Another Peek Into Man-Speak…

Earlier this week, we discussed Man-Speak. All of us agreed that men have the astonishing ability to think about nothing at all. (Still boggles me, dudes…)

And it reminded me of the conversation I had with Clair, a few weeks after she laid the javadisiac on Married Maurice. (In case you don’t remember how her cup o’ joe made her man a HO, click here.) Anyway, she and I were on the phone and I asked if this married dude was still chasing her down like a dog.

I’m going to share the conversation with my More Cowbell Posse and see what y’all have to say about it.

So, when I asked the question above, I could practically hear Clair roll her eyes. “YES. I haven’t returned his calls or answered any of his notes—”

I interrupted her to remind her that she had called to thank him profusely for the first flower delivery he sent her, the day after the Coffee Debacle.

“Well, but since then I haven’t responded at all. He doesn’t seem to be taking the hint.”

I’ll admit it, I pounced. I told Clair what I’ll tell any of the rest of you ladies that read this blog – married, dating or single:


It doesn’t work. Mostly it just pisses them off because they don’t get it, so they sit around wishing you’d just say what you’re thinking instead of hinting around and then getting pissed off when they miss the hint. 

Don’t believe me? Read the Man FAQ about hints at Big Ugly Man Doll.

Seriously. Let’s talk about the real difference between women-speak and man-speak (and I expect some of the males to weigh in on this…if you’re reading this and you’re not a guy, go get one and make him give an opinion).

Women bond over problems. Men bond over solutions.

As a woman, I’m aware that the reason why I feel so much better after speaking with my girlfriends is (a) they rock and (b) they help me sort through the debris to discover how I really feel about something.

This doesn’t mean I don’t have my own opinion, it just means I’m A GIRL. This sharing and caring is our bonding process.

Let’s put it another way for all of you that need more data…

I heard a psychologist give a speech about the amount of words people use in a given day and some interesting statistics were thrown around:

  • Humans have a number of words that they need to utter each day to feel healthy psychologically. These totals hold pretty steady from day to day and are not cumulative. For example, you don’t save 3,000 words from the day before to use today; it’s a one-shot deal.
  • Men start each day with about 9,000 words.
  • Women start each day with about 15,000 words.
  • Everyone uses about 6,000 words at work.

Are you doing the math here?? That means when a woman comes home from work, she still has NINE THOUSAND WORDS crowding her mind, while a man has only THREE THOUSAND. I think men and women would fight a whole lot less if all parties understood this.

The fact is, all that talking on the phone with the girlfriends is a positive thing. (No, Honey, I’m not trying to justify last month’s phone bill.)

These chats lower the leftover Word-O-Meter for the female half of the relationship team. Otherwise, you have a woman hounding her man to “talk to her” when he gets home from work when, really, he just wants 15 minutes to decompress in his man-cave and think about NOTHING.

My brother (the Bag Whore) asked me once why his wife “needed to tell every freaking girlfriend she has the same story.” He was annoyed because he thought it took too long and was inefficient. “Why can’t she just gather them all in the same room and tell them at the same time. Or I can get her a conference line…”

“Shut up.” I told him. “She needs to use her words and you need to let her. Trust me, you’ll have a happier marriage if you let her tell the same story six times.”

(Since then, he’s stopped fighting the fact that his wife has a LOT of words.)

So back to men and women and the disparity in their number of daily words. Any of you with children, especially if you have a mix of genders, already know what the researchers have discovered:

  • When little girls play together in a room, 90% of the sounds that come out of that room are words.
    Example: “Barbie, what would you like to do today? Oh? Uh-huh…yes…OK.  Let’s put on the purple hat and the white boa and drive the pink car over to the market. We’re going to go to the store! When we get there, we’ll…” You get the picture.
  • Conversely, when little boys play together in a room, 30% of the sounds recorded are words. If you aren’t raising boys, you might be thinking, “What do they do with all that dead air?” I said WORDS.
    Boys make noise when they play, but it’s more like “Eeee-oooo….Ka-BOOM! Aa-aa-aa-aaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. May-day, May-day. Eeee-ooooo-rat-tat-tat-vrooOOOOOM.”

I’m not saying these little boys don’t grow up to be men who talk to their partners, I’m just saying it’s a rare thing for a man to talk MORE than a female.

So, if the gals are bonding over problems, what are the guys doing?

As I mentioned earlier, men bond over solutions. If you’re staring at your screen blankly, wondering what that even MEANS, read on.

