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Some of the authors listed in the other column also write fiction. In many ways it's easier to learn application of this information in that context.
Men think about women.
The Male Mind Blog
It never ceases to amaze me to see how far and wide my writing/works are used. It came as a no surprise when I discovered how big a resource I was to writers of action adventures, thrillers, mysteries etc. Gee writing about surviving a knife fight or a dangerous situation with criminals? I just so happen to have a book/DVD on the subject.
But what floored me was the number of romance writers who use my work as resources. These are women who write about the 'men of their dreams' and they were using my works as ways to make their male characters more believable. Being as I know how difficult the business of writing can be, I started a blog for struggling writers. Previously the nature of these articles were about how to write convincingly about strong men in dangerous situations. However, as the series progressed, I realized that maybe, just maybe, I needed to add a little info on the basic model.
With this in mind, I'd like to provide an explanation for women as to one of the bigger mysteries of the universe (the male mind).
Okay, I'm going to take a break from writing about how
alpha males behave because I've just finished my part of the
new No Nonsense Self-Defense site redesign and
Now I know many people have pontificated on this issue before (or argued that the male mind is an oxymoron), but I've stumbled upon an analogy that is really easy and useful -- both for women to understand. It explains the seemingly insane contradictions men poise from the female perspective. It is also useful for men as they can call out "HONNNNnnnney, could you come and read this?".
Before I tell you this secret of the universe, let me tell you a story. Every year we hold an event where a hundred people from around the world descend on Castle Rock Colorado with the sole intention of killing my lawn. (Oh I know they claim they're there for all these other reasons, but I know a conspiracy when I see one).
Another point to recognize is the collective theme of this gathering is martial arts/self defense (amazing that such event would be happening around me isn't it?). One of the traditions of this little grass murdering event is the Friday night dinner. I tell you this because a local martial artist dragged her husband to this event.
I was told later, that earlier, he had groused about the fact that he was going to hate this dinner. The reason was because there wasn't going to be anyone that he could talk to at this banquet ... rumpa, rumpa snort. Well they sit with us at the table and I notice his jacket -- which I should point out is rather snazzy in a polished polyester, red-neckish way -- has the logo of the Mattel Toy 'Hotwheels' embroidered on the back. So being the good host, I asked him about it.
"I collect them" he replied in a tone bordering on surly.
"Really?" I replied "I used to live three blocks away from the Mattel complex in Hawthorne. I loved those as a kid." (1)
When I told him my past fondness for Hotwheels it was like a switch was thrown. His zeal for collecting and my mind for trivia, resulted in he and I having a two hour long conversation about his hobby. It turns out that this guy was a reservoir of complex and detailed information. He could tell you details of the product design, manufacture, collectability and why various models were currently bringing in as much as $14,000. And when I say details, I'm talking details. I would ask about a particular model. He in turn would "In 1968, John Whosamacallit was brought in as a designer, that was his first design. His prototype had a test production run of 2000 using paint E-15 and one of those goes for around seven grand."
The wives stared at us in total amazement as we had an incredibly involved conversation about "just toys." Then with the aplomb of wives through out the ages when their husbands start going "Ook Ook Slober Drool" over something utterly stupid and trivial they proceeded to have a lovely conversation about important things.
He, on the other hand, left tickled pink that he'd had such a fun and exciting evening -- despite his earlier prediction.
And that brings us to the point of this ... well wait, I must admit, where I got this idea from first ... Dr. Kevin Menard and I were discussing the differences between how men and women think and he supplied me with this analogy. It had me laughing at its simplicity. And since that time, every male I have told it to has said "Yep."
Ya know how women often accuse men of having one track minds? They're right.
See as near as I can tell, women's minds are like train stations. There are lots and lots of different tracks running off in all kinds of directions and running lots of different trains of thought. Also of note is the fact that a lot of trains are running at the same time on these various tracks.
Men, on the other hand, pretty much only have one set of tracks.
Now on the surface, this might make us look like morons (which face it, we can be). However -- and this is what is the source of so much confusion to women -- while men may only have one set of tracks, we have DIFFERENT trains.
