He Says, She Says.

 

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We are all human but sometimes as we pour our caffeinated / wine soaked hearts to one another we (women)  sit and wonder if men aren’t in fact extra-terrestrial creatures. Or at the very least perhaps they have caught an alien infection that targets their behaviour? Because seriously …Why did he do that? Why did he say that? Is he deliberately being obtuse? Just why…?

So I thought I am going to have to create an elaborate excel chart documenting their behaviour that hopefully uncovers some rhyme or reason to their actions. That or I could probably just ask?  After all these wonderful weirdos just walk around amongst us, in plain sight.

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What I do know is this, our differences at times drive us up the wall and other times magnetically towards each other. It makes sense I suppose that men also  feel just as confused about our actions and reactions.

The fact that our brains are fundamentally wired differently doesn’t help, yes that is a scientifically proven fact. Events register in our heads, and since we think it before we feel it, our hearts in a altered way because we process information differently.

How? Well for example men are visual creatures and although women are too we tend to also require additional stimuli. That’s why the number of women romance/erotica readers and male online porn viewers are about the same. It is also why Mr way with words is likely to have our thighs involuntarily squeezing together when he says something mentally, emotionally stimulating or funny. I love when science is on our side, see we need the woo!

I recently held fellow Brisbane based writer Colin Nicholson hostage and, under bright interrogation lights and tight ropes, he agreed to help me answer some questions. (That was a joke by the way. I promise Colin didn’t do or say anything he didn’t want to and was not harmed in any way).

We received so many questions from both men and women that we are still going through them.

I learned two things, men are indeed every bit as human as we are and when you drill down deep enough, we are actually not as different as we like to think.

 

Claudia: Colin is what I’d call a gentleman, well maybe not to his face.  

Colin: Claudia is smaller in stature but larger than life.

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Drawings by Kristen Surgenor

15 Questions:

1. Can men and women just be friends?  

Colin: For sure, some of my best friends are of the female persuasion.

Claudia: Absolutely they can. I have male friends and I can say hand over heart that our friendships are purely platonic.

2. What do women think of men body issues?  

Claudia: Men have body issues? Don’t hate me but I have never thought of it that way. Men always seem to be far more confident about their bodies than women. I know there are a lot of women who won’t date anything less than a six pack but there are just as many who are attracted and fall for the way a man treats her and how he makes her feel. Everyday Joe’s body has no issues in my eyes if he can make me laugh and is able to challenge me. If men want six packs I say go for it and walk around shirtless if you need to, in fact I dare you to, but never underestimate the magnetic power of intelligent conversation and laughter.

 Colin: I honestly don’t think that women think much of it. They obviously have the same issues we do from exactly the same sources (photoshopped media etc) and yet its just not something talked about. We’re constantly bombarded by the same things telling us that we’re not allowed to be fat, that we must have perfect abs, no man boobs and be able to lift our own weight with one arm. I would probably even go so far as to say that only a small percentage of each gender holds the other to such high and stringent standards, and that we all judge ourselves more harshly than we’d like to admit.

Claudia:  Exactly, we are our own worst critics. I don’t expect you all to wear a muscle tee but at least be strong enough to open a jar sometimes that is heroic enough.

3. Is it really an issue if she earns more money that he does?  Does the man always have to play the provider role?

Colin: For me it’s not an issue at all, I completely understand that there are professions which pay more than mine and women can work in anything they want to these days.

Claudia: I can assure you that to me, his pay package is irrelevant. Loyalty, love and his presence are the only values that I am measuring. I can and do earn a living and the only thing I expect from a partner is for him to want to work just as hard towards our future. I don’t need a man to provide material things for me, I can do that myself. Do I want someone to stand by me, to make me feel safe and have my back? Absolutely I do.  That is how I feel a man can ‘provide’ for me, not by assuring he is earning more dollars than I am.

Colin: It’s not that I think a man should be earning the money but it is a traditional feeling that feels good for a guy. To be honest I don’t sit there and think I should be doing this, it feels good to provide for someone I care about. I don’t think it’s a societal driven thing; maybe it’s a y chromosome thing? When it comes down to earning less than your significant other yes absolutely you might feel a little emasculated by that but at the same time you just need to find another way to provide for them. You just need to find what gives you the same sort of chemical hi five in your brain for providing for them.  Knowing that they feel safe is a very rewarding feeling, particularly when it’s your family. Providing for someone and making them feel safe feels good.

4. Does jealousy mean he doesn’t trust me? 

Colin: Some men get jealous, and some men get anxious jealous. It’s kind of the difference between hungry and hangry. A jealous man trusts you, but wishes he could fulfil you in the way whatever is creating the jealousy does. An anxious jealous man thinks you’re purposefully going out of your way to find things that he can’t fulfill and that’s where trust issues can show up. Communication is key in understanding the two and knowing when which one is rearing its ugly head.

