She Gets Me

I want to be understood.

I want you to tune into my wavelength.

It would be great if you could see our universe through my eyes.

Ideally, you’d know what I’m thinking before I say it.

If you could do all those things, you’d get me.

Getting me is tough, isn’t it?

I don’t think getting me is tough, but you probably think the same way.

Getting people is tricky. Getting you is what it’s all about.

The Nothing Box

Occasionally – very occasionally – I see a glimmer of hope that we have a chance at understanding each other.

At work last week, a woman blurted out:

Oh, I understand; he’s in his nothing box.

I nearly cheered.

With one declaration, one woman proved to me that she understood that her husband (the man to whom she was referring) had his mind in neutral, effectively idling away doing not much of anything. That’s the nothing box. The nothing box is the place we go to when there’s nothing much grabbing our attention. When there’s nothing worth thinking about, we do nothing. Yes, ladies, men are really that simple.

The nothing box is invaluable because of the way we think about stuff. We need that time with our minds going nowhere because of the energy it takes when we are in gear. If we were to be in forward motion all the time, we’d burn out.

But that’s a topic for anther time. The key is that the lady understood that her man being in nothing box mode was no reflection on his relationship with her; it is simply the way he was built.

And that was, and should be, enough.


Natural to us all is the assumption that the person next to us will see things the same way we do.

Can you see where I’m going to find the hole in this presumption?

That’s right; I’m a bloke, so that if you’re a woman, you by definition will think differently.

Advantage there for the taking: if you’re looking for better communication, think like the other sex. We can’t do this all the time, and it’s needed most when we’re on the hunt for understanding, but it’s a practice worth practising.

We’re not necessarily interested in unanimity, more like the recognition that what seems blindingly obvious to me will not be as clear to you, Hortense.

Perhaps it’s not so much a point of view reversal, as a listening direction reversal.

Battle Lines

Surprising, even for a partial cynic like me, was the depth of feeling.

We were a group of seven men in a group discussion, separated from a group of 13 women in the same room. Each sex had the same task, which was to figure out what we wanted and needed from the opposite sex, both today and in the past. Wants and needs, then and now. This was the foundation of the exercise.

Amusing was the different ways in which the men and the women went about the task. The men began working individually. To a man, we saw the empty boxes in the grid and felt compelled to fill them. The women immediately worked co-operatively, by which I mean they began talking about it.

Talk about metaphor alert. If a clearer illustration of the difference between the way we operate exists, I don’t know what it is.

However, after a while, the guys drifted into a community discussion, but as usual it was less about the community than projecting their own point of view. And what clear-cut points of view they held. One guy voiced it for all of them with: (paraphrasing)

What gets me is that when the slightest problem comes along, the women vanish. Because things don’t go perfectly all the time, they think it’s easier just to walk away rather than to spend time and effort to figure out what’s happening and what we can do to work things out.

Here’s the modern coupling dilemma: Women think they don’t need men any more. Up to a point that’s correct, but only in narrow and material ways. Deep in our core lies the yearning for the complementarity that only the energy of the other – the other sex – can provide.

As a female friend reluctantly said:

It’s the edge that I enjoy. When I’m with a man, the slight friction that comes from different ways of looking at life- at anything – gives me a better view on things. It’s satisfying.

The question remains. What exactly do we need from our coupling mates, and what do we want? And after we resolve that, which from which list should we be selecting our mates?


Nobody tells the juvenile male how much their life will revolve around women. We all expect the post-pubescent bloke to focus much of his energy on pursuit of the mystery that is female, but even decades later only the intensity changes, and not by that much.

Friends of mine who work with men in their 90s tell me this doesn’t change many decades later.

Let’s be clear: marriage, commitment and children change the patterns of behaviour, but not the overall thinking process. And if they don’t, we’re all in trouble. We notice and speculate about women in the same way that cats sense mice; it’s automatic.

Unlike cats, we filter the instinct to a higher plane. Cats will pounce when the probability shifts to their satisfaction. Men don’t. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t evaluate the world through the lens of possibility.