Recently, one of my followers on Twitter requested an article on “What men are REALLY thinking” — or, as she put it, “men are all different but what opinions / hardwiring is alike.”
As a man for many years, and a man who’s facilitated groups of other men’s in deep discussions for some time now, I have a few things to say on this topic.
Here they are:
(Note: this list is not exhaustive, and not representative of all men.)
- He’s amazed at how good you look, but he doesn’t want to be seen as a ‘street harasser.’ He wants to meet you, but doesn’t want to hassle you. He doesn’t want to be slapped with a sexual harassment lawsuit. (Or slapped, period.) He doesn’t want you to call the cops on him. He doesn’t want to be shamed in public, or on the internet. He doesn’t know how to approach you in public a calm, confident way, and say exactly the right thing so that you don’t feel threatened. He’s profoundly stifled by social convention. He feels isolated in a bubble of his own social awkwardness. This isolation causes loneliness, anger, and in some cases, rage. He’s experiencing a lot of frustration at seeing you, but being unable to connect with you. One coping mechanism he might adopt is to simply stop “seeing you” in the street. You, in turn, might start to feel invisible to some men. This is just one of the many processes by which the isolation that exists in our culture increases.
- He wants to settle down with a family. Not all men do, and not all right away, but eventually most men do want a long-term, stable relationship…and yes, many men do want kids. So don’t get sucked into thinking “all men are dogs” and just want to sleep around as much as possible. (Yes, part of them wants that too — but luckily, that part of them doesn’t rule their minds…usually.)
- He’s thinking about how much he wants intimacy, not just sex. Although you won’t hear men bragging about this in all-male environments, their hearts are just as tender, deep and vulnerable as women. Sometimes he just wants to be held. Sometimes he just wants to hold you. Sometimes he just wants to sit on the beach with you and drink coffee in silence while listening to the timeless crash of the surf and the lonely gulls.
- He’s just thinking about how grateful he is to have you in his life. You might catch this look out of the corner of your eye sometimes.
- He’s thinking “How can I get some alone time?” And it has nothing to do with you. It’s not personal. Men just need to chill for a bit and have alone time. Actually, the more regularly your man gets out on his own in Nature (or with a few buddies) the better it will be for the both of you long-term.
- He’s thinking that he’d love to sleep with you one more time. No matter how many years it’s been since you were together. (He’s learned some tricks since then.)
- He’s thinking about having sex with your best friend(s), sister, mother, aunt, niece. Relax, it doesn’t mean anything. (If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll admit the same.) We’re all human, we think about getting freaky pretty regularly.
- He’s thinking about his mission or Purpose in life — because it’s more important than you, and if you’re honest with yourself, you prefer it this way. Would you rather your man be Elon Musk, or give up his potential to be Elon Musk because he wants to pander to you all day? On a superficial level, you might be attracted to the idea of a man waiting on you hand-and-foot…but that’s just a fantasy, and we all have fantasies we don’t really want to come true. What you might actually enjoy is a man who waits on you sometimes, but you’d never respect him as your primary Man if that was all he was about.
- He’s thinking he doesn’t ever want to speak to you again. (And that’s why he’s not returning your calls or texts.) As harsh as that sounds, sometimes it’s just the truth. Men can get just as hurt as women, but rather than raging or screaming or crying, most men will take the wound inside and shut down outside. It may be a while before a man is able to heal himself enough to accept contact with you again. It may not happen in this life. Or, it may. No way to tell until it happens.
- He’s wondering why his motorcycle won’t start. His mind is on other things. It’s not about you. He’s in his own Universe, ruminating on his own empire. Can you join him in there? Nope. It’s his Universe. Right now, he’s working. The best thing for you to do is go do something else that you enjoy. And don’t worry. He’ll come back to you. He always does.
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Also published on Medium.