The Way To The Heart…Is It REALLY the Stomach?

Friday posts are always about dating and relationships here at More Cowbell. There’s the ongoing Triple D series, which has covered both “Disastrous Dating Don’ts” and “Dynamic Dating Do’s.” There’s also general relationship ponderings, which is what we have today…. Happy Friday everybody!


Have you ever noticed that people seem to tell writers things? I’m talking about people we don’t know, telling us things we DON’T WANT TO KNOW.

For example, I was in the check-out line at Trader Joe’s a few months back – TJ’s is a fantastic and unique grocery store, for all of you that are unfamiliar. Anyway, on this particular day, I was waiting in line, talking on the phone (I know, I know…RUDE). So I get to the front of the line and finish my conversation with my husband and say hi to the cashier, whose name was Holly.

(You’ll understand in a moment why her name is burned on my brain forever.)

Holly’s first words: “So, who were you on the phone with?”

It seemed a bit forward to me, but she was young and friendly so I answered in kind. “I was talking to my husband. I’m buying tonight’s dinner and I wanted to make sure I got everything he wanted.” I had a cart full of groceries and Holly was obviously a chatty checker, so I didn’t see a polite way out of this conversation.

Then she says,“That’s important, that you cook for your husband.”

Important? I’m turning her word choice over in my mind but, before I can respond, she zings me with another gem to keep my writerly brain busy.

“Yeah, my stepmother told me the secret to keeping a man happy and it sounds like your mom told you.”

Suddenly I’m afraid – very afraid – to encourage more conversation with this filter-less girl, so I just offered a non-committal little, “Oh?” A quick glance at the businessman behind me verified that he was completely tuned into this conversation.

Holly was undeterred. “Yep. My stepmother said it’s real simple to keep a man happy. You just keep his pecker empty and his belly full.”

I swear, the word “pecker” swooped down onto the conveyor belt and did a rousing Tango up the middle of my groceries.

Why, WHY do people tell me these kinds of things? I thought it was just that I look friendly but I’ve heard from other writers that this happens to them too. In retrospect, these crazy conversations are gifts from the Writing Gods who want us to have great material. But at the time? Oy.

Back to Holly and her big lead “pecker” balloon…

The man in line behind me coughed (in that way that tells you he’s smothering a laugh) and I blushed to the roots of my hair. My thoughts ran along the lines of, I’m not looking at the guy in line. Not looking…not looking.

Finally, I was home telling my honey about the whole saga, of course over wine since it was date night. He found the whole the thing hilarious and agreed that the writing gods were handing me gold-plated nuggets.

BUT, my husband (Steve) is a complete anti-stereotype hound. He’s pro-women to almost a rabid degree, which makes for pretty interesting conversation.  Once he was done laughing, he got a bit fired up.

My favorite “Steve lines” from our talk that night:

  1. So, she’s saying that men consume and women are there to please them? Like men are unable to cook for themselves, or even take care of their basic needs? What about the women who don’t know how to cook?
  2. The whole statement is damaging. It makes men look shallow and women look like whores and slaves.
  3. It’s crap to say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. And it’s sad to hear such a young girl be so sexist.
  4. The worst thing about this statement is that it gives women the message that, “If you’re a ‘good little housekeeper,’ then you can get a man.”

What can I say? We had great wine and food going on and my honey was on a roll!

My personal take? I think the way to any person’s heart is that feeling of being understood.

Food? Great wine? All those things are lovely, but non-essential in today’s world of frozen meals and take-out. But feeling like your mate completely “gets” you and has got your back… That’s the key to making somebody’s heart go pitty-pat. At least it’s the secret to mine.

p.s. Yes, all my fellow gutter-minds, sex plays in too but we we’re discussing the cliché from the title of this post. Geesh. There YOU go…

So, what do you think? What is the way to a man (or woman’s) heart, in your opinion? On the stereotype front, was my honey just lit up by Syrah or is he on to something? Do you agree or disagree with his take?

Enquiring minds always want to know at More Cowbell! I’m looking forward to hearing your comments…


About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm ( Write on!
This entry was posted in Dating for Dummies, Humor and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to The Way To The Heart…Is It REALLY the Stomach?

  1. Stacy Green says:

    I just about died laughing. What an airhead, lol. And what is it about us that invite people in? I always have people chatting me up, and I can’t figure it out. I certainly don’t encourage it. But it still happens.

    Your husband sounds awesome, by the way. We need more men like him. I think the way to a person’s heart is the feeling of acceptance. If you can’t be yourself – your true self – in front of your significant other, then what’s the point? You should have to have a guard up or use a filter. They need to accept you for all you are, just as you do them.

    Great post!


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Thanks, Stacy. I’m pretty happy he came my way too. If you ever read Dating by Committee, you know who had the good sense to pick who (and it wasn’t me)!


  2. jillian dodd says:

    I love this post! In my WIP I just wrote about a Grandpa telling his grand daughter that men have two moods, Hungry and Horny. He said if you see one without a hard on, you should make him a sandwich. Oh course, I made sure that Grandma told her he should make his own sandwich. I have a feeling maybe the person that told her that said it like a joke, but she took it a bit too seriously. Your blog is great!


