the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

I Don’t Understand Women

(Three Women by Fernand Leger)

Thank you for all the nice things you said about my dancing debut on Citizen of the Month. I was frankly surprised by the positive reaction, especially from female bloggers. In fact, I’d like to talk about this response by the women… just with the men.


Women — would you be kind enough to shut off you monitors for a few minutes so I can talk to the men alone. Thanks.

Men — did you see that response to me dancing? The babes were practically throwing themselves at my feet! Who knew that putting on an old suit has that effect? But isn’t it a little ironic that women are doing this at the EXACT moment when I’m making a romantic gesture to my wife? Where were they a month and a half ago? Why didn’t they do this when I was so horny I was writing pornographic children’s stories? Do you remember when Sophia first left town, I actually asked female bloggers to ease my pain by sending me photos of themselves topless.

Do you know how many tits I got to see? NONE!

Here I was back then — alone, and no one even swung their bra in the air for my amusement. But I do a little dance step FOR SOPHIA, and all of a sudden they’re throwing me their panties? Are they crazy? Or do women just like to torture us?

I don’t understand women. Do you?

Female bloggers — you can turn on your monitors now!

Back to the post —

Thank you again, ladies. Here’s a story I think you’ll enjoy. There’s food in the story, and I know you women LOOOOVE to eat.

One of my favorite local bloggers is Sarah from The Delicious Life and Slashfood. She’s one of the best food bloggers out there. I’ve been bugging her for weeks to let me come along and see her in action. On Thursday, she relented. She invited me to join her in checking out Mao’s Kitchen in Venice. We decided that I would pick her up and we’d drive together to the restaurant.

Although this wasn’t a date in a romantic sense, I was still having some pre-“date” jitters. After all, I was picking up a cute woman at her apartment and going to dinner with her, and I haven’t gone on ANY type of date since…. well, since… Sophia.

You know that cliched romantic comedy movie scene where a woman puts on five different outfits before she goes on her date?

On Thursday, that woman was me.

I changed shirts three times, then stared in the mirror at the awfulness of my hair. As much as I tried to brush it, it seemed as if the ghost of Donald Trump’s hair had decided to move in. I used some of Sophia’s mousse, and since I never use this gooey junk, it just made my hair look like a helmet. I ended up taking a second shower just to shampoo it out.

I decided to take Sophia’s SUV, thinking it was the most comfortable ride. I jumped in and was about to drive off, when I noticed that the windows were filthy. This was not acceptable for me to pick up some glamorous food blogger in a muddy car.

I stepped out of the car and decided to do a quick washing with the garden hose. I’m sure my face registered pleasure as the grime and dirt slid off the car, that is until I noticed that the passenger window was half open and I was spraying water from the hose INTO the car!


Four towels and a quick drying later, I was off to my “date.”

Once Sarah and I met, we clicked instantly. We fought our way through traffic to make it to Mao’s Kitchen, buying a bottle of incredibly cheap wine on the way (it was BYOB). While Sarah liked the atmosphere of the restaurant, I thought it was pretentious. There was a “Mao’s Communist China” theme to the menu and all the dishes were creatively named after something from the period. For instance, the egg rolls were called “peasant rolls.” There was a “Gang of Four” fried rice. Call me overly-sensitive, but should you make Disneyland kitsch out of a regime where so many people were murdered?

But what do I know? The place was packed with trendy people. Maybe I should open up a trendy shish-kabob stand and sell young Hollywood types the Saddam Hussein Pita Sandwich.

As Sarah and I got drunk (actually, it was mostly me), the mood changed between the two of us. We stopped our joking and our gossiping about blogging. Our conversation became intimate, as it frequently does when a man and woman sit across from each other in a dimly-lit restaurant. Yes, you guessed it. I blabbed on and on about Sophia and she talked about her ex-boyfriend.

When I told Sarah that my wedding anniversary was the next day, she couldn’t understand why I didn’t go to New York to spend it together with Sophia. I explained that I asked Sophia SEVERAL TIMES if she wanted me to come to New York, and each time she said, “No.” Sophia told me that she was working long hours and didn’t want to get distracted by me, so I listened to her.

Sarah didn’t buy the story. She insisted that I SHOULD have gone anyway, despite what Sophia said.

