Friday, May 29, 2009

Because women say sorry but don't mean it


Sorry is meant to be an apology.  It is meant to be a genuine statement of regret. It implies some soul searching and a commitment (if not a promise) to do better in the future or not to repeat the offence.

It is not a word that exonerates you from the nasty thing you just said when you hurt the person the way you intended nor is it permission for you to say something cruel because you began the sentence with "I'm sorry but..."

Women use 'sorry' for everything under the sun other than a promise to change behaviour. They will apologise for bumping you in a train, for reaching out for the same magazine on a rack at the same time as you, for getting to work early and for getting to work late. Women will apologise when the clock has reached quitting time, when they get home, when they cook something for dinner you didn't expect, when they are washing up instead of watching television with the family, when they are tired and for every other natural function under the sun.

They will say  cruel things to each other, their partners and their children, but if they receive the reaction they intended they will apologise in a swift passive agressive apology with more suction power than quicksand. Women use the apology as if it were a magic cloth that can wipe away every discomfort, and every ugly moment on the face of the earth.

But they never, ever really mean they won't repeat the behaviour. No, the automated apology is designed to defuse a situation, not to actually say sorry. In this way, women get to keep their gentle control, all the way saying how sorry they are that things have turned out the way they have.

In romance novels, women and men only apologise when they mean it. And apologies are saved for serious moments. Moments of reflection and consideration. In fact, if a woman in a romance novel is a serial apologiser, it is treated as a defect and she will be 'encouraged' out of it through a series of events that will teach her to never apologise half heatedly again.



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