A Response to LA College Relationships Examiner, Elisabeth Birkholz’s article Women, what you need to know about men, from a guy’s perspective at http://www.examiner.com/x-25409-LA-College-Relationships-Examiner~y2009m11d23-
Wow, Elisabeth you seem pretty straightforward this time. Your assertions (some of which I agree with and others I think might need a little guidance,) send my mind, pride and moral compass spinning a million different directions. It’s true, the idea of a woman being able to jump into the mind of a man sounds very confusing, and so does the converse scenario, but let’s explore this shall we?
I like the scene you’ve set up. It’s classic. Boy meets girl. Boy woos girl. Girl falls hard for what seems to be completely sincere and honorable motives and then “BAM”, he shows some reluctance. This doesn’t match up with any of the signals he’s been giving you up to this point so you’re completely blindsided. Am I following so far? Now often time’s he’ll just gradually call and invite you out less and less until one day you wake up and realize that the man who once texted you on his every lunch break to express his excitement about the new relationship hasn’t made an attempt to make plans with you for 3 Fridays in a row. You’re lucky if you got the straight forward, “Maybe we should take a break,” (which really is anything but straightforward to begin with). Now before you go off and decide that he probably just found a girl with nicer thighs and therefore has discarded you into the If Only I Could Stomach the Sight of Her pile, let’s explore all the possibilities of what actually might be going on up to this point.
The first and most obvious and yet least believable option is that he’s actually telling the truth. In the age where a handshake and a smile actually means that a person is more likely to screw you over than not, a man’s word doesn’t seem to be worth much, but I assure you, that many more men than you think take what they say very seriously. If he seems to be desperately searching for words, your first reaction might be to assume he’s trying to figure out how to best trick you, but in many cases he knows that each and every word he uses will be meticulously scrutinized by you and 50 of your closest friends for denotative and connotative significance and he is earnestly trying to find exactly the right ones so that he can convey his thoughts and feelings with laser precision. Relationships can be tricky. Although we are often thought of as simplistic and you women get all the accolades for understanding the complexities of feelings and the like, even we, the stronger (and apparently baser) sex know that these things just don’t flow from, ‘I like you’ to ‘we like each other’ to ‘happily ever after’ in a month. There’s a ton to think about, a ton to consider, and sometimes our need for a break and what looks like excuses is often a sincere (if not ineffective) attempt at figuring all these feelings and plans and thoughts of the future out.
I know you girls don’t like that one so lets move on to another possibility, a juicier one. Perhaps he actually is trying to let you down easy because he’s not quite sure about the relationship, for whatever reason. Sure the LA College Relationships Examiner is right. Sure there are the scattered clinically antisocial men out there who have no consideration for the feelings of others, but those are the guys that you end up hearing about on CNN who are discovered with various female body parts in their refrigerators next to the jar of pickled pigs feet. If you find yourself a serial dater of these types then you need to completely scrap your criteria for finding a man and start over, (a change of address might help too). But the vast majority of men are human beings, with real thoughts and feelings and have a desire, even if it’s only at the most basic of levels, to protect you as a woman from hurt. I mean after all, he did care enough about you to take you out. He put thought into what he was going to wear and what you would like to do. He even thought long and hard about what songs to put on his stereo in the car while you drove there depending on the mood he wanted to set. If a man has put this kind of thought into matters that concern you before, even if the relationship has somehow changed, he still cares about you. On a human level if nothing else and he wants to avoid hurting you at all costs. But he knows that having gone this far already, taking you out, whispering sweet nothings in your ear, perhaps even kissing you, that there is no way out without hurting you. This thing can really only end two different ways. In holy matrimony (which is way way way down the line anyway), or pain. He’s having doubts, which in many cases has nothing to do with you, nor your attractiveness or anything else about you, but he knows that no matter how honest he is and no matter how hard he tries to explain you will see it as a, “you’re not good enough,” type of rejection. And he desperately wants to avoid that type of pain for you. So what does he do? He lies. Or he tries the infamous fade out which is really a pathetic attempt at hoping to somehow create some disinterest on your end or somehow thinking that as encounters become less and less frequent, he can eventual pull out with his hands clean, because like a frog in boiling water, he introduced the pain at such small doses that by the time he’s completely gone you won’t even notice. I’m ashamed to say that I know this one doesn’t work because I’ve tried it. Am I defending it? Not a chance. Is being dishonest, even if your motives are good ok? Nope. But I am saying that as a woman you’ve got to be careful before you jump on the All Men Suck train.
So, I’m sure all the men you got advice from are great guys. I’m sure they are just as kind, thoughtful, and apple pie loving as the rest of us, but they might want to take their responsibility as official representatives of the male sex a little more consideration before they mold the minds of impressionable young girls everywhere to hate us all.
Fact: Men are turned on visually. This means that if you look a certain way (frankly I’m just too lazy to go into the physiology of why we think this is) that men will take notice. Any woman that instinctively hikes her skirt up just a little as the officer approaches her window in effort to get out of a speeding ticket knows this. It’s probably the worst kept secret in the world.