    • Jenny Hansen says:


      That’s so funny! What a great line of dialogue. I’m not saying that’s not true…just that it’s not the whole story. Thanks for stopping by! We hope to see you again soon.


  3. K.B. Owen says:

    Jenny, your hubby’s a keeper! And what a funny story! Now I have to add your blog to my list of “do not consume food or beverage while reading” blogs. I almost did a spit-take, LOL.


  4. Sherry Isaac says:

    What to say to this post?
    Okay, I’m writing romance, so I’ll just dive in and point out the obvious: if the aforementioned ‘pecker’ is empty, someone has gotten their ‘fill’ of something!
    It does sound very sexist – on the surface – but underneath, feeding someone is a simple way to show we care. My grandmother chased us around the kitchen with food, added more to our plates when we swore we were full. Roles have changed, but the message is the same: don’t assume your significant other knows you care, show it, put your care into action. Unfortunately, chatty checker Holly didn’t have a flip-side to offer, but there is one, also outdated as roles have changed: Men, provide for your woman. Keep her safe and warm. That’s caring in action.
    Fast-forward to present day. I prep food and make the salad, my husband goes outside to grill on the bbq (we live in Toronto,beautiful summers, but my man will also grill in a blizzard!). My husband has his own business, and requires him to travel A LOT. We are fortunate, he earns enough to support us both, and so he supports my writing journey not only in pats on the back, encouragement and kudos, but financially. And, my writing allows me to travel with him. I can show I care, and he can do likewise.
    Holly the chatty checker’s example was old-fashioned, but the notion of caring will never be out of date.
    And like Forrest Gump, that’s all I have to say about that.
    As for a writing gem, one word: WOW.


    • Jenny Hansen says:


      Here’s what I didn’t say: Steve was more pissed off about the message than I was. And yes, I do all the cooking in this house – I think he’s cooked for me 4-5 times in the eight years that I’ve known him. To his credit, he doesn’t give a rip one way or another if I do cook, and that’s not remotely why he married me. He married me because *I* get *HIM*. The other stuff is just window dressing. 🙂

      p.s. Your honey sounds like an awesome one!


      • Sherry Isaac says:

        My honey can grill steaks in a snow storm, but he’s not allowed anywhere near my tea canister. Disaster! Toast? Forget it.


        • Jenny Hansen says:

          LOL, Sherry. They are like a bull in a china shop with the teas (at least in my experience). If it’s anything beyond the bag, it ain’t my man’s bag.


      • Sherry Isaac says:

        Hold on. No one has anything to say regarding my Win-Win, Fill/Empty comment?



          I do! I do! I already have all the scoop on your wonderful hubby!

          SNORT! on the Win-Win!

          And, this, Jenny is why I frequent the same Starbucks. They’re used to me laughing out loud and spitting things on my keyboard. Sherry is a hoot. We have no control. That’s why we have to call time-out for write-a-thons (45/60 minute). We can’t just hang up. Too painful.


        • Jenny Hansen says:

          I got a chuckle at the Win-Win too Sherry. It’s pretty universal in the comments that SEX is in the top 2-3 things. I guess that’s why we’re all writing about it! I love the gutter-minds here at More Cowbell…


  5. Laura Drake says:

    I swear, if Steve wasn’t a Beta, I’d steal him from you! 😉
    And here I thought I had no boundaries! Jeez.
    But I get your drift. It reminds me of the line in Pnenomenom – “He buys her chairs!”
    It doesn’t really matter what you do – all that matters is what it means to the one you love.
    I wait on my husband – it’s not subjugation – I don’t have to. I do it because it makes him know I love him.
    Him? He’s a MAJOR Alpha, so he’s never going to express it out loud. I know he loves me when, every night, he falls asleep with his hand twined in my hair.
    Isn’t love weird and wonderful, all at the same time?


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I LOVE that line from “Phenomenon.” That’s so funny, I have a blog half written that uses that one. And the image of his hand in your hair (like a wubby)? *sigh* That has GOT to go in one of your books!


  6. OMG! LOVE it. Laughed out loud at SBUX when I read this. I knew from prior experience to never EVER have something in my mouth when I read your posts. Spit green tea all over my sister’s new laptop while reading one a couple of weeks ago. Would LOVE to use that “pecker story” in my WIP, but I suspect you’ve already called dibs on it.

    Jillian’s “feed him a sandwich” dialog from her WIP earned her a spot on my “must buy” author list. Any book with that scene in it is my kind of story.

    Sense of humor is what got us together — well, that and all those hubba-hubba hormone thingies. He’s the worrier. I’m the blue-sky-la-dee-da person. He has structure. I have none.

    Early in our marriage, I dressed up in tres sexy black lingerie–lacy black gown, bustier, garter…(ACK! Even writers give you TMI). Anyhoooo. I thought it was a fun surprise. He walked in. Looked at me and said, “WHAT have you done????” I haven’t worn that lace lingerie since.

