Wednesday, January 21, 2015

It's not what we say, it's how we say it

What we say can be met with polar opposite reactions based on the style of delivery.
Don't believe me? Let me illustrate with this *pure fictional* example
Imagine a WG posts the following account of a booking gone wrong on the industry forum:

I was contacted for an appointment by a gentleman via text. Although he used heavy text-speak and terms such as "hun" instead of my name and "Hey" in a way of a greeting and his inquiry was a bit abrupt, he sounded OK and I have accepted the booking.
When he turned up 10 min later than appointed time which he originally requested, it became apparent that some sort of manual labour is how he earns his living: he obviously just got off work, his clothes were heavily stained with mud, oil and sweat, he wore mud-splattered work boots and emanated quite heavy body odour. His hands had  dirt particles clearly visible under his (untrimmed) nails. This man clearly worked hard all day. He appeared to be of a middle age or slightly older, heavy-set and although possibly not un-attractive under different circumstances (when he is presented better) really looked somewhat worth for wear.
When he greeted me with "Heya,you look hot" and attempted to grab my behind and a kiss on the mouth barely after clearing the threshold, I pulled away slightly and with a smile said "Hi. Nice to meet you. Come on over and I'll show you through to the shower".
"I don't need no shower" was his reply as he grabbed hold of my breasts and tried to pull me close. His breath wafted through and it was not fresh.
I tried to playfully pull away and said with a smile "You worked hard all day, wouldn't you like a nice hot shower to wash it all away?"
Instead of answering, he pulled me in again and attempted to push his hand between my legs.
I twisted away and again suggested he makes his way to the bathroom to freshen up. He refused and I knew that I simply won't be able to deliver the service he is paying for and is expecting-not in the state he was.
I didn't want him to feel ripped off, so I told him that I won't be able to continue with the booking. At this point no money has exchanged hands and I did not request any. I simply opened the door and bid him good bye.
He left, but 5 min later I received a text from him laden with expletives. I did not reply.
The incident left me feeling a bit shaken.

This style of story telling will most likely incite a great deal of support towards the WG-from both male and female participants and the guy will receive none or very little.
It relays the facts without editorial comments, is non-judgemental and presents no assumptions.
Here's the same exact story told in a different manner:

So this fuckwit who can't even write properly books half an hour. I thought he was a moron, but what the fuck, money is money, so I took the booking.
He turns up late and looks like shit: filthy clothes and shoes, smells like a sewer. Must be a high-school drop-out, seeing how digging ditches is the only job he could find, the dimwit. Fat old ugly fuck, too.
Grabs my ass right off the bat, asshole. I tell him to get his nasty ass to the shower and he refuses. What an idiot!
I tell him I won't be fucking him if he doesn't shower and he gets in my face. Who the fuck he thinks he is, c...t??!!  C...ts like him I wouldn't touch with a six foot pole in real life, he should be grateful I am even considering letting him touch me. And I wouldn't kiss his nasty-ass mouth no matter how much he pays me! 
I tell him to get the fuck out and he does, then sends me this nasty-ass text 5 min later calling me dirty ho and stuff...
WTF??!! People like him should just crawl back in the shithole they came from. No woman would ever fuck him!

This style will most likely produce a negative reaction towards the WG, especially from male part of the audience.
The sympathy would lay with the guy, because the WG comes across as judgemental, client-negative, makes a lot of assumptions in  her account and uses the language that is generally perceived as off-putting.
Internet is everywhere these days. People do form their opinions of someone based on how that person comes across. 
Yes, one can like or dislike someone they have never actually met based on their online comments (just look at the multi-billion internet dating industry). It is not irrational or illogical. Just ask WGs who actively participate in industry forums: some guys spend a great deal of time and money (SIM cards, burner phones) just to mess up some WG's day simply because they didn't like something she said on the forum ;).

So, boys and girls, think before you type ;)

1 comment:

  1. The comment below was received via my work email from "anonymous":

    The two illustrations of styles of delivery harkens to two distinct things people try to convey when they want to be heard. First they tell the story what happened and second they give hints as to the meaning the events of the story have for them - their values, their needs, and sense of how it should be.

    In the first example Yana explains is more factual non-judgmental or "objective". It's more story - facts.

    The second example conveys much more of the meaning, the values, and the speaker's [WG's] needs for order, respect reciprocity. In both cases the listener has to look beyond the linguistic characteristics to hear meaning.

    Simply stating the facts does not convey the speaker's [WG's] meaning - her values her needs. Neutralizing the speaker's language only diminishes or nullifies the noise of the conflict. But the power imbalance is left just the same. Yana's post suggests that people will go to great lengths to maintain a power imbalance, some industry forum participants "… spend a great deal of time and money (SIM cards, burner phones) just to mess up some WG's day simply because they didn't like something she [a WG] said…"

    Unrestrained unpleasant language is an expression of pain. In certain power structures use of unbecoming language is used as a reason to marginalize the both the speaker and the speaker's pain.

    What both the WG and the industry forum participants Yana references have learned is; not only do they, not have the resources monetary or intrinsic to live well (happy and supported with connections within people, between people and as community) but also their expression of their pain is not good either.

    Rather than correct the speech, would it not be better to understand and hear what speakers are trying to say? Yana gave examples of a WG's language.

    Lets call her Miranda. One might guess Miranda's meaning of "He turns up late and looks like shit…" is an expression of her values for order and keeping her business engagements on time for the benefit of other clients to ensure her continued high standard of availability and service. Miranda continues, "Must be a high-school drop-out, seeing how digging ditches is the only job he could find, the dimwit… Grabs my ass right off the bat, asshole. I tell him to get his nasty ass to the shower and he refuses. What an idiot!"

    Guessing Miranda has a 'learned understanding of how human connection works' and she wants people to know how seriously she takes her job and how important it is to her that "she can be there" both physically and emotionally for a client. That it is important to her that the client invites her to be present with him by being clean and respectful of her needs so that she can welcome him into a contract for imminent connection. This is just a guess, so the listener has to ask Miranda if that is her meaning.

    Hearing and understanding the meaning and impact the event has on each person is to restoring community. Seeing the humanity of others begins to enable participants to take responsibility for the some things they did before, during, and or after that contributed to the painful conflict. Even the most distant members of conflict community something. After the community gains a sense of mutual understanding and taking ownership of the good reasons they did hurtful things then people are more likely work as community to make these events less likely in the future.

    Note: In giving WG a name, "Miranda" we have to some degree humanized her. She is a person and not classified by her stereotype within a social power structure.