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Thursday, June 30, 2011

We were talking about…

Romance author and ManWARrior Donna McDonald says she works hard to get the male point of view right in her novels. I think she nailed it with this comment in Dating Dr. Notorious:

Regina hadn’t said Alexa was engaged, but then Ben hadn’t shown an interest in the details of her friend’s life.

Ah, yes. This brings to mind a discussion I once had with a woman about intergender communications. She said that when a woman doesn’t understand what a man’s saying, it’s because he’s talking wrong. When he doesn’t understand her, on the other hand, it’s because he’s listening wrong.

I said it could be that men and women just communicate differently.

In Donna’s example, Regina’s reasoning might go like this: “I care about my friends as much as I care about myself, so if Ben doesn’t care about my friends, he doesn’t care about me.”

What Ben’s thinking is, “I care about you, but it’s somebody else’s job to care about what’s going on with Alexa.”

What he means is, “It’s hard enough keeping track of one woman.”

I have a buddy who calls me now and then to take 45-minute walks. When I get back home, Mary Jo asks what we talked about. The answer is “I don’t know,” not because I don’t want her to know we were talking about famous women we’d like to do, but because I really don’t remember.

On demand, at least. I invariably produce an unprompted tidbit or two at breakfast the next day.

Besides, what’s most important is that we walked and talked and hung out for a while. But he never solves any of my problems, and I doubt I ever solve any of his. And I really would not care if Mary Jo didn’t care if she heard a full account of our conversation.

For the record, the conversation usually revolves around the music we liked when we were fourteen, how the Brewers or Packers are doing, what’s up with our work or kids, and what famous women we’d like to do.

We also talk about religion and politics, but Mary Jo’s already heard—and is sick of—those rants.

One important thing I want to say about Donna’s Ben is that the next line is, “He was going to have to work on handling Regina’s revelations better.” And, believe it or not, that’s realistic. We really do think about such things.

In Fast Lane, Clay’s first Rule of the Road for his followers is, “Make her feel like she’s the center of the universe.” And really, if paying attention helps get the job done, why wouldn’t you do it?

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