Five Things Women Don’t Know About Men

One of the things in life of which men are most acutely aware is that there are women everywhere. Today, for instance, I’ve already seen five or six different women. And that was just looking out my living room window.

And no, I don’t stand in my living room, blatantly ogling people as they walk by. That’s tacky. What I do is spy at them through the blinds. It’s the only polite thing to do. And if spying on my neighbors this way has the effect, every once in a while, of getting my nose caught in the blinds, it’s usually nothing that a few bandages, some iodine, and a few quick stitches with some dental floss can’t fix right up before I feint from the pain.

But the point is, women are everywhere. And even though men have women everywhere in their lives—at work, at home, at the gym, in the restaurant restroom if they mistook the little stick figure with the skirt on for a picture of a man with a giant triangle in his pants—they know that few if any women know these five things about them:

1. They look at porn. To say that men sometimes look at porn is like saying that things sometimes float in space. The reason men look at porn so much is because every man has a porno screen installed in his head, upon which there is always something playing. A preview of coming attractions. An opening cartoon. A feature presentation. Credits. Special features. Deleted scenes. A gag reel. And all of it is centered around naked girls doing things that would make Orville Redenbacher’s bow tie explode. The amazing thing is that men have learned how to spend so much time functioning as if they’re not being mesmerized by the flickering porno screen playing in their head. They have developed this unique evolutionary capacity from the sheer necessity of having to at least every once in a while get it together enough to make it to the store for more popcorn.

2. They bond over what losers they are. Women are mystified by the nature of male bonding. They think men bond over the joys of forming a football huddle, or the love of beer, or due to some kind of primordial mingling of testosterone-infused pheromones. But the real reason any man can instantly bond with just about any other man is because every man holds within himself a secret that he’s only comfortable sharing with other men. And that secret is that he is, generally speaking, a loser. Like he knows his name, every man knows that in life he can never truly win at all the things he’s supposed to. Not because he’s incompetent, or inferior, or incapable of figuring out how his blinds work. But rather because he knows that, no matter what he does, “winning” will always remain a relative state. No matter what a man wins, gains, earns, or accomplishes, he knows that for him there will always be so much more to win, gain, earn, and accomplish. He knows that being a man means competing in a huge, ongoing game he could no sooner actually win than he could fly. Every man knows that, in the end, his life’s predicament is best and most truthfully understood as funny. They’ll never come out and say it just that way, but whenever men are standing around together holding beers and laughing, that’s almost always what, beneath it all, they’re really laughing about. When you have nothing, you still have blessed humor.

3. They want to fight. Men are designed to rage against the machine. The problem is “the machine” is usually their boss at work, and raging against him or her would instantly become raging in their car on the way home because they just go fired. The problem with modern life is that nowadays it’s almost always considered rude to squat down into a sumo wrestling stance and then launch yourself at someone who has annoyed you. Nobody invites back the dinner the guest who continuously lunges across the table to attack yet another yapping schmuck. No company offers a business seminar on “The Timely Pummel: An Effective Strategy for Salary Negotiations.” But men want to actually and physically fight. Even if they get the crap kicked out of them, fighting is something that makes makes sense to a man. Talking just confuses men. (And not least because every word in our stupid language seems to have about a zillion different meanings. “Shall we, then?” “Is that contingency satisfactory?” “Would you prefer the house dressing on that?” “Is foreplay really that hard?” Ridiculous, every one.) Give a man a bar, send him into a bar, bar from that bar any man not carrying a bar, and he’ll be happy.

4. It freaks them out knowing the buck stops with them. Men live their lives knowing that, if push comes to shove, it’ll be they who are expected to rush into the burning building, to chase away the burglar, to jump in the icy river and save the only dog in the freakin’ universe who apparently forgot how to dog paddle. If you’re a woman who can’t understand why her man seems never to want to leave the house, wonder no more. It’s scary out there, is why. People fall out of buildings, get hit by cars, pull out guns they start waving around. Mad dogs attack; drunks go berserk; trucks swerve out of control; confused ducks fly straight into billboards. And when calamity strikes, who does everyone expect to step up and deal with it? Men, that’s who. No one else. No one looks to the woman to chase down and tackle the purse snatcher. Nobody wonders why the nearby little girl didn’t stop the runaway car. Nobody asks Junior to quit playing with his toy truck and go scrape the duck off the billboard. It’s all on the man. When women go out with their husbands or boyfriends, they think things like, “Isn’t this nice? What a nice place. I like being dressed up. This is fun.” Men, though, think, “Who’s gonna die? What’s gonna collapse? Who’s gonna attack? Where are the threats coming from?” Generally speaking, a man on the town is a man waiting to get back home, where it’s safe.