“That makes no sense.” I said.

“To a woman it does,” she answered.

The next morning, I told Sophia about my conversation with Sarah.

“Sarah was right,” said Sophia. “You should have come to New York. We could have gone out for our anniversary.”

“But you told me explicitly NOT to come!” I cried. “I would think you would be pissed off at me if I just showed up.”

“I would be pissed off. Very pissed,” she answered. “But if I opened my door and you were there, holding flowers, I would be very impressed that you were there, despite what I said.”

“That makes no sense.” I said.

“To a woman it does,” Sophia answered.

Women — would you be kind enough to shut off you monitors for a second time so I can speak freely with the men? Thanks so much for you patience.

Men — WTF?! Do you hear that craziness?

I don’t understand women. Do you?

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month: My Class Action Suit


  1. treespotter

    nope, neither do i. do let me know when you do.

    as someone else said it before me,
    I know what women want, I think, but they won’t tell me because I’m expected to know. Now I’m more confused.

  2. treespotter

    can’t believe it, i’m actually first??

  3. pam

    The single most romantic thing my man did for me, ever, was to fly across the freakin’ Atlantic to help me move. WITHOUT TELLING ME. Conversations prior to that event went something like this:

    J: Are you going to need help?
    Me: Meh. I’ll be fine. My brother is coming up, I have a crew… I’ll be fine. Seriously.

    Now, how do you supposed I showed my appreciation when, upon arriving home from a day out, I discovered my man was outside my building waiting for me?


    Sophia makes perfect sense.

  4. dhani

    come on Neil… haven’t you watched/read romantic movies/books lately? women love it when their man do things against anyone’s will to win the love of his life. some sort of run to the hell and back.

    well, not quite. but you should’ve learn now. sometimes, no is a yes and yes means yes. the art is to know which one which. tricky huh?

  5. mari

    Be nice and you win the hearts of women.

  6. The Zero Boss

    Yes. It makes total, absolute, 110% sense.

    Mind you, I have been married for 11 years, which has lowered the testosterone in my brain to undetectable levels.

  7. susannah

    Sophia was right – you should’ve surprised her. you boys need to learn you have to go that extra mile to get into our knickers, i mean good books…. 🙂

    fabulous dancing though Neil. that would have won me over (see? we’re not that hard to please really) x

  8. Ash

    Hmm, maybe it’s different when you’re married with kids but my first question to my man if he arrived unannounced with flowers would be ‘jesus, how much money do you think we have?! You caught a flight without checking with me first whether we could afford it?’

    I think the video was cuter. Way cuter. 6 yo is in awe. Says he will do that for his girlfriend one day. Then again, he also has plans for once they are married – like to take her to the movies once a week and buy her popcorn and a big drink (he was very adamant on the big drink part) and leave the kids with me.

    Just how long do you think *that* will last?

    You better keep the cute stuff coming Neil, you’re a role model to a future generation here!

  9. Mist 1

    I love Peasant Rolls. Tianenmen Square shrimp cakes are also good.

  10. Jeff

    Let’s say you would have went NY and impressed her. The impressiveness would have worn off and you would have to do something spectacular again a few months later. 🙁 You need to find a lower maintanance girl.

  11. tamarika

    Well, I don’t know, Neilochka. I think that half the beauty, challenge, the mystery of life, is trying to understand each other whether we are men or women. So, I have no tips for you, as a woman I mean, because sometimes I react like a man … whatever that means!

    Personally, I love surprises, on the one hand, and on the other – they freak me out!!

    Although, you arriving at the door with flowers … well … let me rethink this …

  12. Think Frustrated

    I made a weblog out of a man who set himself on fire…

    Women are just an unsolved mystery. They need to do an episode of “Unsolved Mysteries” about women.

    “Today, the greatest unsolved mystery of all time (with the music going in the background) WOMEN!”

  13. justrun

    But look how far ahead you are now. Now, you know. Women are into the “grand gesture” thing. It doesn’t mean it actually has to be grand in distance or in price, just out of the norm. I’m guessing the mop dance went a long way, too because it was more than just flowers and a card. It was unique and that is the grand part.

    Now you know, just think a little bigger. A little more. Chances are if it makes you nervous (wondering if she’ll like it, etc.) then it’s the right thing.

