Listen Up, Ladies. It’s “Man Rules” Time


Warrior man

Follow my rules, babe, and we’ll be just fine.

By Elizabeth Shore

Have you heard this one?

Q: What’s the one thing men and women can agree on?
A: They both prefer the company of men.

Now, I can’t say that I find that entirely true, but I will admit that I enjoy talking with men. Men can be charming, intelligent, funny, and stimulating conversationalists. Often times they’ll approach problems or think about things very differently from how I would and it can make for fun discussion. What’s not so fun, however, is when those same male/female differences – so intriguing during casual conversation with male friends – become exercises in frustration when trying to get a significant other to understand where you’re coming from. Sometimes it can seem as if you’re talking to an alien. Or someone raised in a burlap sack. Men sometimes just don’t seem to get us at all. It’s the whole Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus relationship gap thing. Apparently, however, part of the problem in understanding each other is that we women don’t follow the rules. The “man rules.” Wait, are you saying you’ve never heard of them? Well, then. Sit back, relax, and allow me to indulge you.

The “rules” have been making the rounds on our modern-day bastion of enlightenment – Facebook. I’d love to give credit to the original author of these man rules, but I don’t know who it was. In any case, it may well be that the author doesn’t care whether or not he gets the glory – as long as he gets his point across. There are 20 rules on Mr. Man’s list, and frankly some of them aren’t so much “rules” as they are defense of guys’ sometimes caveman-like behavior. Examples of these include nuggets of wisdom like, “Christopher Columbus did not need directions and neither do we,” and, “yes and no are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.”

There are a few variations on a theme in the man rules, the theme in question being that men can’t read our minds. Not in the least. They haven’t a clue about much of what we say and they feel baffled by us much of the time. Case in point, one of the man rules is this:

Ask for what you want. Let us be clear on this one:

  • Subtle hints do not work!
  • Strong hints do not work!
  • Obvious hints do not work!
  • Just say it!

OK, then. To sum up, men want instructions: clear, no-nonsense instructions that whack them over the head with meaning. Subtlety will not do in the man world, ladies, so don’t hint around at what you’d like. Say it. Shout it! Blast your clear meaning to your man with a bullhorn if you want to. Apparently, they don’t mind.

Men want to help us, that seems to come out in the man rules, but their definition of help is different from what we actually might need. If we’ve got a problem, we want to talk about it. Problems upset us, and when we’re upset we need sympathy and understanding. We need chocolate. And sometimes we simply need a shoulder to cry on or soothing words of assurance that we’re the best ever and that b**ch in the office should be slapped. But men aren’t able to muster up that kind of sympathy. They simply, according to the “rules,” don’t get it. Here’s what they say:

Cone to us with a problem only if you want help solving it. That’s what we do. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.

 Yikes. OK, Mr. Man. But as I see it, it’s a two-way street. If we can’t go to you for sympathy when we’re upset, don’t expect sweet words and hot soup when you’re moping around with a cold.  Sheesh.

Of course, the man rules are mostly just a tongue-in-cheek list of things that men don’t get about us and their attempt at making us understand that. So to the men I say, we hear you. We understand your confusion. We women can be complicated, but we appreciate your effort to unravel the mystery. Here then, is the list of your “rules.” We’ll try not to break them. Maybe.

Read on for the man rules, but first don’t forget to follow us at Lady Smut. We’re never hung up on rules.

Man Rules (please note, they’re all numbered #1 on purpose!)

1. Men are not mind readers
1. Learn to work the toilet seat. If it’s up, put it down. We need it up, you need it down, you don’t hear us complaining about you leaving it down.
1. Crying is blackmail.
1. Ask for you what you want (see above)
1. Yes and no are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.
1. Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving it. (see above)
1. Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument.
1. If you think you’re fat you probably are. Don’t ask us.
1. If something can be interpreted in two ways and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one.
1. You can either ask us to do something or tell us how you want it done, not both. If you already know how to do it, just do it yourself.
1. Whenever possible, please say whatever you have to say during commercials.
1. Christopher Columbus did not need directions and neither do we.
1. All men see in only 16 colors. Peach, for example, is a fruit not a color. Pumpkin is also a fruit. We have no idea what mauve is.
1. If we ask what is wrong and you say “nothing,” we’ll act like nothing’s wrong. We know you’re lying, but it’s just not worth the hassle.
1. If you ask a question you don’t want an answer to, expect an answer you don’t want to hear.
1. When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear is fine.  Really.
1. Don’t ask us what we’re thinking about unless you’re prepared to discuss such topics as football or motor sports.
1. You have enough clothes.
1. You have too many shoes.
1. I am in shape. Round is a shape.

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16 Comments

  • Paula wrangles
    March 5, 2014 at 2:36 am

    Here her is all I can say, I find it really difficult to express my feelings to my husband and that article says is all for me.
    I especially love the piece about Christopher Columbus and directions LOL
    So thank you for cheering me up this morning.
    Love your website it is just so refreshing to know ther are like minded ladies out there. X x

    • Elizabeth Shore
      March 5, 2014 at 11:57 am

      Thanks so much, Paula! We’re happy you’ve been stopping by.

