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On certain issues, men and women are going to have to agree to disagree. For instance, women will never, ever laugh at The Three Stooges; men will never, ever cry at Dirty Dancing.
But overall, men and women are not all that different. If you think about it, everyone's needs are fundamentally human: some affection, some solitude, some partnership, some independence.
The problem is, once men and women start saying they don't understand each other, we're likely to give up trying -- and that gets us nowhere. So, to make things easy for everyone, here are the 10 top things that women say they want men to know. The news, I might add, is good: Women are not nearly as needy, chatty, or mysterious as men think, thank you very much. So why not print out this article and happen to leave it lying, say, near someone's Three Stooges DVD?
1. We do not need to hear you say, "I'll call you," if you don't plan to, says Leora, a single New Yorker. Bottom line, most women would rather be let down than lied to. Though to be fair, women white-lie the same way, saying "Let's have lunch!" to acquaintances we know we won't make time for. That's because "I'll call you" and its cousins serve as WD-40 for that awkward goodbye. So the trick, gentlemen, is to come up with an alternate graceful out, such as, "Thanks for a really nice evening." Yes, even if that's a lie. (Bonus tip: If you are going to call, "Waiting three days does not make us like you better," says Cara, a single Manhattanite.)
2. If you're busy, we prefer getting a quick e-mail saying so rather than being left to wonder why you've dropped off the face of the earth, says Beth, a single woman currently studying in France. If you're slammed at work this week and can't give us the attention you'd like to, we'll live -- all we want is a heads-up. We don't need to talk all the time; a brief call or e-mail saying you'll check in next week is not rude, it's thoughtful. (As long as you actually do it.)
3. Even if you're not a world champion plan-maker, every effort is appreciated -- we don't want to feel like the social secretary of the relationship, says Eve, an attached New Yorker. Yes, we like some control in this area, but we're also...tired. Which means that, as generous as it sounds, hearing "Whatever you want to do!" rarely turns us on. But really, no pressure: Generally, we prefer fun to fancy.
4. You shouldn't be offended if weI don't jump right in with both feet, says Gail, a single woman in New Jersey. "Some women just need more time than others." Relax -- we need time and space, too. If we're hanging back, it doesn't mean we're testing you or playing games, or that we don't like you. We might just need a chance to figure out how we feel as things run their course. (Or we might just be slammed at work. Sound familiar?)
5. When we're mad at you, don't try to hug and kiss us. We want to punch you, says Kris, an Austin, Texas, single. Men have been raised to fear the stereotypical Angry Woman. But trying to plaster over our rage with smooches will only make actual steam come out our ears. Letting us be mad -- even fighting back -- is actually the best way to calm things down.
6. Engaging you in a lively debate doesn't mean we're trying to change your mind...except when it does, says Shana, a mom in Queens, New York. Seriously, we like a good argument. The friendly fights over world issues between a die-hard conservative and a liberal mate can be some of the best -- that is, most passionate -- moments.
7. We want to know enough about your ex to know that she's not a threat, says Karen, a single woman in Washington DC. "If you never say word one, I'll worry that things are still raw -- but I don't want all the gooey details either." In other words, we want the Cliffs Notes version of your breakup, plus one damning detail that will make us feel secretly superior.
8. Don't go for the obvious spots on the body; take a trip around them and see what happens, says Mary, a single woman in Manhattan. We like the obvious zones as much as the next girl, but exploring a woman everywhere shows that (a) you know that all women are different, (b) you want to get to know every inch of her, and (c) you want to know what makes her, in particular, say, "Oooh!"
9. Taking care of something that's been hanging over our heads and making us miserable is worth 10 orgasms, says Susan, a mom in Newton, Massachusetts. One woman knew that the guy she was dating was a keeper when he surprised her by flattening and recycling all the empty boxes that were driving her nuts.
10. We actually do want to know if something makes us look fat. Just maybe not in so many words. Saying, "That's fine, but I think you look really great in the green dress," gets you major, major points. Not that we're counting.