Peter & Eleni’s Infinite Conversation: On Pattern Blindness

For the past few weeks, Eleni has been asking me question about men and our behaviours. This time I had a question about women…


Dear Eleni,

I have a question for you:

Is there such a thing as pattern blindness?

I know there is colour blindness. A friend of mine can’t see reds and greens properly. Which is especially sucky for him as he is a cartoonist. Also I wonder how he deals with green lights and red lights. Hmmm. I’ve driven with the dude.

But is there some kind of problem with female peepers where their rods and cones can’t recognize patterns?

Specifically dating patterns…

I have female friends who seem to repeat the same decisions and actions over and over.

And over.

It’s like a remake of Groundhog Day.

Except there is no cute Punxsutawney Phil being reminded not to drive angry. And I feel like hitting myself in the junk with a meat tenderizer.

Thanks in advance for your insights.



Eleni was kind enough to reply.

Darling Peter,

There’s no need for you to self-mutilate your junk. Pattern blindness is totally a thing. I should know, I used to suffer from this particular ailment.

A quick history lesson: Pattern blindness was an evolutionary necessity back in the day. Early woman needed pattern blindness to give her the courage to continue mating in order to propagate the species. This is a fact. You can look it up.

Pattern blindness was first documented at the dawn of mankind when the first woman was first rejected by the first man. Since there were no other guys around, and she was the only one who understood the necessity of offspring, the first woman buried the pain deep down and forged ahead.

“Ooga looga uh,” she thought.

Historians are now almost 98% certain the translation is as follows:

“I can fix this. He will love me.”

Alas, it didn’t work out exactly as she planned. The first woman and first man had a tumultuous relationship. They bore 9 children together, but for all her life, the woman never forgot that first rejection and so she continued (well, into her 345th year) to try and make the first man love her. He eventually shacked up with his youngest daughter. (But we don’t talk about that.)

Fast forward to 2011.

All women are predisposed to this instinct –to make the first man love us– through our genetic makeup. This instinct becomes pathological i.e. pattern blindness when a woman suffers a massive, life changing, tragic rejection. A rejection that cuts deep down to her core and stirs that first woman wide awake.

I’m willing to bet that your friend has suffered such a rejection in her life. A rejection that hurt her so much she needs to rewrite the story. Usually, we can’t do that with the person who left, abandoned or abused us. Instead, we find similar men and put ourselves in similar situations. The first woman inside us whispers, “I can fix this. He will love me.”

Women can spend a lifetime trying to rewrite the ending of their most painful rejection. It never works though. So, it’s important to attempt to cure this ailment. And it can be done. I’m living proof that with hard work a woman can gag the first woman inside her and tell her to shut the frak up.


Then I replied… to her reply.

So, basically, we’re fighting evolution?

That usually goes well.

And thank you for the history lesson. I’ll never look at Fred and Wilma Flinstone the same way again.

But I’ll keep looking at Betty Rubble exactly the same way. Mrrrowwwrrrr.

I’m still trying to wrap my mind around this whole thing.

Thagette’s cavehusband didn’t get her a cave with the shiny stalagmite, so now woman put up with dudes who never call, take them for granted and would consider voting for Rick Perry?

How do we break the cycle of pattern blindness, Eleni?

Patience? Understanding? A really specific kind of Lasik?


To find out the answers to these questions, and more, check out Part 2 on Eleni’s blog!

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