There’s only so many ways we can try to explain something to people on the other side. Men will never know what it’s like to give birth or what it’s like to go through a period. But, there are some things women will never understand about being a man and here are some of those experiences.
#1 On the Surface
We can hang out with other guys all day and not talk about anything personal or of substance. I think women tend to share more of this stuff with each other. What's going on in their relationships, career, etc. Meanwhile, guys tend to not share this kind of stuff with each other so often. We will every now and then, but a lot of time we tend to kind of keep things on the surface.
#2 Easily Satisfied
The nicest moment of an early date I had was a girl falling asleep in a car on a twisty bit of road during a two-hour journey. I was so content just having her sit there, comfortable enough in my company to snooze, driving nice and slow. I didn't wake her up and would look over occasionally to make sure she was okay. I’d just see her being all cute and stuff. Actually, that's my input: many of us are easily satisfied as long as we're not being messed around.
#3 A Little Give and Take
Initiating relations doesn’t necessarily make me feel like a creep, but it makes me think the girl doesn’t actually want to sleep with me most of the time. When a girl does ask for it or initiates it in her own way, it makes it so much more fun for me and takes out a lot of the anxiety and stress that sometimes surrounds private time in a relationship. It really does feel like a two-sided give-and-receive situation.
#4 I Mean It
I don’t know what to do when you walk up to us and ask, "Does this outfit look okay?” and we say, "Yes, you look stunning" and you reply, “Well, you would say that.” Half of my brain thinks, "Please believe me because you do look stunning" and the other half thinks, "Why did you ask me if you aren't going to believe me?"
#5 Details, Please
I think the hardest thing to try and explain to women is that, as guys, we don’t know every detail about everyone else in our life. When I mention that I hung out with someone, my mom will ask me what their wife does for a living and can’t understand that it didn’t come up in conversation. If it didn’t come up, I don’t make a point to ask.
#6 Like Father, Like Son
I have to constantly explain to my wife why my two-year-old son is obsessed with his private part. I have to explain why he always wants to touch it and grab it when his diaper is off. I guess it’s just something that will always be a mystery to them. She will never understand why our baby and his father share this habit.
#7 I Don’t Care
When we say we don't care about something, we really don't care about it and there’s no wiggle room. Yes, we can have an opinion on something, but when we say we don't care that means our opinion isn't strong enough to sway us either way on something. You can feel free to just drop the subject at that point.
#8 Actually a Big Deal
That just because I’m a guy doesn’t mean I don’t care. I’ve had women talk to me about guys losing their hair like, “he’s a guy, so he doesn’t care!” I know a lot of guys who hate being bald or the fact that they’re balding and their hairline is receding! This idea that we don’t know or don’t care about our looks because we’re a guy is ridiculous.
#9 Hug it Out
I know that for a lot of guys, we’re taught to sort of stuff our feelings down or just avoid them altogether. It’s also no secret that women are encouraged to share their emotions or feelings with their friends whereas men don’t really have that luxury. That being said, though, sometimes we could use a hug, too.
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#10 Personal Space
Alone time. When I first moved in with this girl, she wasn't working and I was. So, every day I would be up at 6:00 a.m. to go to work and then back later on in the evening. When I got home I’d find her, her brother and her friends all sitting around the living room and all wanting to talk to me. Like, no! I just got in from work, can I have five minutes alone to reset? Alone time is great and everyone should have at least 30 minutes of it daily.
#11 Say What You Mean
I’m not a mind reader, nor am I going to pretend to be one for the sake of avoiding an argument. I'm okay with the classic "I'm fine" when you're not fine, that's kind of expected. But if you tell me not to call, I'm going to stop calling. If you secretly wanted me to call you, you shouldn't have said literally the opposite.
#12 All at Once
In my case, I'll say nothing just so I don't have to explain the garbage going on in my brain. It’s basically non-specific thoughts about a video game, an element of a board game design, an embarrassing memory, how hurt I feel, what I need to do to prepare for work tomorrow and things I forgot to do — all at once and more.