  14. Bre

    I just had a very similar conversation with my friend Frank. He was planning a first date… something boring like a movie… and I told him he needed to do something MUCH BETTER like a carriage ride, or going to the fair grounds, or going salsa dancing. He didn’t quite get it, but the point is… deep down every single one of us has this idea of a romance movie perfect relationship. In the romance movie of Sophia’s life she would have been swept away by your presence because how romantic is it that you just couldn’t bear to be away from her? In Frank’s date’s romance movie the first date is so charmingly quirky that she can’t forget it.

    Always ask yourself… what would Tom Hanks do?

  15. Dating Dummy

    It’s usually ok to break the rules and not listen to what they say so long as the thing you’re breaking the rules with is romantic in nature.

  16. Danny

    I could never have done that if the woman told me specifically not to come. *Sigh.* Haven’t we all been taught that NO means NO? I just don’t get it. If I had been the woman in that situation and the guy showed up anyway, I’d be furious.

    I remember that episode of “The Dick Van Dyke Show” when Laura and Rob are in a big fight but he has no idea why and when he asks she says, “If you don’t know, I’m not going to tell you.” Why can’t they just tell us?

  17. Dagny

    It is not just being nice as Mari pointed out. It’s the unexpected niceness. Like going to New York even though you have been told otherwise. Or like the ex of mine who used to occasionally show up with flowers just because.


    Romantic is not doing as you’re told.

  19. Cover Your Mouth

    If I’d told you not to come because I thought you couldn’t afford it or didn’t have time and then you DID come, I’d be thrilled. If I’d told you not to come because I thought WE couldn’t afford it or I didn’t have time to see you, and then you DID come, I’d probably be pissed. It’s a thin line to walk, Neilochka.

  20. Jody

    I am on the side that surprises that are romantic are the grandest gesture of all for me. If I had told my boyfriend/husband not to come and he showed up in a suit with flowers – there definitely would have been a hands on the hips “I can’t believe you came” followed by an immediate drop of all clothes. We could figure out how to pay for the airfare later.

  21. Jody

    Oh yeah – also the dancing video – shows imagination and love. The fact that you actually put on a suit (old or new – when you could have just as easily been in a shirt and shorts) and got the best prop (mop) you had around the house would buy lots of points in my book of romantic gestures.

  22. sarah

    you changed shirts THREE times and that’s what you came up with?!?!


    love the hair. don’t cut it.

  23. Roberta

    It’s not fair. We (women) are not fair.
    What if you had shown up in New York and she’d just worked 16 hours and, while happy to see you, needed her 5 1/2 hours of sleep before starting all over tomorrow? What then, oh, what then, Neil?
    We make you read our minds, and then we are disappointed or angry when you get it wrong.
    We want to control everything, and we want you to sweep us off our feet. And this is very tricky business, because it’s the surprise element that makes a gesture so romantic, but you guys are so (rightfully) afraid to make a wrong move and piss us off, that you often err on the side of… nothing.
    We are strong, independent women, and please don’t ever challenge that. But we always want to be on that pedestal, we want a cowboy, we want to be overpowered with your desire to please us; we want so much to be wooed.
    Guys, you can’t figure this out?

  24. better safe than sorry

    i actually thought you should have gone too, it would have been such a wonderful surprise. i still think that video was incredibly romantic and she is going to love that you’ve done it. any questions about women should be directed to your penis. he would have insisted you went to visit sophia knowing it would have meant he would have gotten some!

  25. psychomom

    I don’t understand women either. I knew a guy who showed up unexpectedly to suprise his wife on her birthday and she was with someone else.
    You can’t be expected to read other peoples minds and you owe it to people you love to be open and honest and say what you want.

  26. Non-Highlighted Heather

    What, you think Orwell’s inspiration for doublespeak came out of nowhere? Poor bastard was married.

  27. wendy

    All women will hate me as I write this…But what the heck. Girls…time to grow up. If Sophia wanted you to come..she should have said..”I’m busy as hell..but miss you madly. Get your ass on the plane.” IN ENGLISH. SO YOU UNDERSTAND.I like Sophia very much.I like the look of her..the spunk of her, her cool hair, her cool job. But I sense what she’s going through is more internal..than you. “These big day” expectations have lots of baggage.

