July 06, 2005

The concept of comfort zones and men.

Based on recent observations, I have come to (yet another) a conclusion about guys - to those of you who conform to the generalization, I will not say, "Hah! See, I toldya!" and to those who don't, I will not say, "Surely you jest!" Having established ground rules, here we go. Guys, especially those in a relationship, are comfortable within established comfort zones. By comfortable, I mean mentally undisturbed, at peace, like when they watch the nth rerun of a test match between India and England and they know that India will lose. By established, I mean established by them with, dare I say, limited information! Let's look at a few examples that will impress upon you what I divined a few days back.

Ms: "Duh, I don't know how to get to Tates Creek Road, can you navigate please?"
(First, let me firmly state that I do know how to go to Tates Creek Road and I do not go "Duh" for anything!)

Mr: "Sure honey, ofcourse I am here to help you."

The Mr as you can see is complacent and secretly pleased that his services are essential and he is even more thrilled that her direction-sense is non-existent. All is well in his little world.

This little example explains the relatively simple concept of comfort zones. Every guy builds up a safe little comfort zone around him, based on his assessment of the girl in question. There are certain areas where he is comfortable if the girl is more proficient than him and these areas commonly are a subset of what I represent in the little comfort-zone-ellipsis on the right. The area outside the ellipsis is usually a subset of what the guy assumes he knows better than the girl at all points in time and space. For example, in my 26 years of pretty unsignificant existence, I have not come across a guy who can admit that his girl friend, wife, any girl for that matter, drives better than him - please refer to diagram once again (I sense seemingly logical explanations being mulled over now before being thrown at me - "That's coz girls are just bad drivers!" and similarly worded mis-conceptions to which I will not say, "Yeah, right!").

As you can see, driving, cars and directions are subjects that we (women) should not dream of excelling in. Oh, but we can be great at responding to flowery pink greeting cards with appropriate thank you notes hand written in cursive writing. Also, we can be famous for knitting, stitching, interior design and cooking and our men would hold their head high in pride. But, start sneaking into the x-box, PS2 arena and they become all jittery and nervous :)

Anyway, a few days back, one such guy, let's call him k, who conforms to the comfort zone principle, and I were having a good conversation and I, unthinkingly suggested, "Why don't you call 411 directory assistance? You can get xyz's phone number from them".

Big pause. k looked blankly at me as if I had just said the unthinkable.

"411 huh? really? that thing works? I was thinking about it anyway, might as well give it a try..."

And several other indications that would convey one the impression that he definitely knew about directory assistance ever since the birth of directory and of assistance, short of suggesting that he had actually coined the two words.

RS rests her case :-)


Shiva said...

well RS, you seem to be in the mood to generate some controversy ;)

You are right. We boys get into a established comfort zone with the ladies our heart and believe that each of us have our own areas of strength and weakness. And we dont dare to tread on other's competent areas. One of the reasons being we have an internal need to prove ourselves better & smarter in 'some' areas and by that extend the offer to take care of the ladies ..

- and unfortunately these are areas which are flimsy to dominate and easy to conquer; which gives us a sense of insecurity that by gaining mastery over these areas, womenfolk could potentially deny our offer to take care of them....

So we dont think you are incompetent in these areas, just that we are not comfortable if you gain expertise in them - Come on ! Leave something to us..;)

Prabu Karthik said...

this women are bad drivers, good at greeting cards blah blah is a stereotype i guess.

we all have our own stereotypes. maybe even this comfort zone for men is one:)

check out this interesting website

Muthukumar Puranam said...

edho veetu prachanai blog la solra mathiri iruku..any case the sample space you took is very small to prove this theory. Man only one sample. I, for example, very comfortable with great women drivers, sports women, non-cooking, with great GK etc. Aana ivlo relaxed conditions irundhum..oru figure kooda maatala machi! :=(.

Muthukumar Puranam said...

BTW, very nice blog..enjoyed reading it.

RS said...

shiva: sweet comment :)

p~k: thanks for the link, will take a look :)

pb: etho unnoda sonda kadai soga kadaiya blogla commenta nee solra madiri iruku ;) ?

Anonymous said...

Research ellam balama erukey! Kamal endha zone-la erukan? :)


kamal said...

Ok, to post a sensible comment. I think men think that they are the best @ what they are doing, in most cases; it is just that they are supremely focused on what they are doing and are giving it their best shot. This is usually for things they are interested in doing (so don’t think its cleaning the sink). Its like playing cricket, not everyone can be a tendulkar, but each guy wants to be a tendulkar in his realm. He feels threatened when someone encroaches his realm, this someone can be a guy or a girl. If he teaches his skill to someone and then they become good @ it, then it’s not bad, because he contributed. So most things you have in your comfort zone diagram are things that come naturally to most men or they’ve become good @ it. It takes a conscious effort most men not too feel threatened or to look the other way :)

The good thing is if the girl is your wife and she excels @ something that you excel @ then in most cases it is good for the family (not if the girl starts saying I am right :) ). E.g. If you excel @ foosball … u get the point right? :)

RS said...