Fact: Men are turned on intellectually. Now this may be the best kept secret in the world but most male thinking is actually done with something called the brain, and not the penis. This means that men find intelligent women attractive. There is a nasty rumor out there that men don’t like smart girls and that we are somehow afraid of them but this couldn’t be further from the truth. The root of that rumor is that men do instinctively feel the need to lead, to protect, to show new worlds to a woman, and when we run into a woman that is clearly superior intellectually, that can sometimes feel like it takes all the air out of that balloon. That being said, a man does however like a challenge and a woman who is dumb but hot still doesn’t challenge him. A woman whose intellect is comparable to is own (whether you’ve got an IQ of 78 and his is 83 or if he’s rocking a 145 and feels pretty good about himself until it turns out you’re a 150) will think thoughts and dream dreams that compliment his own. Her mind will push his to grow and likewise his will push yours to grow as well
Fact: Men are turned on emotionally. Ok now if you didn’t think the last one was a lie, you are really going to stop reading now. Yes I said it. Men have emotions and real ones aren’t afraid to use them when appropriate. I mean there’s one thing you’ve got to understand about guys. We all may live in the same world, but the world doesn’t afford us the luxury of crying when we have a bad day so the boss feels sorry for us and sends us home to rest. We learn very quickly that the world doesn’t give a darn about our emotions and that if it sees us displaying them it will pick us off like a lioness looking for the gazelle with the weakest ankles. So we learn to control when they show and when they don’t. Some of us learn this so well that we forget how to ever let them show but this doesn’t mean that they aren’t there. This is where you come in. Women remind us that there is a softer side to humanity and you teach us how to use our emotion in the right way toward you. We sometimes walk outside under a starry night and feel how great it would be to have a good woman by our side just as much as you seen a beautiful sunset and wish you had a strong shoulder to lean your head against while you watch it sink down below the horizon. In a world where men aren’t allowed to show weakness, if we can trust you with our emotions it can mean the world.
Fact: Men are turned on by fun girls. No matter how good you look in a bikini, or for that matter, no matter how bad you look in a bikini, a woman’s personality really does make all the difference. When a man is looking for a woman, he’s really looking for a best friend. This doesn’t necessarily mean he’s looking for someone to chat with all night on the phone or someone to have nail painting parties with. But it certainly doesn’t mean he wants someone with a glorious body but a perpetual blank stare across her face either. If he likes to surf then he wants a girl that can go surfing with him, or at least will be a good sport and go up to her knees in the water. He wants a girl who he can play a good joke on, and who will get him back when he’s not looking. We all have had a friend who doesn’t necessarily have any special tricks or talents or money or anything to distract us from who they really are, but nonetheless we can spend a night out on the town, or an afternoon watching tv with them and either way we feel like we just had the time of our life. Men want that in a woman as well. The last thing a man wants is some hottie that stands around and whines about every situation, and who can’t take a joke. Sex appeal can only get you so far.
Those are just a few of the thousands of ways that women are found to be attractive by men. And what I mean by saying all this is that there’s more than one way to snag yourself a man, and to be honest you are going to want to use all of these and more to attract him in the first place. This isn’t an excuse to make the not so cute girls feel good about themselves or trick them into believing they have a chance, but any woman that only utilizes her ‘hotness’ to get a man’s attention is a fool. Hotness is a tool, and for a man it is a very formidable opponent but if visual stimulation is your only selling point then watch out because odds are that you wont be attracting the type of customers that you are interested in. It’s not even the fact that hot girls attract sleezy horn dogs because it’s not just them that like hot girls but it’s more that the kind of responsible, dependable man with the strength and gentleness to hold you the way you want to be held is a rarity, and chances are that he has many women interested in him that have ‘hotness’ to offer. If he only wanted this he would be off the market already and untouchable by you anyway, so the fact that he’s a) desirable and yet b) available means that he’s got more on his What I Want In a Girl list than just ‘hot’. His multifaceted personality requires a multifaceted counterpart to compliment it and this means his interests when it comes to women are not as cut and dry as you think.
This leads me to my next point. The reason you often see ‘ugly’ women with boyfriends is not because the man really wanted a hotter girl but he didn’t have to guts to go for her so in his insatiable desire for love he figured that any person with XX chromosomes is better than nobody at all. How insulting to the woman who has a boyfriend but isn’t quite a platinum blonde with silky smooth thighs and a 6 foot frame. How insulting to the man who apparently doesn’t have the means or the nerve to succeed in pursuing what he really wants in a woman, because that will translate into all aspects of life. No I hold that no man will be with a woman unless he actually wants to. This means that while you may be looking and scratching your head as a seemingly capable and attractive man walks down the street hand in hand with a rather homely woman, what you see as not very cute, may be, and probably is, very beautiful in his eyes. (A side note that is still very relevant is that men tend to be very aware of how their woman reflects on them, especially in public. A guy isn’t going to be very public about a relationship with any woman unless he sees her as beautiful and is proud to be with her.) So if you see this you know that the combination of her appearance, personality, wit, trustworthiness, faithfulness to her beliefs, ability to adapt, her supportiveness, and a number of other things all contributed, not only to her ‘keeping’ him but in the initial attraction as well. With plastic surgery, and Photoshop, hotness is just too accessible these days and it takes a lot more than that, and sometimes not even that at all, to gain the attention of a worth while man.