These different trains run on those same tracks at different times. Add to this that how big, complex (i.e. how many cars and what they are carrying) also varies. If you've ever sat at a RR crossing and seen a single locomotive go by vs. waiting for a three mile long train to pass, you'll understand this analogy.
And quite frankly, there are times that nothing is on the tracks. I know this is hard to believe ladies, but when you ask your man "What are you thinking" and he says "nothing" HE ISN'T LYING! There ain't nuthing on the tracks at that moment. Or if it is, it's one of those little two man lever-operated handcars.
Once you understand this idea, a great deal of the confusion of male behavior clears like fog being burned off by the sun. How can a man who is so sensitive and understanding one day be totally blind and oblivious the next?
Simple, a different train is now occupying the tracks. How can a man be a total horndog one day and yet when he is watching the game (or involved in a conversation with his friends on a stupid topic) you could walk in naked and say 'Do me now' and he'll say "Later baby" and return his attention to what he was doing?
Helloooo, different trains! While small individual locomotives can be easily diverted, the bigger ones won't be. Yes, sex is a big train, but as we mature (and yes, we do, really) it isn't the only train anymore. That's why the walking in naked trick sometimes works and sometimes doesn't.
Let me take -- if you'll excuse the pun -- a side track for a moment. I am a firm believer in the theory that if it weren't for women, men would still be living in caves. (As in "I'm sick and tired of living in this cave, go out and build a civilization" "Yes dear.") The reason I mention this is if you stop and think about it, this core difference between men and women is not only a critical survival attribute, but a complementary one as well. Ever notice, when too many factors are involved, nothing gets done? That is a potential weakness of multitrack thinking. It is male ability to blindly focus on one thing that overcomes huge obstacles. Granted it often makes him a shallow, insensitive and myopic jerk, but that is the weakness of the other way of thinking. So together these different ways of thinking really do compliment each other. As long as you both recognize the difference.
The interesting thing to note about this one track/different train idea is that different men have different trains as well. For example, I do not have a "football" train. This excludes me from a lot of male conversations. But, despite the fact that particular choo-choo doesn't run down my tracks doesn't mean I don't recognize what a huge train it is for other men. And by huge, I mean the same detail, depth and knowledge on the subject as Mr. Hotwheels had (in case you hadn't guessed his initial surliness was in expectation of his 'big train' being rejected by me). I tell you this because to a person who has a particularly large and complex train, there is NO such thing as "It's just a ..." on that particular subject. Nor is it stupid, no matter how uninterested you personally may be about the subject. Seemingly banal subjects reveal themselves to be incredibly involved, complicated and deep if you're willing to investigate the subject. That's why it is such a big train to the guy.
And here is where we get to the coping strategies of living with a man who has a train that is 'just a..." subject to you. Going back to Dr. Menard, he told me about how his wife handles shooting ... she takes her knitting. Now mind you she LIKES shooting. (BTW, they live in Texas). Standing on the range and blasting away is indeed a fun thing to do. However, what bores her to tears is the ook-ook-slobber-drool -goes-on-for-hours -about-minutia conversations that guys have about the subject when they aren't actually blasting away. When that part starts, she pulls out her knitting because she knows that train is on the tracks for the men folk. And it is a big train for shooters.
Believe it or not, this tendency to run single tracks might have a basis in the evolutionary development of mankind. It is a pretty well established theory in anthropology that back in the caveman days the men were hunters the women were foragers. Whether your man hunts or not, this one track mind is very much a hunting attribute Ever seen a cat zero in on prey? When that mode kicks in, everything else falls away. Believe it or not, you can use this to your advantage. A bit of advice I got from a fellow by the name of Gary Smiley (who I prefer over John Grey) explains this hunter/forager idea in another way.
