Secrets All Women Keep
We women are well aware that most of the time we’re a profound mystery to men. And for the most part, we like it that way. But the thought has occurred to just about every woman: Would it really be so bad if he knew _________ about me? Wouldn’t it help him understand me better? And more importantly, Wouldn’t he annoy me less if he knew what I really wanted?
So for the benefit of women everywhere (and for your benefit too, guys—remember, a happy woman makes for a much happier man), we’re going to let men in on a little of what really makes us tick, deep down. Read on for 11 near-universal secrets of womankind. Some may shock you, others may be things you’ve suspected for a long time (but never had the nerve to ask about). But know this: the woman in your life? She’s hiding more secrets than these, including a few you’d never imagine. Lucky you—you get to spend a lifetime learning them all.
1. Everything we buy for ourselves—shoes, a skirt, even just stuff from the drugstore—really costs 20 percent more than we tell you it did.
Just because it’s a classic sitcom plot doesn’t mean it isn’t true. “Sometimes I’ll buy an outfit and charge half of it on our credit card and pay for the other half in cash so my husband doesn’t know what I’m actually spending,” admits one 32-year-old, who requested anonymity to protect her sneaky secret. Yeah, we know honesty is the best policy, hiding your spending habits is bad, blah blah blah. But sometimes we just don’t want the hassle of arguing over the price of the fancy shampoo. Is that so wrong? We don’t think so.
2. We actually think about sex—with you!—a lot.
Sometimes we think about it all day long. It’s just that by the end of the day we’re too damn tired to do anything about it. Now, if you could only catch us at lunchtime…
3. We’re just as nervous about commitment as you are.
True, many girls grow up dreaming of Prince Charming, the white wedding, and happily ever after. But we’re human, just like you, and when it comes down to the reality of tying our life to another person’s, we get scared, too. “The idea of getting married completely freaked me out at first,” says my friend Lisa, 34. “I know this sounds like a guy cliché, but I saw it as giving up my independence and being tied down.” The good news is, once we’re hitched, we’re generally pretty delighted about it. Says Lisa, “Now that I am married, having a life commitment is so comforting and wonderful. I love knowing that we are a team and that we’re going to be on the same team forever.”
4. We may be modern and independent, but we still want you to be “the man.”
We do want you to be sensitive, caring 21st-century males, but even the most ass-kicking, take-no-prisoners woman still wants to feel taken care of by her man somehow. Whether that means you take charge in bed, know how to fix the car and kill spiders, or even just carry the big suitcase when we’re on vacation—when you act all manly, even if you’re 98 pounds soaking wet, it makes us feel more feminine, more safe.
“I love that my friends and family always comment on how my husband opens the door for me and does all kinds of other chivalrous things—especially when I was pregnant, when he was so protective of me and my belly,” says Lorraine, 29, of New Hartford, NY. “At the end of the day, being in his strong arms is definitely a good feeling, no matter how independent I know I am.”
5. Our ex-boyfriends were not completely terrible in bed.
You know how we’re always telling you things like, “No one does it like you do”? Um, yeah. Well, we may have been stretching the truth just a teensy bit. But we’ll never actually tell you that a past lover was a bedroom dynamo—we’re smarter than that. Just know that whatever toe-curling orgasms the other guy gave us, sex with you really is a million times better—because it’s you, and you’re the one we really want.
6. We’re scared that we’ll turn into our mothers.
We love our mothers, really. We admire them, we’re grateful to them, we think they’re the most amazing women on the planet. We just don’t want to be them. That’s why one of the worst insults you can hurl at a woman is, “You’re acting just like your mother.”
But here’s one that’s even worse: “You’re acting just like my mother.” It sends a horrible oedipal shiver down our spines—did he marry me because I’m like his mom? Will he start expecting me to cut the crusts off his PB&J? So please, if you value your sex life, never ever compare your wife to your mother. Out loud, anyway.
7. We want you to be jealous—but just a little bit.
We want you to notice—and care!—when the waiter flirts with us, or when other guys check us out on the street. It makes us feel that we matter to you. But please don’t get all Neanderthal and possessive on us. “I’m very loyal, and if my guy can’t understand that I would never do anything with anyone else, then that just makes me mad,” says Paulina, 22, from Brooklyn. So, to recap: Raising your eyebrows when we introduce you to our cute coworker—good. Punching him out—very, very bad.
8. Yes, we fantasize about hot celebrity guys, but that doesn’t mean we want you to be them.
Christian Bale is sexy and all, but can you imagine having to clean that Batcave?
9. We tell our girlfriends more than we admit to you (but less than you fear).
Yes, we tell them about the latest marital spat, complain about our mothers-in-law, and sigh over the hobby that sucks up all your free time. But we don’t tell them how big your you-know-what is or that you cried in our arms when your dad died. Some things are just too important and intimate to share. “I definitely don’t tell my girlfriends details like what my husband said when he proposed, the feeling I have every time I see him look at our daughter, and the little wonderful things he does for me every day,” says Lorraine. “Those are just for me.”
