1. Drinks at the club.
Hello, ma’am. You chose to sidle up next to someone who reeks of AXE body spray and wears spray tan and a ginormous watch? All night? The level of manipulation that it takes to get us to buy you drinks isn’t a heroic feat, for your information – many of us men were taught to open up by buying dinner/drinks when trying to break the ice. Unfortunately for many of you, there are, among the fairer sex, a portion of your population that trip their slut button as soon as they find someone to buy them a cosmo. Not our fault – remind your sisters to stop letting a drink or three buy the way into their pants. It’s also not necessary to get white-girl wasted around us, especially if it is on our dime – we have way more fun with you when you can stand on your own and we don’t have to “fix” your situation, or take blame for it, later.
Oh, and the fact that we don’t take “no” for an answer after paying your tab all night leads into your “fight for us, fucker” request. We may try to convince you of our awesomeness, but normal guys won’t follow you further than the front door, and most certainly won’t follow you back to your hotel room without your express permission – if you chose to put your eggs in the crazy basket because the guy offered to pay for your drinks, this is not a male-fault situation. That one is on you for exercising poor judgment, and we have already learned that. Oh, and if you’re type is Leonardo DiCaprio and you’re sitting with Herbie McBlumpkin, the rest of the guys in the place have already tagged you as manipulative and will probably steer clear of you, though we will be watching to see how heartless you are when you let the poor guy down.
When you say no, FYI, I already understand you aren’t coming with me, and you are welcome for the tequila. Unfortunately, now I know that you only hung out with me to save 15%, and that makes you cheap and manipulative.
2. When you say you need space…
…you are given space. When you ask us to fix the sink, the sink gets fixed. When you ask us to pick up bread from the store, generally bread makes its way from the store to your mouth. I understand that you think we should probably “fight” for you (i.e. fall all over the fact that you have disengaged from us), but, due to our extensive experience with your gender and the extraordinary whims you expect us to cater to in order to fall back into your good graces, we have decided that, in many cases, it’s just not worth it unless you’re the mother of our children.
To assist with this concept, let me tell you that, if you have settled for me, chances are pretty good that you don’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell with Channing Tatum. We are also pretty sure you have no idea how Channing Tatum would treat you, so please stop comparing me and my motivations to him.
What I’m trying to say is this: ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT. If you ask for something you don’t want, you’re likely to get it, and that’s on you. We will make you feel wanted, needed, loved, important, and irreplaceable if you are willing to stop making us work so fucking hard to do it. We also know that we need to spend money to make you happy. Please don’t try to deny this – it’s been part of how men have dealt with grumpy women forever now, and if we aren’t spending money to make you happy, it means one of two things:
- We don’t have enough to dig ourselves out of the shithole we dug ourselves into.
- We don’t think your argument holds enough merit to warrant spending our hard-earned money on your tantrum.
Either way, it’s not us blowing you off – it’s us making a very deliberate decision regarding how we spend our money, and you are more than welcome to ask us which one of these situations apply to your particular trouble with us. Be prepared, however, to get the honest, unfiltered answer.
And that surprise vacation you want? Make sure to include the fact that it has to be doing something you approve of, and for us to determine this, we will probably ask you if you’re ok with it, thus ruining that whole “surprise” thing you’re looking for. Be more flexible, and we will be more spontaneous. Insist on constant and non-negotiable enjoyment of every second, and we will probably just stay home where it’s safe and the wi-fi is consistent.
3. You don’t over-think.
Perhaps it would be more accurate to call it over-scrutinize (i.e. you remember everything we’ve ever said and break down every word). Can you imagine what life would be like if you had to traipse around us rhetorically all day?
Nice thing for you is, we already know that you scrutinize us and are constantly testing our fealty to you, which is why you are generally met with one-word answers that are safe for us to use. If you’re not a fan of basic communication, please don’t question our frustration with you, as this tends to blow our minds.
We also recognize that cool girls also over-scrutinize, mostly because she is a girl. Her priorities and thresholds of tolerance, however, are probably more in line with ours, which is why we get along with them more casually and tend to not have conflicts with them, which is a real treat for us.
4. You already know the truth.
We already know you have an idea of how the truth goes, and we are weighing the level to which you will defend your concept of the truth as it contrasts to our side of the story. Sometimes we get lucky and you’ve come to our version of the truth. There are times, however, whether Channing, Leo, or some other leading man in your fantasies has skewed your deduction, that we are forced to defend our truth far more aggressively than would normally be expected. In these cases, please understand that telling the fucking truth is feasible if an only if you would fucking believe us without cutting our dicks off.
The way you look at us, by the way, changes every 60 seconds (see point 3), so telling us that a lie will change that is like warning us that the sun is coming up tomorrow.
5. When you say you’re fine, you’re NOT.
This isn’t as big of a deal as you seem to think it is, and, if you want me to be more to the point, WE GET IT.
You pointing out that you aren’t fine when you say you are won’t stop us from thinking that your lack of communication skills is utterly ridiculous, nor will speaking in riddles ever make sense to us. Allow me to give you a pro-tip for male-female interactions:
Men will take requests and declarations of emotional state literally, no matter how many times you tell us to “dig deeper”.