The majority of men you know would rather chop off their fingers than go to another man and say, “I’m having a problem with my (fill in the blank). What do you think I should do? Does that sound normal to you?”

Men are much more likely to say, “You know, I had a problem with my (fill in the blank) and I tried ‘X.’ I jury-rigged the thing but it’s still just limping along.”

Do you see the difference? Notice the past tense in that second paragraph? Unless, they’ve already tried to find a solution to their problem, most men aren’t going to ask for help. (Just look at them with directions.) [Sorry, that was sexist but I couldn’t resist.]

Men bond with each other over the search for a great solution. The above snippet of conversation is usually followed by a trip out to the host’s Man Space to look over the problem.

Please understand I don’t intend this as a male-bashing post. None of these observations is a negative or a positive, really. Men and women are just wired a bit differently and it seems like that fact gets forgotten. A lot. Particularly by women.

Most men need to have their communications be direct and to the point. If that means you have to talk to your girlfriend for an hour to figure out what your point IS, then do that before you bring it to your guy. That way everyone walks away happy.

So, we’ve circled back around (at last) to where we started: Don’t hint.

I know it’s scarier to say, “I want this (fill in the blank)” but you must. If you’re dating someone younger, there is a chance that they’ve been trained in female-speak and might get your hint, but do you really want to chance it? Wouldn’t you rather get what you want?

Example: If you want to see more of someone, say it. Same thing for Clair, but she needed to do the opposite and tell him to GO AWAY instead of running hot and cold. It’s kinder in the long run to be more direct. Write a note if you can’t do it face to face.

OK, you have the floor. Am I completely off base? Or do you think there are differences in the way men and women communicate? Do you fall into the Hinting Camp or the “Say it like it is” Camp? Enquiring minds always want to know here at More Cowbell!


1. I get my second eye fixed today – perfect vision, here I come!! However, I’ll be off line in about 4 hours and you won’t hear a peep out of me until tomorrow. By then, I expect you to have the conversation WELL under way. Hubby will be approving comments, so please impress him. 🙂

2. Tomorrow is Life List Friday (that’s a Friday the 13th – Oooooh!) and the first one I have to miss since last August. No tv, computer, books, phone for me for 24 hours so no Life List Club! I hope you’ll still support the crew and blog hop with them…you can get started by going to my right sidebar and clicking on any name under Life List Club.

Have a great weekend!

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!
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61 Responses to Another Peek Into Man-Speak…

  1. amyshojai says:

    This is GREAT! I am so going to share with everyone, especially writers who need to create characters of the opposite sex (from themselves, that is).

    You are SO going to enjoy having great vision. “See” you soon. *couldn’t resist…*


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Thanks, Amy! I’m excited, though a bit nervous. I have a headache today so I have to call and ask them if that makes a difference. I’ll “see” you soon too!!! WOOT!!


  2. So thaaaat’s why when I talk to my BF “blah blah blah blah blah.. oh and blah.” I get “Huh? Oh, blah.”
    Love this post Jenny…
    Good luck today… EYE will SEE you soon! 😀 Ok, that was bad.


  3. Sherry Isaac says:

    Brilliant! As a writer, am looking at this post as fabulous fodder for setting up conflict, tension, and of course, the dirty fights, in my novels.

    Good luck with the ole eyeball, Jenny.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Ooooh, Sherry…you know, as a writer, I can float all weekend on the word “brilliant” in my comments. LOL.

      Enjoy the fights, the conflicts and the (sexual) tension. 🙂


  4. Marcia says:

    Yeah, why do we forget that men can’t read our minds? And they usually don’t understand all our pussy-footin’ around either. I learned this a long time ago. Say what you mean, mean what you say.
    Good luck today with your surgery! Clear vision ahead!


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      If I ask any man I know what freaks them out the most about women, this is it. “Why won’t she just tell me what she wants/likes so I can give it to her?” And of course we’re all so warped, we’re convinced “if they loved us, they’d KNOW.” Yep, it’s a wonder anybody ever manages to stay married, eh?


  5. Again, I agree completely with everything, and my conversations with my husband – about this very thing – verify that. He’s told me point blank – “You tell me about a problem at work, my mind works to a solution. End of story.” Whereas, I want to rant and rave and vent…and then work on the solution. Bu the solution is almost secondary to my emotions. Great post! Yay for perfect vision!


