Andrew Chen <a href="http://www.andrewsw.com/news/index.php?p=403">discusses his attraction</a> to a
certain girl, and his concern that he's attracted to her appearance and body rather than to who she is as a person.
I'd also been recently reading the Ferrett's <a href="http://www.livejournal.com/users/theferrett/146056.html">Rules For Picking Up Chicks</a>.
Both articles have been percolating in my mind for a while, along with several conversations I've had recently, and so here
are a few thoughts on what is supposedly the greatest mystery in the universe: women. This post is aimed primarily at fellow guys.
I certainly don't claim to be an authority on women; far from it. In fact, the very idea will attract plenty of ridicule from my friends, but
that's never stopped me writing anything here before. I do spend a fair bit of time talking to women, though, and it's a wonderful thing to do.
Based on my oh-so-limited experience, here's a list of a few important points men should keep in mind about women.
1. Women are capable of extraordinary empathy.
Much has been said of "women's intuition", but it's largely a manifestation of the emotional development which
women benefit from. Women are socially allowed to be in touch with their emotions, and indeed to wear them on
their sleeves, from their earliest years. The result is that women are keenly aware of how they're feeling, and
that puts them in an excellent position to determine how you're feeling too.
I've always been amazed (and yes, maybe also slightly unsettled) by women's ability to discern our emotional states.
Often, women understand how we're feeling better than we do ourselves, and we should bow to their greater experience
and expertise. I daresay also that we guys would be a lot happier in general if we followed the example of women, and
allowed ourselves to be a little more in touch with what we're feeling. It's a healthier way to be.
2. Women spend a lot of time thinking about past events in their lives.
There's never any point in telling a woman to just forget about something, or that it's not important. Women relentlessly
analyse and interpret all the events of their lives, and are fascinated by the interplay of personalities which permeates
their daily lives. Women will measure and dissect each word and action and will base their future decisions and reactions
on the conclusions they reach. Details and subtleties of the moment are very important to women, and aren't taken lightly.
This becomes particularly important with respect to unpleasant events in life.
Before saying something you may later regret, keep in mind that women keep these things on file, and may actively replay
such things endlessly, even years into the future. An angry word or dramatic flourish might feel satisfying at the moment,
but can continue to do damage for longer than you might believe.
3. Women often lack self-confidence, despite what their appearance might imply.
It's all too easy to be in awe of a beautiful woman. God knows, the sight of a girl brushing a few strands of hair back and
revealing the line of her neck is enough to cause my language centres to pause processing indefinitely. When confronted with
such sights, the implicit and automatic assumption is that she must be aware of her beauty, and thus be supremely confident -
and perhaps indeed even thus intimidating for us to approach. The opposite is often true.
Women are overwhelmingly lacking in self-esteem and confidence, particularly regarding their appearance. I have several close
female friends in this position; stunningly beautiful women who nevertheless doubt whether or not they're pretty, and even have
days when they feel they'd rather put on a brown paper bag than make-up. The converse is that, due to our society's emphasis on
women's appearance, they worry that their appearance is all they have, devaluing personality and uniqueness - or even worrying
that they may not even have much of a personality to speak of.
The aloof ice-queen in the corner is very often the least self-assured person there. It's difficult to know how to play such
situations, but I believe that a kind word, a friendly approach, and a compliment are rarely misplaced. Women need to feel good
about themselves just as much as we do; perhaps even more so. We should make sure they know that they're valued.
4. Women place a huge amount of value on love.
Love is gigantically important to all of us. We all seek it all our lives, and its presence instantly reduces any problem to
eminently manageable proportions. Love indeed makes the world go round, and we all spend a lot of time thinking about it. Women
take this one step further; many women spend the majority of their waking lives thinking about love. They worry about when
it will arrive, they worry that it might <em>never</em> arrive, and then when it does appear they worry that it will be taken away or will
Women value love above almost all else, yet they love easily. Women are truly in touch with love, and experience it in most
facets of their lives. We men tend to reserve the word for private use with our partner, but women live their lives in terms of
love. Women know exactly what love is and its value, so when a woman says she loves you, it's a very significant and powerful thing.
5. Women place the most value of all on trust.
I've found that if you had to list one essential quality which opens the door for a woman to fall in love, it's trust. Trust is the
most important component in relationships for women. The huge personal and emotional investment which a woman makes in a relationship
is a terrifying thing for her. She's aware that her self-esteem and happiness are riding on the success of the relationship, and that
she will judge herself based on her partner. If you can demonstrate to a woman that you're worthy of her trust, she'll do just about
anything in the world for you.
