Dear Men, 12 Pieces of Advice for the Men in Our Lives

Film still from the famous restaurant scene

Film still from the famous restaurant scene (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Update: I thoughtlessly posted this, not realizing how heteronormative it is.  My apologies.  The piece was intended for the clueless daters of any gender who prefer to date those that identify as women.

  1.  Aretha said it best; RESPECT.  Respect us, our bodies, and our opinions.  Also, remember that we are more than the sum of our reproductive organs.
  2. Women do not communicate directly.  We communicate in a more round-about way, designed to allow for disagreement without conflict.  So when we say, “Gosh, it’s late and I’m exhausted,” we mean that it’s time to call it a night.  Take the hint.
  3.  Learn to read body language; if you try the sneaky overarm movement (and believe us, we know you’re faking that yawn,) and we slide away, take the hint.
  4. Don’t call us crazy.  Unless we’ve torched your car, shaved our hair into designs of goldfish, or attempted to eat the cat.  Those are crazy actions.  Yelling at you because you’ve been dodging our calls and we just found out that we’re pregnant does not give you the excuse to say “B****** be crazy.”
  5. The exam did not rape you.  You are not going to have forced sexual intercourse with the other players in xbox live.  All you are doing is enabling rapists to get away with rape.  So stop.
  6. Our periods do not invalidate our emotions.  They just diminish our ability to tolerate things.  Besides it’s not like men don’t have hormonal cycles, either.  Ironically enough, PMS is an influx of testosterone.
  7. Women are not monolithic entities.  What makes one woman happy may not work for another woman.
  8. Women do not owe you their attention, time or affection.  Even if you have been her friend forever, you are NOT entitled to her love.  So stop whining about the Friend Zone.
  9. Women generally like sensitive men.  That does not mean, whiny spineless symphocant.  It means a man who stands up for himself, is respectful, and understands how to communicate.  The whole whiny spineless slob versus the puppy kicking, womanizing jerk is an arbitrary binary.
  10. Some women don’t want to have sex with men.  That does not mean that they just need the Right experience (aka with you.)  That does not mean that they will fulfill your fantasies.  So stop asking them that.
  11. The same goes for women who do want to have sex with men.  If they have not expressed any interest in sex with you, don’t ask them.
  12. Saying something offensive is like stepping on people’s toes.  Sometimes you did it intentionally.  But most of the time, when you step on someone’s toes, you didn’t mean to.  But you apologize anyway because regardless of your intent, you hurt them.

What do you think?  Is there anything else I missed?  Leave advice in the comments!


15 comments on “Dear Men, 12 Pieces of Advice for the Men in Our Lives

  1. My suggestion: nagging. When we ask you to pick up your dirty undies / socks / shirt, empty the dishwasher, take out the rubbish – to do your share of the domestic duties – we are not nagging. We are asking you to recognise that we also have jobs, commuting, family responsibilities, friends… Hell, sometimes we want to just flop on the sofa too! But the work needs done.

  2. Speaking as just one data point that is not necessarily representative of the 3.5 billion men in this world, “While I have some characteristics in common with some men I am not necessarily like any other. Furthermore, the majority of the stereotypes commonly used to describe men do not necessarily apply to me.” I will leave it to the other 3,499,999 remaining men to weigh in oh this before deciding if it applies to everyone. But I do appreciate the gentle reminder to mind my manners :>)

    • cafeaulait13 says:

      I had not intended to stereotype all men. I merely commented on behaviors that I have frequently observed. I do not want to make the same mistakes again, and I want to reach out to as many men as I can without offending them. You represent an audience I would like to reach, so I would appreciate your input.

      Which parts of the article were problematic?

  3. I like the friend zone point. I hate that it’s become a “thing” and it just reiterates that most men feel like they deserve a woman just because they’re there. Attraction works two ways!

    • cafeaulait13 says:

      I so agree! I also am friends with several nerdy guys and a few of them DID NOT GET THIS for the longest time, creating unnecessary drama because the fair maiden of his dreams was interested in someone else. It’s the obnoxious Nice Guy mentality.

