Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Bizarre Behaviour of Men Explained

I apologize at once if the title of today's post gave you a huge burst of excited optimism, for now I must disappoint you. This is not the Post of Posts, the post that will explain all the bizarre behaviour of all men in general. It is merely a call for your stories of bizarre behaviour that the bizarrely behaving men themselves explained.

As I frequently observe, men are not women, and although they can reason as well as we can--they can do math and learn to read and grapple with philosophy and all those other intellectual things women can do--in some ways their thought processes, especially their emotional thought processes, are quite different. For one thing, most of them cannot read minds.

I find it very odd that most men cannot read minds, and I suppose I should explain that when I say "reading minds" I mean that most men are not as good as most women at interpreting silences and shades of tone of voice and reading micro-expressions. With most men, you cannot just think "I am angry at you" while smiling sarcastically, you have to frown. You have to actually pull your eyebrows down to the bridge of your nose and let the corners of your lips droop and either fold your arms or start waving them around. Otherwise, such men will not understand that you are angry. Sometimes you even have to say, "I feel angry now," like ladies who have been injected with Botox apparently have to do.

Because we so often talk to men as though they were women, with subtlety, meaningful silences, and micro-expressions, we often confuse them. But they often confuse us, too, sometimes by behaving in over-exaggerated ways. There is the man who, for example, drops into conversation the news that he has a girlfriend so many times that you wonder if he is under the impression you are about to grope him. There is the man who introduces you to all his friends, family and colleagues as "[Your Name], She's Just a Friend." There is the man who talks to you for hours and asks for your phone number and then never calls you. There is the man with whom you were always friendly who starts cutting you dead and leaving rooms as soon as you enter them.

Very often, you will assume a man's bizarre behaviour is your fault. I'm not sure that men assume that our confusing behaviour is their fault. I suspect that women are still more given to immediate self-blame than men are. But happy the woman who has the guts to ask a man why he has behaved in a bizarre fashion and gets an honest answer.

With young men, "I don't know" very often counts as an honest answer. At forty, a man should  know how he feels about something and why he does what he does. At twenty, he really might not.

I was going to ask for amusing tales of bizarre male behaviour but that would not be in the man-loving spirit of this blog. So instead I encourage readers to write in the combox of painful confusions that were resolved when the man was asked for an explanation.


MaryJane said...

I wonder if it would be in the man-loving spirit of the blog to ask men (on the next male guest day) if they might take a stab at explaining some of the bizzare behavior we've experienced? Only because I can think of a good story, but no explanation, and since it was a one-date kind of deal, I can't exactly ask the man in question.

Seraphic said...

Temporary Pseudonym said:

Well, there was this one time at a wedding...I'm chuckling because Seraphic knows this story.

My friend Jonathan and I have always had very good boundaries, both physical and emotional, and we've completely avoided the "will we or won't we dance." (Won't. The answer is a tidy Won't.)

My friend Y and I attended a wedding with Jonathan and his friend Greg.
Jonathan, bless his heart, spent the first 24 hours introducing me as "X who's here to carpool with Y so Y could meet Greg." Not "X who's been a good friend for years," not "X who was a camp counselor with me," not "X who just drove 11 hours and is amazing company." Y's ride, the fifth wheel.

And then he gave me an awkward side hug. I don't do side hugs. I do brief, warm proper hugs. He's never tried that side hug crap with me before.
I felt utterly unwanted.

That night I wrote Seraphic a hysterical email and sobbed to several friends for a few hours, and the next morning after church Jon and I sat down for a chat. I started by telling him how thankful I was for our good boundaries, and that it's great there'd never been any romantic confusion, but that we had a male-to-female translation issue.

He apologized, repeatedly, and explained that the moment I walked into church he'd had a crowd of people asking who his girlfriend was. He was trying to minimize gossip and had thoroughly overcompensated.

He was a gentleman and good host the rest of the weekend. And yes, he gave me a proper hug before Y and I left.

Canadian Doc said...

Met another resident while training in a nearby city 2.5 hours from where we live. We were staying in the dorms across from one another and quickly become friends, including him cheering me up when I was stressed and my gas tank door broke on my car.

He attends a friend's party with me once we're back in our city for the weekend, and then invites me to see his condo afterwards. By this point it is after midnight but I stopped by. Yes, Ladies, I am a) naive and b) chose to give him the benefit of the doubt. I didn't think he was trying to "pull a fast one on me" by trying to sleep with me. We did have good chemistry, though and got along well.

I second-guessed being there so late, and even though he was being a perfect gentleman and we were chatting nicely, I left rather abruptly.

A few days later at work, he acted rather sulkily and implied that I was uptight and neurotic. I became very angry with him, feeling that he was admonishing me for not being physical with him.

He eventually brings up the rift between us, and I explain why I left so early. He explained that he was confused by why I left so abruptly, and was a bit hurt. He then apologized for putting me in an awkward situation and stated that he never intended /expected for me to sleep with him. He was just hoping to talk one-on-one, since he did have feelings for me and we got along well.

Since then, we have been rekindling the friendship and overcoming the awkwardness, and I believe that he is a good guy.

Part of the issue, I think, is that he is from a culture and religion where dating isn't really allowed, hence his lack of understanding of approaching women.

Irenaeus G. Saintonge said...

If you are planning another men's day sometime soon, I would be happy, if embarrassed, to share a couple stories of my own bizarre male behaviour from times past. And perhaps more usefully, my own thought processes at the time, or lack thereof.