Claudia: I agree that jealously comes in several forms but I don’t believe it always means he doesn’t trust you. Trust issues are different to a jealousy issue and are also far more destructive. You don’t trust them because you don’t know if they are lying or telling you the truth. You don’t trust them because you don’t know if you represent home or if you are just a warm body he is using because he hates to be alone. When you don’t trust someone it’s essentially because you are unsure of what they will or won’t do next. A jealous man doesn’t doubt you, he just hates that someone else can make you feel or react in any way because he loves being your world. A healthy amount of jealousy is more say … just a pinch of salt!

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Drawing by Kristen Surgenor

 

 

5. Do you expect your partner to remove the pin or give the code to his/her phone/email/Facebook?  

Colin: Absolutely not! I work in IT and understand why personal privacy is important. Do I have a spot where I write these things down in the event of an emergency and my SO needs to get to them – yes. The likelihood of them figuring out my passwords or just knowing them anyway is pretty high, but if someone desires for something to be private, there’s a reason, I trust that they’ll tell me when I fall outside of that exclusion, I’ll never go actively seeking through their private things. With that said, don’t be dodgey about it, you can have privacy without creating trust issues with the right communication.

Claudia: No, they are all the equivalent of modern day diaries and you don’t just read another person’s diary, not unless you are invited to. More importantly either he trust me and I trust him or there is no point of us being a ‘we’. Not all women will agree with me on this one. Justifiably they will be the ones that have had bad experiences with the man in question.  I do however expect him to want to share things with me as much as I want to share things with him. In the natural relationship progression access would eventually be given without having to be asked/demanded/expected.

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Drawing by Kristen Surgenor

6. That one romantic comedy all men secretly enjoy? 

Colin: All men? No clue to be honest. Although the Princess Bride is right up there for me. It’s got everything; beautiful insults, a six fingered man, flaming swamps, a giant, a reference to Australia being entirely populated by criminals… oh, and you keep using that word.. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Claudia: HELLO! MY NAME IS INIGO MONTOYA! YOU KILLED MY FATHER! PREPARE TO DIE! ….Good answer.

7. What do women really think of that *one guy* doing yoga class?  

Claudia: That he is a pretty smart guy, after all he is the only guy in a room full of girls sweating it out and flexing his muscles. ‘Here let me help you with that pose’

Colin: Really? Because we think he’s an idiot. He probably wears fake glasses, has a moustache that he bought ‘beard oil’ for and likely owns a disproportionate amount of flannel considering he isn’t a lumberjack, there’s a 9 in 10 chance he’s doing it in West End too. I dunno, maybe he just wants to increase his flexibility and core strength though? Just make sure he isnt wearing a unitard.

Claudia: Ew. Did you have to put him in a unitard?

8. Where do women/men stand on friends with benefits?   

Claudia: This is one of those topics that women will stand divided on and feel strongly about. Some will be fine with it and others won’t contemplate it. There is a lot to consider, you could lose a great friendship over it but on the other hand it might be exactly what you both need. It’s one of those things that need to be discussed in depth and discussed often. You might not feel anything for your friend but they might feel something for you and that is where it can get messy.

Colin:  Yep, 100% agreed that this is a really tricky one, and I think it really comes down to the individual and is by no means gender driven. I know women who have been in these sorts of arrangements and I myself have been in them too. Sometimes they work great, and sometimes not so much. Personally I say go for it, enjoy yourself but be honest with them and yourself too. There are a lot of things to consider, harming a friendship, the awkward ‘I’m starting to date someone we cant do this anymore’ conversation. You need to evaluate yourself and how you feel toward the person fairly frequently. Avoiding something now because it might bite you a bit later on isn’t very healthy in my books.

9. Why doesn’t he want to tell you how many sexual partners he has had? Why do others not stop talking about it?   

Colin: If someone asks me, I’ll tell them. But personally, I don’t mind how many partners someone has been with nor do I really care to ask. So long as they’re exclusive with me when we’re in a solid relationship. I also feel you also don’t need to remind your current partner that you’ve slept with other people before them, that’s just rude. Enjoy the sex you’re having now, not the sex you used to have!

Claudia: Frankly I wouldn’t ask because I don’t really want to know. Those conversations have the ability to make room for insecurities and jealousy and other toxic feelings and thoughts that have nothing at all to do with your current relationship. To answer the question, if he doesn’t want to tell you maybe it is because he doesn’t want to be judged in fear that he might lose you over past experiences that mean nothing to him now.

Colin: Or maybe he thinks you’ll laugh him down because its only been one or two or even none?

Claudia: Why would you ever laugh at a low number?

10. The house is burning down, NO say aliens have landed and you have barely five minutes to pack a small backpack? What’s in your bag?  

Colin: Don’t laugh, but I used to have a pre-packed bag for situations like this. Basic stuff, clothing, empty canteen, some safety gear. Then I would have a fire proof folder of important documents next to it.

These days, it’s pretty easy to pack something desperate and quick. Passport, a change or 3 of clothes, one or two treasured items from my desk, my backup thumb drive of all my important documents and photos. I’d probably grab my smallest tool set as I left on the bike too. You are of course though assuming said aliens would be here to invade.

