Every woman is the star of her own melodrama.

26 Jan

Roissy has discussed at some length women’s need for emotional drama, and why it is important for men in relationships to keep a push-pull dynamic of varying degrees of emotional instability going in order to maintain her interest and attraction.  (I think he typically refers to it as “installing dread.”)  In the context of Roissy’s blog, it would be easy for many men to dismiss this advice as applying to the kind of women that Roissy and his ilk typically go for.  “I like nice girls,” they declare, “not slutty drama queens WHO WILL CHEAT ON ME AND MAKE ME PAY FOR SOME ALPHA JERK’S OFFSPRING IF I SUCCUMB TO MARRIAGE 2.0 WITH HER!”

But EVERY woman wants some emotional drama.  Why do women watch Grey’s Anatomy?  (Well, aside from the fact that the men on that show are exceptionally good-looking.  And are all surgeons.  And the titular character is a just-pretty-enough plain jane who snagged the best-looking guy, who is ranked above her, and who was formerly married but separated but the hot, sexy, also-a-top-surgeon wife came back and tried to get him back, but his desire for Dr. Plain Jane won the day.  And they are now “married” on the basis of a Post-It note!  Every woman’s dream!)  Why do women read romance novels?  Why do women love to hear about the trials and travails of their friends (assuming their friends are not emotional vampires)?  It’s because women are programmed with a need for emotional turbulence.  Every woman is programmed with a need for emotional turbulence.  It doesn’t have to be her own personal drama.  That is what separates drama queens from the typical woman:  a drama queen’s drama must revolve around herself.

I realized this was true of every woman, not just young women or stupid women or cheap women, when I was talking to my mom recently, and she mentioned that she had had an interaction with a friend and thought she had “made the friend mad.”  I realized that at least half the time when my mom is talking about interacting with friends, she thinks she has “made the friend mad.”

Now, an objective observer would be able to point out right away that my mom has not “made her friends mad.”  She hasn’t burned any bridges with these women, and is still being spoken to and invited to activities and isn’t being shunned in any measurable way.  But I’ve realized over the years that my mom is very invested in keeping all of her friends happy with her, and so it is a thing of some concern when she suspects that the friend was made “mad.”  It was only recently that I connected this with a woman’s need for emotional drama and realized that this is how my mom gets her own little emotional drama fix.  Does she ever confront these women?  No.  Does she ever ask them if she has offended them in any way?  No.  The mere existence of some emotional uncertainty is what she’s really after.  As she is a woman in a decades-long marriage of great stability and comfort, a woman who shuns tabloids and trash TV, and a woman who takes her faith very seriously, where else is she going to get her drama fix?  (You can only read about David and Bathsheba so many times before familiarity breeds contempt.)  So she finds it in the tiniest amounts of less-than-total-happiness with her friends.

I think the bottom line, at least for men, is that all women crave some drama, and they will find it somewhere.  Yes, even the most upstanding, drama-free, moral pillar of civility wants drama.  The question a man, particularly if he is a husband, should ask himself is, “Do I want her to get her fix from me, or from somewhere else?”  Because she will find it somewhere.

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31 Responses to “Every woman is the star of her own melodrama.”

  1. Joseph Dantes January 26, 2011 at 8:40 am #

    Very well done.

    I am completely out of goads, gibes, mocks and glibness.

  2. Wayfinder January 26, 2011 at 8:48 am #

    I’ve got one:

    So the comment threads on this blog is yours?

  3. Cane Caldo January 26, 2011 at 8:59 am #

    Agreed on the substance. I would change “programmed” to “prone”. Programmed denotes a programmer, and I don’t think our Programmer designed women to like “Grey’s Anatomy”.

    Aside from that, I would add that the lust for emotional drama is exactly like porn for men: it’s a result of perversion of the healthy desire to be connected with others; and it’s usually born out of boredom. Where I slightly disagree with Roissy is that his remedy is to play little mind games. That will work a little bit, but the goal should be to provide some real adventure. In the same way that wives ought to have sex with their husbands; not just get naked every-so-often.

