“10 Things to Keep Your Wife Happy”* was the title of the piece that inspired this one. I get annoyed at these sorts of articles in part because, keeping women happy seems to be all anyone’s worried about these days. And to that end, where does one draw the line? How to “make” women happy? Okay. Give me some suggestions. “Keeping” women happy? I’m sorry—that seems a laborious, unending siege.
I’m further annoyed by these sorts of articles because they’re usually, not always, written by some skinny-jeans-wearing, crisply quaffed and well-manicured millennial male who, per his advice, you’d swear really wants to be a woman. The sort whose entire existence is devoted to, you guessed it, keeping a woman happy. I want everyone to be happy, too—especially me! So I don’t want either the relational workload or responsibility of which these sorts promote. In short, I don’t agree that men are the problem, or that they are unsophisticated and insensitive animals in constant need of refinement, which seems the constant and recurring theme. Thus, I don’t agree with the approach. Quite the contrary, in fact.
Unlike these devoted sorts apparently—the “apparently” remark a result of pictures in these articles showing men fawning over women, cuddling, listening attentively, fake smiling, being “present,” and doing things their expected to do as opposed to being themselves—I’m thinking: somebody needs to make and keep me happy! When did that relationship idea cease being a relationship idea? “How to Keep Men Happy.” To a collective feminist gasp, I ask, Where’s that article?
Reading these articles, mostly for research and education purposes related to my work, I always find myself in disagreement on various points and for various reasons. So more or less countering the aforementioned article, I thought I would give voice to those disagreements, complete though they usually are not, and offer a more realistic and manly perspective. It’ll be fun.
So, item one:
Never and Always. The crisply quaffed millennial writer, if indeed he is, thinks the terms never and always should be done away with in relationship dialogue. Actually, I think he means they should be done away with in relationship conflict. And, I agree. The terms should be done away with because, when uttered they’re rarely true—at least, they’re rarely true when women utter them.
Women use the terms more readily because they are more often emotional. Who criticizes and accuses the other more, men or women? It’s not even close. And why do women criticize and accuse men more? Like I said, because they’re more often emotional—angry, irrational, unhinged. And when emotions run the show, terms like never and always roll-off the tongue rather fluidly.
Men on the other hand are usually justified when they use the terms. Examples: “You never give me a chance to explain.” And, “You always side with the children.” Or, “You always blame me and are never the problem.”—both in one sentence, that’s like a double-word score! So, this never and always thing is a problem, certainly. For men, anyway.
Men don’t focus on women when they come home from work. Or as our writer states, men need to better “work the reunions.” I can’t speak for every man but, when I finish my day, I want some down time. No talking. No complaining. No list of daily events or problems to solve. Men walk in the door and immediately hear the beeping—beep-beep-beep. It’s the dump truck full of complaints and problems backing into the den.
Shut the diesel down for a little while. Come in with a scotch—a double, in fact. Unloosen my tie, give me a kittenish grin and a little wanton eye contact. Then slip slowly, silently, into a little reverse cowboy. Afterwards, my spirit now renewed, I’m ready to listen and take notes—sipping my scotch, of course. Now we can talk about the events of the day and knock-out all of those problems. The alternative is men walking in and pretending to want to immediately listen to every one of those 21,000 words women like to daily utter. “Work the reunions,” he says. I say this is working it—and well, I might add. It’s like I always say: in terms of the need to “work on relationships,” as in adapting and conceding and changing to correct their flaws, there’s but one pair of workboots in the relational closet. They’re man-size.
Laugh at her attempts at humor. This recommendation should read: laugh at her attempts at humor if they’re funny. Otherwise, it’s a phony deal, something merely being done to “keep” someone happy. When it comes to making them feel good about themselves, women don’t really care about genuineness. They’re perfectly content with disingenuousness. Think it isn’t true? Try these: Tell me my butt looks great in these jeans, even though it’s a size 40 (I don’t know how large that size is exactly, but the objective here is to offend the least so as to minimize the grief). And this one: Laugh at my humor, even though it isn’t all that funny.
In other words, don’t be honest and don’t be yourself, gentlemen. To keep women happy, be what? Disingenuous! See? What did I tell you? Women spend so much time trying to be someone else that they expect their men to do the same. I don’t know, sounds like one big plastic deal that, for credibility’s sake, men should avoid. And besides, if men can’t be both honest and themselves in a relationship, why be in it? It’s a prison, not a partnership.
