As we’re heading rapidly towards Valentine’s Day, I am increasingly amused by the different ways in which men and women respond to this festival of love.
More than merely seeing things differently, we seem to speak different languages on the subject. Of course one can’t elaborate on a subject like this without resorting to broad generalisations, so let me excuse myself at the outset.
Men are from Mars, and women are from Venus, so they keep telling us, but for some strange reason, we still haven’t learnt the lessons from this simple adage.
In his book by this title, John Gray points out how very different men and women are, and suggests that acknowledging and working with these differences will lead to better heterosexual couples’ relationships.
It is always fascinating how, in many a social gathering which includes people of opposite sexes in Zimbabwe, you will find that the women seem to congregate on one side, and the men on another.
The men (I am reliably informed) will talk about money, or politics or sport. The women invariably end up discussing men!
When you think about it, the amount of time women dedicate to conversation revolving around men and relationships is quite alarming.
The trouble is, they are talking to each other, and not to the men in question! Here are some of the things that women wish men knew but haven’t got round to telling them:
Women want respect. This doesn’t mean being addressed as “Maiguru” (sister-in-law) in the workplace, it doesn’t mean making lewd remarks (disguised as compliments) about their clothes, bodies or relationships. Women don’t like to be patronised.
What it does mean is that they want you to take seriously the contribution they make and acknowledge that they bring something important to the table. This should lead to appropriate remuneration and working conditions.
While women are brilliant multi-taskers, they require fuel for the many tasks they accomplish, and this fuel comes in the form of appreciation, recognition, and generally the belief that you are trying to make things easier for them, rather than harder!
Small tokens of appreciation whether in the form of an SMS, flowers, chocolate, wine or even diamonds (they are small, aren’t they?) are always welcome. More important than what the gift costs, is the message it sends : I appreciate you.
In a very unscientific snap survey conducted among friends and acquaintances, I discovered that women would like men to know that giving birth is traumatic and painful, and that just because they keep doing it over and over again doesn’t mean it’s easy.
They would therefore like you to demonstrate a high level of sensitivity and gratitude towards them on issues involving childbirth.
By the way there is no biological reason that makes a woman better at changing a nappy, wiping a snotty nose or making a cup of tea than a man. It’s just practice, and common sense!
Women want attention as well as attentiveness. They want to believe they are at the top of your to-do list, and that you are thinking about them regularly.
While they understand that relationships can’t be all wine and roses (though romance is nice too), they will appreciate you simply making the time to be with them and treating them like a priority.
One woman says: “I wish men knew that their presence means more than their presents. Just being there to talk to us is priceless.”
While spending time with them is important, women also want to have time to themselves. A good friend of mine says:
“I wish men knew that time out with girlfriends feeds the soul and makes for happier wives. Time without husband and kids is healthy.”
Highlighting a sentiment that has been expressed over and over again, another responded: “I wish men knew that my independence doesn’t mean we are in competition. I would still like for him to be a man and handle things.”
It seems that no matter how much power and prestige women acquire in the workplace, they still want their man to be a knight in shining armour in the home.
My favourite contribution from the survey reads: “When men ask us if there is anything wrong and we say nothing is wrong and keep quiet, it means there is something, so they should ask again and be interested instead of just turning away and saying ‘Ok fine’.”
I can see this may be getting a little complicated for the simple male mind. Don’t be confused. Here is a simple one that will no doubt appeal to the mojo in most men.
According to one comment from an Internet user, women want men to demonstrate “masculinity, though it may be shown in different forms, we love men who are strong, confident, secure and who don’t mind showing a little backbone when they have to take a stand for what they believe in”.
Finally women would like men to know that although they think about food more than they think about sex, they really do like sex.
You just need to remember that there are four bases to be covered in the bedroom, so try to stop at each one instead of just heading straight for the home run! (www.yourtango.com)
To borrow a line from the movie What Women Want, “If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, and you speak Venutian, the world can be yours! ”
Thembe Sachikonye writes in her capacity. Readers’ comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org