10. We really do notice and appreciate all the chores you do.
Why don’t we say so often enough? Because we can’t get over all the things you don’t do. My husband, for example, is incredibly diligent about keeping a 6-by-10-foot carpeted patch of our apartment vacuumed and cat hair–free, and I love that. But it kills me that it never occurs to him to dust the furniture sitting on top of that piece of carpet, or to sweep the hardwood floor adjoining it.
Blame our lack of positive feedback on that stubborn female belief that there is Only One Right Way to do any given household task—our way. It’s probably the real reason why men don’t shoulder a greater share of housekeeping duties; we complain about how you did it wrong, so you never want to do it again. (Sounds familiar, right?) Let’s make a deal: You promise to dust the lampshade (or wipe down the kitchen counter after you wash the dishes, or take out the garbage and then put a new liner in the can) once in a while, and we promise to sing your praises. Agreed?
11. We love you with all our hearts, but we still get wistful about the fact that we’ll never feel that falling-in-love sizzle and spark again.
I’ll just come right out and say it: Most women are love addicts. And while we appreciate the depth and richness of long-time love, there is simply nothing like the giddy, fluttery, crazy feeling we get (or rather, used to get) with a brand-new guy. We know we’ll never feel that high again, and there’s a little part of us that will always miss it. (Why do you think we watch so many romantic comedies?) But in the end, what we get instead—you, and a lifetime of true devotion—is more than worth the price.
Secrets All Men Keep
I was in the ninth grade when I learned a vital lesson about love. My girlfriend at the time, Amy, was stunningly cute, frighteningly smart and armed with a seemingly endless supply of form-fitting angora sweaters. And me? Let’s just say I was an adolescent Chris Robinson to her budding Kate Hudson — and well aware of my good fortune.
Then one day, as we stood in line for a movie at the mall, Simone Shaw, junior high prom queen, sauntered by. Suddenly Amy turned to me. “Were you looking at her?” she asked. “Do you think she’s pretty?”My mind reeled. Of course I was looking at her! Of course she was pretty! My God, she was Simone Shaw! I paused for a second, then decided to play it straight.
“Well, yeah,” I chortled.
Five days later our breakup hit the tabloids (a.k.a. the lunchroom).
There comes a time in every man’s life when he discovers the value of hiding the grosser parts of his nature. He starts reciting the sweet nothings you long to hear: “No, honey, I play golf for the exercise.” “No, honey, I think you’re a great driver.” “No, honey, I wasn’t looking at that coed washing the car in the rain.”
We’re not lying, exactly. We’re just making things…easier. But Glenn Good, Ph.D., a relationship counselor, disagrees, and maybe he has a point. “These white lies are pretty innocent, but they can turn confusing,” he says. “Many women think, If he’s lying about himself, is he also lying about something else? Is he having an affair? To establish trust you have to tell the truth about the innocuous stuff.”
And so, in the interest of uniting the sexes, we’ve scoured the country for guys willing to share the private truths they wouldn’t normally confess. Some are a bit crass. Some you’ve always suspected. Some are surprisingly sweet. (Guys don’t like to reveal the mushy stuff, either.) But read on, and you may discover that the truth about men isn’t all that ugly.
Secret #1: Yes, we fall in lust 10 times a day — but it doesn’t mean we want to leave you
If the oldest question in history is “What’s for dinner?” the second oldest is “Were you looking at her?” The answer: Yes — yes, we were. If you’re sure your man doesn’t look, it only means he possesses acute peripheral vision.
“When a woman walks by, even if I’m with my girlfriend, my vision picks it up,” says Doug LaFlamme, 28, of Laguna Hills, California. “I fight the urge to look, but I just have to. I’m really in trouble if the woman walking by has a low-cut top on.”
Granted, we men are well aware that our sizing up the produce doesn’t sit well with you, given that we’ve already gone through the checkout line together. But our passing glances pose no threat.
“It’s not that I want to make a move on her,” says LaFlamme. “Looking at other women is like a radar that just won’t turn off.”
Secret #2: We actually do play golf to get away from you
More than 21 million American men play at least one round of golf a year; of those, an astounding 75 percent regularly shoot worse than 90 strokes a round. In other words, they stink. The point is this: “Going golfing” is not really about golf. It’s about you, the house, the kids — and the absence thereof.
“I certainly don’t play because I find it relaxing and enjoyable,” admits Roland Buckingham, 32, of Lewes, Delaware, whose usual golf score of 105 is a far-from-soothing figure. “As a matter of fact, sometimes by the fourth hole I wish I were back at the house with the kids screaming. But any time I leave the house and don’t invite my wife or kids — whether it’s for golf or bowling or picking up roadkill — I’m just getting away.”
