummy :lol:

Libyan Violet said...

Hi Nomad, Chris told you about my blog ? Chris in MB ? oh yes he is a nice blogger with lots of fun ideas :) Thanks for visiting , so you think men just want a mum ? the article is about how to train your man to be more lovable ...
Read it when you have the time , it was available in summary in the Elle magazine.
You have a cool blog as well by the way

NOMAD said...

yeah, even with a good dog trainer : when the training is over, the bad habits come back : leave the socks, underwears anywhere... you can remove the man and take another one, soon it will become the same with the new one !

the only thing he does volontary, is the cooking, but he doesn't wash the dishes, doesn't clean the aera...

I made my mind about his mess, just don't care, it stays as long as I have no time to worry about it (it seems that it is not a problem for him so, if it were, i could not care more ; he would have to clean all his mess up then); except the kitchen, I clean it, but the next day, after having my breakfast done by him, and taking time to do all the other unavoidable interesting things...

no recept, just adaptability to a partner

Chris in MB said...

ahh! it's very simple to train a man!
Award good behavior consistently! and after every good behavior. As for the best reward? One simple word...."SEX" :P
Well seriously any compliment, acknowledgment, or form of affection would be nice.

A bad "woman" habit, which I'm at a complete loss to explain, is the practice of "laying on" the next "chore" the moment one is completed without even acknowledging the previous achievements! Most especially when the guy has reached the absolute limits of human endurance & they continue with this behavior. That will effectively "train" a guy that no matter what he does the woman will never be satisfied & does not care about his physical & mental well being. In extreme situations (mine) it can get to a such ridiculous point where the guy completely gives up and no longer cares to even try anymore. At that point it's over.

hmmm, actually this still can be the fault of the guy, for his very poor choice in women in the first place.

Chris in MB said...

ehh, it's late & I must be in a bad mood, sorry

btw, violet thanks for the nice compliment! :)

Sex said...

Hey Violet:

You can't teach an old dog new tricks! Arab or American - if you want them trained, gotta do it practically from birth!

Libyan Violet said...

Chris :) so you are saying that with sex I can get away with anything with a man ?

Sex :) you made me laugh that means that I have to pick a future husbanf for Pearl and train in now as a child so that he becomes the perfect man ...

Chris in MB said...

"...with sex I can get away with anything with a man ? "

LOL, I think you're just pretending to be innocent! :P All women know this! It doesn't even require the physical act, just looking sexy does the trick often!

"...I have to pick a future husband for Pearl and train him now"

LOL, now that would make you an extremely thoughtful mother & at the same time a little frightening! :)

Sex and Dubai said...

Hey Violet: It's been ages - hope you're having a fantastic holiday season!

Anonymous said...

I am married to a Libyan. Clutter King and food hoarder.
One thing that sometimes works is asking him to help me clean; for a few days he is much more careful not to mess up the parts of the house HE cleaned.
But i still can't get him to use a plate to put under the occasional tv snack...

programmer craig said...

Hmmm... I have a friend who is currently trying to train an American Male, so perhaps I shouldn't comment except to say "Who are these people!? What do they want!?" and "Grrrr..."

Interesting reading anyway, even though I (of course) disagree about everything, 100% and more.

Libyan Violet said...

S& D :) thanks for asking about me , was busy with the little one who had a bout of flu , but I'm back now. check my new post.

anonymous , well maybe you shouldtry the training method you have to be patient my dear !
I am so laughing that he can't take a dinner plate to watch TV and eat ...must be real messy there .

Programmer_Craig hey :) how do you know your friend is on a training mission :P and besides this article was written by an American .. maybe you guys want to be subconsciously trained by us women ?

AmericanLibyan said...

This actually reminds me of a book i read. I think it was called Men are Like dogs and basically talks about how to train them doggie style :)

Libyan Violet said...

AL this is too funny men = dogs ?