Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Secrets of Women

Earlier this week I asked my male readers if they have any questions about women that they'd like answered. I got some very interesting questions and decided to enlist the help of some friends in answering some of them.

To start out with, I asked the panelists to send me a short bio about themselves to give you some added insight into who they are:

Christi: I've been married for 10-ish months. I live in Riverton, Utah with my husband, dog, two cats, and sometimes four step-children.
Kathy: I grew up in a half American and half Korean run household that was located in a small town in rural Michigan. I've been happily married for nine years. I currently have the privilege of working with Elizabeth. We only fight about twice a week, so it's a decent environment.
Joan: Joan didn't send me a bio, so I get to say what I want about her. Here's a secret about Joan: her name isn't really Joan. She's from Michigan, but lives in Utah. Her hobbies include tight rope walking, fishing for marlin, and crowd surfing.
I’ve never been married; am enjoying my third annual 29th year; living in the Midwest after a brief stint in L.A.; hold down a decent job; love to travel, to laugh, and to dance around my living room. Have accumulated more than my fair share of dating stories, some hilarious, some tragic, and all memorable!
I'm a Virgo who likes romantic dinners and long walks on the beach. A grad student at Kendall College of Art & Design, I'm working on my MFA in painting and am looking for a wealthy, powerful, attractive man with a good sense of humor to support my painting habit. I also love a good concert, play, or art museum, and love literature and poetry. Wait, this isn't a personals ad?

Heidi: I'm single and I live in Ann Arbor. I really know nothing about guys, or girls for that matter but I am always willing to give advice and pass judgment anyway.
Elizabeth: Yours truly.

1. Why do women generally seem to have more trouble getting along with other women then men do getting along with other men?

Christi: Women take things way more personally. We get offended easier. If someone doesn’t return a phone call, or makes a negative comment about anything related to us (or sometimes not related to us) we take it as a personal attack. I think guys blow things off like that a lot more easily.
Kathy: PMS. Enough said. (Kidding. Sort of.) I think it's because
women in general tend to be more sensitive, and there seems to be a certain amount of insecurity and competition mixed in there. Put that together with the fact that women can be emotional, and you have the perfect recipe for hurt feelings.
Joan: Girls get annoyed more easily.
Sarah: Men will be friends with a guy who has even one similar interest (fave video game; fave movie; fave band). They will disregard all other qualities and continue to bond over this one sole common interest. Women, on the other hand, can only be friends with a woman who shares at least 85% of her similar interests, morals, ethics, views, etc.

Heidi: Women are inherently more complex than men. And there are many personality aspects that just rub us the wrong way. Since women have more personality aspects there's just more to disagree with. We don't hate all of it, which also means that we can get along with many more people more at least a short amount of time.

2. Are women really surprised when men can't read their minds?

Christi: Unfortunately, yes. I think that what I want is so obvious, you should know what it is. Realistic? No. But closer to the truth than I will typically admit.
Kathy: Absolutely. How could you not understand that when a women says something, sometimes she means the exact opposite? It shocks me on a regular basis.

Joan: No. No one expects a mind reader (weird - what if I was thinking something I wouldn't want to share). We just want a guy who isn't clueless - someone who pays attention.

Women assume that men have seen enough romantic comedies, listened to enough love songs, and had enough prior experience with sisters or former flames or buddies going through their own drama that they would eventually catch on to how we think, what we really mean, and how to make it better!
Heidi: No. But we keep hoping a miracle will occur or you'll start paying attention.
Elizabeth: Yes. We feel we've laid enough groundwork and hints that you should be able to figure it out.

3. Most of my friends have attractive wives or girlfriends. None of them are knockouts, which doesn't seem to bother the guys. Why do women make such a big deal out of how they look from day to day and what do shoes have to do with it?

Christi: Women are very competitive by nature. We are always checking out what other women are wearing, how they are doing their hair, etc., and comparing ourselves to them. We want to come up looking good in those comparisons.
Kathy: I think it's because most women would love to be considered a knockout instead of attractive.

Heidi: Women dress for other women and we just hope that guys notice from time to time and comment on how awesome we look then. Shoes are important because there are so many different kinds that you can have a pair of shoes for whatever mood you are in.
Elizabeth: I wish I knew. We waste so much time worrying about this and yet I'm guilty of it.

4. If you had to live with a man who snored or a man who never put the toilet seat down, which would you choose?

Christi: A man who snored, definitely.
Kathy: I'd rather fall in the toilet a couple of times over sleeping next to a gasping, snorting and choking disaster every night.
Joan: I would choose someone who never puts the toilet seat down over someone who snores, but I really dislike both.
While both habits are akin to nails on a chalkboard, I’d pick the ill-mannered toilet seat habit. Certainly it would be annoying, but it only lasts for a few moments before it can be remedied by putting it down with a great pair of tongs. The snoring, well, that can ruin 8-9 hours of your day!

The toilet seat deal is something a man can be trained to do, whereas the surgery to fix snoring costs money.
Heidi: A man who never put the toilet seat down. Because as my husband I would care a lot about him and wouldn't want to have to shorten his life because he snored.