#13 Sticks and Stones
We have feelings, too. My ex would say horrible things when fighting then wonder why I wasn't in the mood to sleep with her for a few days afterwards. Seriously, I have learned to hate teachers that would teach the "sticks and stones" rhyme because the truth is, "sticks and stones can break bones and harsh words will destroy your self-esteem for years, requiring mental counselling. Even then, you might never heal."
#14 Fighting Myself
Sometimes (this is me personally, so I can't say it's common) the struggle not to share emotions doesn’t stem from the fear of backlash from society or friends. It's more just a conflict within ourselves to verbalize and come out with it. I trust my friends with respecting how I feel, I just can't get it out because I'm fighting myself.
#15 Crazed Pigs
As much as we're seen as crazed pigs, we talk so little about women when we get together. When we do, the topic doesn't last long. I literally can't even remember the last time me and my best bud talked about women. We’re both single, too. We usually talk about our old friends from school and what they're doing, cars, our jobs, sport, or politics.
#16 Last Thing on My Mind
We’re not checking women out at all hours of the day. This belief makes me so self-conscious at the gym. Every time someone walks past I look, especially in the mirrors, I always catch the eye of a girl probably thinking I'm checking her out. I really don't want to be seen as that creepy guy making girls at the gym uncomfortable. It's literally the last thing I'm thinking about.
#17 Is That What You Want?
From a gay dude's perspective, explaining that my sexuality doesn't mean I'm an expert on women's beauty stuff. I'll go shopping with you and give you my opinion on outfits, but I'm not some Paris fashion wizard because I get with other men. Speaking of which, I can do drag makeup. No, Cindy. That does not mean I'll do your makeup. Why? It's drag makeup, you will look like a clown slept with a real housewife. Is that what you want, Cindy?
#18 That’s All I Know
Men don’t talk about things as in-depth as women do. My neighbors had a baby last week; I saw the husband while we were both shoveling snow. I said, “I see a lot of visitors with gifts and food. Did you have that baby?” He confirmed. I asked if his wife and baby were healthy, he confirmed, and we went inside.
When I got inside, I then told my wife what happened. Suddenly she wanted to know what time it was born, how heavy, how long, gender, name, whether there were any complications, and a few other things. I already told her there was a new baby and everyone was good... That’s all I know! I’m not an interrogator!
#19 No Preference
When I say something like, “I don’t have a preference,” my girlfriend tends to take it as me saying I don’t like either option. At that point, she’ll scrap her plans entirely and start from scratch. What I actually mean is that both options sound fine or even good, but I truly don’t have a preference between them.
#20 Time Together
Sometimes I’m just in the mood, but sometimes I look at you and I’m just so in love that I want to be as close and intimate with you as I can, which is sleeping together. My ex and I had different love languages and she would worry that I didn’t love her as much as she loved me, which was crazy because I was head over heels for her. I tried to explain that time in bed was one of the ways I showed how deeply I was in love, but she didn’t get it.
#21 Please Don’t Make Us
Your hints are obvious to other women, not men. If it can be rationalized, it will. No, we're not getting jealous when you're dating someone to get our attention. We're thinking, “Good for her. I'm glad she found someone.” We're not thinking that you're trying to get our attention by hanging out with us, even when you specifically ask to be alone with us. We're thinking, “Wow, I'm so glad to have a friend who wants to hang out with me.”
Words matter. They're effective and leave no room for misinterpretation. Just say you want to date us. Us guys are trained not to assume a girl is into us. If we do and we're wrong, we're socially crucified. At worst, it could result in legal action, depending on the extent it went to. It's too dangerous for us to assume, so please don't make us.
#22 Bro Culture
I would definitely have to go with bro culture. Women just have different relationships with their friends than men do and it's really hard to describe in rational terms how men's friendships work. We harass each other and are usually obnoxious, but would also break our backs for our bros that we tease relentlessly.
#23 Emotional State of Meh
That emotional state of "meh.” You're not great, you're not terrible, just meh. Nothing is really wrong, you're just not really feeling it. For some reason, some folks interpret this as "being angry.” They then continue to ask, "Why are you so mad?" despite you answering against this. They keep doing asking until you actually get annoyed and angry.