    THE most romantic thing that ever happened to me was this..Pre 9/11.. dropped old b-friend off at the gate to go back to college. Dresses in his NROTC dress whites.(Officer and gentleman yummy) Cry, weep, sob…ineveitable. Known parting..but still hard. He had to go. I was half way down the gateway thingy. I was in his arms..He had left the plane. come back for me. What made it romantic…was their was no hidden agenda.It was all him. Girls..stop telling them what to do all the time..Let them be themselves. I thought your dance was ubersweet.

  28. EEK

    You’ve definitely got rhythm. Simulating your wedding dance with a mop was a grand gesture in and of itself. You should be proud.

  29. Blundering American

    Your post reminded me of this joke:

    A man is walking on the beach and finds a lamp. He rubs the lamp and a genie comes out. The genie says, “For saving me from my captivity, I will grant you one wish.”

    The man says, “Well, I really don’t like planes or ships and I think a lot of people are like that, but I think they really want to go to Hawaii, like I do. So I wish for a bridge from the U.S. mainland to Hawaii.”

    The genie says, “Are you crazy?!?! Do you realize how much work that is!?!? I’d have to create the architecture, put in those really deep pillars all the way to the ocean bottom, and then create the bridge! That’s insane! I’m not doing that! Come up with another wish.”

    The man says, “Okay, I’ve always wanted to understand women, I mean, really understand women. Understand why they feel they way they do, why they think the way they do. What makes them tick, what makes them happy, what makes them sad. So, my wish is that.”

    The genie says,”Two lanes or four?”

  30. deezee

    Hmmm…a simple question here: why does Sophia get to call the shots? It was your anniversary, too. Did she do something nice for you, make you feel love and desired?

    In the most romantic of situations, you wouldn’t have asked, you’d have just shown up. On the other hand, as a reader here, Sophia scares me. I’d have asked permission, too. But if I kept hearing ‘no,’ – crazy production schedule or not – I think I’d start looking elsewhere…

    (from someone who obviously is mystified by your relationship! I apologize for my seriousness.)

    For lighter fare, how was the food at Mao’s? I tried to eat there once and encountered flavorless grub, which is tragic since it’s stumbling distance from my home.

  31. danielle

    Adding the element of surprise makes romance all the more sexy… But, that said, I personally like to know everything in advance.

  32. Danny

    Women readers: Please turn off your monitors one more time or just skip over to the next comment, this one doesn’t concern you. Thanks so much.

    Neil and Men: Oh my God, a lot of these women really ARE insane! How do we do it? To quote one of my mentors:

    Why can’t a woman take after a man?
    Men are so pleasant, so easy to please.
    Whenever you’re with them, you’re always at ease.

    Would you be slighted if I didn’t speak for hours?

    Of course not.

    Would you be livid if I had a drink or two?


    Would you be wounded if I never sent you flowers?


    Well, why can’t a woman be like you?

  33. Neil

    Uh, Deezee, I had a little bit of this conversation with Sophia as well. Thanks for being honest, even though you will now end up on Sophia’s “shit list.” Sophia has romantic visions of what a man should do, like getting flowers on Valentine’s day. But I’m a bit of a “girl at heart” myself. Why shouldn’t I get flowers of Valentine’s Day as well?
    Oh boy, Deezee — you are in so much trouble now… (and since you were married to a Russian as well, you know trouble…)

    Oh, and Mao’s food was like Panda Express, just twice as expensive.

  34. Dave

    Early on in my marriage I asked my wife what she wanted for her birthday. She said “Nothing.” I made the mistake of taking her literally, got her nothing, and she was pissed at me for a month.

  35. Non-Highlighted Heather

    Honestly, I think it’s a pretty screwy system when we expect the men in our lives to walk around like Miss Cleo, reading our minds and divining our wishes.

    That being said, here’s where I think things get tripped up. Nature has deemed us to be child bearers, thus care givers. Part of care giving is being intuitive; anticipating and understanding the needs of those you care for. That’s not to say all women are intuitive and all men are not, there are exceptions in all cases. However, I think women have an edge when it comes to meeting emotional needs. I’ll be married 16 years in December and I’ve learned that even though having to spell out what I want from my husband seems less romantic than him just knowing, it’s far more romantic than us fighting about it and then spending the rest of the night grousing. And in his defense, he’s gotten pretty damn good at knowing what I want. He’s the best of men. But you come a close second, Neil dear.