  6. Piper Bayard says:

    Lol. What a great post! I remember when my son turned 5. He had a friend who is a girl whose birthday was the next day. At my son’s party, my son & his guy friends played a wordless game of “tackle” while the girl watched in horror. The next day at her party, my son walked in to find six little girls coloring and chatting in a civil fashion.

    As for the “don’t hint,” no truer words! I always tell my husband things like, “15 more shopping days to my birthday. A gift and/or flowers is appropriate.”

    Many prayers for you and your eye. All the best, Jenny.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      15 more shopping days to my birthday…You slay me, Piper. That’s so funny. I can just imagine your son being horrified at the chatty colorers. That cracks me up.


  7. Best wishes on your eye surgery Jenny! A whole new world is opening up to you. You’re gonna love it!

    Well what can I say. I’ve been married a long time. And it’s taken a long time for us to figure this out. But there wasn’t that much info on this until recently. But sharing our thoughts and concerns together between Hubby and I has always been a two way street. If he wants me to listne to him, he has to listen to me.

    It’s worked. 🙂


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Karen, it sounds like you and your honey are best of friends. How lovely for you! I’m sure that came with much beating the head on the wall by each of you. 🙂

      And you’re right, nobody used to talk about this stuff. The psychologist’s talk I referenced was AWESOME and filled with married men. LOL.


  8. Brinda Berry says:

    I might have missed an eyeball post. Lasik? Good luck on whatever is happening. My dh had the lasik done a few years ago. We needed to waste a few hours before returning to the eye doctor. I thought, “We’ll go to the movies. He always sleeps anyway.” We went to The Blindside. He couldn’t quit watching.

    As for this topic, he took me a good 10+ years of marriage and raising a son to get this. I’ve now been married almost 26 years. I still have to stop myself at night from the BLAH BLAH BLAH when all the husband wants to do is watch reality tv (nothing zone for him). My dh is really glad I’m a writer where I can put all those words somewhere.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Yep, doing Laser surgery. And wow – my people want me sacked out on Xanax for 24 hours. No movie, tv, computer, phone, nothing. Lucky dude. I personally hate losing the time. 🙂


      • Brinda Berry says:

        Theory: “We’ll knock Jenny out and tell her she can’t do anything for 24 hours OR she’ll be back to working on her projects. ” 🙂 My husband did it 2 years ago on both eyes and is so glad he did.


        • Jenny Hansen says:

          See, and when I got back to the computer, you made me laugh my ass off over this comment! Thanks, Brinda. 🙂 I’ve gotten both eyes done now, but I did them one at a time so we could use the $2K left over in our flex spending account last year.


  9. Wow 15,000 words! That’s a lot of words, but I totally know what its like to be a women needing to talk in ENGLISH while living overseas. I must have 100,000 words overflow due to repression. lol. 🙂 Maybe that’s why I also started a novel and a blog while being overseas.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Holy cow, Nicole. I don’t think I knew you were surrounded by foreign language all the time. I know you’re in Brussels but I didn’t compute it. OMG, I’m so glad you blog, etc.!!!! Especially because I get to enjoy it.

      p.s. I got your email and “of course.”


  10. Oh so true … absolutely all of it! Speedy recovery!


  11. K.B. Owen says:

    Jenny! Good luck on your surgery! Take good care of yourself.

    Loved this post, esp. the part about hinting to men – it seems they lack the gene for that, LOL. But we love these guys – men are so much fun to be around, don’t you think? Universal, yet unique at the same time. 🙂


  12. Wow. Incredibly illuminating! Thank you and hope surgery went well!


  13. This is so true, Jenny. I’ve hung around guys my entire life and they are totally different from women. And, despite trying to grow my two boys into the perfect husband for some lucky woman, they’re still get-to-the-point, solution-mongering guys. But you know what? I wouldn’t trade them or my sweetie for anyone else. 🙂

    Here’s to perfect vision tomorrow. Take care of yourself and get lots of rest!


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Sheila, I LOVE men. I don’t know if you can tell from this post, but I grew up around them and (overall) I understand them, and I find them very soothing. I always thought I’d have a bunch of boys but God has a sense of humor so I have one daughter and lots of girlfriends. 🙂


  14. So awesome! This should be in some mandatory textbook everyone gets at their wedding — and probably a college course.

    SO TRUE. (and a great reminder for me too )

    Hope they eye stuff goes well.