  4. Sara says:

    As a woman that does communicate directly, I’d like to see the notion that ‘women don’t communicate directly’ dissipate and that we would encourage each other to speak clearly and freely about what we feel and want. I think the reason some women might not feel comfortable communicating directly is because we are socialized to be pleasers, accommodating and to not rock the boat. We are often taught that are feelings are not valid or welcome or that we need to keep silent about what we think and feel so that others are not disrupted or unhappy. I communicate directly, and I hope that all people, however they identify, feel valid enough in their thoughts and feelings to do the same, and if not, that we foster an environment that encourages people to be direct.

    • cafeaulait13 says:

      I agree with you that we should try to communicate more directly, at least sometimes. Or at least feel comfortable knowing that we are valued enough to be direct. But an indirect approach is not without its merits, especially for situations that require sensitivity and nuance, with work, national security, and negotiations, for example.

      And while I try to make an effort to be more direct, it is still difficult to undo years of social conditioning. I absolutely agree that women are socialized to be people pleasers, and it makes our lives more difficult. Deborah Tannen wrote a really good book on gendered communication, called You Just Don’t Understand, if you’re interested.

      • Sara says:

        I am always interested in good reads! Thanks! I’m advocating for people being direct, not that people abandon tact or politeness. But I think your post says that women don’t communicate directly, right? You’re painting all women in a broad stroke and in a view that’s actually pretty harmful to women and that perpetuates stereotypes about how we communicate. There are no biological differences in our speech registers. These things are socialized and conditioned.

        Saying that women do X so men respond in Y fashion is a perpetuation of sexist tropes and I would urge you to please reconsider. I’m being both direct and nuanced here, and this is sort of what I’m talking about. Direct =/= a lack of sensitivity. And while it is difficult to undo years of social conditioning (I completely relate to that) part of undoing that social conditioning is acknowledging that it exists and that it is ok to undo it and to speak and communicate clearly and directly about what we want and need. I feel like your remark that women don’t communicate directly actually encourages the continuation of the social conditioning that prohibits women from speaking openly and freely.

      • cafeaulait13 says:

        I did worry about that in the initial post, that I was perpetuating sexist tropes. When writing, I couldn’t figure out how to make the point that women do tend to speak indirectly, and it is a great source of frustration that the men in our lives don’t understand that succinctly. I wanted to give simple advice, and I didn’t feel that that was the place to go into a discussion of genderlects.

        While we do need to become more direct, to make our point across, I was trying to force the men to shoulder some of the responsibility for fruitful communication. I am tired of always accommodating to the dominant model of speech, and I would like people to develop a bit of empathy, and an ability to communicate in different styles with a variety of people. The preference for direct speech versus indirect speech is a cultural norm, and other cultures regard indirect speech as a speech of power.

        Thank you though, for your comments. I don’t want to perpetuate gender tropes, and I will endeavor to express advice in a way that does not perpetuate those stereotypes.

  5. mlapke411 says:

    I’m pretty sure this is the most perfect article I have ever read. And I knew you weren’t being insensitive towards those who don’t identify as heterosexual! Really nicely done.

  6. […] Dear Men, 12 Pieces of Advice for the Men in Our Lives ( […]

  7. EJD says:

    This is labelled ‘for the men’, but it seems to be mostly about what men can do for women. Why is that?

    • cafeaulait13 says:

      1. It’s a feminist blog. 2. I wrote this piece to help people make small changes that would make the world a nicer place. I wrote this piece for the guys in my life to explain why some of the things they did annoyed the women. I’m not asking them to do anything other than understand the women’s perspective on these behaviors.

      What would you like a piece entitled “For the men” be about? Let me know, either in the comments or by email.

  8. […] Maurice Barry of Duck?  Starfish?…23 commented under an older piece about advice for the men in our lives.  In his comment, he reminded me not to stereotype all men, and that he  appreciated the reminder […]

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