Ask yourself a question on behalf of all of the men in your life – why do you feel like being cryptic about your feelings?
Bottom-line up front – our job and desire, at a fundamental level, is to provide for your security. By you denying that there is a problem, we automatically assume that you are in a safe place. Our instincts, however, tell us that you are not comfortable with the situation, and we automatically prepare to defend you from what it is that you are upset with. When we ask you a second time what is wrong, this is your opportunity to identify the threat and allow us an opportunity to engage it to de-escalate the situation (this means that even if our behavior upsets you, our instincts are to change our behavior to ensure your security). Should we ask you a third time (however unlikely), we still understand that there is something that is upsetting you, but our resolve to engage it falls to practically zero after you deny the existence of a stressor, and we move on to the next challenge the world has for us (whether that be the kitchen sink, a tough level on the xBox, or a sasquatch creeping through the yard).
Having said this, if you and I are alone around the breakfast table and I ask you why you are upset, I already know you are. Your response should probably involve “You left the toilet seat up again”, “You fell asleep in the middle of me telling you about my friend’s vacation”, or “You were a total dick at the bar last night” if you want me to address the negative behavior. The fallacy behind you not wanting to come off too bitchy or aggressive is that, in not speaking directly and assertively and/or denying a situation exists, you are asking us to read another human being’s mind and then holding us accountable for not being able to do so, which makes you come off as an unreasonable person, which is way harder to deal with than an aggressive bitch.
You expecting me to spend all afternoon banging my head against the wall to try to get you to speak up is ridiculous, by the way. I will probably ask a couple of times and then call my mother or your friend to find out what I did wrong. Until then, your psychological state is Ground Zero and I refuse to jump into the crossfire.
We recognize that human beings all have fantasies, and we also recognize that women’s fantasies (i.e. The Notebook, Titanic, The Great Gatsby, and Magic Mike) are far removed from our own (i.e. every porn-flick ever, the action movie that plays through our heads while we’re driving down the road, etc.), both in content and focus. Please realize that, in both scenarios, the great part of a fantasy is the self-centered focus of said fantasy, and that is primarily why they are enjoyable to both of us. Please also realize that, while you may want us to try to fulfill your fantasies, it is virtually impossible to live up to the paragon alpha males you aspire us to be, and your desire is, depending on your level of disconnect with reality, probably absurd. If you can identify what about Prince Charming is awesome to you, you have the responsibility to share that information with us so we have some sort of direction to travel. Whether it’s rocking a six-pack, being funny, being financially responsible, being a good father, or respecting your father, we will do it if we want to invest in you, but if you never give us an expectation, don’t expect us to hit it.
Should we try? You bet – and when we try, please feel free to recognize the effort (even if it doesn’t hit your expectation, you letting us know you recognize it and need us to try harder will make us far more willing to give it another go). In summary, that communication thing you want us to do with you travels both ways, ladies.
Giving us a prize to fight for versus an over-scrutinous need-factory might help, as well. . . just a thought.
If you are a female reading this article, please take note. These points are verifiable ways in which you don’t understand why we don’t understand, and I have done my best to capitalize on the rule book we were provided. Allow me to sum that rule book up for you:
- Buy you drinks, but don’t expect anything in return.
- When you say you need space, give you space, but fight for our right to occupy that space again at any cost.
- Over-scrutiny isn’t a bad thing. As a matter of fact, it is a perfectly healthy behavior for one side of a relationship, and should be pursued at the expense of mutual respect. Women are to be afforded the latitude to make irrational decisions regarding a man’s behavior simply because she is a woman.
- Truth is only true if a woman understands it that way. If she doesn’t, her version is the correct one, and the burden of proof falls on the males in her life.
- When you say you’re fine, the expectation is that, foregoing common sense and normal human behavior, a man will spend up to five hours asking “is something wrong” in 20 different ways in order to come to the answer, “yes”, only to be expected to answer the question with the answer to the follow-on question, “what is it?”. When this feat cannot be accomplished, the male is expected to simply absorb the fallout and keep trying.
- Men’s fantasies, while awesome, are only to be fulfilled after a woman’s equally awesome fantasies are satisfied. If the “Prince Charming” standard is unreachable, the level of emotional fallout will be exponential, but should be considered wholly reasonable.
Overall, please understand the meaning behind this – we already get it, ladies. If your ilk refuses to deal with the fact that we think and react to the world differently, even after years and years of women claiming that men don’t understand them, you will continue to be disappointed in how little we resemble your girlfriends, sisters, and mother, emotionally and otherwise.
When you are dissatisfied, we know. When you are angry, we know. Your lack of subtlety makes it pretty easy, but our problem lies in the fact that there are literally (and please don’t try to deny this – we all know that it is true) millions of possibilities that explain why you are upset. Narrow that down for us like an adult, and we will respond in like fashion. Until then, your “rule book” will stay on my coffee table under a nudie magazine, my copy of “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”, my copy of “How To Respond To Internet Trolling In A Tongue-In-Cheek Style”, and my dreams of ever understanding the ever-changing and perfectly flawed creature that is the Woman.