Why Can’t Men Learn To Read Women’s Minds?
Ladies, have you ever complained about the insensitive boyfriend who couldn’t pick up on the fact that you were having a bad day, even though you told him you were fine?
Gentlemen, have you ever been called a conceited ass for thinking a girl was going to sleep with you, when she came over with only platonic intentions in mind?
One of the (decidedly few) merits of being a married, 28-year-old waitress with a college degree is that it brings me in contact with people who would otherwise fall well outside my social sphere. From the “regulars”–the middle-aged men who sit on the same bar stool night after night and literally wither away lonely hours via Jim, Jack or Crown–to the slurring, unsteady newbie drinkers who haven’t yet learned their limits, this place is a veritable variety pack of personalities and life experience.
The bar employs an exceptionally popular young bartender I’ll call Jack. Picture a 23-year-old with the confidence and charm of a Wall Street banker, combined with the interest and curiosity of a world-traveling nomad. Plus, he’s adorable. If Kurt Cobain’s ghost had a love child with Justin Bieber, the irresistible little nymph would undoubtedly resemble Jack.
Although I find myself immune to his trademark charisma (probably because he’s wisely never pointed it in my direction), women of all ages are simply elated when they find themselves attached to Jack’s arm for an evening. Over the months, I’ve become desensitized to the false-smile introductions of the various women he escorts into the bar on his nights off, knowing the poor girl whose limp-noodle hand I was shaking would likely be sitting by her phone all day tomorrow, waiting for a text that would never leave Jack’s fingertips.
Surprisingly, a bedraggled Jack arrived unaccompanied one night, plopping himself down on one of the lonely-man bar stools and mumbling about a girl.
Finally, I thought. Someone actually got to him.
Unfortunately, that was not the case. He’d been looking for an after-hours booty call the night before, and he’d convinced this girl to show up at his house. However, much to his mystification, she wouldn’t let him “do anything.” With the genuineness of a nun at confession, he lamented, “I seriously felt like I was misled.”
I had to ask why he automatically assumed the girl wanted to have sex with him just because she showed up at his house. So, Jack explained his theory to me: When a girl leaves the comfort of her own home to drive to a guy’s house post-midnight, she obviously wants to have sex with him. And, if she tells the guy before she shows up that she’s not going to have sex with him, then he can interpret that as a surefire message that he is definitely about to get laid.
Therefore, after she’d flawlessly followed his theory’s entire protocol, Jack was flabbergasted at her subsequent refusal for sex.
“Are you seriously saying that even though she flat-out told you she did not want to hook up, you still asked her over with the assumption that she was coming to hook up?” Clearly, I was still confused.
“Katie, think about it. Back when you were single, didn’t you ever flirtatiously tell a guy you weren’t going to have sex with him with the full intention of nailing him as long as he tried hard enough?”
“So then, if he did everything he was supposed to–complimented your smile, bought you a drink, asked you about your career and your family–even though you told him he wouldn’t be getting any, you could have no-strings-attached sex with him without feeling like a slut.”
I had done that before.
Did Jack seriously know women better than I knew women? I mean, I’m the one with the lacy bras and vanity full of feminine products, yet he had just exposed some of the deepest workings of my mostly over-analytical, but often far-too-judgmental female mind. A mind turning out to be more devious than even I’d realized.
Wracking my brain for possible reasons (other than sex) the girl might have had for showing up at Jack’s house after midnight, I thought:
Maybe she was going through a period of low self-esteem and needed an ego boost.
Maybe she really did just want to talk.
Maybe she forgot to wash her dirty sex sheets from the night before and was hoping to crash on his couch.
They were all possible.
But Jack, in all of his hurt-puppy bewilderment, made me realize that his “sexpectations” about the evening were actually understandable.
Let’s face it, ladies. Most of us send mixed messages, and we often expect men to read our minds based on our tone of voice or actions alone. We try so hard to train them to read between the lines that we get flustered when they don’t. But–here’s the kicker–we also get angry when they do.
Sometimes we want the thrill of playing games, and other times we really do just want a shoulder to cry on. Either way, it’s difficult to convey a clear message when we so often say one thing and mean another.
I’ve misled men myself. Plenty of times. And, thanks to Jack, it finally hit me: How are men supposed to know any of this if we don’t tell them?
The truth is, they can’t.
So could it be? The reason for our anger and confusion might not always be them, but sometimes (I-can’t-believe-I’m-about-to-say-this)… it’s us?
I passed Jack another beer, and I wondered if he really was right to feel upset. After all, he was only trying to do what women so desperately act like we want men to do: listen to what we’re saying, listen to what we’re not saying, and then take a wild, yet pinpoint-perfect guess at what it all actually means.
It made me question whether this girl really was partially to blame for Jack’s virgin feelings of inadequacy.
And, you know what?
A little, unexpected part of me thinks that maybe she was.