Imagine a young man working at the seafood counter of a grocery store. Before he wraps a fresh fish that someone has just purchased, he pretends that it is dancing on the counter, singing “I like the night life, baby!”
This young guy, a coworker back in the days when I took any available job to get through college, was perpetually in pursuit of women. He was not stacked or gorgeous, and he definitely wasn’t rich or he wouldn’t have been working with me. Yet he was very successful at attracting women. He relied on his ability to make them laugh.
That’s where the dancing fish came in. I remember the young lady who was buying it. She giggled, and it’s quite possible that my friend got her phone number that day. A sense of humor seems to be something that women value in a man. What else do women like?
Back in May, I posted an unscientific, online survey asking men and women for their thoughts on the opposite sex. The research is part of my 2014 book, The Woman’s Guide to How Men Think: Love, Commitment, and the Male Mind.
I asked questions such as What are the most frustrating things about men? and What do you like most about women? In gratitude to all the men and women who have generously participated so far, here are a few of the comments I have received.
We’ll do this in two posts. This one contains some of the thoughts women expressed about men. In the next post, I’ll tell you what the men had to say. These sentiments are not necessarily my own. I just picked what I thought was representative and interesting.
First, the Complaints
Before we get to what women like about men, let’s start with some of the frustrations that women shared. One of the most common complaints concerns what one woman described as “The silence! The damned silence!” Here are a few of their thoughts on men who won’t talk:
“There’s nothing more frustrating and painful than to feel a need to communicate with someone I love and yet not feel welcome to approach him.”
“I wish I understood why he retreats and clams up if I’m upset. That is when I need him the most. But he just hides, like he’s riding out a hurricane. It makes me feel so alone. Unloved.”
“We aren’t mind readers. If men don’t communicate exactly what’s going on, we will jump to conclusions. It shouldn’t be our fault when the man gets angry about this… Men will never truly understand how much lack of communication hurts us.”
“Most of the time, pushing your buttons is the only way you’ll respond. And how hard is it to simply tell a woman she is pretty or bring her flowers? Little things go a long way.”
A close cousin to silence, many women reported that male stoicism is frustrating and hurts a relationship.
“At times I feel that if there is anger expressed (whether he is angry at me or something else), at least there’s still something going on in the relationship, but if he just retreats, it feels like there is NO relationship at all. Me feeling empty.”
“Why it is preferable to shut down rather than try to communicate and reconnect if there is an issue? Why do men hold in thoughts that are actually very important and could be useful to share?”
“Men ignore problems until it’s too late. By ‘too late’ I mean they wait until there is no love or affection left to rebuild on.”
“…I blame our society for forcing young boys to ignore their emotions, so we [women] did it to ourselves. How many times have we said to our boys, ‘Be a tough guy. Tough guys don’t cry. Be strong’ when what we should really be saying is, ‘that must’ve been scary/hurtful/hard.’”
“I’d like him to know I’m not presenting a trap when I inquire how he’s feeling. I don’t want to judge or mock, I WANT TO HELP. I want to understand him, and I want him to understand me.”
Several women also reported that there is an upside to male silence and stoicism. There may even be advantages.
“I have recently learned that emotional intimacy or open communication does NOT mean sharing every...
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