Photo courtesy of Claire Olson
Most men will freely admit they don't understand women. They call us hormonal, dramatic - the embodiment of emotional roller coasters. And they're right.
Women are complicated. There's no doubt about it. We expect men to know when something is wrong, why something is wrong and exactly how to fix whatever is wrong, all without giving a reason or simple explanation about what is in fact wrong.
Yes, in these instances, we actually forget everything we've learned about our male counterparts, and assume they will understand our nonverbal communication. Wake up ladies - they don't get it!
If men don't understand what we say when it comes out in a clear, concise manner, how can we expect them to recognize, and subsequently rectify a situation, using body language as the sole key to our emotional puzzle?
My husband, Patrick, fell victim to this very idea yesterday while we were out running errands in Brooklyn Park. Like it sometimes does, my mood began to change. It could have been from the head ache I fought all day or from the simple fact that I'm a woman and that's what hormones do. Either way, Patrick received the brunt of it.
After recognizing and trying to fight the feeling, I finally spoke up. "Honey, I'm feeling ornery." His response was not what I expected. "Ornery," he repeated, sounding confused. "What the hell is ornery?"
I couldn't help but laugh. Ever since we got married nearly four years ago, we've encountered small reminders that Patrick is in fact African, with English as his second language. I'll never forget the time his response to "I love you to pieces" came out, "I love you three pieces." Adorable. So though I shouldn't have been surprised when he didn't recognize the somewhat obscure adjective, my giggling session clearly showed I was.
"What does it mean," he asked again. After explaining it as a feeling of annoyance, being irritable and somewhat unreasonable, usually without justified cause, he simply asked, "Well what do you want me to do about it?"
At that moment I had two options. I could become even more ornery for the mere fact that my husband, the man who understands me more than anyone in the world, didn't know what appropriate actions to take to thus remove my difficult disposition. Or I could realize that I was, in that moment, about to reinforce the idea that women are balls of uncontrollable emotions, and stop the insanity before it progressed. I opted for the latter.
"Just give me a hug," I said as I wrapped my arms around him. If men only understood the power of a hug! Though it clearly doesn't fix everything, I promise it helps enough to make a difference. Women love feeling wanted, feeling needed. A tight, genuine hug reinforces these desires and can immediately adjust any woman's feelings to reflect those more desired from their partners.
So yes, we can be difficult to understand. And we can, and will, continue to yell at men for not recognizing our unspoken messages. So men, as ridiculous as it may sound to your black-and-white way of thinking, take a moment to realize that with a little effort you could reap a very large reward.