  • Christine Blackthorn
    March 5, 2014 at 2:54 am

    Are you sure these have not come from the handbook I wish I my partner would have handed me fifteen years ago when we met? (Well, most of them could be – though he has more shoes than me. Hey, so I should hand in the card to girl’s club. I only have 4 pairs)

    And yes, I have read those rules before (unfortunately not in a handbook). But I sometimes wonder if there is not an issue with nature vs nurture. Oh, I think women are better at picking up non-verbal clues – but sometimes we can get it really, really wrong. So my question is, should we not all be a little more direct?

    • Elizabeth Shore
      March 5, 2014 at 1:35 pm

      Agree! Sometimes I think the problem is that we woman believe we ARE being direct, but we’re not phrasing our needs in a way that’s clear to men. I often hear women wrapping their wants in subtle nuance that guys just don’t get. For example, a woman might say, “it would be nice if we had time to stop for ice cream while we’re running errands.” To a woman that means, “I want ice cream.” To a guy it’s just the woman expressing a wistful dream along the same line as, “it would be nice if we won the lottery.” He’s not really sure if she really wants ice cream, if he’s supposed to find a way to squeeze that in, or if she’s really just thinking about it but doesn’t plan on doing anything. Confusion ensues.

  • C. Margery Kempe
    March 5, 2014 at 6:07 am

    Argh, it really bothers me when socially constructed behaviour is presented as ‘rules’. I don’t ‘prefer the company of men’ — I prefer the company of interesting, thoughtful people — whatever gender identity they choose. I know a lot of men who feel just as diminished by the depiction of them as troglodytes. My partner is a single father. Have you seen how the media portrays them?

    • Kel
      March 5, 2014 at 12:07 pm

      This. I know the original post is all in fun, but I personally take great pleasure in both retraining people who honestly think like this, and in bucking the supporting trends as often as possible in my personal life.

  • Madeline Iva
    March 5, 2014 at 7:24 am

    I like solving problems. I identify highly with some of these man’s rules, and yes, I’ve learned not to expect my DH to read my mind and I just say what I’m thinking. I kind of like these rules in a way…and sometimes I really like having guy friends because things are just so damn simple.

    But that’s one side of me. The other side totally gets that yes, men suck up consolation and can always be happy with more, not just problem solving. And they LOVE it when we read their minds and anticipate what they need. This gets me in a total grrrrr state when I don’t get the same back and, yes, the people in the next town over CAN hear me bitch about it from time to time….;>

    • Elizabeth Shore
      March 7, 2014 at 1:58 pm

      I can’t tell you how many men have told me that women tend to make men far more complicated than they really are. “We’re simple creatures!” they’ve told me over and over again. Things are much more black and white with guys than they are with us.

  • normandiea
    March 5, 2014 at 8:21 am

    I got mad and had to stop reading his silly rules after he said they wouldn’t put the toilet seat down. I have no use for a man with no chivalry. If the seat is down and he doesn’t notice all that happens to him is he pees on the seat (which he can clean up thank you very much), but if the seat is up and we don’t notice we FALL IN the freaking toilet!

    Yeah, what kind of man thinks that’s the way to treat women? I don’t think his momma raised him right…

    • Kel
      March 5, 2014 at 12:08 pm

      Honestly, the seat thing gets me. There’s a lid people, everyone has to open it.

      • Elizabeth Shore
        March 5, 2014 at 1:38 pm

        And one more thing about the lid. To put it delicately, there are two things both men and women need to do on the toilet, #1 and #2. For #1, he needs it up; she needs it down. Let’s call it a tie. But for #2, both need it down. Therefore, it seems to me that since 75% of the time both sexes need the seat down, down it should stay.

      • Alexa Day
        March 5, 2014 at 10:34 pm

        Having cats finally resolved the seat thing for me and my favorite ex. Nothing like that proud moment when your feline offspring leaps into the toilet, hops out onto the vanity, staggers around the sink, sneezes into the toothbrushes, and finally shakes herself dry.

        After that we kept the lid closed and there were no disputes over the seat.

  • Elizabeth Shore
    March 7, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    Haha! That’s hilarious! We keep our seat lid down, too, for the very same reason. Our cats use the toilet as a half way step to leap onto the window in the bathroom, so if the lid’s up, kitties get a bath. Not good.

  • Darla G. Denton, Writer
    March 19, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    I loved this article! It’s a funny look into how men and women communicate together in a relationship.

    The “Man’s Rules” are also a great list to use as a guide to compare our Male heros to in our stories. So many times when I’m writing dialogue for a man I find myself thinking, “There’s no way a man actually says this.” Now I’ve got a handy list to reference to. If my guys dialogue doesn’t match the sentiments on this list then I know I’ve strayed into a female way of thinking. Thanks 🙂

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