    It follows that watching Grey’s Anatomy is a poor decision if women want to be happy; as is normal porn.

  4. brightstormyday January 26, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

    @Wayfinder:

    LOL.

  5. jz January 26, 2011 at 12:59 pm #

    “making my friends mad”, signals the need for a woman to be identified as “nice”. Likely, your mother’s identity is partially tied up in being “nice.” For what it’s worth, most women who are “nice”, are actually cowards.

    I disagree that all women crave drama. Women with real turbulence in their lives crave stability.

    You have many great insights, Haley, and are wonderfully entertaining, but this essay tries too hard to pander to your male readers.

  6. jz January 26, 2011 at 1:03 pm #

    @CC,
    Roissy is that his remedy is to play little mind games. That will work a little bit, but the goal should be to provide some real adventure.

    Heartily agree. Psychological manipulation is a pale imitation of a life with real adventure.

  7. Wayfinder January 26, 2011 at 2:17 pm #

    I disagree that all women crave drama. Women with real turbulence in their lives crave stability.

    This is not actually a contradiction. It just means that there isn’t an unlimited appetite for it.

  8. knepper January 26, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

    So in other words, a woman pinning the label ‘beta’ on her husband or boyfriend is synonymous with her realizing that her life is boring and it’s HIS fault (naturally). The boredom in her life can’t be because she watches soap operas and reads pulp novels, and her life is not nearly as exciting as those people. Her boredom can’t be because she never tackles anything more intellectually challenging than texting while chewing gum. No, it must be her sorely lacking husband–he doesn’t look at all like Patrick Dempsey.
    Not criticizing your thesis, just expanding on it.

  9. modernguy January 26, 2011 at 3:55 pm #

    Women live in an emotional world. Since they are sensual creatures the facts of their lives are emotional rather than material. And to see happiness you have to have discord. Its always women that say make-up sex is the best sex most emphatically because its an emotional release.

  10. jack January 26, 2011 at 8:30 pm #

    “I disagree that all women crave drama. Women with real turbulence in their lives crave stability.”

    My suspicion is that a typical frontier woman or a typical woman in a war-torn nation has plenty of “will we surive the winter/next invasion” drama, such that there is no need for relationship drama.

    Like calories, there is probably an optimal range of drama. Modern life provides very little survival drama, therefore it must be found elsewhere.

    Just a random thought.

  11. Cane Caldo January 26, 2011 at 9:09 pm #

    @Knepper

    Yes, it is largely a man’s responsibility. He is the leader, the agent of change, the penetrator of things both fleshly and beyond. It’s not for sissies, but nothing about marriage is.

    However; you’re absolutely right that it can only be harmful for women to ingest soap opera material so focused on “romance” (lust). Jane Austen = good; Sex and the Emergency Room = bad.

  12. y81 January 27, 2011 at 4:57 am #

    Just because women have a taste for drama doesn’t mean that her husband or boyfriend should be the one supplying it. (Men might have a taste for porn, but I don’t suppose our hostess spends her time sexting the men she knows.) Much better to do something productive with your life, and to find (i) a woman who has enough real drama in her life, because of her job or her avocations or whatever and/or (ii) a woman who, like Haley’s mother, creates imaginary drama in harmless ways that involve neither adultery nor a moody, manipulative husband.

  13. Thag Jones January 27, 2011 at 5:37 am #

    My kids give me way more drama than I need in my life – I’m sick of drama. The rest of the time I’d rather read a good book – and not drama-filled “women’s fiction” (I can’t be bothered with fiction these days) but books from which I can learn something useful or interesting or beautiful. If a woman uses her imagination she can see all sorts of emotional drama going on in normal life without having to manufacture anything or whinge about her hard-working husband.

    I’m thinking that there’s drama and then there’s just a certain tension that’s required. Like a stringed instrument, not enough tension and it’s flaccid with no music, too much and it breaks. Drama queens are a special kind of retard if you ask me.

  14. nothingbutthetruth January 27, 2011 at 7:05 am #

    I don’t agree. This may apply to American women (I don’t know) but it is not true of all women. I am European. My mother and my elder sister need some drama. But my younger sister has never given any evidence of needing drama for 31 years. Her friends are also drama-free.