Let's talk about 'shopping.' More specifically, how to keep your husband out of your hair while you are shopping. See shopping is basically a foraging expedition, a 'this one isn't quite right, maybe something else.' Whereas most men's attitude towards shopping is more hunting oriented. 'Tag, bag it, drag it home' to be more precise. To the common male mind, the idea of shopping drives him nuts. Foraging drives men nuts. That is until you turn it into a hunting expedition for him. The words "Honey, I'm looking for a blue blouse, find me one" will put him into liver quivering joy.
Zoom! He's off on a hunting trip and he'll bring one back. The cool thing is that you can narrow the parameters as you go, he brings something back "No this isn't quite right, something in a lighter color" Zoom, like a hunting dog he's off again. In this regard men are like Golden Retrievers and a Frisbee, you can keep them busy for hours.
I'd now like to address how men can be so smart and intelligent one moment and morons the next. Remember how I told you I don't have a "football train," well a train that I do have is what I call my "Machiavelli train" (When I was 19 I was called name I had to go look up in the dictionary. "Oh cool" I says I says "There's a book!" So I picked up "The Prince" by Niccolo Machiavelli. As I now say "It made perfect sense"). Thing is when my Machiavelli train is running I can be one slick, sly (and yes, manipulative) SOB who can be incredibly subtle and tricky. (Don't worry folks, these days I only use this talent for good, not evil). On the other hand, when that train isn't running, I can be just as dumb, ball scratching, empty track flop on the bed and stare at the boob-tube potato as the next guy. Other guys have other trains, I know a lot of men who have business trains and when that train is running ... watch out. Their business trains make my Machiavelli train look like a handcar.
I tell you this because your man probably has is own particular huge train that goes barreling down the tracks. And when that train is on the tracks either let it run its course or tell him he needs to change trains. Then sit back and wait for the process to complete. Because until you get him to switch trains, all you're going to get is that damned vague 'yes dear' response he gives when he's not really listening. Now you know why -- the tracks are currently occupied.
Another useful trick is to realize the best time to get things done is to wait for when the tracks are empty or only running a small train before you direct which train you want him to run. If he's got one running already -- especially a big one -- don't expect him to suddenly switch trains over something small. Explosions, people bleeding, walls of flames, these are the kinds of things that can bring a guy out of a particularly large train. Anything less than that, tends to be looked upon as an annoyance.
Also learn to recognize 'the tracks are empty' look vs. 'the tracks are shut down for repair' look, that's another big communication problem between men and women. Women having multiple tracks can shut one down for repair and still function. Men, on the other hand, when they shut down the tracks, get pissy when they have to open them up again before repairs are done.
The following is especially applicable if your man runs big trains. That takes a lot of energy and is exhausting. Therefore my advice to you is make sure you get the train you want running down the track before they are shut down for repairs. A good example of this is he's working on a project and the garbage needs to be taken out. If it's a big project train, forget about getting the garbage taken out right then and there. Sure you can tell him during it, but know it isn't going to happen. That doesn't mean he's ignoring you, it means the single track is filled. Big train on tracks, garbage small problem, ook ook.
However, the time to remind him about the garbage is when, having finished up the project, he comes walking into the room. At that moment the track is empty, but still functional. Don't wait until he flops down and powers down before you remind him about the garbage. Yes, he has forgotten about it. Remember ladies, run that honey do list while he's still up and moving. What is a small thing while the track is still operational becomes a bigger issue if you have to reopen the trackes. If nothing else this will do wonders about cutting down his pissing and moaning about having to get up and do something after a hard day.
Despite how complex the trains we can run now and then, we men are indeed simple creatures with one track minds. Once you realize this, we're no longer such a mystery. Hope this helps.
April 15, 2008
In the ensuing conversation someone mentioned that men can be pretty low maintenance ... my response is as follows:
"Well kinda. I was trying to keep this on a positive note, but face it ... men can run the stupid train, the petty and venal train, the barking moonbat train, the ***hole train, the self-centered and touchy train and of course the one that so endears us to women the "I'm sick, cranky and fussy" train. And there are some guys who seem to run those trains a LOT. When those trains are running then yes, men can be extremely high maintenance."
) The part I did not
tell him about is that being young and aspiring thugs, we'd
discovered a couple of interesting points: