Are men really so different?
Today is Father's Day and for me, that means both happy and sad memories. I was very close to my dad and I still miss him almost every single day, nearly six years after his passing. He was one of those strong, silent types when it came to expressing his emotions but he felt things deeply and on more than one occasion I saw a tear in his eye. It was usually when one of us was leaving or returning home or when we'd done something to make him proud but once or twice, it was because he was sad. More often than not he'd blame it on dust or some such thing but he'd grin and we both knew the truth of the matter.
I think it is because of Dad that I seem to have generally good relationships with men - and I don't mean the romantic kind. I can honestly say that I have more male friends than I do female (is that a good or a bad thing?) Well, whatever it is, it means that I like to think I know a little about how men 'tick'. (Famous last words!)
Don't get me wrong, I'm no expert and when it comes to falling in love with one, I'm as lost as the next woman, but it does mean that there are a few things that I can say with (almost) absolute certainty. I'm sure you all know these already but see if you agree with me or if I've left anything out.
1. Men feel emotions just as deeply (and as irrationally) as women do.
2. Not everything is about sex; sometimes it's about sport and once or twice it's about thinking, saying or doing something nice for no other reason than they want to.
3. Men fall in love at first sight too. One of my friends saw a woman on a train and seven years later, he's still as smitten with her as he was that day, even after two kids!
4. Men feel just as used as women do after a one night stand. Another friend met a woman at a bar, had a night of passion and arrived on my doorstep the next morning asking what he could have done wrong to make her say she didn't want to see him again! We spent two hours drinking coffee, eating biscuits and trying to come to terms with the fact that sometimes, it just happens. And he's a strapping, six feet tall, rugby-playing, hunk of gorgeousness.
5. Men do worry about what we think of them.
6. Men do ask themselves what they should do in certain situations. (I'm talking about romance here)
7. Men have self-doubts too.
8. Men do ask, 'what did she mean by that?' Another friend is dating a woman he shouldn't be. They are both marrried to other people but neither, it seems, are happy with their spouses. I don't condone what my friend is doing and I tell him he should be honest with his wife and either work it out or leave (she is also a casual 'friend' but only through him - I'll be in his camp when they divorce. Hate me if you want but I am always loyal to my friends, no matter what, even if I don't like what they're doing). Anyway, this friend has been dating the married woman for a few months now and every time he gets a text from her saying she can't see him or she doesn't reply to his messages immediately, he calls me to ask what I think she 'means'. I say, 'nothing, she's just busy, she'll call you when she can,' but it doesn't stop him from thinking the world is about to come crashing down on him and that she is trying to dump him or that she's seeing someone else. (Oh the irony!)
9. Men do like to snuggle. Not for long perhaps and almost certainly, not all night but they like to feel the woman they love wrapped tightly in their arms just as much as we like to be there.
10. Men get just as excited about going on a date as women do and yes, they do spend time thinking about what they should wear - possibly only a few minutes and not the hours we do but they think about it all the same. Oddly enough though, shoes don't seem to enter into the equation.
11. Men sit and wait for the phone to ring, too, but they'll usually find something else to occupy themselves whilst they're sitting and waiting for the phone to ring.
12. Men do read romance novels. Although some have to be 'persuaded' to do so.
13. Men do like romantic gestures just as much as women do. With the exception of one of my male friends (whom I am convinced has only got one romantic bone in his body and that is in his little toe) men like romantic gestures. Several of my male friends do the most incredibly romantic things and not because they think they have to (or because they think it'll guarantee sex) but because they want to. They also love it when their women do something romantic for them (especially if it's something to boost their ego) One friend was over the moon when his girlfriend had a photo of him made into a hanging air freshener for her car 'because she wanted to take him with her wherever she went'. Personally, I thought that was a little weird, but he loved it. One of the men made paper cut-outs of his feet and placed them all over his girlfriend's flat going round and round until finally leading out to the garden where he had arranged a picnic under the stars (it was, luckily, the one hot summer night we had last year). He did it simply because he knew she would love it - and she did. I could list all of the things these men have done or have received but it would turn into a novel!
14. Actually, this blog IS turning into a novel and I should be getting on with writing my next book so I'll stop here. You get the picture, I'm sure. There are a couple of other things I'll say though, although they aren't about being different - or not being different, I should say.
15. Men do get very tired of always being the one to make the first move. Without exception every single one of my male friends and every one of my boyfriends, in fact every man I've ever asked - and I've asked quite a few in the interests of research - has said that, just occasionally, it would be good, or it is fantastic when, it is the woman who makes the first move. That means at a party when you've been eyeing one another across a crowded room, on a train, at a coffee shop etc.
16. Men get really nervous having to do the asking and fear of rejection is high on their list of 'how this encounter could end'.
17. Men also quite like the idea of being seduced but there is a very fine line here, so you do have to be careful with this one. They all say though, that they would love it/do love it when their girlfriends/wives are the ones to initiate sex sometimes.
18. It seems men want to feel desired just as much as we women do.
You may or may not agree with what I've said here and I'm sure you've all got male friends/husbands/boyfriends so you know all this and much more besides, but some people still seem to think men and women are a completely different species, almost, and I don't agree with that. All my life I've had close male friends and throughout my career my peer group was top heavy with men. I've spent more hours than I care to (or can) remember in pubs and wine bars in the City socialising with them as a colleague and equal. Like most of you, I've seen and heard at first hand how they think and behave around other women and yes, many of them felt they 'had to' chat me up because I was a woman. But men and women can be friends as my male friends will tell you - and I don't look like the back end of a bus, in case you were wondering. I am currently single though ...
Happy Father's Day to all those men who are fathers and Happy Sunday to everyone else.
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