How Men and Women De-Stress
By: Wendy Castellanos-Wolf
Here’s another one to add to the list of how men and women differ: how we unwind after a stressful day. My husband and I both work in Education and this week marked the beginning of the semester, and the first week we both went back to work full time. I have noticed that while the common de-stressor for both of us has been a glass or two or three of wine, after the evening formalities are done, we retrieve into our own space to unwind.
S kills things. It is so simple and so true to male character since the dawn of man and probably for all of time. He kills demons and mythological creatures on a gigantic screen that goes from window to window in our living room. He sits there pressing and punching buttons, slapping a controller that serves as his only weapon against evil. The character on screen kicks and punches, runs and leaps, and while I don’t understand the appeal, this is how S unwinds. He vicariously takes out the day’s aggression on monsters and when the battle is done and dinner is served, S is reset. I would say this is a pretty typical way for a man to unwind.
If one had to guess how a woman in her thirties unwinds after a long day of work, the typical answer would be a candlelit bubble bath, a yoga class, maybe even happy hour with friends. These activities all sound lovely but what I do at the end of the day in order to reset, (and yes it is my new guilty pleasure), is watch an overweight dance coach scream at talented little children who perform beautiful choreography at competitions all over the country, while their bourgeois mothers play psychological games with each other and cry all of the time. Yes, “Dance Moms” is how I unwind after a stressful day. No, I have no idea why or what is wrong with me but allow me to attempt to come up with a logical answer.
1. I am a dancer and at one point I too attended dance competitions. I watch it as any man would watch a sport being played on TV. That’s it! “Dance Mom” is my version of watching the game to unwind.
2. I have been a teacher, specifically a dance teacher and let’s just say that I would have loved to speak to some of my students the way Ms. Abby speaks to hers. I am living vicariously through Ms. Abby who makes children cry for fun and gets paid a ton of money to do it.
3. I am fascinated by the study of female friendships. The moms and the kids are supposedly friends but they happen to always be in direct competition with each other, and are always vying for the love and approval of Ms. Abby who happens to be the “male” “dominant” “figure of power” character in the entire show. I think psychology, women’s studies and sociology term papers could be written about this. My best friends have always been the girls I have dance with and I would be lying if I said that at some point there was not a trace of competitiveness or need for approval from the person in charge.
Women are mean to each other and I am perpetuating that aren’t I? I am an avid consumer of a program that propagates and glorifies these kind of female relationships and the over sexualizing of little girls. Ok, so I really need to find a new way to unwind…
I guess it could be argued that the difference in how men and women unwind is not so different. S captures and kills monsters. I watch women catch and kill the spirit of another.