"Sex, Lies, and Conversation"

Essay by mErCeD-LaDy May 2004

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Men and women communicate differently, that is obvious to anyone who regularly interacts with the opposite sex. When my friends and I talk, we can talk for hours moving from one topic onto another not finishing the one topic we started. I, on the other hand, like to talk from one topic to another, so it won't be boring. In "Sex, Lies, and Conversation," written by Deborah Tannen, Tannen argues that American men and women's miscommunication often leads to divorce. However, according to Tannen, neither sex is to be blame. This episode crystallizes the irony that although American men tend to talk more than women in public situations, they often talk less at home. And this pattern is wreaking havoc with marriage.

In her essay, Tannen writes that "at every age, the girls and women faced each other directly, their eyes anchored on each other faces. At every age, the boys and men sat at angels to each other and looked elsewhere in the room, periodically glancing at each other" (213).

Example, when I observe in the Merced College cafeteria, I spotted two groups talking to teach other in the cafeteria. The first group was a group of young Hmong ladies. I glance each time to see what they were doing, and then I looked at the lady who was talkin to her, and every time she talked, she'll looked into the eyes of the friend she was talking to. I witnessed that women do look directly into the eyes when they talk to one another. Then, I observe the second group of young African American men. As I observe, they were listening to one another and doing another thing at the same time. All of the young men talked at the same time, interrupting one another. I witness...