Men huh – can’t live with them and can’t live without them but do we tar them all with the same brush letting mass generalisations dictate how we deal with the more rugged sex. We decided to let journalist and our Beau About Town Phil Boucher set us straight! So what are his qualifications to give us this advice? Well he’s the father of two daughters, been married for seven years, has busted knees from playing way too much football and has just agreed to become the drummer in a rock’n’roll band, despite the fact that he doesn’t own any sticks and has never played the drums – the perfect person then!
Misconception 1: That we only talk about football in the pub.
While it’s true that blokes like to discuss the merits of Fernando Torres or the inverted midfield triangle over an ale or seven, this is just one tiny aspect of our pub banter.
Stick a recording device beside a group of men in a bar and you will hear them stray into politics, religion, philosophy, art, revisionist history… the list is endless and virtually unrestrained. And yes, the list does include women too: a pub is the ideal place for a bloke to let off steam, crack a gag about their partner or mercilessly harangue a mate who’s just been dumped. Why? Simply, because it’s unlikely to be overheard by another woman or remembered by anyone so much as thirty seconds later.
Misconception 2: Men don’t cry.
While women are obviously miles ahead in the weeping-into-a-sheet stakes, the simple truth is that men do shed the occasional tear. But that’s the point: it’s occasional. Very occasional. Plus, when we do it’s likely to be done in total privacy, so that nobody – repeat nobody – can ever see us do it.
In fact, there’s not a man on the planet who hasn’t shed a tear over an ex-girlfriend, or welled up at an on-screen death in the movies. As soon as a man has children you can forget it too: he’ll be blubbing over everything from Bambi to the sight of wildebeest dodging crocodiles on the Masai Mara. Unless you have the reactions of a stoat, your chances of glimpsing it are, however, just about zero.
Misconception 3: We cannot ‘just be friends’ with a woman.
Admittedly, it’s damned near impossible for a man to not fancy a woman who bears a passing resemblance to Kelly Brook or January Jones. But that doesn’t mean we fancy everything with a pulse either. Well, not all of us anyway!
Unless a bloke finds you attractive, there’s every chance he can remain nothing more than a chum. That doesn’t simply apply to physical attractiveness either as these things often depends on how much you nag, moan, worry about your weight and generally gripe about your life. For a man to fancy you, he needs to know you’re fun and well-heeled in the sanity department.
Misconception 4: We think about sex every seven seconds.
This is just about the biggest fallacy ever created. For one thing it’s pretty much impossible. For another, it would make it impractical for men to do anything more complicated than tie their shoelaces – and even then we’d have to stick to a single knot before our sex-crazed minds wandered to thought of bra straps and knicker elastic.
Yes men do think about sex a lot. We think about it all the time in one way or another – we can’t let a pretty girl wander past without feeling a stirring in our loins. But every seven seconds – not a chance.
Misconception 5: We all want pencil thin women with big boobs.
On one level this is absolutely true. But that is a level that only occurs in the minds of teenagers or after we’ve had six pints. At all other times men are basically interested in finding a woman who is smart, attractive and, crucially, isn’t needy for 99% of her life.
Yes men do want someone attractive on their arm – but then so do women. Given the choice we will always opt for a pretty girl with the personality of Dawn French than a supermodel with the personality of a plank of wood.
Misconception 6: We like fixing things around the house.
Good god no! Unless he works on a building site, your average bloke doesn’t have the slightest clue about tools or even a vague interest in learning. And, even if he does work on a building site, he’d much prefer to be sat on his rear watching the TV than fiddling around with a pile of screws and random wood.
If you want to find a man who’s good with tools, then the solution is simple: call your dad. That’s unless he’s so sick of injuring himself through DIY that he’s dumped his toolbox, workmate and all that other twisted malarkey into the nearest canal.
Misconception 7: That when we say we’ll do something, it means we’re going to do it straight away.
A friend of mine recently told me this story about his dad: around 3 years before his retirement, he said that he might – repeat might – redecorate the house when he became a pensioner. Which, in man speak, means that he may eventually get around to painting half a wall, say, within a year-or-so of receiving his gold watch. That’s unless he’s playing golf that day.
The morning after his retirement party he was woken up at 7.30am with the words, “I thought you said you were going to redecorate the house?” The poor wretch then had a paintbrush in his face before he even had time to figure out it wasn’t some kind of demented nightmare.
You see, when we say we’re going to do something, it means we’re going to do it when we feel like doing it – or think it’s necessary. Not ever immediately.
Misconception 8: That when we’re quiet we’re either in a mood or thinking about something deep and meaningful.
If you live with a bloke then it’s fair to say that from time to time he will go quiet because he’s in a mood with you. But that is the very rare exception. Generally, if a man goes quiet it means that he just doesn’t have anything much to say, or that he’s too tired to bother. Or it could simply be that that there’s a decent film on the telly and he doesn’t want to talk about your best mate’s relationship problems throughout the crucial scenes. Sorry to break your illusions but the chances of his silence being related to you in any way, shape or form are very, very slim.
As for what we’re thinking of during this silence? It could be about whether we’re hungry enough to stroll to the chippy; or whether a bat could beat a bird in a race; or it could be about whether we truly are a set of over-grown monkeys clinging to a waterlogged rock spinning endlessly through the vast continuum of space; or it could be nothing at all – totally and utterly nothing.
Misconception 9: That we’re complicated.
Women may like to analyse every tiny comment a man makes, but that is a total and utter waste of time. If a man says something then that is exactly what he means: he’s not trying to be smart or underhand, and he doesn’t have some devious motive tucked away in the back of his mind. If he says he’s hungry, then he’s hungry – not that the food you just cooked him wasn’t nice or didn’t fill him up. Chances are he loved every mouthful, but now just fancies a bit more grub because, well, he fancies a bit more grub.
Remember one thing: men cannot be bothered to make life as hard for themselves as women. If women didn’t exist there’s every chance we would still be living in caves, tucking into raw meat and playing all manner of highly dangerous yet fiendishly elaborate games to pass the time. Food, sleep, drink, play and toileting – that’s all we want or will ever need from the world.
Misconception 10: That we can only concentrate on one thing at a time.
Sadly, this bag of utter twaddle seems to have lodged itself in the minds of women everywhere. If that happens to be you then just consider that men have to juggle just as much in life as a woman, yet they do not perform the task any worse. In fact, there’s every chance that you know plenty of women whose finances and personal life are constantly in chaos.
Yes, there are men like this too, but the simple truth is that life is tricky and we all have to deal with a bag full of poo on a daily basis – regardless of our gender.
[picture credits: Fox Network; tourist_on_earth; johnnyberg ]