Throw a guy a life jacket

Warning: This is not a column about a sport, some kind of moral dilemma facing an athlete, or any of that other jazz.
This is a column about men and women.
About relationships brief glimpse at the games that are played, why they are played, why a couple puts up with them, while others choose not to.
Now, I may only have 23 years of life experience and may have the intelligence of a gnat, but I’ve been in a few relationships. Some long, some short, and some still being dreamed of (does anyone have Angelina Jolie’s phone number?).
There are things that still (and will continue) to baffle me about women. Items that leave me head scratching. And issues that leave me saying, ‘Whaaaaaat!?’ But there is one thing that I can document without any hesitation: Love is like a kick in the groin—it will leave you breathless.
Like this girl I once knew. Beautiful? God took her time with her. Smart? She’d leave Einstein speechless. Harder to read than a document written in hieroglyphics? You can bet your left shoe on that one.
She’s the kind of girl that each time you see her, the song “Girl from Ipanema” pops into your head—you hear lots of ahhhhs as she walks by like a samba swaying so gently.
She likes to sketch (she could make a career out of it), enjoys her pasta (she’s Italian), is partial to arguing (once again, she’s Italian), likes to talk, and does so thinking as she goes. She’s like a “Walk to Remember” you don’t ever want to forget.
I was falling for her.
She could make a man want to get up in the morning and hesitant to go to sleep at night. When the phone rang you’d hope it was her. And seeing her was always the highlight of your day.
She would make you feel complete.
But like any relationship there were games. I’m not fond of games. The only kinds of games I like being involved in are the kind where officials are present, a score is being taken, two teams of equal caliber are playing, with a definite loser and hence, a definite winner.
Gentlemen, you can’t win with women. No matter how much you try—you cannot understand them. Cannot “see things” from their shoes (heck, I wouldn’t ever even try on their shoes—those high heels look like they hurt). And most of all—you cannot control them (not that I’ve ever tried—I may be stupid, but I’m not that stupid).
Like when they ask, ‘Does this skirt make me look fat?’ a man essentially has these three options: a) run for cover, b) tell her—‘Baby, you’re more beautiful now than the day I met you’, or you can do what my friend did and go with, c) ‘It’s not the skirt’.
So what do woman want? Good question; tough answer.
Sigmund Freud asked, but failed to answer the million dollar question and he was one of the most keen minds the world has ever known, so what chance do the rest of us schumcks have with answering a question that is more loaded than Courtney Love at a custody hearing?
It seems to me, though, it’s always better to ask before relying on generalizations without trying to assess whether the shoe fits the woman standing in front of you (once again, you don’t actually have to try on her shoes).
But what if you ask them the question—‘What do you want?’—and they come back with—‘Well, if you really knew me, then you would know what I want’—then what do you do?
My suggestion would be to run.
But before running away, let’s consider this—it is a fact that women buy more relationship self-help books than men. So what does this tell us? Could it be that women may be more confused than men? That would be wishful thinking, but we may not be that far off here.
Some women (not all) are easier to read than a Dr. Seuss book, but others are more complex than trying to figure out the breaking point in a multi-faceted diamond.
Some women (not all) are convinced the world is out to get them. They seek skullduggery, double-dealing, and sneakiness behind every corner. In most lines of work, this level of paranoia will earn you a trip to the company psychologist and a Xanax prescription. In the realm of relationships, it provides them with control or gives them, as George Costanza from Seinfeld dubbed, “hand.”
So this brings us to our first undeniable truth of what women want—personal confidence.
But you can’t simply go to the doctor and ask for a prescription of confidence and be on your merry way (though Viagra might fall in that realm)—it must be attained through a mixture of accomplishment and sacrifice. But here’s the good news—since confidence is primarily an attitude towards meeting life’s challenges (and there’s no shortage of challenges in the world) the essential attitude can still be cultivated and demonstrated; but it cannot be faked with money, looks, or possessions.
Woman want a man with traits of sincerity and honesty (attention to women: men want the same), which creates open lines of communication, which is the most critical part of a relationship.
Or else you’ll have what she and I had—her talking in Italian, while me speaking in Greek.
So what can you give the girl you want, but can’t have? Nothing.
But know this—although a woman likes to believe a man is willing to deal with a lot of things, what really counts is that he is able to deal with her.
And all we’re asking is for you to throw us a life jacket.
emoutsatsos@fortfrances.com

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