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Men have many positive qualities: We are fairly simple in our needs, and typically pretty easy to please.  We generally are straight-forward in our approach to things and our agenda is usually obvious (except when we're trying to get you into bed the first time - then we are as deceptively manipulative and insincere as a career politician).  One quality we are lacking, however, is the ability to read non-verbal clues from the opposite sex.  When it comes to being sensitive to body language, subtext or nuanced meanings, we are not only clueless, we are just this side of brain-dead.  Thus it is no exaggeration when I say that when it comes to subtlety and innuendo, sadly, my brethren and I can be thick as a brick.

So what does that mean for you?  Well, first of all, it means that anytime you want to communicate something to us, you need to make your request absolutely clear.  Let's say you're out on a date with a guy you're interested in.  You think he likes you, too, so you do your best to give him subtle clues that you would be receptive to him giving you a lip lock.  Despite your best efforts, however, he isn't responding to the numerous "kiss-me" signals you're sending him, so you start thinking he must not be into you.  Wrong!  He's probably been fantasizing about kissing you (along with other, more prurient desires) since he first asked you out.  But chances are he's missed ninety percent of the signals you sent him, and the ten percent he did notice, he badly misread. So what do you do? Well, if you still are interested in swapping saliva, you've got a few choices: 1) You could keep doing what you're doing and pray something clicks in his brain and his lips execute an assertive maneuver; 2) You could be pro-active and just lean in and lay one on him; or 3) You could stroke his hair, lean in close...then do something that he can't possibly misinterpret - like saying, "I'd like you to kiss me." Sure it's bold and artless, but even he will understand your request.  And it's a request that is very unlikely to be ignored or refused.  So, you get to make out with your admittedly dense date, and he gets to start strategizing about getting to second base.  Win-win.

And how about further down the line in your relationship when you want something from him?  Now that you've gotten past that awkward introductory period, certainly he will be more sensitive to your non-verbal cues and unspoken desires.  Don't count on it.  When it comes to "reading between the lines," most of us are basically illiterate.  So, if you'd like your guy to get you a particular gift for your birthday, don't drop hints.  Be blunt about what you want, and be as detailed as possible.  While I know at first it may seem somewhat crass and unseemly, trust me when I say that with some men, it is the only way you've got even a chance of getting what you want.  That is not to say that on his own he might not get you something you will truly treasure.  That absolutely could happen.  Men are often considerate and thoughtful without prodding or instruction.  But if your heart's desire is specific, don't beat around the bush - tell him.

Please don't misinterpret this as any kind of indictment on men and their communication skills.  We're very good at expressing ourselves when it's important to us (like when we want food, sex, or sleep).  And we're equally adept at understanding what you say, as long as you are clear in your meaning and you actually say it out loud. Unlike you, however, we're really abysmal at interpreting vague references, allusions, hints or insinuations. And we are totally oblivious to the language of posture, movement, and gestures - unless, of course, out of frustration with our cluelessness, you flip us the bird. That's a non-verbal communication that even we understand.  

If you have any questions about men, relationships, dating or a related topic, please feel free to email them to me at: david@EveryManSeesYouNaked.com. I will try to answer as many as I possibly can here in my column. If you are interested in a more comprehensive compendium of musings on the male mind, check out David's [Link Removed] 

(c) 2010 David M. Matthews.  All Rights Reserved.


Davidmmatthews, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.

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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Ulrike Freund wrote Apr 6, 2010
    • Sounds good. I think this will be practible in my marriage. happy



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Veggie wrote Apr 6, 2010
    • Good article!  I’ve flipped the bird once or twice in my time out of frustration - haha.

      Men, women.  Love, hate... can’t live without.

      Communication, up front & personal is the answer to all my problems today.  Along the way, I have learned and must continue to practice on a daily basis that you get more bees with honey.

      Living with Mike now 7yrs, we are finally communicating more like ‘I’ need.  On one hand I allow the ‘mothering’ yet on the other, I’m resentful.  ‘I’ need to learn the balance.  Many times I see a lost little boy.

      I had two girls (one is now 32 & the other 21) and have found that my husband/boyfriend (not at the same time!!) are more difficult to ‘raise’ than than the girls were.

      Actually, it’s very tiring.  I would much rather spend my time having fun with an adult man than raising a boy that is an ego maniac with an inferiority problem.

      On the other hand, I am fully aware that I am not Ms. Confidence on any given day either.  However, I can, the majority of the time, be honest about my insecurities.



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Dana Cappelletti wrote Apr 6, 2010
    • Great advice- I just sent this to a friend who is always talking about how she keeps giving your boyfriends “hint’s” and he doesn’t get it.  I have been trying to tell her to be more direct.estatic



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Lisa Brown wrote Apr 6, 2010
    • This is a great article. Well written and funny as heck.  I have found it to be true as well.



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Ulrike Freund wrote Apr 6, 2010
    • Oh yes, the “little boy” inside of my husband (living alone for 32 years :-/ - with his old father) is often a problem for both of us, for him and for me. But I love him!



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote Apr 6, 2010
    • Once again a great article! And oh so true.... My hubz confirms all this!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Wookiemom09 wrote Apr 6, 2010
    • Good one chinadoll.  I find that my husband is clueless and I have to verbalize or be ticked.  Like he jokes “we may be biblically one flesh but I can’t read a female mind.”



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Kathryn O'Hara wrote Apr 7, 2010
    • Great article!  For the first 10 yrs of our marriage, my man kept telling me to “stop beating around the bush” or “don’t try to bullsh*t me!”  and I didn’t get it.  Now I just say things straight out and don’t worry about hurting his feelings.  Which weren’t being hurt anyway.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Timbuktu wrote Apr 9, 2010
    • There are lots of things about men that drive me nuts, but I do sympathise with them on the female ‘hinting’ syndrome. A woman told me not long ago she and her partner were doing a long motorway trip and she was upset because he’d not understood her when she wanted to stop for a cup of tea. Instead of saying ‘I’d like to stop here‘, she said ‘Do you want to stop for some tea?’ and he said no and whizzed past the service area. Well what the Hell did she expect!

      I must be a bit masculine but that fluffy female behviour really irritates me!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      UK Girl wrote Apr 9, 2010
    • @Timbuktu was that my sister ...... she does that all the time she decides we are in me / family / hubby are doing something but never verbalises it and then gets all upset because it never happens!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Maryann Rhodey wrote Apr 9, 2010
    • Love the article and the advice!



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