  15. I had to laugh because I ran into an unexpected work-related situation last week, and I had really mixed feelings about it. I was part relieved, and part worried, and very confused about what to do. So I called my mom and told her about it. Then I called two other friends and told them. When my husband got home, do you know what his response was? “How are you still wanting to talk about this? Just do thus-and-so and stop worrying about it.” 😀


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Yeah, that’s about the way it goes. And I’ll bet you were really offended (because women bond over problems). I understand completely!! And it sounds like your mom and your friends were the correct people to go vent to. LOL…the joy of male/female brains…


  16. Natalie Hartford's Hubby says:

    Don’t hint!!! Men don’t enough time to think about it in order to decypher the coded hint – we have to get back to the Nothing Box.

    PS: As I sit here just one foot inside the Nothing Box – I chuckle to myself as I realize I just read approx 1500 words – in a virtual room (blog) as I recall the quote “Why can’t she just gather them all in the same room and tell them at the same time


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      LOL…And we have a MAN in our comments!!! Thanks, Nat’s Hubby. We all appreciate you weighing in (although I know you have to get back to your Spank Bank soon).

      p.s. I try to keep my posts under 1000 words…just sayin…


      • Natalie Hartford's Hubby says:

        saving the other 8000 words for your hubby are we?
        Great post! I’d just like to say ………..what was I saying? I slipped into the Nothing Box there for a moment! Ah Yes! I never have to get back to the Spank Bank…..I never leave! LOL!


        • Jenny Hansen says:

          I’m saving my man some WORDS, baby!! Actually, I’ll be asleep so he’ll get all his words out with Baby Girl. But I will remember to say, “Thank you for helping me see, Honey! YOU ROCK!!” before I go nighty-night.


  17. Hope the surgery goes smooth as silk and you heal up super fast. Can’t wait for you to enjoy life with your super power sight!
    LOVE the post – LOL! It’s like a page out of mine and hubby’s book. Even though hubby is in the top percentile of his species for communication, thank GOD, we still differ. I want to talk to be heard, to bounce ideas of, to figure out how I feel while hubby responds with solutions, solutions, and more solutions.
    Then there is the hinting – totally GUILTY! Sometimes hubby is dead on…sometimes he needs me to spell it out. He’s often asked me to QUIT trying to read between the lines or figure out what he’s REALLY thinking – it’s exactly what he said it is! LOL!!!
    We are definitely wired differently. But I like it. Keeps things spicy and interesting….yum!
    Sending you virtual hugs!


  18. Good luck with your eye, Jenny. I think in addition to being a great writer you are one of the smartest women on the planet. I’ve found very few who get this. Your husband is indeed fortunate.

    Seems like every man I know gets ready to go to sleep at night, while his wife takes his prone position to represent a captive audience who should converse attentively for 30 minutes or an hour before going to sleep.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Bahahahahahaha! While I appreciate this comment, David, it really made me laugh because I did this to him just the other night.

      I’d worked late finishing up Phase 1 of my software rollout and hadn’t gotten to talk to him ALL DAY. So when we went to bed, I had all kinds of things I still wanted to tell him. He finally leaned over and gave me a kiss and said, “You need to get some sleep and so do I.”

      I might KNOW these things, but I still chatter at the poor man. However, to my credit, I rarely hint. It’s just not nice.


  19. good luck with the second surgery, Jenny. it is so nice to wake up and be able to see. amazing. and going swimming with my granddaughters is a gift.

    Your hubby is a lucky man — married to a woman who gets him communication style. sheesh, where were you 45 years ago when I got married? lol


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Thanks, Louise! I’m on the other side of the surgery and I keep telling my husband, “This is SO WEIRD. To just open your eyes and see everything. Has the world always been this way for you??” He thinks it’s a riot and is having a great time watching me see.


  20. :snort: Boys are like that character in Police Academy that could make all the different sound effects!! They blow things up, they crash things, they race things, they shoot things…why do toy manufacturers think they need to add SOUND?

    That word count thing is cool though. I’d never heard of it before. My poor Guy! I’m a SAHM, I don’t get to use of the 6000 each day. He’ll never get ahead at this point, LOL.


