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Every woman has experienced this story at least once in her life: you’re strolling down memory lane with a man you used to bump uglies with on a regular. You’re reminiscing about the fun times you had, sharing secrets you kept to yourself, waxing poetic about the love you shared, rehashing old arguments. It’s all light and fun and warm and beautiful until you suddenly stumble upon an incident of which you have vastly different memories.
Maybe it’s the time he was 90 minutes late to pick you up from work in the middle of a torrential rainstorm. You laughingly remind him of the mascara that was flowing down your face in rivers, jokingly rib him about the suede stilettos you had to throw out when you get home. You sigh as you remember how the important files you were bringing home to work on dissolved in your bag and the hours you spent re-creating them when you got home. You laugh as you reminisce about the epic argument you got in when he finally showed up. You’re over it now so it’s funny to you until he drops those words that all men drop on women at some point in their lives:
That’s not how I remember it at all.
To hear him tell it, he was 90 seconds late to pick you up and you flew off the handle. The sun was shining and it was 28 degrees (that’s a balmy 82 for my US folk) outside with a gentle breeze. In his version of events, you were barely out the door before he pulled up to the curb and leapt out to open the door for you and that you flew off the handle and blew up at him for no fucking reason.
You’re listening to his version of events with your face all screwed up like “Negro are you serious right now?”. But he is. Because men are nothing if not masters of revisionist history.
Men – superior creatures though they may be – have an uncanny and infuriating ability to rewrite historical events in such a way as to make themselves look a) right b) blameless and c) victimized by a woman’s irrational fury. I don’t know if it’s a measure of self-protection or a loose wire or a testosterone thing or what but all men seem to lack the ability to accurately recall their shitty behaviour. Tell a man a story about the time he fucked your little sister in your bed on your Pratesi sheets while she was wearing your brand new Louboutins and he will tell you that by his recollection what he did was bang a raggedy bitch in a shitty hotel while the two of you were on a break.
I don’t know much about this life but I do know this: men love them some revisionist history and it’s fucking annoying.
I know that this shouldn’t bother me or any of the many women who ask me all the time why men do this. I know that the issue of how someone remembers something that happened in the past is just not that deep. I know that the important thing is that we remember the truth no matter what anyone else has to say. I know all this. But still this shit is just annoying. Because when we unsuspecting women suddenly find ourselves listening to a man’s completely wrong and completely self-congratulatory version of past events we have two choices. We can either shut up and let him think what he thinks because it’s the past and it doesn’t matter or we can point out that he’s operating under the misapprehension that he was not a piece of shit in that situation and remind him of his piece of shitty ways.
The downside of option one is that the man gets to continue living his life thinking his shit doesn’t stink when it reality it’s more frowsy than the Sherbourne bus. The downside of option two is that pointing out to a man that he’s mis-remembering something that happened a long time ago and really doesn’t matter anymore kind of makes us look psycho.
Women all over the world want to know why men insist on rewriting history and what we can do to stop it and the fact is that – short of conducting your entire relationship via gchat so that you have archives of everything that happens – there’s really no remedy for it. You just have to sigh loudly and either correct him or bitch about it to your girlfriends. Because it’s a sad fact of life that when it comes to past relationship experiences there are three sides to every story: the truth, your version, and the man’s revision.
But what do you guys think? Ladies have you had experiences with men revising their history with you? Did you correct him or just let it rock? Men – why in the name of all that is good and holy do you do this? Speak on it in the comments.
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