Back when it was a thing to try to pick up girls at a library, I went to the Harold Washington Library in Chicago to pretend I was into books…in the strange hope of picking up a girl. This strategy never worked for me as a high school student, but when Barnes and Noble and Borders Books added a coffee shop in them, it worked like magic as a grownup. Anyway, back in high school I stumbled across this book ‘Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus’ and I read a couple pages. To my young, inexperienced mind, what the author was saying seemed sensible. Even though I was a nerd when it came to outer space, I just ran with his metaphor. In theory Martians met the Venusians, decided to go to Earth and suddenly forgot how to deal with each other. Ignoring the giant leap in reason, this made sense to me. Granted, I never checked that book out or finished reading it, I was mostly reading the early part and checking out this girl a few tables away, but I got the gist.
Let’s Get Literal
Now, as a grown man with experience I can say he either misunderstood the Venus part, or his sense of humor was turned all the way up. I can accept the Metaphor for the title, but if you know anything about the planet Venus you may find it funny. Venus, as seen from Earth is beautiful, it glows in the night sky brighter than a star so it can still be seen in the early morning sometimes. However, it is so densely packed with clouds, deadly gasses and mind-boggling heat that it is impossible to land anything there to gain an understanding of it at all. Despite being significantly closer to Earth than Mars is, NASA isn’t sending anything there, because Venus is a bubbling cauldron of despair when it comes to being hospitable to others. I personally don’t view women in this way, but I’m sure some of y’all know women like this.
A few other comical points about Venus that makes the “world of women” kinda messed up. Venus rotates on its axis backwards. While every other planet is rotating one way, Venus knows better apparently and goes the other way. A day on Venus, meaning the time for it to spin on its axis once, or better yet for Venus to begin at a point and end that point, takes 8 months. Guys, ask the woman in your life to tell you a story about anything, or just listen to one of the stories about her day and this may ring true. Venus is the hottest planet in the solar system, with surface temperatures getting up to 865 degrees. Much like the hottest planet, oft times the hottest women come with the most problems, making it impossible to survive there if you’re just trying to be cool.
As a guy, there’s only so much about women that I could ever “understand”, and I think I have achieved that level already. Much like NASA, trying to get closer to the planet Venus, me trying to get closer to full understanding is simply detrimental to the safety and well-being of me and my equipment. Back in the day when we were dating, I remember my now wife telling me stories…that she’d initiate I must add, with seemingly no resolution or noticeable arc to them. The mind fills in gaps when you’re a young man in love, it reconciles the less sensible stuff, and we just roll with it. I used to say “she’s on that white” implying cocaine usage, which was not literally the case at all, but she would be so all over the place with these stories that it sounded that way to me. This wasn’t unique to her though, most of the heterosexual women I knew told stories like they sniffed a line before starting. Now that I’m older, I have been told by women that’s how they communicate. From the perspective of a man, it’s like listening to the Alphabet song that technically begins and ends with A & Z respectively, but every letter in between is a roll of the dice. Queue the melody…A, D, G, M, Q-R, O.
There are legitimate differences between men and women that are pretty interesting. Probably not enough to be from different planets altogether, but significant enough to say, “that makes sense”. Women, on average, are more open with their feelings and willing to share personal information with perceived authority figures. I think this plays into why many women completely ignore what their significant others may say or believe about a topic, while trusting blindly the random person that says the same thing. Information coming from the significant other, that they know is not a specialist in what he’s talking about is taken with a grain of salt. However, you never know what that homeless guy on the corner knew before he fell upon hard times, so it could be accurate.
According to Psychology Today, knowing the personal profile of a person without knowing the gender, they could accurately determine the gender 85% of the time. I’m not sure how that plays out for trans men and women, but it’s a rather interesting stat to me given my experience with biological women. I haven’t met a woman yet that said “You know Doug, I’m just like the other women you’ve met” and I’ve met A LOT of women in my lifetime. Yet this study says about 85% of the time they can accurately guess the gender. This means one of two things to me; your results may vary. I am either amazingly talented at exclusively running into the 15% that can’t be accurately determined or that’s exactly what 85% of women would say, and those women are just like most women I’ve met, you decide.
I looked at a story in Redbook, written by a woman to find out what they look for in men. In order she said Chemistry, Vulnerability, Stability, Equality, Awareness, Emotional Presence, Curiosity about her, Protection, Acceptance, and Assertiveness. Just for giggles, I wanted to see what men look for in women…from a Woman’s perspective. In order she said Attractiveness, Intelligence, Mature but playful, Honesty, Trust, Independence, Respect, Affection, Decisiveness, Sense of humor. I think this is interesting because to a certain degree it seems as if women are seeking validation and status from the man they marry. Meanwhile, men want someone that’s easy to get along with and can stand on her own.
So, here’s an exercise. Let’s assume what she said is what women really want. If you are a woman and you see a man with these qualities, do you pursue what you want, or do you make yourself available to the pursuit of what you believe the man “should” want? Here’s some bad advice for you if you chose the latter. If there’s confusion as to why I say “women should never pursue” is bad advice, scroll back up and factor in how women tell stories. What women believe are subtle hints are not always understood by men. Depending on the setting, there’s not a lot of time to get to the point, which is how we’d prefer to operate. Point being many women would rather miss out on a man they’re truly interested in before they pursue what they want. Despite seeking equality in a relationship, they don’t believe in equality to get it. Maybe I’m seeing it wrong.
Patrice O’Neal once said that it’s not beneficial to a man to have a powerful woman. He used this analogy to explain. “If the Queen of England marries a guy, he doesn’t become a King, he becomes the Queen’s husband” He went on to say, “but if a king marries a bum ass woman regardless of her background, she immediately becomes a queen”. His point was that a man can lift a woman up to her highest title, a woman cannot do the same for a man. The context for this conversation was that he was expressing frustration at modern society attacking men. While the statement is absolutely true, I never really cared for any system of monarchy or the rules that follow. The rules of that system make such a set of circumstances impossible. King and Queen are artificial titles and largely meaningless to me. That to say, although Patrice was correct about that system, that estimation is not accurate.
A great woman can inspire a man to be the best version of himself, just like a great man can do the same for a woman. In neither case will that man or woman “make” the other great. Greatness in any form is earned, not given, nor assumed due to proximity to greatness. I think this sentiment may be one not shared by many, because the saying is “behind every great man, is a great woman”. In all honesty, in my lifetime I’ve encountered more great women than great men. In some cases, the significant others of these great people have also been great in a way, in most of those cases the significant other is simply riding the elevator without mashing a bunch of buttons on the way up. Hell, in a few cases the significant other IS mashing a bunch of buttons on the ride up. The funny part about that saying, it’s not assumed in reverse. Great women in theory do it on their own, while great men have back up. Remember that thought…