PB: summa sollu but thanks :)

Vasu: kamal only in foosball table zone - all the time!

k - u get the point right? :)

Not really but you took the time to post such a big comment, so good job - now, eat thayir sadam :)

Anonymous said...

Guys' comfort zone ellipse is an ever-expanding one due to blogs/comments like these from the women-folk...:).

Very nice blog though...did u draw the figure urself? U seem to put under scrutiny every minute detail that guys do...but as far as I know most of the guys just act on the spur of the moment without much forethought or planning :).

(Kamal: @ => at, u didn't save much there typing-wise :)).

RS said...

KP, just scribbled a wannabe-diagram myself, thanks :)

Am completely with you on this: most of the guys just act on the spur of the moment...

and in response to this: U seem to put under scrutiny every minute detail that guys do - well, it's just what I find interesting...different...whatever, as I am wont to saying, "captures my fancy" ;)

FSN 2.2 said...

Objection your honor.

I think men's comfort zones at least to a certain extent include cars,sports, cricket & chicks. However, with all due respect we dont' have these zones to know if we're good at them or better than the women are, but just to have some topics to talk to each other about, where the women just cannot interfere.

Even there - women sometimes pollute the topic of discussion.

To illustrate: We're talking about cricket and who's a better Captain Ganguly or Dravid. Suddenly this girl interjects saying that Dravid is better. Why? "Coz he's soo cute".

Which is why its better that women stay out of some guy conversations, and the same applies to guys as well.

I wouldn't want to get involved in a conversation where the topic of discussion is how often they get their eyebrows 'done' or something.

So,comfort zones are more for people's peace of mind than anything else.

Oh also, guys :-) If you KNOW you're definitely better at something than the lady, its sometimes better not to show it.

That way the girl will think she's smarter and do it all for you.She will try to take care of you as well.Isn't being pampered much better than having to do the pampering??

[RS no offense to you. Vazhkaila idhellam sagajamappa...]

Anurag Jain said...

Cliched examples, barely makes a cliched point

Prabu Karthik said...

@ Muthukumar,

"ivlo relaxed conditions irundhum..

unga blogai parthen idhu pathi edhavadhu clue kedaikumaanu,

"vedantha, ramana maharishi etc etc."

figure kedaikama andha linela poneengala, illai andha linela irukaradhunaale aal kedaikalaya nu ore yosanai:)

RS said...

To Fierysinews: Finally some retaliation..I was beginning to think my silly post was not so controversial after all :)

To Anurag Jain: "Duh?"

Anurag said...

To everybody:

This pertains to the comments linking to and saying commenter as 'Anurag Jain': Thats not me who commented. I am surprised that some stupid guy is using my name and linking to my blog to write some stupid comments. We need an ID check system on Net (like

(I just discovered a hit at my blog from your blog and thats how I got to know of mischief.)

F e r r a r i said...

Interesting :-)
Actually I would love if someone else rides the bike/car in this bangalore traffic. Nowadays I dont see any difference between men and women in driving skills. And especially in bangalore, you dont need driving skills. You need the 007 instinct. Keep watching for spies(BMTC,Auto, Call Centre Toyotas) trying to kill you!

And these days women are getting more visibility. They have always been the same(I mean to say, brilliance doesnt depend on the sex of the person :-P), But now only visibility :-D

Comfot Zone adhu idhu nnu neraya solreenga. Star TV la cricket match analysis ellam neraya paapengala?

Subha said...

I am kinda undecided on this one as of, why are you leaving this comment, you say? Because, I want you to check back later and read my brilliant gyaan..:))

D.N.A. said...

"Men know what we want. Women know what men want. What do we want? We want women. How do we get them? W ehave no idea!" - Jerry Seinfeld

We are only given clues about what they have in their mind. Why can't they ever spit it out?

"I can never understand women. They can pour hot wax on their thighs and pull out the hair out of its roots, but can still be afraid of spiders!" - Jerry Seinfeld

They sure are an enigma!

FSN 2.2 said...

To add to what D.N.A said...

I would like to quote Tim 'The Toolman' Taylor (Tim Allen) from Home Improvement.

"You hold up a STOP sign and ask a man what it means, he'll say "STOP!".

If a woman holds up a STOP sign and asks you what it means and if she designed the stop're in trouble - buddy."

Another dialogue that women pull on me all the time which always manages to suckerpunch me is this response to something very very mundane..."Its not what you said, its HOW you said it".

ACK! Then you'd better watch out. You're literally in 'no-mans-land' fishing for a helpline in a quagmire...
the only way to go is sink deeeeeeep down...

RS said...

To ferrari: Cricket match analysis? Very much doubt it :)

To subha: will check back later to be dazzled :)

To dna and fierysinews: Delightful comments :), am almost tempted to not post my next thought and wait for more such comments on this post!

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