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Guys trying to understand women

I have spent much of my life around the opposite sex. Five of them lived in our home and a whole army of them go on our mission trips. However, I must tell you that what I don’t know about women is a lot. They are mysterious creatures, yet if we men study their ways too closely and form general…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
I have spent much of my life around the opposite sex. Five of them lived in our home and a whole army of them go on our mission trips. However, I must tell you that what I don’t know about women is a lot. They are mysterious creatures, yet if we men study their ways too closely and form generalizations, we get branded as “sexist.” For example I made the following list of Ten Things Women Get To Do and I’m guessing I’ll probably get in trouble with some female for it. 
Women get to…

1. Shop for underwear and enjoy it.
2. Touch or even cuddle with each other without people thinking, “I wonder if she’s gay?”
3. Not really care much about cars or football (and yes, I know some of you do).
4. Take multiple showers in a day without being labeled obsessive-compulsive.
5. Have shoes for every outfit.
6. Have bags and bags of those stupid little cotton balls.
7. Have way more drawers for stuff than guys do.
8. Treat themselves to chocolate if they have a bad day.
9. Cry for no reason whatsoever and feel better afterwards.
10. Consider shopping without buying anything an accomplishment.

Yes, there are tomboys and iconoclasts, but before you write me off, recognize that most guys are absolutely clueless about women. We need generalizations like this to begin to make sense of a foreign land. Deprive us of our lists and we’ll just go off hunting somewhere and crack jokes as a defense mechanism.

I see this disconnect with women on our mission trip teams. Some guys who grew up without sisters are so brusque, smelly, and loud that their presence on the team is a continual challenge. Many are completely ill-equipped for the intricate task of navigating in the world of females. They are continually flummoxed and bamboozled and having to apologize in advance for their missteps just to avoid being banished from the team.

A few days ago I obliviously messed up in our household, causing a flood of tears. Fortunately a male friend of mine who understands women better than I do went and bought a bunch of tokens of remorse on my behalf  – flowers, wine and cheese. Peace returned to the house. 
We men need grace and if we’ve run out of that, often something tangible and sweet or pretty will communicate that we know we’re idiots.

Comments (18)

  • Currently living in close proximity with three members of the opposite sex, one of which has immediate access to my well being, I will refrain from leaving any wise crack comments for the sack of team unity and my safety and the safety of the other two men on this team… All jokes aside… Nice blog.

  • As my husband always says to our 7 year old son, “The trouble with you son, is your mother understands you!”

    He has a friend at work who, having watched his mother, his wife, his sisters and his daughters for many years has now concluded that “women are always at a funny age!”

    But hey, where would you be without us?

    lol Cxx

  • Btw, I love the crazy posting timings this site gives my posts – makes it look as if I am up all night surfing!! The joys of being a foreigner on here I guess :))) To me it’s really 9.50am on a wet Monday morning in England – my son said the other day “Mama, I have read all the books – isn’t Summer supposed to be when it is sunny?” Quite, dear boy, Quite.

    lol Cxx

  • daddy, you do so well trying to understand us…and i like to think you’re better for having had so many girls. i know seth will make a great husband.:)

    and yes, chocolate and flowers will often fix everything.

  • Brandon is right. We do change the rules.

    I read through the list, and while I don’t get the cotton ball thing, I do get the rest. And immediately I have the desire to contradict the list and do something unexpected, like rewire my house and not shower afterwards. We want guys to understand us, but then we also want to be mysterious and surprising. I don’t want to be predictable because that means inevitably that I am boring.

    I don’t know how to fix it guys, but you’re right.

  • This one is definitely going on the facebook profile!

    It is no longer cotton balls but cotton rounds… and you did not give us enough credit for shoes… we have 2 pair for every outfit!

    Chocolate is a cure all from God. Just ask Him.

  • And I think the biggest point of this entire blog – you had a friend buy the right stuff to fix your screw ups. That’s the epitome of healthy community functioning together right there! All men need a couple buddies…

  • you want to cuddle with your buddies?


    I only need to understand one woman…for now, anyway. I am praying we have a boy.

  • Seth-
    Funny blog, your list is spot-on. Brandon, I too got in hot water recently for the same thing. . . we’ve got to do better in th emind-reading department.

  • Seth,
    Like you I am surrounded by females, strong mother, great wife, three terrific daughters…and I remain clueless as to how I am to act around them. It helped when I learned the first important “married guy” phrase; “Whatever you say, dear.” Many conversations ssaved with that one.
    By the way, the flowers always seem to work.
    Thanks for the insight,
    Steve J

  • Loved it, Seth. Jim and I had a few chuckles reading it together.

    Love covers a multitude of sins…so does chocolate. Aah….

  • just remember…. its a laboratory. 🙂

    just stay away from mixing toxic chemicals like chocolate and fat jokes. One may be ok by itself in the right setting, but together, they’re verrrry dangerous….


  • I believe that there is a secret pact among women to change the rules the moment we figure out anything about them. e.g. She’s telling me about a problem she has. In my ignorance I offer a solution…I was supposed to just listen…so I shut up and listen…sooner or later I get, “aren’t you going to say anything?”. I just try to keep my head down and play stupid most of the time.

    I’m kidding…sort of. 🙂

  • Dave-
    You’re not alone…I’ve been trying to do the mind reading thing for some time now. I think she’s reading MY mind and sending me mixed up signals to keep me confused! LOL!

    So…does that mean that I have actually figured out something about women?

    Okay, I’ll shut up now. 😉

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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