  36. Serena

    We’re definitely crazy, but you guys can’t help but dig it.

  37. Melissa

    Ok, the dancing touched my heart. It was sweet and funny and very romantic. And you aren’t supposed to understand everything about us. Then there would be no mystery – and the mystery is what keeps you coming back.

  38. melanie

    maybe you should have realized that making sense to a man is something we decide to stop doing after a certain point. If your species would pay attention the first time around, instead of us having to repeat ourselves about these idiosyncracies, then it may be easier for us to understand each other.

    but then again, maybe not.

    hope you had a good anniversary celebration despite it all!

  39. deezee


    Will I have company on Sophia’s shit list or is it a lonely little list? That could be another set of links on your blogroll…’Sophia’s Shit List.’ We could form a club, have drinks together, confess our Sophia sins. It could be fun.

    (btw, my Russian only murdered me with the silent treatment, so I don’t think I know what rage looks like in the real world…should I be scared?)

  40. Neil

    No, Deezee, the silent treatment is pretty much the traditional Russian technique. Every once in a while there is a broken dish for dramatic purposes, but the bark is worse than the bite. But doing a little dance usually fixes things pretty quickly.

  41. Mo

    I have to say, I agree with Deezee. I don’t see that Sophia is doing a whole lot to win or celebrate YOU. I think you did plenty with that video. I’m a woman, and when I say “no, don’t come”, I mean it. So what’s with the game-playing? Isn’t Sophia the one dating around and keeping the distance? I think she should be doing more for you if she intends to stay married to you (seperated or not). I think you deserve more than you are getting. (Shit list, here I come…)

  42. deezee


    Nice to know I’ll have company…

  43. Ellen Bloom

    I’m waaaaaay older than your average reader, Neil Doll, and have mucho experience with men. I’ve been married twice…currently for 15 years.
    Even when I say “no” to Hubby, it’s always nice to be surprised with something special and unusual. Sometimes practicality (brain) takes over, but the heart craves the romantic gesture, even if we don’t voice the craving. Sigh…you’ve gotta go with your gut/heart on these matters!
    I know that I would totally melt if Mr. Larry even thought about doing something so romantic for me. Double sigh.

  44. V-Grrrl

    Neilochka and the Male Readers–turn off your monitors!

    So grrrl friends, who would have thought Neilochka would get all nervous over a date with a food blogger? After that little dance with the mop and the picture book porn post and all the hemming and hawing about magic orbs, I would have thought he had a thing for mommy bloggers. Go figure! Men, they’re a mystery!

  45. Jody

    Deezee and Mo, add me to the shit list too. I agree – if we want something we should ask for it. I also think that the more we tell a man what we like and dislike he won’t have to “figure” out what is romantic and what isn’t. I hate games. The passive/agressive type (to say “don’t come Neil” and then say “You should have come to New York” is outright messing with your emotions.

    Oh boy, I’m really going to be on the shit list. Might as well just add me to the No. 1 spot.

    By the way I have real strong emotions about behavior like this – I gave this game playing up a long time ago – it doesn’t work and I run from any man who trys to pull that crap on me too!

  46. Neil

    Uh-oh, now I’m going to get in trouble, too — and I’m going to have to do another dance later. Sophia does romantic gestures too — she loves to buy me things — and she has been sending me cute photos and notes the whole time she is there, as well as calling me 3x a day — but she is pretty “traditional” when it comes to romantic holidays and anniversaries, where she likes “the man” to be in charge.

    And Jody, Sophia is NOT passive-aggressive — that is for sure.  I am the passive-aggressive one.  And she probably wouldn’t have liked it all that much if I came to New York unexpectedly. She might have been impressed, because she herself never follows “the rules,” but I don’t know if she would have found it as “sexy” as I imagined.  But then again, I didn’t do it, so I don’t know…

    And remember… we are separated… so things are more complicated… even though we clearly care about each other…

  47. amanda

    aw, that’s too bad…i gotta say though, you mens are just as confusing.

