Thursday, December 1, 2011

Some gay men are from Venus; others are from Vulcan.

In discussing heterosexual relationships, people often say that men in general prefer report talk ("Just the facts, ma'am"), while women in general prefer rapport talk (conversation as a form of bonding). Gay men can fall into either camp; the difficulty arises when people assume that just because we are all gay men, we all communicate in the same way.

A good summary of the distinction between report talk and rapport talk can be found here:
When men talk to each other, they report. They talk about scores, highlights, events of the weekend, new car performance – the list is endless. In their report talk men condense their stories and edit out the details to get to the point quickly. Women, however, are wired for rapport talk. Details are important to women. We don’t want the abridged version; we want the whole nine yards. As we talk, we discover who we are and why we think the way we do. We process as we discuss. We resolve issues as we converse. We talk it through. Somehow our hearing, speech, and thoughts are all interrelated, and we need to have all three working at once to express ourselves fully.
I tend to fall into the report-talk camp. People have called me the strong, silent type; I say what I think needs to be said, and that's that. I have known gay men — all of them working in a scientific or technological field — who are the same way. Other gay men tend to be rapport talkers who process as they chatter endlessly about anything or nothing.

The problem arises when someone assumes that other gay men use the same communication method that he does or, worse, that they owe it to him to do so. He may feel emotionally walled off from his partner, or he may feel inundated by a tidal wave of irrelevant babble. He may even wander into "Never try to teach a pig to sing" territory and insist that his partner change to suit him. To bridge the gap, we should remember that different gay men think in different ways and that there's nothing wrong with that.


Anonymous said...

Or as Big Al (Big Gay Gun Blog) says: "Some men are gay and some men (like him and me and maybe you) simply have a cock fetish kink."

Anonymous said...

PS Most gays think (and talk) like women.