Men are a misunderstood lot, which all in all is probably for the best. Women are better off not knowing that we eat with our hands the minute they leave the room or that we use their nail clippers to trim our nose hair. Better for them, better for us. Still, it’s annoying that women spend more time and money trying to understand the minds of cats than they do wondering about what makes men tick. Which is why they’ll never understand…
1. Our consuming need to own the biggest and most expensive version of just about everything.
Our compulsive desire to drive off-road vehicles in cities and use corkscrews that resemble off-shore drilling equipment is well documented. As marketing targets, men are suckers for terms like “professional” or “industrial strength”, because inside every man is the germ of every profession he ever imagined himself one day excelling at. Most of these purchases are harmless, little more than childish wish fulfillment played out at a higher testosterone level. But occasionally we go too far. The guy upstairs from me once boasted that he had a filter which filled his flat with “operating theatre quality air”. I kept him away from my surgical steel steak knives.
2. Why we are so bad at shopping.
We’ve never been trained to do it the right way. Supermarkets are like giant booby traps for males – which is why if you send a man out to but eggs, sugar and bread you should not be surprised if he returns home with a case of wine, a pair of jeans and a tree.
3. The reason why we don’t like to discuss The Relationship.
Most of us will find any excuse to dodge those conversations that start with questions like “Are you really happy?” and “Where do you see us going?” A relationship is a delicate thing, like an antique clock, and we know what will happen if we start picking it apart. Often our reticence will result in a lengthy conversation about why we have trouble talking about The Relationship.
4. Why we think we can fix things.
Almost all men believe they can repair virtually anything with a little patience. In reality, we’re only half right. Men are extremely good at taking things apart: whether it’s a dishwasher or an antique clock, a man can break it down to its most basic components in no time. Unfortunately, this is where our expertise usually leaves off, and we’re mostly satisfied with leaving bits and pieces spread all over newspaper on the kitchen table.
5. Men and video games.
Women cannot understand how grown men can waste huge chunks of their lives zapping things off a screen. When a man repeatedly rings his girlfriend to say he has to work late and routinely comes home at two in the morning all glassy eyed, she will usually take this as evidence of an affair – when it’s more likely that a pirated copy of Streetfighter II is making the rounds at the office.
6. That sometimes we really are ill.
When men get ill, women are generally united in their belief that we are faking it. This is based on a tired old axiom stating that men will never fully understand the agony of childbirth so deserve no sympathy regarding matters of pain, fear or incapacitation. For the record, it should be noted that all men are in a constant state of feeling slightly under the weather just from being men. It’s only a misplaced sense of machismo that forces us from our beds every day to go into work and then down to the pub for a couple of schooners of the only thing that ever makes us feel any better.
7. The way we watch television.
Men don’t just watch the TV, they plug right in. Once we’re on the right wavelength, we can watch almost anything, including commercials, with a slack-jawed intensity which probably drives you crazy. Unfortunately for women, men cannot achieve this higher state without a firm grasp on the remote.
8. Our sense of humor.
When women say that what they most want from a man is a sense of humor, they tend to mean something different from what we mean. Women never understand the comic genius of their mate who makes beer come out of his nose.
9. Why we’re so boring.
Male conversation generally relies heavily on petty obsession, technical jargon, numbing detail and presumed expertise. Topics that women only feel the need to mention in passing become Test-Match length debates among men. True, some of us are able to combine a scintillating wit with a flair for story telling and a nose for gossip, but we tend to reserve these talents for conversations with women. Between ourselves, the drive to talk at length about tire pressure or “Star Trek” episodes is too alluring. Even if your local pool team boasted Socrates, Einstein and Oscar Wilde as members, you’d still probably have to discuss the fastest way to get to the freeway.
10. The male menopause.
Midlife crisis, the seven year itch, whatever you like to call it – women don’t understand the seriousness of this condition, instead seeing it only as an excuse for a man to resign from his job, buy a Harley Davidson and start a relationship with a woman a third of his age. Like there has to be more to it than that.