  48. kristen

    I know we’re all curious about your relationship, especially because you’re seperated. Anniversary’s tend to come with a lot of expectations although the element of surprise, is a nice touch. That said, I think your dance sequence was a romantic gift for your anniversary, especially since you’re in different states. However, I do wonder as the other shit listers have questioned, whether you get what you need, back.

  49. Neil

    Hmmm… I do… most of the time. But I never did go see a therapist to discuss these issues, like I promised I would in a post a while ago…

  50. claire

    Hey, I’ve eaten at Mao’s. I had some friends who used to live near there. I agree with you on the decor, but the food was pretty good. Take-out made a nice compromise.

  51. Churlita

    I’m a woman and I don’t even understand us. I love the grand gesture and am sometimes afraid to ask for what I want for fear of being disappointed.

    Before Neil stepped in, i was going to say that this blog is definitely one-sided and often tongue-and-cheek. I’m sure if Sophia had a blog, we would hear a little different story.

    After all those clothing changes, were you ultimately wearing the monkey undies?

  52. Jody

    Neil, I knew I would get in trouble with my words. It is hard to see all sides of the relationship when you are only putting out your perspective. So hope no offense taken. So I am going to take another tactic and make a nice segueway like Churlita did and inquire about those monkey undies that you love to show so often. When do we actually get to see you model those???? 🙂

  53. Non-Highlighted Heather

    Churlita made the point that I wanted to. It’s important to remember here that we only hear one side. I think it’s really unfair to pass any judgments on Sophia without the benefit of her perspective.

  54. Neil

    I think one of my big problems is that I don’t do a very good job at asking for what I want. I asked Sophia several times if “SHE wanted me to come to New York,” but I never actually said, “I WANT to come to New York for our anniversary.” I wonder if her response would have been different.

    So, in a way, even though I titled this post as a way of making fun of women, I’m probably more like the stereotypical “woman” than Sophia.

  55. Stefanie

    Personally, I think you should’ve definitely gone to surprise her. Not only that but you also should’ve brought jewelry and perfume and a personal masseuse. Then when you get there the real surprise should happen. Wolfgang Puck should appear magically in Sophia’s hotel room to whip up a fabulous anniversary-even-though-you’re-separated 7-course meal. And the real real surprise should happen when Sophia turns around and there on the bed is a huge box which contains a gorgeous Oscars worthy dress which you have had made for her special to wear on your FLIGHT TO FRANCE ON THE CONCORD(just for after dinner cocktails). Now that would have been something!

  56. Postmodern Sass

    Silly Neilochka. Does the bank manager ask you to understand how mortgage amortization is calculated? Of course not. But that doesn’t mean you can’t buy a house and take out a mortgage. Us women folk don’t expect you to understand why we behave the way we do, you only need to listen, learn, and apply.

  57. Jenn

    Haha. I like Stefanie. I’ve been a silent reader for quite some time but I really enjoy your blog, Neil.

  58. sbukophile

    Ooof, I think you would have been in trouble either way! Billy Joel’s song “She’s Always a Woman” comes to mind. I KNOW I send the mixed signals to my husband all the time, poor guy! How do you guys ever fall in love with us? I still don’t understand why you and Sophia are separated though.

  59. brooke

    Listen to Dating Dummy – he’s not dummy.

    Also, I don’t understand women either. Good thing I’m not a lesbian.

  60. Leesa

    I think your video was wonderful. I would have loved to have received it and it would have been a perfect anniversary gift.

  61. emma

    You’re not meant to understand women. You will spend your whole life trying and failing to, so stop trying darling. If you did understand women you’d be gay, and then their animalistic sexuality would no longer affect you. Is that what you want? Is it?

  62. Hilly

    Forgive me Father, for I have sinned….I did not turn off my monitor…why? Cause I was not one of the women throwing myself at a married man in the dancing post, so I wanted to see what the dudes got to see. I earned it ;). Women always want what they can’t have.

    Another thing about women is that you should pretty much do the opposite of what she says she doesn’t want when it comes to things like these or immediately contact another level-headed female friend for advice. Even us level-headed ladies would have told you to go…we know the crazy insider handshake and all that jazz!

