You should now have a much better grasp on the issues women deal with on a day-to-day, hour-to-hour, week-to-week basis. Uncertainty about and threats to their physical, emotional, and social safety surround them. You get that at a general level. But what about at the specific, individual female level? How do you grow your insights into her point of view? How do you subjectify her? You do it by practicing perspective-taking.
Next time you’re in class or sitting in a Starbucks, pick out a woman in the crowd (a pretty classmate, a customer, the barista), and for a few minutes imagine yourself in her skin in the most non–Silence of the Lambs way possible. Then ask yourself questions like these:
- What is something unique to her life and central to her identity that is impossible for me to know just by looking at her?
- Who are the potential threats around her in this place right now?
- What does she think about all the guys in here?
- What is the likelihood she thinks I’m among the most attractive guys here?
- What parts of her body is she most embarrassed about and most proud of?
- Why did she choose to wear those specific clothes and accessories today?
- Who are her friends, and which ones would be most judgmental if she had casual sex? How does that impact her behavior and choices?
- If she got pregnant tomorrow, what would she do?
- What kind of men does she date, and do they sexually satisfy her? Are any of them here right now?
You won’t necessarily guess the right answers, and you should never go up and ask her if your guesses are correct—unless you want to know what a restraining order looks like. This is just a thought experiment for you to practice, to put your attention on a woman’s mind before you ever approach her so that you might understand her a bit better.
Women are pulling their weight in trying to understand you. They subscribe to women’s magazines that devote thousands of words a month to trying to get inside your head. (Sadly, those magazines suck.) They chat with their female friends about what men might be thinking or feeling and what a man meant by this particular sentence or that particular action. They even become psych majors. If you can meet them halfway, you’re going to do great.