The act of conditioning a person throughout the course of a relationship may seem like a bunch of hooey. Conditioning, ultimately, is prepping someone over time to receive a desired response.
This may sound familiar… if you weren’t stoned/hung-over/flirting through classes a couple year ago you might remember the name Ivan Pavlov and recall his experiment investigating the gastric function of dogs by externalizing a salivary gland.
It is said that women are conditioned by men and that men are trained by women. Being trained is a little different than conditioning because the actual act doesn’t come subconsciously. A man is aware that he should come to the door; he knows a woman should order first, and that he should light a woman’s cigarette. Notice the previous use of the word “should”, not all men actually do what they should do or know to do.
Women are, and it depresses me to say this, conditioned. Men condition women in different ways, most of them sexual. If a man, when talking about oral sex, smiles to you, shows you his tongue in any way (ie licking his lips or sticking it out) he is conditioning you to think of his tongue when you think of oral sex.
If a man wears a shirt and his girlfriend compliments him on it and they end up having relations that night he will wear that shirt again and try to have relations another night. And again and again and again. This ultimately turns into the female seeing that shirt and thinking of sex automatically.
If a female grabs a bottle of wine and a corkscrew and hands it to a man to open over and over again he will eventually grab the corkscrew himself. This is training and not conditioning because the man is aware that he is expected to do this.
Most men are trained to call their girlfriend/ wife before bed if they are sleeping apart. It is possible that the few times a man forgot to do this his girlfriend made an issue of it because she has probably mentioned, multiple times, that she would like to receive this call on a nightly basis. The man will oblige and call before bed with consistency.
This is where training and conditioning differ. Because a man knows he’s being trained he is aware when his efforts are not acknowledged or rewarded. If, for example, that women falls asleep early, without saying goodnight and the man calls anyway he will feel dejected, sad that she didn’t pick up and angry that he did what he was supposed to do but he’s not getting credit for his efforts.
Does this mean that men, Pavlov, and women, the dog, are stuck in these roles? Do we underestimate the male species, thinking that “they don’t care enough about that stuff to waste their time and energy?” Do they have it right in conditioning women behind their backs so that when something goes out of plan they don’t feel that the desired response is demanded of them? Apparently, yes. Maybe not all men, maybe not your man, but somewhere some man is conditioning a woman right now.
The difference between the two lies not only with subconscious efforts but with what each sex is asking. Men are usually asking for sex and women are usually asking for everyday things. It is easier for a man to rationalize that he is expected to perform everyday tasks than it is for a woman that she is expected to perform sexual tasks.
Training a person sticks better because of the constant punishment and reinforcement that comes along with being aware of one’s actions whereas conditioning gives someone the opportunity to arrive at a desired result without the second party being aware. The reason that conditioning is fleeting is because the conditioner has to walk a fine line making it about the conditioned person and not about the act of conditioning them. In the example of the t-shirt, the conditioner wears the shirt to achieve the desired outcome while letting the conditioned believe that he is wearing it because she likes it.
Thus conditioning and its sly nature take the cake in this battle of the sexes.
Men:1, Women:0. BLAST!