  63. Dagny

    Hilly, exactly. He should have asked for advice. And I did say that the video was cute but I didn’t consider that to be throwing myself at him — so I read the stuff that I wasn’t supposed to. Because I’m a rebel that way.

    Now here’s another question. What does one do about a man whose gift choices seems to be based upon how impressive they will look to others? (The man in question is my father.) Year after year he would ask my advice about Christmas gifts for my mother only to ignore my protestations of, “But she’ll hate it and then you will have incur her wrath.” Every year she would open these hated gifts only to hear all the other relatives “ooh” and “ahh” over them. Once the relatives left, the fury would be unleashed.

    Hmmmm. I guess this is why they are divorced.

  64. Felicity

    Neil, you KNOW I would have sent you a topless pic. Guess I wasn’t around yet then.

  65. TherapyDoc

    You’re supposed to speak in code, dear.

    You’re supposed to say, “Do you want anything SPECIAL for your anniversary?”

    She will say, “Well, depends what you mean by special.”

    You will say, “Well, special is as special does.”

    She will say, “As in, if I asked you to do …well…like…anything…then that might be thought of as special?”

    You will say, “If you want that kind of special then my love, just say the word, and oh, by the way, if I don’t get it? Repeat it over and over and over and over again until I do. You see, my hearing and my language skills are lacking at times, but my intent to please is infinite.”

    Blah, blah, blah. Code, boychik. Code.

  66. rdl

    You are just too funny, hilarious!!

  67. Miss Syl


    This is a sociological thing, but not really a mystery. It’s just fucked up. As a woman who has often displayed the same behavior, I totally sympathize with Sophia’s position, and have certainly done the same thing. But I also agree that it would be better if we women *could* just be straighforward with what we want.

    But, for your benefit, let me clear up what I believe is the origin of this female behavior trait:

    The gist is that women feel less “womanly” if they have to say what they want to get it.

    Why? Well, women are generally taught from a young age that a “nice girl’s” (and eventually “nice woman’s”) job is to care about and give to OTHERS, moreso than herwelf, and that a female asserting herself or her needs before others is unattractive, naggy, bitchy, and selfish.

    Of course, a woman has her own needs and desires, but the message is you’re not *supposed* to assert it, at least not if it means your own self-benefit over others’ well-being, because that would make you a selfish, unsexy harpy.

    So, how are girls taught they CAN get what they want? Wiles. You can’t SAY what you want, but if you are VALUABLE enough–someone will SHOW you you are valuable by giving you things you want but aren’t allowed to demand. That person will go out of his/her way, make the grand gestures, because you are that great.

    So, you’re taught “men don’t like demanding women; if you want to get what you want, you can’t ask for it, you have to make the man WANT to give it to you, by being nice enough, charming enough, mysterious enough, self-sacrificing enough, etc.” (Whatever method you were taught as a kid is the best model to follow.)

    Even if the woman fights this sterotype later on, that societal expectation is deeply imbedded.

    So this ends up getting twisted in strange ways when the woman becomes an adult. I’m sure you’ve heard the, “If I have to TELL you, it doesn’t count” line at some point in your life. Can you see where that comes from now? If she has to tell you what she wants, then it means (in an indirect way, and often just sub-consciously) to HER that she hasn’t been “womanly” enough to get you to anticipate her needs and do for her without her having to become a “harpy” by telling you.

    Like I said, it’s fucked up, and it’s wrong on a lot of levels. But it’s how it is. Fixing it would mean we’d have to fix a lot of the attitudes it’s built on.

    But on an individual basis, people can work on it. I try to. But it is hard sometimes when you feel you have to spell everything out, and the man can’t “sound out” what you really want, in the same way way a woman has always been taught to sound out what her lover and family and friends REALLY want, vs. what they say they want.

    Of course, it’s doubly confusing for men, becuase if a woman LIKES you, she wants you to go the extra mile, even if she says the opposite. If she DOESN’T like you at the moment, and you go the extra mile, she might call you a stalker. I can imagine this would be confusing to men–how do you know which is her basic feeling? All I can say is, learn to zone in on the signals by trial and error.

