Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Episode 1, or How to Talk to Girls on Islands

In a game like Survivor, flexible communication is crucial. Many a contestant is voted out from the get-go due to irreconcilable conversation styles (i.e. the early ousts of Wendy Jo and Shannon last season, and who could forget Palau’s Wanda being voted off the island before reaching camp?). The most successful players will be those who know how to “play cool” like Fabio, and when to lay their cards on the table, like Yul. The easiest place to screw this up is when talking to members of the opposite sex.

The Ladies Love Rob

Arriving at Ometepe camp for the first time, Rob is immediately surrounded by a bevy of fans, fresh-faced and star-struck. His people love him. Matt, the Fabio-esque underwear model pre-med student, shyly asks him if he’s really from Boston. Natalie, the teenaged professional dancer, seeks his approval and direction. Rob responds flatteringly with his typical Boston charm, “You guys know whatcher doin’” and the girls go giggling off to make “Team Rob” friendship bracelets.

Anything we can do to help you…anything at all?

Nobody Loves Phillip

Not impressed by Rob’s boyish grin and wary of his considerable Survivor experience, Kristina and Francesca are left to align with self-proclaimed lover of women and expert at reading people, “Special” Agent Phillip. He of the droopy peach briefs (and you know they’ll only get worse) manages to bulldoze their conversation with interruptions, demands (“Answer my question. Answer my question.”), reprehension (“You need to pipe that”), and, finally, the last word (“We’re done with this conversation now.”)

Can you tell what we’re thinking now?
Where Rob excels (and Phillip fails) is in his innate understanding of “genderlects”, or the different approaches males and females take in language and communication. Female-spoken “rapport-talk” involves creating a sense of connection between the speakers, while male-spoken “report-talk” focuses mainly on the exchange of information. Phillip is strictly a “report-talker”, but Rob is fluent in both styles, conversing effectively with both men and women.

Finally, a Troll Princess

Meanwhile, over in Zapatera, Russell finds a groupie of his own in scrappy waitress Stephanie. (Of course he does.) And this time, the chosen one is beside herself with glee, literally welcoming him with open arms. It should be interesting to see how this alliance pans out; if Stephanie manages to keep her mouth shut and be the adoring sidekick that Parvati never could, the season could go well for her.

Could third time be the charm?

If all else fails, at least Steph can cross being in a Dumbass Girl alliance with Russell off her bucket list.

-The Anthropologist

1 comment:

  1. For somebody who claims to love women and has 7 sisters, Phillip doesn't know anything about them!