The ultimate fantasy for women isn't related to sex or situation or any such relatively tangible components;
it's to have complete trust in another human being, and to feel completely comfortable in that trust. Be
trustworthy above all else in your life, and it will be noticed.
6. It's not difficult to make women happy.
There's a myth that women are almost impossible to please, with supposedly ever-changing fancies, unpredictable desires and volatile moods.
Perhaps there's a grain of truth hidden in there somewhere, but to make a woman happy actually takes very little. Women want to know that you're thinking of them,
that you appreciate them and care for them. It's not about money or gifts; it's about emotional investment and taking the time to devote some
thought to them.
I've seen women made completely happy by an unexpected note, or being told it's good to see them, or that they're appreciated, or just any
demonstration that they're being thought of. So send her a text message, or tape her favourite movie when it's on TV, or tell her she's looking
great today. It's easy and quick and costs nothing, but will have a significant positive effect on her day.
7. Women will blame themselves for problems in their relationships.
Women judge themselves by the solidity of their relationships (all types of relationships), and feel that they've somehow
failed as women if things aren't going smoothly. Almost regardless of the specifics of the situation, women will consistently
blame themselves for problems with a relationship. Even if blame clearly lies elsewhere, a woman will believe she should have
seen it coming, or should have taken preventative measures sooner. Problems with a relationship will not only affect a woman's
general happiness (as with men too), but will erode her self-esteem drastically at the "failure".
Turbulence in a relationship will spread to every aspect of a woman's life and sense of self. It's worth keeping in mind just how
widespread the effects will be before embarking on any course of action which could potentially cause problems in your relationship.
8. Women judge us less harshly than we judge them.
Another thing we're fond of believing is that women keep a tally of all our misdeeds and mistakes, ready to list whenever there's
an argument. That much is largely true; as discussed, women do indeed keep a log, in minute detail, of life events - very much
including our transgressions. But the conclusion which follows on from this, that women are always ready to dilute any good deed
we might perform with recollections of our past mistakes, is false. The remarkable thing is that, given love and more importantly
trust, women are incredibly forgiving. This isn't to be taken advantage of, of course, but can't be overemphasised.
Women are typically both more aware of our motivations then we are ourselves, and also are thinking in the long term, weighing up
the importance of present events against their larger picture of their life. Because of being very in touch with their emotions, it
often seems to us that women blow current problems out of all proportion, not seeing the big picture due to ever-ready tear-ducts and
hysteria, but indeed the opposite is often true. Women certainly wear their hearts on their sleeves much of the time, but they remain
well aware of the larger path of their relationships and lives, and judge events accordingly.
9. Women make great lovers, but even better friends.
Guys, if you don't have at least a few female <em>friends</em>, then get some with all possible haste. Women make wonderful friends,
as I'm happy to say from personal experience. Women are wonderful listeners, excellent company, compassionate and empathic to a fault,
and perhaps best of all there's no socially-imbued shame in getting a hug from a girl when you're feeling down.
Women take so much joy in relatively minor aspects of life, and buzz with excitement at the interaction and challenge of
friendship and socialising. Women are loyal and kind, accepting of your flaws, honest but tactful, and give absolutely freely of
their time and help whenever needed. It's also worth mentioning that the best relationships begin in solid friendship, but that
shouldn't be our only goal. Some of the very best friends a guy can have are women. I might even go so far as to say that women
make better friends for a bloke than other blokes do (note to the Bearded Monkeys: present company excepted, naturally).
10. Women understand the true value of things.
I had a conversation with a good friend of mine (a girl) a few weeks ago about the best things in life. We came up with a list, both
adding entries as we thought of them. I began by mentioning things like coffee and Lego and cars, then came to realise that her list
was far better. It mentioned things like walking along a beach, holding hands with someone you love, cuddling in bed whilst it rains outside,
dreaming, hot soup on a cold day, baths, music, duvets, good food, and so on. All little things, simple and not difficult to obtain or arrange,
but much more important than possessions and status and success. Just the small daily affirmations that make life in general a positive and
even joyful experience.
Women are keenly aware of the true value of those little things, whereas we often allow daily events to obscure such things. The women are right;
it's those little things that are what life is really all about.
As a man, I love women. I love their voices, their hair, their smiles, their perfume. As Andrew said in his original post, women
are exquisite and beautiful creatures. But looking past the flesh, they're more beautiful still.
They can certainly be fragile and somewhat neurotic at times, plagued with self-doubt and anxiety over the paths their lives may take,
but they're also capable of incredible compassion, empathy, and a level of strength which puts any man to shame. By all means lust after
them, but spend more time admiring and appreciating, and indeed respecting, them.
So, my fellow blokes, here's to women!