    I dropped my cell phone one day and his reaction was finger-in-the-light-socket-eyeballs, followed by “WHAT did you do? Is it broken?” I looked at him, imitated his look and said, “OMG, honey! What if it’s broken! We have a contract with the company! They’ll sue us! And, and, we’ll have attorney fees. It could cost THOUSANDS! WE COULD LOSE OUR HOUSE! What are we gonna do?” He laughed.

    For me, the bottom line is that he owns his mood. I own mine. And, I never EVER want to learn to golf. It’s our time — away from each other. Helps us appreciate when we’re together. Oh! And we both know certain tasks around the house are not “skilled labor” — emptying the dishwasher, taking out the trash, changing the toilet paper, using the vacuum. But, he still can’t fold towels worth a damn.

    NEWSFLASH I now follow you and Sherry on tweet. @gloriawrites


    • Jenny Hansen says:


      I’m sooooo excited to find out you’re on Twitter! I’ll be following you shortly. You’re honey sounds fun.

      I’ve already used Holly in a story but I’m with you on Jillian’s book…doesn’t it sound fabulous?


  7. Great stuff!

    And I agree. I’ve never had a man propose based on my ability to make a stunning roast. Or at least not make the smoke detectors go off. Again.

    It’s about the other person knowing they can trust you, that you want the best for them, and that you bring out their best side. It’s about how they feel good when they’re with you.

    Yeah, okay. And great sex too. But that goes without saying…


    • Jenny Hansen says:


      I think I have yet to MAKE a stunning roast…what is the recipe for that? LOL…

      Anyway, I agree with all of the above. Obviously, you’ve found yourself a keeper. 🙂


  8. Crap, I’ve been going about this all wrong! 🙂

    Pecker…heehee. I’m twelve.


  9. Gene Lempp says:

    From a writer and a guy…

    I have the exact same issue with people deciding to tell me their life story, trouble, etc. We, writers, are curious people and I think there is another class of humans (the desperately unappreciated or lonely) that sense us. It flashes in their heads like the spidey sense. Just picture the kaleidoscope in their mind when they open up to you and relax 🙂

    Now, to her advice. Wow! NO! I have two teenage daughters that I have tried very hard to raise as independent human beings. Gender is a matter of DNA. Capability is a matter of personal human choice to excel or to accept what we are told we should be.

    There are guys out there that the advice she gave will work for. But would you want them? Better yet (because I met many of this type) would you want them bragging to their friends about your talents, both kinds? Let me tell you a secret, they do.

    Winning a quality guy is as easy as being a quality lady. Be yourself, be intelligent, be charming. Be all the things you want they guy of your dreams to be for you, to him.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Spidey sense…you are so awesome, Gene. And it sounds like you’re raising fantastic daughters. Thank you for this fantastic comment though, I warn you, the women commenters on More Cowbell are all gonna be crushing on you after they read it. 🙂


  10. Naty Matos says:

    This is hilarious! I do think that God gives writers experiences that other people don’t tend to encounter just to enhance our careers, ironically I’ve been thinking about that all day today as I had some experiences of my own that I knew I had to get home to at least write down the ideas to later elaborate.

    Poor Holly and Holly’s dad, both have shallow relationships based on just food and sex and not in who they are are as partners in a relationship.

    Again, this was funny beyond words 😀


  11. Starla says:

    Oh my gosh! I laughed outloud after reading your post this morning! So funny! I love it when people have no filter, or maybe in Holly’s case have never been taught what is considered appropriate conversation in public. Trader’s trains their employees to strike up converstions with customers while riging up their groceries, they try to go for a more personal, friendly, feel, which I think is a nice change, but in Holly’s case I don’t think using the word “pecker” in polite converstaion is part of her training. LOL

    It is interesting though for a young woman today, to actually believe her step-mothers advice, while I have to say I think any man would love to have those things, the good ones make sure that they return the favor to their wives. It is a two way street, in my case I know my hubby did not marry me for my cooking or housekeeping abilites and on our first date he cooked for me AND he cleaned it up! I have to say it definitely made my heart flutter!


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      How THAT’S a nice Honey! Of course, I KNOW your honey. 🙂

      Yep, I’ll tell you it was a bit of a shock to have a Pecker Conversation in the middle of TJ’s. BUT, it makes for a really fun blog.


  12. Hmmm… I don’t know about that. I’m not a good cook. My dad does the cooking at home since my mom isn’t a good cook either. So do my aunts. It’s mostly the guys in my family (dad’s side) that could cook. Therefore, the way to the heart isn’t really the stomach.

    To me, the way to my heart is through my brains. If a guy could hold a decent conversation, that I found his point of view interesting, I’m more likely to fall for him. Of course, there’s a physical aspect but I prefer men who can keep up with my eccentricities and way of thinking than those who don’t.


  13. jillian dodd says:

    I’ve been traveling out of town, but following y’all’s comments. This is just a great conversation. I laughed out loud in the airport a few times. Thanks for keeping me entertained, and thanks for the nice comments about my WIP. Makes me wanna keep going lol 🙂


    • Jenny Hansen says:


      Of COURSE you have to keep going. Jeez…I hope you weren’t in any doubt. Especially after lighting us all on fire over your book here at More Cowbell! All entertainment is on the house. We like to have a good time…I’m glad it shows!


Comments are closed.