Explaining the Y chromosome
I’ve written several columns over the years giving marital advice to men even though I know nothing about being a good husband. One of the great things about being a columnist is that you can get paid to write about authoritatively about things you know nothing about … heck, Ann Coulter’s made a small fortune doing just that.
Since I really stink at dispensing husbandly advice (mostly because I really stink at being a husband), I’ve decided to try a different approach. I freely admit that I know nothing about the way women think or what makes them tick but it occurs to me that women must be stumped by the way men think … or, all too often, don’t think.
So this one is for you ladies, an inside look at the thoughts, motivations and even the rare and poorly expressed feelings of a man. I may not understand the mechanics of a relationship but I’ve been male longer than I’ve been married so I can provide some insight on life seen through the filter of a Y chromosome.
First of all, forget anything you’ve ever read in a romance novel or a women’s magazine about men. That stuff is written for and by women and seems to be based on how they think men should think act and feel. I’ve never actually read a romance novel or a women’s magazine so this is pure speculation on my part, but if you’re reading about a man’s emotional evolution through the course of a relationship, it wasn’t written by a man.
There’s an old saying that a woman marries a man because she believes he’ll change and a man marries a woman because he believes she won’t change; I believe there’s something to that. Guys are fixers but, as the saying goes, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
If we aren’t growing and changing its because we’re happy with things as they are so why would we want to change anything? That’s why you’ll never see an article about relationships in Sports Illustrated or men in the audience of the Dr. Phil show.
Another old cliché says that if you want to keep a man happ,y just give him sex and a sandwich; that’s just insulting. We are simple creatures compared to the complex mysteries you are, but there’s a little more to us than that. Every man likes to mix in a good steak or maybe a chili-cheeseburger from time to time … a sandwich … sheesh!
If you ask me what I was thinking when I decided not to call when I stayed out late drinking with my friends, the answer is always going to be a blank stare. I never decided not to call you; I was drinking with my friends so it never occurred to me to call you. There was no decision making involved until I looked at my watch and decided it was too late for dinner at home then decided to order a cheeseburger from the bar.
Then when you ask what it means about our relationship that I didn’t think how it might make you feel that it never occurred to me to call you, please understand that you might as well be speaking Japanese because I have no idea what you’re talking about. Maybe it means that I’m an inconsiderate jerk, but I’m the same inconsiderate jerk you decided to marry because I’ve never changed. In man logic that means I think we have a great relationship because I’ve never felt the need to fix it. It really is that simple.
Please don’t misunderstand me … we’re not a bunch of Neanderthals, we feel and care. We just don’t care about all the same things you do. I have very strong feelings about many things, Clint Eastwood movies, the NFL and microbrews for example.
It doesn’t bother me a bit that my wife never wants to talk about the AFC playoffs or The Outlaw Josey Wales and I’ll never understand why she gets upset when I fall asleep when she’s talking to me about our relationship or whatever she was talking about. Why is that a big deal?
So there you have it ladies, a crash course on what motivates your average male; assuming I’m an average male. It’s entirely possible that I’m just an insensitive jerk and you’re married to a guy who really does care about the emotional evolution of your relationship.
Maybe you should talk to him about it.
Rick Seley is an award-winning humor columnist. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.