It was remarked to me the other day that men are my favorite topic. They really are. A dinner party, a family function, a meeting with my boss-- I will assure you, there will be some way at all of these events to somehow work in men or relationships to common conversation. It's not just MY men and MY relationships, mind you-- it's ALL men and relationships with men. This blog would not exist without men. My passion for life, writing, and the things that go along with it wouldn't be nearly as exciting without men. And sex? Fuggetaboutit.
Men fascinate me. I figure out new things about them every day, but I still don't think I'll ever truly understand them. They always remain deliciously mysterious, even when I'm sure they are, in fact, remarkably simple. Food, fun, money, and women/sex (not in that order, or, if you're gay, substitute "men" for all "women," because same standards apply): that's what motivates men. It's just the concepts of WHAT about food, fun, money and women motivates men that remains unclear, or how men go about obtaining these things, the lengths they will go to do it, WHY in fact they really need that steak/new car/raise/girl in their life is so important, and what they MEAN by that dinner request/need for speed/cash/comment about that thing that they said last night when we told the maitre-de that you were with each other.
"Did he mean WITHwith, or did he just mean "with," as in, "yeah, we're eating with each other for dinner; other than our mutual love for this establishment's lo mien we aren't connected romantically in any way, shape, or form."?!"
People (men, especially), always say to take what a man says at face, or word, value, because that's what he really means. I'm finding that that is so totally untrue. Sure, when a man says, "Hey, can you pass me the salt?" it's probably not a cover for "Hey, I've noticed you've been getting a bit thicker in the waist lately, so why don't you move that bloating NaCl away from yourself and over to me so you don't blimp up like the Goodyear?"
But if a guy says to you, "Hey, so, _____ said that you were hanging out with _____ the other day/skinnydipping naked in the town fountain/posing for Playboy-- what's up with that?" chances are he's not meaning "Hey, so, I'm cool with you and _____ shacking up/the town getting a new mascot/13 year old boys hanging you on their bedroom walls, and can I get a copy autographed?" Chances are, what he really means is, translated into Girlversion, "Jesus Christ, please tell me this isn't true so I don't have to worry about what you're doing and my chances with you! Or, at least tell me that _____ is flaming gay."
Let's try another exercise:
He says: "I had a really good time with The Girl You're Not last night."
He means: "I had a really good time with The Girl You're Not last night, and want to make sure you hear it here first, and not from my buddy, and think I'm hiding it from you."
Not: "I'm saying this to make you want me back."
Disclaimer: Some men like making girls jealous. Most don't. Most try their hardest not to make the girls they care about feel shitty, even if you do have a rocky history. So most think that by the time they've moved on, it's ok to share these things with you because you're Just Friends now.
He says: "Hey, did you get my text last night? You never said anything back!"
He means: "Oh, shit, am I in trouble? Can you please explain why I am in trouble, and what I can do to get out of it?"
Not: "I'm doubting Verizon's coverage-- can you just affirm this?"
Someone even tried saying to me the other day, "Yeah, but _____'s not like that." Bullshit, sweetheart. Does he have a dick? He's like that. If you can listen to me and my stories about Perfect and say, "yeah, but did you think that's not what he meant?" or, my personal favorite "he's a guy; he's not going to understand," then be ready to take the same thing. Yes, he may know you well, or you may know him well, and you may even think he's different than every other guy on the face of the planet, but I'm sorry-- he is not exempt, and you are not exempt. Some men things are universal, like the fact they can't see as many shades of color as women can, and think that grilling is an acceptable way to cook anything.
And this is another reason why I love men-- they are so very different from me. But at the same time, they are a lot more like us than we would ever think. They worry about getting fat, too. They worry about hair and clothing. Some of my best, most frequent and fashion-concerned customers when I worked at American Eagle were men. They were always the ones who wanted me to stay in back near the fitting rooms so that they could do a mini- fashion show and have me OK their outfits. 8 times out of 10, a guy will ask a woman or sales associate, "Does this look OK?" before a woman will.
Some of my favorite things about men are completely nonsensical. I love the way the ALL seem to wear Old Spice deodorant. Every guy I have ever dated, except for the Douche, have always worn Old Spice. The smell of Old Spice, to me, says "boyfriend." The Douche wore Axe. To me, the smell of Axe says, "you want me, but you can't have me, because me and my Axe are not going to be reliable. Whatsoever." Sometimes, I go to the deodorant aisle in the supermarket just to take the cap off of a container of Old Spice, close my eyes, and breathe it in-- comfort, closeness, lazy afternoon, good sex, and sexily sweaty men are all contained for me under that red plastic cap.
I love watching men. I love watching them work, play, smile, laugh, frown, and play video games. I love watching them eat; watching them during sex; watching them purse their lips tightly together so that they're almost invisible when they're trying to concentrate really hard. (Almost all men do that. It's hilarious.) I love the way they walk, and I love the way they talk, and I love the way their biceps flex when they pick something up. (Mmmmm...) I love how they're so very warm at night when I'm so very not. I love the way any man will stand in front of a car's open hood with his hands either on his hips or on the front of the engine wall and have a look on his face like, "Yes, I can solve this," even if he was no idea where to put his washer fluid. But I love the fact that most men, somehow, someway, CAN figure out what's wrong, just like how they all seem to have cable's TV station numbers memorized by heart. They can do so many things that I can't-- reach shelves, kill spiders without squealing, throw a football in a perfect spiral, roll out of bed looking great, remain calm in a crisis-- and this is why they compliment me so well.
I also love watching men shave, something which is at odds with the fact that I also love when men have stubble. Stubble is a tactile thing for me-- I love to run my palms over their jawline and feel the sharp little hairs rasp against the soft skin in the middle of my hand. A lot of guys look more mature and a bit "harder" with some stubble. This is why I love stubble. It is a purely sensory love for me. But shaving is an emotional draw to me. The process, the finesse, the idea of them grooming themselves like that just fascinates me. I can sit on a sink counter or on the edge of a bathtub and just unselfconsciously watch for however long it takes them. They get so studious and focused and you can even catch a glimpse, for a brief second, of that pre-teen boy who stood next to his father at the bathroom sink's counter for the first time, holding a razor for the first time and following carefully the motions mimicked for him by the giant in his life; Superman; his dad. They are so vulnerable and manly all at once, and certainly have more guts than I would ever have for holding a razor blade over their jugular almost daily.
I generally tend to think I'm a pretty clever little minx, but men can always leave me baffled. They always have me second-guessing, keeping one step ahead, and this is another reason I love them-- they challenge me. With some, it's mental-- Jersey Blunt could run circles around me sheer, brutal conniving intelligence-wise, and Perfect, for example, knows all my buttons, and how to push them in perfect unison so I am both frustrated and turned on.
So here's to you, men: here's to the things that they do that I love, and even to the things they do that I hate (hello, leaving the toilet seat and cover up, anyone?) because that's what makes them different from me, and so, so fascinating.