5. They live to hear they’ve done well. Women tend to think of men as simple creatures. Rarely do they understand just how right they are. Men like sex; they like food; they understand how wrong it is to confuse the two. But what any man really and truly likes—what makes his bones tingle, and his toes start harmonizing, “I Can See Clearly Now”—is to be told that he’s made his loved ones proud. A woman wanting to please her man doesn’t need to dress up in lingerie. She doesn’t need to prepare him a ham sandwich, or do any of that sort of thing. All she needs to do is give him a hearty pat on the back, and tell him how proud he’s made her. That’ll do ‘er.

About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. Don't forget to sign up for his mucho-awesome newsletter.

  • http://realestatemarketer.wordpress.com/ David Wilson

    2. They bond over what losers they are.

    This proves my contention in your last post about men's affection for The Three Stooges. It's so affirming to know there are at least three guys who are dumber and uglier than you.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    PLUS have fewer nerve endings. Always a plus.

    I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to comment on your comment, but do you know that in a first draft of yesterday's piece, I DID have quite a bit on the Three Stooges. I ended up cutting it for one reason or another, but yes, as you say: The Three Stooges seem to be a kind of … demarcation line between a lot of couples. Some women find them funny, though, of course.

  • Dan V

    "a ham sandwich dressed up in lingerie"

    Somehow, I don't think that would be all that exciting.

  • http://facebook.com/metalphil Metal Phil

    I'm not sure if this makes me proud to be a man, or just worried. Haha. John you rock.

  • Christine

    next time I need a spontaneous proposal of marriage I will remember the lingerie and ham sandwich trick. Thanks John :)

  • onemansbeliefs

    3. They want to fight.

    Actually, I would rather go clothes shopping. In fact, I told the Mrs. (when we first starting dating) that I am not a fighter, but I would do everything possible to defend her. The only thing she had to do was run. The reason I wanted her to run was to give me time to talk my way out of the situation and if I couldn't she, at the very least, had a head start.

  • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com ric booth

    Ah, "The Timely Pummel" THAT would be one of the more useful corporate training classes. And #2… yeah, just listen to The Boss for a few. An' we all love him.

  • Kory Cochran

    I dunno, that ham sandwich in lingerie is sounds pretty awesome! Seriously though, I'll take the wife in lingerie and the ham sandwich. Compliments are not necessary as I like a little less talk and a little more action. I feel like going to Vegas for some reason now!

  • http://megaloi.blogspot.com Redlefty

    I live to hear her tell me I've done well, about 20 minutes after she appeared in lingerie.

  • Sarah

    Your women/men blogs remind me of something I heard when I was at the beauty shop yesterday:

    "Women look for love before they have sex; men just look for a place."

  • http://www.debraleebaldwin.com Debra Lee Baldwin

    I give a little yelp of delight "My hero!" whenever my man takes out the trash, repairs something broken or carries in the groceries without being asked.

  • Matt

    Clearly you don't know how to keep a secret :).

  • http://heckledtrio.wordpress.com HK

    #1: Really no big secret ;-)

    And the smart women will join their men in that endeavor!

    -Helly

  • http://christianranter.wordpress.com Des

    I would cut my eye out, but I cut my hands off last week, so…

  • the feather

    I'm sorry I expressed myself too strongly.

    I've read maybe twenty-five. Which, I'll admit, isn't much. To tell the truth part of why I was so mad, and expressed myself too strongly, is that I've really enjoyed reading, learned stuff, and generally think you are quite a good person, insofar as I can know you through twenty-five posts. So I had a reaction when I ran across this.

    My response to the porn thing was in no way intended as a summation of your character. It was intended as a summation of what I think about the porn thing. I'm sorry I made it personal. Maybe what I should have said is that, to my ear, you make it sound like viewing porn is OK, and I think it is addictive, destructive to men and women, and also clearly wrong according to the Bible. And this bothers me a lot. There. What if I'd just said that. What's your response?

  • the feather

    I found this post very funny and touching, which made me forget how mad I was at you at the start.

    Now I remember.