    My girlfriend (from Latin America) is also drama-phobic and one of the most positive people I have ever met. (My first girlfriend -also from Latin America – was a huge drama queen).

    I know more women who are not keen to drama. Without need to search a lot in the memory, I remember some former friends with benefits, some female friends.

    So it is not an universal biological imperative. Maybe it is the American culture, which is prone to drama. I don’t know but I do know that not all women need drama.

  15. Beta Betty January 27, 2011 at 3:25 pm #

    “For what it’s worth, most women who are “nice”, are actually cowards.” -JZ

    Exactly.

    “I disagree that all women crave drama. Women with real turbulence in their lives crave stability.” -JZ

    Women want less drama, they just HAVE a lot of it available to them – which is why the stability cravings: stability is universal woman bait for LTRs.

    “You have many great insights, Haley, and are wonderfully entertaining, but this essay tries too hard to pander to your male readers.” -JZ

    …exactly!

  16. Hana January 27, 2011 at 9:40 pm #

    “Making my friends mad”, signals the need for a woman to be identified as “nice”. Likely, your mother’s identity is partially tied up in being “nice.”

    Some women are like this–I think it has something to do a desire to be liked by everyone. Other women seem to have a much higher threshold for drama and go through a never-ending cycle of making/breaking relationships, just because they enjoy it. (Beware of women like this!)

    I don’t think all women have a craving for drama as such, though. Women *are* more emotional creatures than men, which is why we like movies/TV shows/novels about relationships and people’s emotions (whereas men can’t sit through them!) And it’s true that women, even the even-keeled ones, normally read a lot more emotional complexity into their friendships and conversations than men do. I don’t think perceiving the world through emotional lenses is quite the same as craving drama, though.

  17. Cane Caldo January 27, 2011 at 10:04 pm #

    “I don’t think perceiving the world through emotional lenses is quite the same as craving drama, though.”

    It’s not, and I don’t think AH thinks so either. The fact remains that if a woman sees a grey landscape through those lenses, then drama will do to spruce up the view.

  18. Miss365 January 27, 2011 at 10:10 pm #

    Aren’t we just really just talking about the basic threshold for boredom here?

    I agree that some women ( but boy I know some guys who love their drama! ) will go down the drama route while others head for potentially addictive things such as drugs, alcohol, food, porn, shopping to create instability in their lives or even just a love for the latest gadget or “toy” ;) But not all women love their drama or once a drama queen always a drama queen either.

    I have a theory/thought that we ( as humans ) essentially look for drama/create unstability/look for the next thing when we get to that boredom threshold either knowingly or unknowingly because we can only know true stability and peace with our Creator. And until we have that and are with Him in Heaven and no longer navigating a fallen world and our own sinful nature we will always try to shake things up when we feel at peace.

  19. jack January 27, 2011 at 11:22 pm #

    Off topic but good.

    http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/3088165/ns/today-today_hidden/

    A twenty-four-year-old man who was almost completely bald explained that he had felt uncomfortable in the singles scene after he had approached a young woman in a singles bar and asked if he could buy her a drink. Her response was to tell him, loud enough for everyone in the bar to hear, that it would be a good idea if he went home and kissed his wife and played with his kids. When he protested, she became sarcastic.

    Women are like this a lot more than most women will admit.

    These men have been rejected and demeaned for years by women because they weren’t tall enough or handsome enough or smooth enough. It’s easy to understand why they’re so reluctant to put their egos on the line once more. If you meet a man who appeals to you, don’t let his lack of social skills dissuade you from showing you’re interested in him. Only after being convinced you like him will he be able to summon the courage to ask you for a date.

    Sad but true – a couple generations of haughty, classless women have deeply damaged many quality men of marriageable age.

    Oh, sure “man up” the girls will shriek. Whatever.

    The tables will be fully turned by age 50. I will not be gentle in my verbal observations of them either.