    Or, get her to start telling you exactly what she wants, if she knows. (Which is always another challenging factor. Everyone’s wants and needs change. Sometimes you just don’t know what you want, so you take a best guess, and it’s wrong!)

  68. ally

    women are easy to understand…now, men are…

  69. Fitena

    I think that that’s the beauty of it. Life is more fun and you discover each other as time goes by. You’d be very bored if you were to know all and everything about us.


  70. treespotter

    well, for what it’s worth, i think most times girls say one thing and expect the others just to see us being a bad boy and at the same time allowing them to keep both scenarios open. i’ve done that whole thing flying across atlantic/pacific/indian ocean bit more than once in my life with various results. the truth is, you never know what’s there. it’s a hormone thing. i don’t think even they know.

  71. the Yearning Heart

    Do you remember when Sophia first left town, I actually asked female bloggers to ease my pain by sending me photos of themselves topless.

    Do you know how many tits I got to see? NONE!

    OK, I peeked, I’m sorry. But guys, please know that Neil is a liar.

    I admit they’re not that spectacular, Neil, but you received TWO tits. Both mine. One on the left, the other on the right, in the traditional non-Cubist arrangement that men usually like – no offense intended to the Fernand Leger fans among you. In case my tits are that forgettable to you, perhaps you remember me sitting on the couch with a big smile. No? Well, I am willing to wager that my tits would beat Sophia’s tits any effing day of the week, hands down. Hands down my SHIRT, Neil.

    Guys, they’re real, they’re firm, and since I began exercising again regularly, they’re specTACular. They were sent to YOU, Neil, out of the GOODNESS of my heart. My heart, Neil. You remember my heart, Neil? My yearning heart? The one that beats under my TITS?

    We’re through, Neil. I have not been so humiliated and cavalierly treated in … all my born days.

    Sophia, he’s all yours. Good luck with him.

    Oh, and I want the photo back, too, Neil.

    I don’t understand men.

  72. Kim

    Neil, a man that can/will dance gets the girl every time.

    My husband of 19 years still dances with me and I am the envy of every other woman sitting around waiting for their husbands to get out of the bar.

  73. Mr. Fabulous

    I don’t think we are supposed to understand them. Just enjoy the ride.

  74. Heather B.

    So, what’s the problem? Sophia was right. 100% right. What is this ‘making sense’ that you speak of?? It doesn’t have to make perfect sense. But she was right.

  75. Neil

    Yearning — maybe my spam catcher caught that email, but thank you for your thoughtfulness. I do see what you are talking about on your site. Very nice. Your man is one lucky fellow! But in the Boob Olympics, you’re up against some pretty tough competition if you want to go against Sophia’s…

  76. 2nd Pearl Past the Post

    I don’t understand women either and I am one. Good luck on that.

  77. the Yearning Heart

    Sure, blame the spam catcher. You’re not weaseling out of this that easily.

    Did the spam catcher block my Yahoo text messages, too?

  78. michelle

    no means yes sometimes. the hard part is figuring out when.

  79. Mary

    It’s all about the grand gesture. Overcoming practicality with romance. Being willing to look silly by dancing with a mop, or showing up unannounced, just for her. But be clear on her feelings for you, first. If she loves you, she’s happy to see you and thrilled you made the effort, no matter her protestations. If she’s not in to you, it just makes you a psycho stalker.

  80. Weasle

    That behaviour isn’t about women… it’s about being manipulative, dishonest and passive-aggressive. Not all women are bitches, your mistake is you chose a woman who is all of that. Real women are honest and straight-forward in their communications – just like men.


  81. Andy C

    Women think with their heart AND their brains. She meant both. She was using her brain when telling you not to come but her heart was saying please come.

    Not meaning to sound sexist but trying to be honest, I’m so glad I’m not a woman, life would be soooo confusing. I can just sit down with a beer, watch a game, cuddle my kids. I know exactly what I want and am easily pleased. Bring a woman into my life and everything gets completely thrown out of the window and my brain is left like a confused porridge not knowing whether to go left or right.

  82. Brian

    Oh boy. You’ve got a lot to learn about women, my friend. Way more than I care to fit into a little comment box. But I’ll say this: Women want you to do something because YOU want to do it, not because they told you to. Don’t seek their approval. You failed this time, but there’ll be another chance down the line.

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