Claudia: It’s not like I am expecting an Alien attack but after seeing how quickly the floods covered Brisbane I realized how unprepared I was for the unexpected. Hypothetically I might have a packed bag which may or may not have two sets of spare clothes, including a jacket, gloves and socks. Small first aid kit, flashlight and a box of batteries, toiletries, matches and you can usually find emergency canned food in my pantry. Hmm maybe what I am just preparing for an impromptu camping trip?

*Writes down: Add thumb drive with important documents to hypothetical backpack*

Colin: You’re totally expecting an alien attack…..

11. Are the rules of shotgun to be respected?  

Colin: Shotgun is an equal opportunity rule. Gender matters little. Although if I call shotgun and someone wants it, I do accept bribes in cash, candy or full frontal nudity.

Side note: This is also why I never call it around Josh.

Claudia: Not to quote Michael Scott but I will : ‘The rules of shotgun are very simple and very clear. The first person to shout “shotgun” when you’re within the sight of the car gets the front seat. That’s how the game’s played. There are no exceptions for someone with a concussion.’

12. Women have been told to dumb it down or stay single.Do men dislike or find smart women less attractive?

Claudia: That saying comes to mind: Strong women intimidate boys and excite men. I would hope the grand majority of men prefer a partner that can provide intelligent conversation. Keep in mind that a smart woman and a patronizing one are two different things. I can completely understand not wanting to be patronized.

Colin: Yep, completely agreed, we don’t dislike them at all! Intelligence is an attractive feature in my opinion, as I’m sure it goes both ways – and just don’t be derogatory if I ask you to explain something. Learning from someone, or teaching them something and intelligent discussion is sexy. My first date with someone was a romantic picnic where we talked about death penalties and euthanasia. It was the best date I’ve ever had. That being said, if there’s too much of a disparity in a couple, ie, one of you is as dumb as a plank and the other is a rocket scientist – Things might be difficult… but with any luck at least the sex might be great.

13. Why do you always steal our food when you didn’t order your own?  

Colin: Seriously… buy your own fries. You’re messing with the natural order of things.

Claudia: I didn’t know I wanted it until I saw it on your plate. I would let you share my fries and how is it any different to you finishing off my every meal?

Colin: Its exactly that, finishing. Because you cant eat it all. You know what? Chances are we wouldn’t finish yours if we’d been able to eat all of our own! And on top of that, if you hadn’t eaten our fries you’d have finished yours!

Claudia: But ‘Joey’ I didn’t order any remember…*Rolls eyes and Steals a fry*

14. Do you feel guilty hanging out with your friends and leaving your bloke at home?  

Claudia: Generally I’d want him to come along to most events. It is however necessary for his own survival and mine that I get girl time with my friends. So do I feel guilty? No not at all, I am really doing it for him…for us…for we.

Colin: Perfect! I can only hope this is a sentiment shared among all women in relationships.  Please go out. In all honesty.. We love you all to pieces. But, sometimes, we just want to sit in our underwear with a beer and play call of duty on our own. Your girl time often is what gives us that opportunity.

15. What do you most appreciate about your female / male friends? 

Claudia: They are like having extra brothers, yes they will pick on you (a lot) but underneath that you know they care and can be just as good a friend as a female. They are also wired differently to us and so offer a whole new perspective and insight on things I might not understand or even have considered.

Colin: Am I answering about my male friends as well or just my female friends?

Claudia: What’s the question?

Colin: female / male

Claudia: I answer about male friends and you answer about female friends.

Colin: Alright ok, what do I appreciate about my female friends …

Claudia: …like how we explain everything to you.

Colin: Ha ha Oh that’s rich coming from you!

Claudia: ha ha

Colin: Umm…I don’t know, I think that I appreciate the…

Claudia: Speak into the microphone loudly..

Colin: Nothing..nothing at all.

Claudia: Ha ha

Colin: Ha ha..No they are good. I think women have a different perspective on life. All my friends have a similar mindset to me but at the same time my female friends are different in the way they approach things. They kind of give me an outlet that I don’t get from some of my bloke friends.

Claudia: Because guys don’t talk and girls do?

Colin: No guys do talk we just don’t necessary talk to other guys. I have two male friends that I can talk stuff with that isn’t all (GRR MAN) stuff. To be honest I appreciate the difference in women because they do see, feel and experience everything completely differently to how I do and without the female friends I have in my life I would only be experiencing half of what life is.

Claudia: Wow, Good answer .

Colin: Yeah …Off the cuff!

Claudia: You might be a fiction writer…

Colin: HA HA oh don’t be like that!

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All Drawings by Kristen Surgenor

There you have it, 15 questions answered!  Yes there will be a Part 2 answering some of the other questions submitted.

Please let us know what you think and where you agree or disagree!

{ Bonus Question AKA The Handbag Argument –> : The Handbag Argument  }

 

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