  20. Cane Caldo January 28, 2011 at 7:46 am #

    “I have a theory/thought that we ( as humans ) essentially look for drama/create unstability/look for the next thing when we get to that boredom threshold either knowingly or unknowingly because we can only know true stability and peace with our Creator. ”

    That theory makes no sense. In fact, if we were to accept that theory, it would make the act of Creation senseless, as it was an inherently destabilizing thing to do.

  21. Bricona January 29, 2011 at 7:43 am #

    Well “honesty” is a great way to start the morning.

    I’m sort of broken between your post. On one hand I find it true, but on the other hand I don’t condone the black and whiteness of it. It’s true, I find this in most women and most women are searching for the next life line of gossip, on some level I just believe that some full circle happiness is somewhat possible.

  22. Days of Broken Arrows January 30, 2011 at 1:37 pm #

    This is a great analysis of women. I see my mother in this, unfortunately, in that she’s always trying to drum up some competition between her kids “Your brother earns more than you and he’s younger!”).

    However, there are men like this. I know a couple. They’ll set people against each other, start rumors and say things with the sole intent of getting people worried or angry. Avoid these men.

  23. terry@breathinggrace January 31, 2011 at 9:32 am #

    The substance of this post is interesting. I’m inclined to believe there’s a grain of truth to it, even though I’m not one drawn to drama. I cringe when certain family members call because I know there’ll be a bit of drama. Sometimes I don’t even answer.

    Although, Thag hit on the thought I was having. Having a three-year-old bang on your bedroom door at the worst *possible* moment to say she wet her bed and needs you to get her re-settled is plenty of drama.

    Listeing to your 16-year-old lament getting a ‘C’ on her chemistry exam, or your 15-year-old complain because her friend said something mean to her, etc, etc, is all the drama I need. Not to mention a husband who just says outright, “I don’t like your hair that way.”

    I do not crave drama, though I can remember enjoying it a fair amount during my very young, pre-family days. Maybe when the kids are gone I’ll find myself searching out drama, but that’s still a long way down the road.

  24. Cpt. Capitalism February 1, 2011 at 3:40 pm #

    Not to toot my own horn, but (about 1/3rd down) in the post are the stories of;

    1. The drama queen who punched me when I said I wouldn’t sleep with her.
    2. The drama queen who threatened to commit suicide because I didn’t buy her a soda at the gas station.

    http://captaincapitalism.blogspot.com/2009/04/advice-for-my-younger-cappy-cap.html

    Regardless of anybody’s take, if women want to be seen as equals, then this drama BS better become an extinct gene in their evolution real quick.

  25. Aunt Haley February 1, 2011 at 11:27 pm #

    Cpt.–
    Tooting of your own horn duly noted.

  26. Jennifer August 19, 2011 at 7:58 pm #

    Capt Capitalism, it’s true about the drama thing as you noted.

    I agree with the light dissenters here. I need STIMULATION, not drama, in relationships; I get uptight about disagreements with people online, for pete’s sake. BUT, I do love drama in a story; I love movies, I love books, I love passionate music, hell I love the stimuli computer games give me; if I ever figure out how to access the special featires on a DVD-Rom, I’ll be so happy you’d think I was Universal Studios.

    I rarely ever agree with Cane Caldo, but THIS is gold: “Aside from that, I would add that the lust for emotional drama is exactly like porn for men: it’s a result of perversion of the healthy desire to be connected with others; and it’s usually born out of boredom. Where I slightly disagree with Roissy is that his remedy is to play little mind games. That will work a little bit, but the goal should be to provide some real adventure. In the same way that wives ought to have sex with their husbands; not just get naked every-so-often.

  27. Svar August 19, 2011 at 8:11 pm #

    Jen, Cane’s actually right most of the time. The man has slot of wisdom and insights. However, I do feel it to be unfortunate that we may not be seeing much of him lately. I’ll probably hit him up with an email.

    As an off-topic, I think it’s great that a German guy linked to this site. I love that word: frauen. Frauen are quite silly, little creatures. Maedchen as well. I love that word as well.

  28. Jennifer August 19, 2011 at 8:23 pm #

    Some of his statements have been startlingly inaccurate, svar.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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