#24 No Added Value
Stop. Trying. To. Pick. Apart. My. Mind. If a girl asks, "What are you thinking about?" Or "What did you say" and I respond with, "Oh nothing,” it’s always a problem. Sometimes I'm legit not thinking about anything. Sometimes I'm thinking about how that one time in third grade my friend’s dog wouldn't let me pet it and why he was so mean that day. It's all random and has no value to anything. A lady will push tooth and nail for me to repeat myself even after promptly explaining the things I said have no value to anything.
#25 Non-Manly Tasks
Men are generally fine helping with non-manly tasks. There's this stereotype that men who join a girl to do girly things (or even mundane things like grocery shopping) are bored and only doing it to appease the girl. That's usually incorrect. Ask me to go dress shopping with you? My sense of style might be barbaric, but we will make you look amazing. Take a spa day? I've never felt so clean and high-quality in my life.
#26 Do Something About It
As a little boy, it was instilled in me that emotions were roadblocks to ultimate goals. Sad? Do something about it. Mad? Do something about it. Happy? Better keep doing that. Feelings are hurdles to jump over, and I can go a while before tripping. When do I trip though? I cry about every hurdle up to that point even though it was just one that made me fall. And because I don't fall too often, I don't really remember the procedure going about fixing the injury. You can load me on the stretcher and I might just roll out. I might be so traumatized by it all that I just stop running altogether for a while.
#27 Taking Five
I've actually had nearly full-blown rows with my wife because she's asked what I'm thinking of and I just say "nothing.” She then assumes either I'm thinking bad things about her or keeping secrets from her. Or both. But in actuality, if you popped into my brain, you'd just see the hamster's stepped off the wheel for five minutes. If you're lucky, there might be some long, drawn-out carnival-style music playing off-key in the background, but that's about it.
#28 Never in a Million Years
Whenever I talk with other dudes about relations, surface-level sharing is pretty much the extent. There might be the occasional, “she has the greatest butt” or “best night ever,” but that’s not often and is as far as it gets, detail-wise. When I talk with my women friends, I learn things that I would never, in a million years, think to ask.
#29 Learning to Cry
Why we bottle our emotions. My wife and I lost a dog in our second year of marriage. He was sick for a month and she was crying softly about it on a daily basis. I was extremely sad, but never cried. Then when they took him away at the vet's office, I cried loudly and uncontrollably for what felt like an hour (probably realistically like 45 seconds) and just couldn't calm myself down.
In the car she said, "You know, if you didn't bottle it up and let it out a little at a time, you wouldn't get like that." What she didn't understand at that moment is that for a lot of men, we don't have that middle-ground of crying. It's either nothing or everything. A lot of us never learned how to cry in a semi-controlled manner because we never saw a man do that when we were young.
I'm 40 years old and I've never seen my father cry, not at any of our weddings, not at his parents' funerals, nothing. In other words, I've never had that subconscious model of how a man is supposed to cry and don't have any practice at it. When I try to make myself cry, I can't, whereas my wife can watch any commercial with sick animals, cry quietly for five seconds and then be done with it.
#30 You’re Weird
When the question "What are you thinking about?" gets answered with nothing. Like, I don't really want to explain how I just imagined what it would be like if I was in a zombie apocalypse and what I would do and where I'd hide. Stuff like that, it's easier to answer "nothing" then having to explain all of that and then get told "you're weird,” even though it's funny.
#31 Sensitive Bits
I don’t know if women will ever be able to understand how much a small tap to the nards actually hurts. Women have given birth on the top of the pain threshold and I'm not taking anything away from that by any means. But, on the other hand, too many women don't seem to understand just how sensitive those bits are.
#32 Sense of Pride
Why our pride keeps us from doing certain things. Asking for directions or help are the common examples, but also not coming off as high-maintenance or cheap. Things like not sending food back, not using small coupons and being sheepish with large coupons. We don't know why either, but it tends to go away in our 30s and 40s.
#33 Lack of Control
You girls have so much control over our emotions without knowing it. Most of us men are so touch-starved that the feeling of you running your fingers through our hair is a truth serum to us. You have us. We are no longer in control. You talk all soft and quiet and ask whatever question you want while slowly running your fingers through our hair and we’re stuck, defaulted to our sleepy selves, answering anything you ask truthfully. We cannot control what we say or do at that moment.
