This blog is highly personal, makes no attempt at being politically correct, will occasionaly offend your sensibility, and certainly does not represent the opinions of the people I work with or for.
Use of Weapons

- Xeny; you are a million-tonne starship; a Torturer class Rapid Offensive Unit. Even...
- But I'm demilitarised!
- Even without your principal armament, I bet you could still waste planets if you wanted to.
- Aw, come on; any silly General Contact Unit can do that!
Iain M. Banks, Use of Weapons

Aubrey and I have been together for more than half a decade, and one thing we can both be proud of is that we never argue. We have never had a single dispute. It is not even one of our policies to avoid them, they just don't appear.

Well, maybe not one of our policies, but I once said that I have always thought that when a couple spirals down in a verbal fight, it is the fault of the most intelligent of the two. The friend to whom I said this (incidentally a university lecturer) quickly replied that he absolutely disagreed, and went on trying to explain to me why he did. I sort of got his point (mainly based on the fact that relationships are complicated etc. etc.), but to me verbal communication is one of the most important feature of our species and one of my primary tool to act on the world around me. I sometimes compare my ability to speak with the effectors of Culture ships (a long descendant of modern electromagnetic counter measures, later on turned into something that can be used as a weapon). Under those consideration, I came to believe that arguing, seen by me as the breakdown of normal communication, is not compatible with being intelligent. Therefore I never argue with people around me, instead relying on pure logic (and, when appropriate, charm) to get what I want. And if somebody starts arguing with me, I always (try to) calm him/her down before resuming communication, and never ever escalate the imminent argument. If I fail at restoring peace, then I simply leave without saying a word.

(This in itself, is why I cannot --can no longer-- go out with girls who think that couple arguing is a lifestyle. Girls who too often actually think that true love implies people fighting, and that if you never fight with your partner, then something is wrong. And is why I came to appreciate the civility of asian girls; even though asian girls generally, though fortunately not Aubrey, also come with a completely different set of problems...).

(Also note that my attitude toward verbal fight "If I fail at restoring peace, then I simply leave without saying a word", doesn't mean that I am not a combative person. I dislike noise, but this doesn't mean that if you keep pissing me off, I won't react in a way or another. I have no problem hitting really hard where it really hurts, and most of the time you usually won't even know that I am the one who hit you... Revenge is a dish best served cold (and I don't revendicate -- as this would expose me as having been involved). Also people might think that my attitude lacks "virility". Virility is stupid men's basic attempt to have effect. I had already left virility behind me when I was 2 years old.)

(In fact the above is nothing else than consequences of my primary perception of power. To me, real power is very subtle and most of the time goes totally un-noticed. Winning without fighting, or at least without direct confrontation is the ultimate art of war and is much more aesthetic than fighting. But when we are compelled to fight we do so with a speed, a determination and an efficiency which leave no room for defeat -- all this using extremely advanced weapon technologies that most people around us don't even know exist. And no, I won't said who exactly is "us" in those sentences...)

This said, it doesn't mean that Aubrey and I never have "passionate discussions". Coming from different cultures, we have more often than the average couple, divergent point of views on things of life, and often we discuss until reaching an agreement.

This morning when she woke up I knew something wasn't right, and later on I discovered that she was expecting me to apologise. When enquiring why, she explained and it turns out that it was the result of an aborted discussion she tried to have with me yesterday (in fact she was mad at me due to her own mistake). The case was close. And I said "So in fact you spent the last 14 hours mad at me because of this misunderstanding". On which she replied "No, not 14 hours because I spent most of it sleeping!". This is where it all started.

The resulting "passionate discussion" was about whether or not sleeping time can be taken account during madness time. She said that I should subtract the time she spent sleeping while I was defending my original computation.

I won the discussion.

...and here is the thing: I always win. Without failing! 100% of the time. My mastery of spoken language, even in a language which is not my mother tongue, together with a crystal pure mastery of logic not to mention the fact that I think significantly faster than Aubrey, result in me always winning. The first few years, I suspected that she was letting me win on purpose, but lately I noticed that she actually really tries to outsmart me.

I was then wondering whether, in order to show her my love and appreciation, I should not let her win sometimes. But then I thought.... never! Winning is way too much fun !

This all said, any reader worried that there could be a power imbalance between her and myself, can rest in peace. Amazingly cute chinese women like Aubrey have access to their own, female only, source of power :-)