5. What are your top three favorite excuses to give a guy for not going on a date? And how do you think that excuse will be interpreted? (washing your hair should not be in the top three)

Joan: 1. I already have plans - meaning I don't want to go out (If I really did want to go out but already had plans then I would suggest another time)
2. I am dating someone else - meaning I either don't want to go out or I really have a boyfriend
3. Basically if you get any excuse for not going on a date it means I don't want to go out with you.
Sarah: "I already have plans that night" = I'm probably blowing you off, but maybe give it one more shot (persistence pays off - persistence, not stalking). "I'm actually not looking to start dating anyone right now" = I am, but I'm not looking to start dating you. "Well, I just recently started dating someone else" = I might have "seen" a cute guy at the bank, or maybe even gone on one pseudo-date with someone but I am really in interested in this person or his friends. I'm just trying to let you down easy.
Excuse #1: I'm just not that into you. Excuse #2: I have a family thing that night. Excuse #3: I just ate there/saw that movie/spent 3 days in that museum/became allergic to ice cream/boys. I don't generally think about how the guy would interpret any excuses I give. Does that make me a cold-blooded female? I think it makes me slightly detached in order to spare feelings?
Heidi: I'm tired, I have things to do for school, or I just don't want to date you. All those things should be interpreted as you need to find someone else to transfer your creepy attention to. I won't give excuses until after the first date unless you really are creeptastic.
Elizabeth: I never make excuses, I'm just busy when guys I don't want to go out with ask me out.

6. There seems to be a huge disparity between what women say they want in a guy (funny/caring/smart/testimony/whatever) and what they actually seem drawn to (power/money/attractiveness). Is this something girls are aware of on some level? And if so, how do they reconcile it? Not trying to sound bitter or accusatory, girls are genetically wired to be attracted to power/money (stability in a potential mate) and attractiveness means he'll father healthy offspring. I don't hold that against you at all. I just wonder...why the staunch denial?

Christi: I guess I don’t hang out with people where this is often the case. If you look at couples, you’ll a lot of times see a really good looking girl with only an average guy. The opposite is rarely true. Anything a guy lacks in appearance/power/money he can make up for with all of the qualities you listed (funny, caring, smart, testimony). One thing I will say about money, most girls I know don’t need someone is rich, but they are looking for a guy that can hold down a steady ‘grown-up’ job.
Joan: I think we are definitely aware. It's hard to find a good mix. Logic and emotion don't always line up.

When I was first looking for a legitimate serious relationship, I definitely went for the “good-on-paper” attributes…physically attractive, financially secure, a go-getter. Turns out, those things aren’t as important as we are led to believe, and I think it’s because now women can be financially independent; have their own set of goals; and enough confidence that they don’t need a man to provide those things. It takes some trial and error, but I think if we wait long enough to find the right guy, we eventually do pick the nice, funny, caring, intelligent one.
Katherine: I've never denied being attracted to power or money! But it has to be in combination with other things I'm looking for. If I fall for an amazing guy who's broke as a joke, I'm not going to send him packing. But I AM looking for someone to be a provider for my family. As for attractiveness, we may drool over the James Francos and the Carey Grants, but we don't expect to marry them. Yet we DO need to be attracted to the person we marry.
Heidi: I'm pretty sure there isn't a disparity between what I say I want and what I want. I want every single one of those things. The denial just comes from trying not to discourage those who have less than what we want.
Elizabeth: If I knew what I wanted, I might not still be single.

So there you have it - does that clear things up or make them more confusing. Men, do you have further questions? Women, anything to add? Thanks to all the panelists for your honest and open answers!


The Boob Nazi said...

I don't have any disparity between what I say I want and what I like.

Britt said...

Hi Elizabeth & Friends...good post...amusing yet insightful responses. I would just like to add my two cents on the last question: Often men become so convinced that money/power/looks are the most important thing women want, that they become obsessed with those things and then become very unattractive in the eyes of women who don't give much priority to such things. Looks is a tricky one,'re either attracted to someone or you're not. Last summer I traveled to Burma with friend who is a male model. He's very GQ, but I wasn't attracted at fact I saw him like a brother. It's a mix of looks/personality/character that makes a person attractive, and the right mix is different for every woman. (thankfully!)

Brady said...

Thanks Panel. Very insightful. I'm still left wondering: James Franco is apparently in and Jude Law is out. Who else would you put in the same category as James Franco?

k nelle said...

I think that I'm left a little confused with no.6 although I definitely have to agree with Elizabeth where, I just maybe don't know what I want.

Claire said...

Ha. I want to answer, too!

1. I don't really know how to answer in generalities, but for me, girls are super dramatic! I can't handle it... I always hung out with boys in Junior High, High School... I am unable to put up with "She's mad at me because I'm friends with her former friend who said something bad about her to that friend" situations.

2. No. Women are more complicated, I know guys can't read my mind. :) It is annoying when you think you are being blatantly obvious, but the guy has no idea what is going on.

3. Women dress and get ready to impress other women, not men. Sorry to break it to you... and don't even try to understand the shoe thing. It cannot be explained...

4. I hate when guys don't put down the toilet seat, but I really think I would kill him in my sleep if he snored.

5. I'll almost always go on a first date if I know the guy. Other than that, I've been lucky enough to not ever been asked out by someone I wouldn't want to go on a date with.
As for interpreting... don't interpret. There are so many times when someone really was just busy, or already had plans, or whatever. Make them come out and say it! Ha.

6. Just be a complete package and don't worry about it?

Katherine said...

Gerard Butler is up there with Senior Franco for me, Brady. :)

Elizabeth Downie said...

Yeah, I like Gerard Butler too. And Sawyer's not too bad either.

Sarah said...

Crushes: Zachary Levi (aka "Chuck"); Bradley Cooper; Sean Connery...mainly, guys who seem to be non-cheaters and decent fellows. :)

Brady said...

Since I didn't know who Gerard Butler was, I looked him up, which reminded me of another question. (He was apparently The Phantom.)

Do you think Christine should have chosen Raoul or the Phantom? And why?