#34 Not in the Mood
Sometimes I just don't feel like sleeping with someone. It doesn't mean I don't find you attractive, that I'm sleeping with someone else, that I'm attracted to your best friend, or that I'm gay. Sometimes I'm tired, stressed or just don't feel like it at the moment. There's no need to sulk or bring it up two months later when we're having an argument. Remember those first two months we were dating and I was desperately trying to get in your pants and you turned me down? Did I sulk or become passive-aggressive? No, I realize that not everyone is ready for it all the time.
#35 A Little Appreciation
Once a year, I’d like you to say to me or write in a card something along the lines of, “Thank you for mowing, and snow blowing, and shoveling, cleaning the cars, helping with the dishes, cooking, housework, and cats. Thanks for working hard to pay the mortgage, for always being there and being supportive. I really appreciate it.” I don’t do what I do to hear how great I am. I do it because I love my wife. But once a year, I’d like to feel appreciated for it.
#36 Share the Love
Just because we're men doesn't mean we're all cold, emotionless, and insensitive. A compliment can make my day as quickly as a mean comment can ruin it. I recently quit my job in a toxic environment, where my boss thought nitpicking my work, yelling at me, and giving me unachievable tasks was a way of conditioning me in some way. As someone who’s naturally anxious, no positive feedback had no positive impact on me over the months I endured.
#37 Countless Conversations
I’m not saying your job isn’t difficult, I myself wouldn’t want to do it. But I spent 14 hours outside swinging a hammer, I have to do it again at 6:00 a.m., I’m tired and want to go to bed. I’m not trying to get out of hanging out with you. I actually really enjoy hanging out with you, but I also want to be functional at work tomorrow. I’ve had this conversation countless times.
#38 It Is What It Is
Dealing with issues one at a time, not entangling them. There are these sort of issue boxes in my head, maybe they’re ordered in a certain way, but they’re not like a scribbled network. In addition, if a thing is wrong (or right), it is wrong (or right). There should be minimal wiggle room for changing the evaluation of things. These evaluations should change from one polar to another pretty rarely. I find it very hard to explain "it is what it is.” I don't know if I could explain this, but I believe most of the men would get it.
#39 Like a Man
I work in a highly emotional field as a male (trauma and mental health support), so I'm an avid tear-supporter. But never do I cry myself. Similarly, I cried only once in my young adult life, alone in my office. I got a call from my dad saying they put down my childhood dog. My girlfriend always gets mad that I don't cry at things but I don't think I've ever seen a grown man cry in real life, so how am I supposed to know what it looks like? My dad was cold as ice with all emotions. I grew up thinking I had to be too. Now I can only thank my education and job for working with emotions, but I still was never taught how to cry “like a man.”
#40 All-Inclusive Conversation
I was at home when my wife and her friends got home one day. tTey were all giving me funny looks and smirking. I asked what was going on and at first, they refused to tell me. After a little while of prodding one of them went, "I heard all about your member!" and they all broke into laughter, I was a little taken by surprise but laughed and said something like, "Oh yeah? Hopefully all good!" They laughed and that was the end of it.
After they left, I was like, "What did you tell them?!" My wife responded by saying how she told her friends about our vigorous romps on our honeymoon in Mexico, apparently in great detail. We had an all-inclusive, so we ended up partying a lot and got pretty physical with each other, as you do on a honeymoon.
She was like, "Whatever, you probably tell your friends all about us when it's just the boys." I don't know about you guys, but the extent of what I ever say is usually a raised eyebrow and something like, "Aww yeah." I have never once described my wife's body to a single one of my friends, nothing in detail about any of my partners (from before my wife) and it blew her mind. Apparently, girls talk in great detail about it, guys usually don't. And they assume we do, and we assume they don't.