    So, men look at porn, do they? Don’t you mean, “I look at porn, and that’s OK, or if not entirely OK, it’s OK enough to chuckle about because everybody does it”? Every man, that is. And women ought to damn well get used to it. And I guess God should too. And I guess he should forget all that stuff about lust and cutting your eye out and stuff–jeez, what a downer.

    I wasn’t even going to post about this till I read your gay-marriage post. After reading your other posts on the pain & suffering of homosexuals, I thought you must be somewhat liberal on that one–you kindasorta influenced me in that direction a little, to be honest. But now I see that you are in fact holding the line, which I could respect–if I didn’t have to put it alongside your manly chuckle about porn.

    You look at your own temptations first.

    You look at the temptations of others second. If at all.

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      Feather: It's so arrogant of you to presume to tell me who I am. It happens, of course, and I'm more than used to it, insofar as I'm forever getting new readers who read maybe four or five of my posts, and then start telling me who I really am. Having so proudly proclaimed this knowledge, such people in short order almost invariably leave (and of course I'm never sad to see them go). And the truth is, it's readers like them—like you, now—who always remind me of how deeply grateful I am for my regular, long-term readers, for those who actually do know me through my work. Often without even realizing I'm doing it, I find myself writing for them.

      Don't pontificate about me, or make grand summations about my character and writing, as if you know me. You don't. You've read maybe five—maybe ten—of the 650 or so posts on this blog. I don't know where you grew up, but here on earth we think it's polite to get to know a person a least a little before you start judging and condemning their character. Lots of us find humility to be a characteristic worth cultivating. You might want to give that a try.

  • Tammy Lubbers

    We've all seen the list of what it takes to make a woman happy; I think it numbers up to 40 or 50 things. The list of what it takes to make a man happy has three things:

    1. Show up naked

    2. Bring food

    3. Don't block the TV

    Oh, and feather, you really need to go back and re-read that item about porn. Read between the lines this time. It is good to have big ears, small mouth.

  • http://theskinhorse.wordpress.com theskinhorse

    You have inspired me to write a "*insert some number* things men don't know about women." However, I may not be the best source since I have more than quite a few masculine qualities, and I often find that I have trouble shoe shopping, talking about clothes and knowing the latest gossip. :P

  • weesandy

    Ooh, ouch! That shoes, clothes, and gossip comment seems pretty raw. I'm about as feminine a woman as can be, and I have no interest in any of the three items you mention, theskinhorse! I admit that I love baking, especially for my man – pies, cookies, muffins, and fancy dinners. I do every craft known to womankind. I am on the fragile side of the human spectrum, and I need a lot of help with things like opening jars or carrying bags. I worry about my appearance, and I need a lot of emotional reassurance from my man. But I try to be a good person, not to mention a good Christian, which means that I avoid obsession and lust (the usual fuels for a huge love of shoes and clothes), and I avoid gossip like the plague. I really hope it's just a nasty stereotype that women are focused on such trivialities as fashion and gossip.

    And John, I truly hope men aren't really watching a constant mental porn show. I agree with feather that it is addictive and destructive to both men and women, not to mention children. I hope that was a tongue-in-cheek post! But if men really ARE that focused on lust, shouldn't we be trying to do something to help change that? Like helping our sons to understand that it is unacceptable, and that the only way to stop focusing on one thing is to fill your mind and life with something better? Or to work yourself until you're too exhausted to be filled with temptation? Stuff like that?

    I love your blog, John, and I don't mean to be offensive in any way. I just worry that there are so many men out there who might take this post as sort of "permission" to focus on lust, because, after all, it's normal and all men do it. I hope you see what I mean and don't take offense. When you become popular, you gain an influence over others that you might not be aware of, or might not want in any way — but it's still there, and you'll have to just accept that your popularity gives you a sort of "authority" for many readers, which enables you to influence them without even trying hard.

  • http://thebackofmymind.wordpress.com Sincere

    I tend to believe nearly everything you write. Oh, I maybe roll some things around in my head, but then I almost inevitably, believe you. Having said that, after reading what you said about porn I'm kinda sad. Please tell me it's not true. Please tell me that I am beautiful enough to keep a man's attention. (Please don't tell me I need to be more "secure.") Please tell me there are men out there who at least WANT to have eyes for only one woman. Please tell me my best friend/boyfriend and I didn't just break-up because he's addicted to pornography. Or just tell me it was the right thing to happen.

    Did I misinterpret what you wrote? Cause that would be great.