  21. Catie Rhodes says:

    I always come over here because I think you’re going to make me laugh. But, then, you end up making me think. You’re exactly right about men not hinting (and not knowing how to read hints…and not thinking). This is a great guide for writing a character of the opposite sex. Even if you don’t write in a man’s POV, you have to have your male character do all the annoying things men do so he’ll seem realistic. (kidding, but only sort of)


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      LOL, Catie…well, at least you made ME laugh. 🙂 If you read the first post on Man-Speak, we all got a great laugh over the video. I could watch that thing once a week and not get tired of it. 🙂


  22. Julie Glover says:

    You are BRILLIANT! I love your problems/solutions comment. I’m going to tell that story six different times to six different people each day for a while to use up my words. I already knew the studies about men and women; however, one recent discovery is that this hint idea is very important to note for giving your hubby any honey-do’s. If you say, “Do you think you could take out the trash?” or simply observe, “This trash can is getting too full,” men often think they can say no. You didn’t ask them to do it exactly. For results, you must be direct: “Will you take out the trash?” Add a window of time, if needed. Otherwise, your job goes to the back of the line. “Will you take out the trash in the next five minutes?” It’s helping a lot, especially with THREE men in my house (hubs and two boys). Sometimes I feel like I’m in a zoo studying another species.


  23. tomwisk says:

    Men bond over solutions is one way of saying men live dramatic lives, in their heads. Every guy is a hero. He saves the country,damsel, last game of the series. We’re romantics at heart but any guy worth his salt will drop kick you into the middle of next week if you call him on it. We’ve got a box that keeps all the crusades we’ve wished we were on. Writers expose that box when they work.


  24. Jess Witkins says:

    I had a good laugh with my honey over the last Man-Speak post. Now I’ll add this to our report. Loving this series, Jenny.

    Be safe and get well soon now! We’ll miss you tomorrow, but sending good vibes and good rest your way.


  25. Why do we have “role reversal” in our house? My hubby has the proper testosterone manly-man thing going on. But, he’s the chatter-box in the evenings. He also creates and delivers “honey-do” lists. AND, he loves to talk about all things “budget.”

    Okay. To be fair. It’s winter in Texas–a season when he would NORMALLY get his word count accomplished on the golf course. But, The Other Woman in his life–our eight-year-old yellow lab underwent surgery for a blown ACL nine long weeks ago, and he doesn’t think he can leave her in my hands for five hours. So. He has only (1) the dogs (2) muttered commentary to the Fox TV news, and (3) six-word phone conversations with his golf buddies to use up his word count.

    UNLESS, he makes a list for me and EXPOUNDS on each item in painful detail.

    For the record “flu shot” can be expanded to 500 words in the daily count. My hints, “got it!” sail over his speech. I’m like a heckler interrupting a speech displayed on a teleprompter.

    Yesterday, we had a house showing. He walked through the house as I polished and cleaned the kitchen. DH from the Living Room, “Don’t forget we have to take the blanket off the couch seat.” Me: “Oh! I didn’t realize that was SKILLED labor!”

    THAT hint he got. He used a good 1000 words chatting with the dogs. “Don’t mess with mama today. She’s in a cranky mood. blah, blah, blah.”


  26. I hope you have an extremely easy and speedy recovery!

    ROFLOL about the difference between a female’s word budget and a males. I definitely see that with my husband and I…though I think I use quite a few words writing, blogging, tweeting etc. Probably spares my husband a little. In fact, I sometimes feel a little overbudget on words by the time hubby gets home.

    And I have both a little girl and a little boy. My daughter definitely has a huge word budget and loves to talk as she plays. My son has a pretty big word budget for a boy too. But he also has the full noise budget. The talking and the noise that comes out of that boy is sometimes mindboggling. LOL.


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  28. I can only say this, “thank God for girlfriends!” I dunno what I would do without women in my life.
    I’ve learned not to hint, not to overexpress, and not to share everything that goes through my mind with my husband. It took me a few brutal years but I think I get the guys now and I don’t push it. Everyone is happy this way 🙂


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  30. Kerry Meacham says:

    If I’ve told my wife once, I’ve told her a hundred times, “I don’t do subtle. Just tell me what you want.” I’m at a loss why this is so difficult to comprehend. On the other hand, we’ve been married for almost 34 years, so I guess we’re doing something right.


  31. Lena Corazon says:

    Oh gosh, this is absolutely hilarious! “Don’t hint” is probably the best advice when it comes to dealing with guys, as I have learned the hard way. 😛

    My dad comes from the “men of few words” school, and I’ve had to learn how to decipher his code, but my mom’s father and brothers are talkers. Get any of them on the phone, and you’re lucky if you can get them to hang up in an hour. And if you find my grandfather with a glass of Crown Royal in his hand, watch out – he will spend hours filling your ears with his opinions on everything from politics to technology to people’s relationships (I have also learned this the hard way, lol).

    Have a quick recovery, Jenny!


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