#41 Leave it Alone
I genuinely enjoy working with my hands. I consider myself to be pretty mechanical and on the rare occasion I have spare time, I'll fix things around the house. It's kind of fun to have little projects that present a challenge. But, I work on my own schedule. If I haven't finished something, I may need to replace a part or something else needed my attention. So when you see a mess of parts laying around, don't mess with them. Don't move them or put them in the other room. I wouldn't randomly delete files on your work computer. Why can't women leave my stuff where I left it?
#42 Significantly Easier
How difficult dating is for shy men. How much easier dating and hooking up is for women and how online dating is stacked in their favor. Nobody owes me anything and women are nothing short of my equal. But whenever I imply that dating or hooking is harder for men, especially not traditionally attractive or confident men in 2020, I'm attacked like some sort of monster. And yes, I know men don't have the same safety concerns that women do and are less likely to be victims. I simply mean meeting new people for whatever it is you’re looking to do is significantly easier for women.
#43 The Perfect Barber
Not enjoying small talk in certain situations doesn't mean I'm in a bad mood or feeling anti-social. When I moved to my current city, I hated getting haircuts. I started growing my hair out and my wife asked me why I was doing it, my short hair apparently looked better. She thought I was crazy when I said I missed my old barber and couldn't find a new one I liked. He was the perfect barber; that rare type that would motion at the chair when I walked in, ask me if I wanted the usual, and say "see you next month" as I paid. I don't feel the need to tell everyone that cuts my hair my whole life story.
#44 Flip the Switch
That sometimes I don’t want to turn on a light because it’s just not that dark. I’d rather not turn on the light, the room is dim but I don’t mind. I don’t want my eyes to adjust. Yes, everything is okay, I just didn’t turn the light on. Holy. No, of course it’s not because of you, I just didn’t flip the switch. Well yes, maybe it would be better if the light was on, but I really didn’t think it would be that much a difference. Why are you crying?
#45 Simple Creatures
How simple we are. Men, in general, are simple. We’d rather have things upfront, no beating around the bush, get to the point and call it a day. We don’t pick up on hints because we don’t assume you like us unless you tell us you have feelings for us. Being difficult is annoying. If you have to say something, say it. Don’t waste three minutes being difficult over something that could’ve been said in three seconds. We tend to be more honest and more upfront with our intentions. If I say I feel a way about you, there’s no hidden agenda. I actually feel that way about you.
#46 Get it Done
It needs to be said more, but hints. Any games, hints, clues or whatever, is the exact opposite of how we think. You can hint at me all day and 75% of the time I won't notice it. 20% of the time I'll read too far into it because of my anxiety and get it wrong. 5% of the time I'll get it right. If you straight up just tell me, ask me, or whatever, I will do my absolute best to get it done.
#47 Deserve a Voice
When I talk about being mistreated by a woman and bring awareness to the fact that women can also be criminals, I'm not trying to take anything away from female victims. I'm not trying to "make women look bad” or trying to speak over anyone. I just want to have a voice and heal. Anyone can be a victim and anyone can be a predator. When I say that, I'm not implying that men have it worse or that conversations about these things women aren't important. Saying that some women do bad things isn't an attack on all women or feminism. We all deserve to have a voice.
#48 Take the Compliment
Just because I say something nice, does not mean I am flirting or want to sleep with you. I also don’t care if you have a boyfriend or girlfriend. I just wanted to compliment you, help you, or be polite in general. There’s no need to be sassy about it. But, don’t worry. I’ll make sure that door slams in your face next time.
#49 Toxic Masculinity
What the effects of "toxic masculinity" feel like. Yes, I know it is unhealthy. No, I would never judge another man for doing something like crying when he's sad. But that doesn't mean I can just flip a switch in my head and stop feeling pathetic if I do something like cry when I'm sad. Just because we know it's unhealthy and we would never judge others for it, we can't just un-internalize some of this stuff. I'll always advocate for men to see mental health professionals, but that doesn't mean I'm going to stop thinking of myself as a weak failure for doing the same.
#50 Are You Excited?
Why I'm not "excited." "Aren't you excited about our trip?" No, actually. I have a lot on my mind in this present moment. There's a lot I need to deal with that I was just thinking about and right this second I don't feel excited. I'm in a different emotional state than you right now. Please don't take this as apathy.