There’s an Internet meme that shows up every so often and then gets shared until the joke wears thin. It goes like this: A photo of a huge book, 3-feet thick containing thousands of pages with the headline, “Volume 1 of the book ‘Understanding Women’ has finally arrived in stores!” Another one shows a similar book, “How to Understand Women — Pocket Edition.”
There are a number of variations of the meme, of course, this being the Internet and people just having way too much time on their hands. “Why She Might Be Upset, Part I,” “What She Really Means When She Says Everything is Fine,” and “Explaining Women.”
The companion volume to these giant tomes are laughably small four-sided brochures with similar titles like “Understanding Men” or “What Men Want” and “What Men Think About.” It would take you a minute, two tops, to read them.
OK, we get it. Men and women are wired differently. Women are complex, men are simple. Men are single-minded, women can multi-task. Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus. Or is it the other way around?
Truth be told we’re both complex creatures, we just have different ways of communicating. Men are usually very direct (often stupidly so), use fewer words and are reluctant to discuss their feelings. Women are harder to decipher even though they use more words and won’t hesitate to tell you how they feel. Oddly enough, they use fewer words when they’re mad or pissed off at you.
For example, if you ask a woman, “What’s wrong?” and she just says “Nothing,” that usually means “Everything is wrong and I just can’t believe you just asked me that question.” And if she says, “What did you say?” That doesn’t mean you just repeat the idiotic thing you just uttered, but you are given a do-over to rephrase said idiotic thing and avoid an even worse response.
Of course, throughout this article, we are making vast generalizations about men and women and how we think, feel and behave. But that’s the fun in it, it’s a great way to start a discussion (or a fight, just being real here), and perhaps even communicate a few things we didn’t know about each other. Remember, it’s all about communication — or lack thereof.
So, here are 10 Things Men Wish Women Knew About Them. There are more than 10, of course, but many of them are variations on a theme. Take sex, for example, there are at least 10 things men wish women knew about them when it comes to sex. So let’s start there.
- Sex is Great, But It Isn’t Everything. Yes, men think about sex … a lot. And they like to have sex … a lot. But we also want to be loved and desired. And regular, fulfilling sex can help us to feel loved and desired. Also, sex is great, but we love cuddling too. And not just after sex. Cuddling without sex makes us feel loved and desired too.
- We Love it When Women Make the First Move. Sex always seems to be at the forefront for us (but isn’t always, as explained in #1), so when a woman makes the first move, which means she really desires it and desires you, that is a huge turn-on. It also takes a lot of pressure off a man, who is always aware of getting turned down. So it’s a win-win all the way around.
- We Don’t Think Adult Movies Are a Big Deal. Staying on the sex theme for now, adult movies mean different things to men and women. We just don’t see it as a big deal. It can be a stress-reducer for us or even a means to get our motors running, especially as we get older. This is probably the most controversial of the 10 things, but it’s also a reality that most men don’t want to talk about. It doesn’t mean we love you less or don’t think you’re sexy or desirable, it can even make you more desirable. Men are very visual creatures, more so than women. Why do you think the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition is their most popular issue every year? Remember #1, we think about sex … a lot.
- We Aren’t as Simple as We Make Ourselves Out to Be. Yes, we can be simple, straightforward, perhaps even limited in our ability to communicate, but that doesn’t mean we’re dumb. We sometimes act dumb because it’s the lesser of two evils and an easier path to tread. Ignorance is bliss, to flip a phrase. It’s a lot easier than explaining (or excusing) our actions. “I’m sorry, I’m just a simple man who doesn’t understand the intricacies of human relationships,” to paraphrase the caveman lawyer in a “Saturday Night Live” skit.
- We Need Our Alone Time Too. Just as women have their girls night out, men need to gather with other men and blow off steam and do “bro” things together. It can be as simple as going out for a beer at a local tavern or working out at the gym. Men need it and women who understand that makes us love them even more.
- We’re Not Really Afraid of Commitment. What we’re really afraid of is rejection and failure. So hesitation to commit doesn’t always mean we don’t want to. Men are raised to believe that self-fulfillment leads to success. So when we pursue happiness and love we might be missing out on success, especially in our work or career. We eventually realize that true self-fulfillment depends on fulfilling another.
- We Act Confident When We’re Actually Not. We’re wired that way and we play the role of a “Man” and act confident to keep up appearances. As relationship expert Brendan Tapley writes: “Masculinity is a complicated performance we agree to in order to be seen as men. Unfortunately, that performance is more designed to conceal than reveal us. So, a woman ends up knowing the male script, but not the man.”
- We Like to Watch Chick Flicks Every So Often. Sure, we love serious, romantic and sensitive movies every so often, we’re not all cavemen. We like to get in touch with our sensitive, soft spots from time to time. So cue up “The Notebook,” we’re ready for a good cry too. Of course, we have to balance that out with some good old crash and burn, explosions and gunplay on another night. It’s all about balance, right? But if “Beaches” comes on, all bets are off.
- We Get Self-Conscious About Our Bodies Too. We worry about getting overweight, our spare tires, our balding heads, the hair that’s suddenly growing out of our ears. We want to be noticed by others, but especially by our significant others. We really want to look good for our women, even though it can be a real challenge and test of will power. A corollary to this, let’s call it 9A, is We Like Compliments Too. It reminds us why you were attracted to us in the first place and appeals to our sense of masculinity (see #7). And it doesn’t have to be physical. If you’re a good cook or like chick flicks, it’s nice to get acknowledgement for that too.
- We Are Not Mind Readers. This all gets back to how men and women communicate with each other. We don’t always know what’s on your mind and we can’t always anticipate all your needs and desires. Just tell us what you want. We will give it to you (if we know what’s good for us). And men, the answer to every question is not “Yes, dear” or “I’m sorry.” Learn the subtleties of a woman’s language and learn how to respond accordingly. And women, say what you mean and mean what you say. As one relationship expert put it: “The proof of our love is not in our clairvoyance but in our response to your clearly expressed wishes.”
All books are available at amazon.com. Click on title to learn more.
For Women Only, Revised and Updated Edition: What You Need to Know about the Inner Lives of Men
by Shaunti Feldhahn
What Men Won’t Tell You: Women’s Guide to Understanding Men
by Ryan Thant
Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus: The Classic Guide to Understanding the Opposite Sex
by John Gray
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