Commenter ‘swimmer’ has asked that I explain or define my term <i>empathogasm</i>, stating it had been lost when a hard drive corrupted or something.
I am flattered that someone would take the time to record the explanation of a term that I probably made up on the spot the first time I needed it. Personally I like the term because it, like The Lift, fits perfectly as a description of the motive for certain behaviors. It is certainly not clinical, but it is efficacious in making succinct what I posit is an inner drive women have that I suggest is loosely analogous to the male sex drive.
The description, if I recall, was built from an example. The epiphany hit me one day a few years ago while seated around the neighborhood pool with my wife and youngest daughter. The pool attracts mostly moms and kids. The moms are in the back half of their 30’s as is typical for parents of kids 7 and under. We, however, have a late child whose birth came when my wife was 40 and I was 43. So we have a decade between us and the parents of our youngest daughters cohorts.
My wife as as prone to seek empathogasms as any woman, so I was fascinated that as she and some of the moms shared small talk, the communicating pairs were really straining to reach the climax, the empatholgasm. I’ve witnessed my wife and her friends or new acquaintances score one with minimal effort, yet this day the frustration was evident (for he with eyes to see).
When men meet we exchange facts. Birthplace, work, how many kids, maybe whether we like to fish or golf or hunt. We may get to the point where we are exchanging opinions. But we exchange them for informational purposes until we develop (unfairly) a first impression of who we are and where and if we fit. Acquaintances, buddies, friends? Decorum will dictate then whether we stay banal and discuss sports, get more ideological and talk politics, get personal but with reserve and talk faith or spirituality, or we open up and really share stuff. Not gonna happen very often in a first meeting.
Women however are exchanging facts along with opinions and value judgements until they sense there is something they can peel layers from and get deeper. For example:
“Oh your daughter goes to Maple Elementary?…Mine too” (this is where the metaphorical touching turns to heavy petting, there is a shot at an empathogasm here)
A careful often passive discussion about some value judgements regarding the school may ensue until one or the other expresses a feeling about some aspect of the school, a teacher, a policy, etc.
Sometimes they leave the topic frustrated as the petting was clearly leading nowhere. So they start another topic and exchange opinions about that. Could be diet, discipline of kids, something about the neighborhood, whatever things inform women’s initial conversations. Usually not deeply personal things like husbands or a particular child of theirs, so forth.
They will cast about sometimes rapidly firing off test facts and opinions seeking a spark that signals “willing partner”. As they narrow down to that topic they move very obviously to a place where one expresses a feeling about something and the other lights up as if the pleasure center in the brain took a surge and says, “you feel X about Y……I KNOW EXACTLY HOW YOU FEEL!”
That is the empathogasm. The whole dynamic is a little bit like a man trolling a bar and finding the girl he thinks he may have a shot at for sex. Not a sure thing, but the exchange of information and the initial light conversation signals something or it doesn’t. Same for these women.
If a woman can end-cap a conversation with “I know exactly how you feel”, in the case of a newly met person the woman will leave the encounter saying she thinks she and that woman can be fast friends. No empathogasm, …eh, she thinks,….”she was ok”. Its the same for women who are long time friends. If they have a phone call that doesn’t yield an empathogasm about something, it will end sooner and be far less satisfying than especially the ones there they achieve the apogee of communication titillation, the multiple empathogasm.
Some have temporarily lost their vision after one-a-those.
Now consider how this empathogasm craving impacts the communication dynamics between wives and husbands. Take the empathogasm as backdrop for understanding the whole “I dont want to have my issue fixed, I want you to listen”…and it makes sense. Consider the Joel and Kathy nonsense about how if a man doesn’t literally KNOW his wife’s heart (something I only can understand in empathogasm terms, otherwise its meaning is lost on me) he is a failure as a husband. Those are all strongly worded things if they were not about something that finds a literal drive for some kind of climax as the motive.