Defend your wife and family. I agree with this recommendation but, this is just, pandering. Shameless pandering. Of course men are going to defend their wives and family. And if they don’t, get rid of them, ladies. What good are they? On an opposite note, here’s some advice for modern women: how about championing the watchman who guards the palace gate? Tell your friends how much you depend on your man, how awesome and hot he is, and how much you can’t wait to get home and bang him for being so awesome and hot. Emotional, physical, financial—security has a price tag. Women should start calculating the value of security, instead of pretending it isn’t both necessary and desired.
Be a man softer, kinder, and more tender. The author actually suggested that men be more “lamblike.” Yes. That was my reaction, too. Again, men: whatever you do, don’t be who you are characteristically. That’s the message. When are women asked to toughen up and to stop being so emotional and girly? Uh, never. But it’s perfectly acceptable to both ask and expect men to be less manly and more … “lamblike.” Imagine the look on John Wayne’s face being told he needs to be more, lamblike. “Why Quirt, you need to be more lamblike!” Que the classic, half-eyed Duke stare.
Interestingly, modern men actually comply with such requests. Don’t believe me? Just look at the pictures in these “How to keep your women happy” articles. And while behaving more lamblike, men politely ask, “Dear–Pumpkin–The Air I Breathe, is it okay if I put the whites in the washer?” Meanwhile, their women are staring out the front window at the shirtless, Thor-like stud next door washing his car and doing other manly things. “Sure honey,” she says with an internal eyeroll, her eyes fixed on Thor and her loins stirring.
Men being kind and considerate towards their women? I believe in that practice. Men being turned into something opposed to Thor? Nope. Not so lamblike, and not separating the whites, Thor gets all the female respect and admiration.
The sex problem. “Women need closeness to feel sexual; men need sex to feel close.” It sounds like something straight out of a Relationships 101 book, or something a relationship counselor would say to sound profound. Women need closeness to feel sexual? Sorry, no they don’t. Ever had a woman come home horny, decided in the fact that she was going to “get her some?” She doesn’t need closeness, or to be romanced. She needs a wiener. Well, let’s elevate our dialogue here: she needs sexual attention, and she damn well aims to get it. Granted, this only happens once or twice a month, for the cyclical “fertile” days. Yet, it does happen.
Women are in fact reckless and uninhibited during these occasions, and they don’t need flowers and candy or to be heard and appreciated, either one. This supposed need for closeness, otherwise known as romance, is just a way for women to control sex and to get what they want from men emotionally, and in general. And given that women can come home with fire and intent in their eyes once or twice a month, and not require romance, it’s clearly a selective need. There’s a sex problem in relationships certainly. It’s this dogma about female sexuality that renders men beggars and performers.
Men need to be more “touchy.” I agree. The fact is women derive a considerable amount of assurance from unsolicited hugs and hand-holding. In longer standing relationships men tend to neglect this practice, one that purchases a significant amount of goodwill from women. Men should do more of both, period. A lot more.
In contrast, women complain when men fondle their breasts in passing. They act annoyed when, reaching into the oven for the roast, men ease in for a little test-drive. In the sex and touching department, men are clearly fulfilling their obligation to the relationship’s sexual component. Women on the other hand act as if there’s a force-field around a man’s genitals that, if broken, will deliver a death charge.
Women avoid touching men because they don’t want to get something started that, for having laundry to do and furniture to polish and social media to peruse, they have no interest in finishing. Thereto, and yet closer to the truth, women don’t want sex as much as men, and thus don’t want to encourage it. It really is that simple. Incidentally, the reason men are drawn to pornography? Porn women are aggressive and touchy and pretending to be sexually insatiable.
So, brave the force-field, ladies, and act like your starving for it the other 28 days of the month, too. You’re in a committed relationship for chrissake. In all its many acts, sexual theater is an obligation.
Men need to help out more around the house. Men, when’s the last time you had an argument over mowing the lawn, repairing the sink, or one of the many other duties and services you perform? When’s the last time you discussed the rigors of your career, and the exhausting emotional and physical expenditures related to your work? Those arguments and conversations don’t take place because the only work that’s hard and taxing occurs in a woman’s life and career. And the only work that gets done in the relational realm is the laundry, cooking, and cleaning.