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      Sincere: You believe "nearly" everything I write? You "almost inevitably" believe me?

      What is your problem? Have I ever been wrong? About anything?

      Lagger.

      No, but seriously: thanks.

      Okay, so, to your question/entreaties. Let's see:

      1. "Please tell me it’s not true." I'm sorry; I don't know to what exactly your "it" is referring. But … I mean, I never lie in my posts, or anything. But in a form as brief as blog posts, of course misunderstandings will occur. So … ?

      2. "Please tell me that I am beautiful enough to keep a man’s attention." Of course you are. Yes. You are. Absolutely.

      3. "Please don’t tell me I need to be more “secure.” Hellllo? Have you ever read me? Does that sound anything like anything like you've ever heard me tell anyone?

      4. "Please tell me there are men out there who at least WANT to have eyes for only one woman." I don't know what you mean by "have eyes for." Not to be harsh, but I'd bet my right wannkaknocker you don't know exactly what you mean by that, either. No offense–truly–but you'd have to hone that question down considerably before I'd be able to answer it.

      5. "Please tell me my best friend/boyfriend and I didn’t just break-up because he’s addicted to pornography." That's right: you didn't. If he is indeed addicted to pornography (and, if you don't mind, I'm telling you: think very hard about what actually constitutes an addiction to pornography), what broke you up is whatever it is that's CAUSING that addiction. People only get addicted to anything for one reason: they'd rather be overwhelmed by the sensations caused by whatever it is they're addictively doing than they would make themselves vulnerable to being overwhelmed by whatever emotional pain they're running from. Strictly speaking, it's never the addiction that's the problem. The addiction is a symptom of the problem. The problem is he's afraid he can't handle whatever emotional pain he's keeping at bay with pornography. It's whatever hurt him in the first place that really broke you up. Basically, he chose his own pain over you. It's extremely typical.

      6. "Or just tell me it was the right thing to happen." Depends on what you mean by "right." But, yes, generally people do exactly what they need to do in order to get exactly what they really want. So … yeah. "Right" is as good a word as any, generally. You'll learn from it, if it's hurt you. That's for sure. And how can that be wrong?

      7. "Did I misinterpret what you wrote?" I don't know. It was a long piece. In it I said a lot. So I don't know which part of what I said you're now asking me about. But I'm sue whatever misinterpretation might have occurred is my fault: if I wrote more clearly, we shouldn't have any misinterpretation at all, should we?

  • thebackofmymind

    1. I hope not all men look at porn so much as you implied.

    3. Perhaps I was more addressing my own train of thought than yours…

    4. I would someday like to marry a man to who knows how important it is to me that he lust after ME and would at least desire to keep the vast majority of his lusting directed my way. At the same time, I agree that there is a safe and normal place in the privacy of one's own mind to "watch the porno". I know that happens and believe it or not, some women have the constant porno show running in their minds as well. It's not all bad. Geez, it'd just be so nice though to be married to someone to can effectively keep that lusting in the privacy of their own minds so I don't have to worry if I checked the "history" on our PC.

    5. I understand what you're saying here. How it actually worked was that he stopped watching porn our whole relationship, then he decided to back off of our relationship, and started watching porn again about the same time. A few months later, I broke off our communication (which even at that point was still daily), and then the porn watching went to shit, so to speak. I work in mental health and by all measures this is an addiction, I don't really feel the need to go into all the reasons why.

    6. I was just saying that it'd be nice to hear from you (in addition to your candid and funny (sometimes) comments about porn) that there is a limit as to what's healthy and/or a normal amount of porn for a man to use/watch.

    Thanks for your response.

  • Casey

    I feel like the porn or 'constant porn show in head' is not the problem persay. I feel it becomes a problem when you start neglecting important things- family, friends, work, blah blah.

    Honestly- I don't mind if the next guy watches porn; so long as he loves me, and understands I don't look or act like what he's watching. I don't mind the 'porn show in the head' so long as I'm secure enough to know that, like Redlefty's wife- I'm gonna be the star of the majority of those thoughts.

    I do agree about addiction not being the problem, but a symptom. Nor to I think it's healthy for the only way for you to be satisfied is by porn.

    Just my 2 cents! Sorry to hear that the link and post were blocked John. Could it have been the naked ken?

  • http://evalawrie.wordpress.com Eva

    "Porn Nation" by Michael Leahy. Great book.


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