Have you ever had the feeling that we’re just helping out? Men that is. We’re here to serve a purpose. To assist and make sure that the light bulb gets changed. Or that the dog poo gets cleaned up. Or that the car gets scheduled and taken in for a service? That the sport on TV gets watched?
I often get the feeling that whilst I do these things because they are my role, my wife is very capable of doing them, but is allowing me to do them, so that I can feel like I contribute. That I am involved and engaged with my family, and my life.
That’s not to say that she is actually humouring me, or that all those women that we encounter on our daily travels are humouring us. It’s more like a feeling that there is a conspiracy in the wings. Just on the edge of my vision. It’s nagging and irritating and I just can’t get to grips with it.
Men, do you know what I mean? We have all of these things that we do, these things that we are meant to do, born to do, and yet, we’re slightly puzzled about our actual role. Is that because times have changed? Women are emancipated. They have broken through the glass ceiling. They have an equal part to play in all of our modern world. On top of all this change we as men are now meant to be metrosexual. To have the traits of both women and men. Wow – this would confuse even the brightest of us.
So maybe I am just being paranoid and maybe that’s helpful, or not, in one of my disguises, that of a marketing and communication specialist. I’ve been doing this a while and have for a while had the nagging feeling in the back of my mind that whilst I believe I understand how to talk to a woman, it is in fact the woman who most often knows how to interpret what I am saying to her.
Paranoid? Yes I am paranoid. Particularly when trying to devise a campaign that targets women specifically. They are so clever. They will see straight through my messages. They’ll understand that I want to sell them something by appealing to their need for security, their love of their family, their desire to be romantically “maintained”. And then they’ll decide not to buy the stuff I’m selling to them.
I think the biggest challenge for me though is that in the back of my head I do understand women. Mostly. I understand that they are not a homogenous group. I understand that they are individuals. Those individuals have differing upbringings and experiences and each of these paths leads them to their own destination.
So in a circuitous way I travel from feeling like a man who knows it all, to a man who feels like he may not know everything, to one man who wishes he knew more, to a guy who realises that actually, women know it all.
I am a visitor in their world of communication and they have the right, dare I say the need, to change the rules of their communication game as often as they desire, or, not at all. It is my job, as a man, to understand how they want to hold conversation, how their decision making is stimulated by triggers other than mine and why they spend more money than men and tend to demand higher service and quality levels.
And I thought that holding a conversation with a woman was difficult. What was I thinking?