Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Wanna bet?

When the two of us visited the doctor recently, he told me the best way I could help my wife stay healthy was to "do everything she tells you to do".  We all three had a good laugh.  Like that's going to happen!

But it is not the first time the issue of whether she is the Rumpole counterpart in my life, the noted "She Who Must Be Obeyed"  has come up.  In fact, these days, like most things, it is a whole field of study: similarities and differences in typical male and female leaders and executives.  As a teacher of teachers, a person naturally is sensitive to basic tendencies in teachers and leaders that can be expected from their genders.  In general, it seems that males like stronger, more top-down leadership and females prefer more of a collaborative style.  

In the age of democracy (more or less), no one fares all that well without plenty of collaboration and consultation.  So, there is a tendency to appreciate and support mutual decision making.  However, there still needs to be both a strong enough force to keep some sort of order, if possible.  Besides, reflection makes clear that both some problems and some opportunities require a certain amount of daring, of risk-taking.

One of the fundamental risk-taking questions is "How many pills do you require to be on a desktop before you would agree to swallow one, if only one of them is deadly?"  Asked of men, I have heard various large numbers stated.  Asked of women, I have heard two answers:
  1. "No number would be high enough.  I would not take one at all."
  2. "What do I get out of taking one?"

In general, I think women are cooler and less likely to take a dare.  If you double-dare a woman to do something, she seems freer to simply ignore your statement and act just as she was acting before your utterance.  When I ask Lynn if she wants to bet about something, she will often say that she only bets when she knows she is right.  Normally, she does follow that pattern so if she says,"Yes, I will bet", I am immediately prepared to lose, durnit.  

Early in our marriage, we were strongly impecunious.  So, playing poker one night, I had no cash to put up as a stake.  Looking for something I did have that might be of value, I offered as a stake a recognition, in force in perpetuity if she won, that she tended to be right in all our many matters of dispute a full ⅔ of the time while I was to be considered right one-third of the time.  She won the hand but I won, too.  I have known all along that the odds of her being right are 9 to 1 and I am only right when she disagrees 10% of the time.  So, ha!

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