Next Saturday, men should get up and say, “Okay, we’re all going out to paint the fence today!” And they can watch everyone make excuses and disappear. Better yet, next time men hear, “The toilet won’t flush!” They should return, “Well, fix it. What am I? Your plumber?”
Simply, men don’t get any credit for the things they do, and can do, only criticism for the things they don’t. And do men complain when the painting crew disappears on Saturday morning? No. They just paint the fence, alone—and don’t complain or make issue of it, either. Explains things, doesn’t it?
She isn’t broken, so don’t fix her. Well, something’s broken. Otherwise women wouldn’t be issuing so many complaints, criticisms, and accusations to their men. What’s broken and in need of repair, obviously, is men. On a serious note, women process things verbally. They like to work through complex issues and feelings by talking. I think that’s an extremely effective way to manage issues and feelings, too.
Problem is, men are fixers. Given a problem, they assess it, and set to solving it. Creatures of action and loathers of drama and dysfunction, that’s how men approach things. Unlike women, men aren’t as concerned about the politics of issues, and aren’t as encumbered by the feelings, either. So in processing matters, women ramble on for their own benefit, and not because they want help solving a problem. It sounds to men as if women have a problem, and as if women are asking for assistance, but they aren’t. They’re processing, sorting things out.
It’s not so hard, gentlemen. Just shut-up and listen. Have a cocktail and allow the processing. If women need your help, they’ll ask: “Well, what do you think?” See? Isn’t that easy. The real challenge for men is listening to all those mind-numbing and ultimately meaningless details resulting from the political concerns and swampy feelings. But hey, it’s part of the job. So, suck it up.
Take quitting, or divorce, off the table for a more solid relationship. According to our crisply quaffed and well-manicured writer, if indeed he is, men need to decide that they meant what they said at the wedding, and that “this woman, come what may, is [their] partner for life.” He claims women are “entitled to more, the full monty, the whole experience of being affiliated with, no, make that loved by, a man.” I’m convinced this guy wants to transition.
First, and again, the message is men are the problem—always the problem. Thus my second point: in terms of the responsibility for relationship demise, I personally know waaay more women who brought divorce to the table. And they showed up with other men who were enjoying the sex these women were previously too exhausted to have. So in regards to divorce, and the need to take it off the relational table, please with the feminine sainthood.
Nevertheless, in regards to a man’s love, when is that ever sufficient or suitable? It being demanded of men to continuously prove and to reprove their love, it’s clearly never sufficient or suitable. Men can say “I love you” a million and one times to their women. They can say the extra 20-pounds doesn’t matter over and over, and that they don’t care if “things” jiggle during sex. Women don’t hear it—any of it. Perhaps they hear, they just don’t listen. Thus, when men profess their love and say they don’t care about twenty-pounds and jiggly things, they may as well be speaking Italian. And even Italian women don’t listen.
What this divorce/love issue amounts to is more relational bags for men to carry, which is fulfilling the constant female need for reassurance, and being endlessly responsible for women’s self-esteem and self-confidence. In other words, men are baggage handlers, not partners. In contrast, how much time do women devote to buttressing the confidence of their men? To bragging on men’s looks, their physiques, their abilities and accomplishments?
Why, demanding that men notice everything about them—new hair style, fingernails, new outfit—and while listening constantly to their men remind them of how irresistible they are, women don’t have time to buttress the confidence of their men. And considering that complimenting men in the era of equality is an act of weakness and subordination, women don’t have the inclination, either. Now, criticizing and accusing? Why, there’s plenty of time and a natural disposition for that. In fact, it’s required of independent, equality-minded women.
So love is something for men to continually prove, which they do through continuous, fawning, self-esteem-buttressing attention. And if they neglect this duty, they’ll be the respondents in divorce proceedings for being unappreciative, emotionally abusive, and for not loving sufficiently or suitably. Where ultimately the well-established fact will be yet confirmed: men are the problem. There’s a simple answer: treat others how you want to be treated. Given the circumstances, it should be obvious to whom that message is directed. And I’ll bet it keeps divorce off the table.