This week, I was watching something incredibly important on YouTube and accidentally clicked on one of their ever multiplying ad links. The website it took me to was called Catch Him and Keep Him.
For those of you who quite rightly can’t be bothered to click on the link, as the name suggests it’s a website about how a woman can catch a man (run fast) and keep him (bring shackles).
The website helps women to understand the ‘secret language’ of men so that she can attract the right man and keep him in love with her forever. This insight into the male psyche is written by Christian Carter, who is… well I can’t tell you, because the ‘About Christian Carter’ section spends over 1,000 words telling you nothing about who Christian Carter is. There wasn’t much to read on this website (you have to sign up to learn what all men want) but what is on there is a marvel of relationship lingo.
The mistakes women make, the things they do to annoy men and what they are guilty of feature heavily in every intro to Christian’s articles. Women are talked about in a way that suggests they have sole responsibility for getting and maintaining any relationship and men are talked about as a difficult collective commodity. A bit like owning a dog.
Amidst the sweeping gender generalisations lies a language about relationships which is fundamentally pointless. Like most articles and advice on relationships, Christian refers to very specific strategies, tips and ways of communicating which completely fail to take into consideration the individuality and complexities of people and the relationships they have.
Personally I think any type of communication is about empathy and that includes not making generalisations and assumptions. It’s bad for romantic relationships and it’s bad for business relationships. If you don’t understand who you’re talking to, if you can’t put yourself in their shoes, then you won’t be able to communicate a thing.
So sorry Christian, I don’t want to catch anything. I already have a cold.
Some good articles on the language of marriage and relationships…
- On ‘Marriageability’ – Single Women: An American Obsession, Hadley Freeman
- On magazines – Badconscience.com, Paul Sagar