The modern caveman

The modern caveman

The next time you spill your saddened, overburdened PMT heart to a man and wonder why he’s so non-understanding and brisk about it, be kind. When he has a problem, he hides in a cave and ponders… scratch a modern guy and, in a historical not a catty sense, you’ll find a caveman. Read on.

The podgy woman in the shop gave me a knowing look, the kind often exchanged between two respective fat people, and also between women who buy and own self-help books. I was buying two at once, the equivalent to wearing a gigantic hat spelling out that I have no clue when it comes to communicating with men. However, I was buying these books in the name of research – I’d decided to delve into the minds of our sisters and their men to see whether there is some truth to be found within the malted pages of ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus’ and ‘Why Men Lie and Women Can’t Read Maps.’

Bringing the books home to my friends and boyfriend was another story. One of them scoffed that this book simply ‘pigeonholed’ her, and that she wouldn’t be ‘pigeonholed’ by anyone. The boyfriend laughed and told me it was rubbish before I hit him and reminded him that books like these form much of the basis of much of my writing.

‘You do know that I write about relationships don’t you?’ I asked, fearing a response that was less than positive – which would mean he had stuffed cotton wool in his ears every time I’d mentioned writing articles.

‘Course I do, Charley,’ he replied. Phew. He listens… or does he?

Eager to press further and prove my point, I took out a quiz that resided halfway through the book and cavorted happily in the knowledge that I was right, and that I could prove this with one simple fact.

Men and Women are different. My friend knows this, duh, but Men and Women are different. Men think, react, take pleasure, seek, talk, respond and give differently to us ladies. OK, so you know this too, right? Let’s explore further. How many times have you got yourself into a quandary over how long it takes for a man to text back or call on time, even one you make love to at night and profess to know inside and, erm, out. Why does anxiety trickle into your gut when you don’t hear from him? Or how about the times when you need to talk and cry and moan about something personal like your idiot boss or your thoughtless mother, or how you feel fat, or something girly like that – and most men think what you really want is for them to offer you a solution?

They do this because this is how men are programmed to respond. Back in caveman days, men cavorted in trees but they would use caves to sleep in, shelter in and retreat to when they had a problem, or else they’d sit on a high rock to see all and distance themselves. In the problem solving process a man will sit in the cave, and he will think and he will think some more, and he will ignore all who attempt to help him. This would be the woman. When a man is in his cave, or on his rock, he is answerable to no-one. When a man is not in his cave, he will be sitting on a rock, high up, watching things in silence.

This is how men evolved and if you look around now, you will see not all that much has changed! Men still sit on their rocks, in the pub or on the couch. They go to pubs alone. Even in groups, they can go out and simply stare at their pints in silence. They don’t need to speak.

And that’s OK! Men need ‘fire-gazing time.’ They like to sit in front of the TV in silence or read the paper after a tough day. They go for runs alone. I know girls do this too, but men especially need their time of introspection. Now, women just don’t behave like that. When a woman has a problem she shares it and she expresses her feelings to those around her. She drinks with others for drinking alone would signify she was in distress. When a girl needs help, she asks for it and more often than not, her friends will know instinctively by the expression on her face. Even if she says she’s OK, her friends will know.

Men are the opposite. For a man to express himself or ask for help is to him a sign of weakness. It says to him that he cannot fix the problem himself, and as this is what he is instinctively programmed to do, he will see this as a failure. For a man to ask another man for help is often seen by the other man as a great honour for he is seen as being wise. Even then, the men don’t discuss feelings, they talk shop. When a man goes off into his cave, or to sit on his rock, another man knows not to join him. He knows that he must keep away until such time as the man in question has figured out a solution.

But us ladies don’t work like that.when we see the man in his cave, or on his rock, we jump up to help him, to put an arm around him, to ask him what’s wrong. We feel rejected when he pushes us off! This is because in the same era when men were off out slaying and pondering problems on rocks, the girls would huddle in groups having children and talking. They learned to rely on one another and formed close bonds. By having children and being in such close quarters, the girls quickly learned how to anticipate the needs of others before they asked, which is why we are all so uber intuitive and also why we question the actions, reactions and thoughts (even those that haven’t formed yet) of men. We anticipate their needs before they know what those needs are – which is why we make such thoughtful girlfriends.

Boys don’t generally do this. They deal with the here and now. When a girly comes to her boyfriend with a problem, he thinks to himself, ‘Right, she has a problem. I need to think of a solution. This will prove my love to her. By solving her problem, I have done my job! Hurrah!’ Not we like to moan, bytch, rant, go on round in circles until we’re blue in the face talking about said issue and we don’t want a solution. We want empathy, we want reassurance, we want support. This comes in the form of listening and going ‘Ooooh’ and ‘Ahhh’ at the appropriate moments and natural dips in conversation. This is what girls do best and what boys can’t fathom.

To boys it’s simple, you have a problem you think about it and come to a solution. If you can’t then you find another man you respect who can help offer you a solution. Scores of women scream at their boyfriends and each other ‘Why won’t he listen?’

He says, ‘I am listening. I’m here, aren’t I?’

But that is the wrong thing to say. We get frustrated and we give up. To be listened to and supported, without offering a solution is just one thing boys can do to make our lives easier.but what can we do to help them? Hmmm.

I learned that the cave / rock thing is something I just have to accept and understand is nothing personal. Case in beloved had a personal issue. I didn’t hear from him in 4 days. I was beside myself with all kinds of thoughts and feelings ranging from anxiety that he was dead to wondering if he was going to do an M on me and dump me without a word of warning. As it happens, he explained to me that he had a problem and he needed space to figure out what to do. When he had figured out what to do and promptly came back with all his usual warmth and support. Peace was restored! Had I had known about the whole cave / rock thing I would have had a more enjoyable week. I would have known he needed to do this, and that it wasn’t anything personal and I had not done anything wrong. In fact, it had nothing to do with me. I thought it did, because when I am upset, I seek comfort from my friends or from him, and it’s only when I am really distressed will I go off someplace to my ‘cave’ which would consist of a duvet and a bed for me to hide in. That’s my cave: warm, fluffy and with my bear for company, only coming out to breath in some clean air. So I thought that the same would apply to him. I thought if he was upset, he would come to me, which he does do, but this time he didn’t. I thought that he would behave and react, think feel and respond to stress the same way a woman does. I forgot that he’s a man and therefore we have differences. Duh! Silly me…

But then, male and female differences are only pointed out via physical and tangible objects or features. Girls are generally soft, warm, pink and fluffy, have hips, can give birth, are super-organised, can do a zillion things at once, are thoughtful, have better orgasms and carry bubbies that feed babies. Boys generally like football, fighting games, cars, blue things, hard things, have willies, orgasm easier, can only do one task at a time, read maps, reverse park, get paid more and solve problems. As you know, loads and loads of women can do all the above things – lucky them – and scores of boys can do the opposite, and I am simply referring to by and large, the Average Joe throughout this article.

But scientifically based research, not to mention the phenomenal success of John Gray’s book, has proven that it’s more than aesthetics and what meets the eye that we need to tackle and that the sooner we understand that we are on different planets, the easier we’ll get along.

Hmm..not too well though. otherwise I’ll be out of my Mookychick Agony Sister slot!