If your immediate response to the title of this post is a Stirling-esque “who cares?” then this post isn’t for you. However, if you have problems understanding your wife / girlfriend / female friend, then it might help a little. I should start by saying that I am unbelievably lucky to have had the most wonderful boyfriends and male friends who this is in no way written about (although some things may be familiar…!) – I am writing this for men in general. Secondly, I obviously can’t speak for every woman in the world. We are all wonderfully unique and complex and, thus, rather difficult to work out (which is frustrating for men who are generally very simple). But I think I know women pretty well so I can talk for at least some of us. So here goes:
1. We may earn more than you. We have our own careers, mortgages, social lives. We want to be respected for being clever and independent and we want you to be proud of us. But at the same time it’s tiring being strong all the time – we sometimes want you to come up with holiday plans and find the passports, stay by our side at a party and come up with date night ideas. Its OK for us to be strong and vulnerable at the same time, you just need to accept both sides.
2. We don’t care how much you earn as long as we agree with you on how comfortable we want life to be and are able to afford the things we need to live this life. We don’t need expensive gifts but we like you to treat us now and again. We’re happy to lend you money. And ALWAYS buy us a birthday present, it doesn’t matter if it’s small. We don’t mind if you’ll never be the boss but we want you to be happy at what you do and fulfil your ambitions.
3. Become acquainted with the toilet brush.
4. Internet daters – don’t feel obliged to prove you are the sort of man YOU THINK we want:
- Photo 1 = your sister told you that you look cute (but it doesn’t really look like you)
- Photo 2 = Trekking somewhere foreign (me man, climb mountain, am available for mini breaks)
- Photo 3 = arm round a fit woman (to show us that you have fit friends? that you once dated someone fit? that if you deign to put your arm round a fit woman in a bar she won’t push you away in disgust?). The fact is WE’RE fit so all that matters is that we would allow you to put your arm round US
- Photo 4 = with friends in pub, drinking beer (am not social leper)
- Photo 5 = drinking coffee, reading a book, looking thoughtful (I can be deep and meaningful and we can talk about Sartre while I stroke your hair, or if you like we can just get pissed – see photo 4)
- Photo 6 – “fun” photo (I am HILARIOUS – tie round head, air guitar or similar)
What we actually want is to see who you are. We want someone with nice eyes. Who looks interesting and has chosen photos that show the man not a stereotype. Who is honest and romantic and knows themself and what they want. Isn’t afraid to mention that they want kids too. And has nice guns (we can be shallow too).
5. Yes, we KNOW we are being ridiculous for getting upset at that stupid small thing which has no real connection to the conversation we were having. We KNOW you don’t understand. We know we SHOULDN’T get upset. But we ARE upset. Although we’ll be fine soon. Just stop lecturing and give us a hug and tell us it will be OK.
6. If we’ve gone to an effort to dress up, you really should say how lovely we look, no matter how long the relationship has lasted (and even though you secretly prefer us hungover, sans make up, in an old t-shirt and jeans). Appreciate matching silk underwear – all that stuff about us wearing it for ourselves is bollocks, most girls are far happier in cotton M&S. And know when to make an effort yourself too.
7. We know we sometimes drive badly and can’t cook very well. But tell us in a non-patronising way because we’re fiercely independent and we’re trying to look after you and don’t want to feel stupid. And we don’t know what “riding the clutch” means anyway.
8. We realise you don’t give a toss what colour the walls are, what type of lamp shades we get and how the house plants are looking. But we are nesting and want you to be part of it. We have grown up with adverts and films showing couples in overalls redecorating and getting covered in paint and being all cosy and cute, its our little fantasy. So grab the tool box and join in and look like you’re having fun (it actually can be and you’ll have a great sense of achievement – honestly). At the very least remember that you may get a nice dinner, beer and other oft-requested rewards at the end.
9. The following are not funny: jokes about our biological clocks tic-tocking, references to us being “on the shelf” or similar, any form of fart joke, comments about our mothers. We do however have a pretty dirty sense of humour and will laugh as hard as you to The Inbetweeners and keep your mates amused for hours at the pub.
10. If we’ve put on weight, its either because we just gave birth to your 8 pound baby or we’ve had a few too many burgers lately. But believe me we’re well aware of it. In fact we worry about it constantly. If you refer to it in a negative way, we will either (a) make ourselves feel better by eating more (we comfort eat when sad. And many of us comfort eat when happy too, double trouble); or (b) lose the weight in a focused way and promptly look for someone more sensitive and non-judgmental. Best way to deal with this is to make us feel beautiful anyway – we’ll lose it eventually and if we don’t, make sure you appreciate the new curves.
And “I love your thunder thighs” is not an acceptable compliment even if you meant it as one.