Secret #3: We’re unnerved by the notion of commitment, even after we’ve made one to you
This is a dicey one, so first things first: We love you to death. We think you’re fantastic. Most of the time we’re absolutely thrilled that we’ve made a lifelong vow of fidelity to you in front of our families, our friends and an expensive videographer.
But most of us didn’t spend our formative years thinking, “Gosh, I just can’t wait to settle down with a nice girl so we can grow old together.” Instead we were obsessed with how many women who resembled Britney Spears we could have sex with before we turned 30. Generally it takes us a few years (or decades) to fully perish that thought.
Secret #4: Earning money makes us feel important
In more than 7.4 million U.S. marriages, the wife earns more than the husband — almost double the number in 1981. This of course is a terrific development for women in the workplace and warmly embraced by all American men, right? Right?
Yeah, well, that’s what we tell you. But we’re shallow, competitive egomaniacs. You don’t think it gets under our skin if our woman’s bringing home more bacon than we are — and frying it up in a pan?
“My wife and I are both reporters at the same newspaper,” says Jeffrey Newton, 33, of Fayetteville, South Carolina. “Five years into our marriage I still check her pay stub to see how much more an hour I make than she does. And because she works harder, she keeps closing the gap.”
Secret #5: Though we often protest, we actually enjoy fixing things around the house
I risk being shunned at the local bar if this magazine finds its way there, because few charades are as beloved by guys as this one. To hear us talk, the Bataan Death March beats grouting that bathroom shower. And, as 30-year-old Ed Powers of Chicago admits, it’s a shameless lie. “In truth, it’s rewarding to tinker with and fix something that, without us, would remain broken forever,” he says. Plus we get to use tools.
“The reason we don’t share this information,” Powers adds, “is that most women don’t differentiate between taking out the trash and fixing that broken hinge; to them, both are tasks we need to get done over the weekend, preferably during the Bears game. But we want the use-your-hands, think-about-the-steps-in-the-process, home-repair opportunity, not the repetitive, no-possibility-of-a-compliment, mind-dulling, purely physical task.” There. Secret’s out.
Secret #6: We like it when you mother us, but we’re terrified that you’ll become your mother
With apologies to Sigmund Freud, Gloria Steinem — and my mother-in-law.
Secret #7: Every year we love you more
Sure, we look like adults. We own a few suits. We can probably order wine without giggling. But although we resemble our father when he was our age, we still feel like that 4-year-old clutching his pant leg.
With that much room left on our emotional-growth charts, we sense we’ve only begun to admire you in the ways we will when we’re 40, 50 and — God forbid — 60. We can’t explain this to you, because it would probably come out sounding like we don’t love you now.
“It took at least a year before I really started to appreciate my wife for something other than just great sex; and I didn’t discover her mind fully until the third year we were married,” says Newton. “But the older and wiser I get, the more I love my wife.” Adds J.P. Neal, 32, of Potomac, Maryland: “The for-richer-or-poorer, for-better-or-worse aspects of marriage don’t hit you right away. It’s only during those rare times when we take stock of our life that it starts to sink in.”
Secret #8: We don’t really understand what you’re talking about
You know how, during the day, you sometimes think about certain deep, complex “issues” in your relationship? Then when you get home, you want to “discuss” these issues? And during these “discussions,” your man sits there nodding and saying things like “Sure, I understand,” “That makes perfect sense” and “I’ll do better next time”?
Well, we don’t understand. It doesn’t make any sense to us at all. And although we’d like to do better next time, we could only do so if, in fact, we had an idea of what you’re talking about.
We do care. Just be aware that the part of our brain that processes this stuff is where we store sports trivia.
Secret #9: We are terrified when you drive
Want to know how to reduce your big, tough guy to a quivering mass of fear? Ask him for the car keys.
“I am scared to death when she drives,” says LaFlamme.
“Every time I ride with her, I fully accept that I may die at any moment,” says Buckingham.
“My wife has about one ‘car panic’ story a week — and it’s never her fault. All these horrible things just keep happening — it must be her bad luck,” says Andy Beshuk, 31, of Jefferson City, Missouri.
Even if your man is too diplomatic to tell you, he is terrified that you will turn him into a crash-test dummy.
Secret #10: We’ll always wish we were 25 again
Granted, when I was 25 I was working 16-hour days and eating shrimp-flavored Ramen noodles six times a week. But as much as we love being with you now, we will always look back fondly on the malnourished freedom of our misguided youth. “Springsteen concerts, the ’91 Mets, the Clinton presidency — most guys reminisce about the days when life was good, easy and free of responsibility,” says Rob Aronson, 41, of Livingston, New Jersey, who’s been married for 11 years. “At 25 you can get away with things you just can’t get away with at 40.”
While it doesn’t mean we’re leaving you to join a rock band, it does explain why we occasionally come home from Pep Boys with a leather steering-wheel cover and a Born to Run CD.
Secret #11: Give us an inch and we’ll give you a lifetime
I was on a trip to Mexico, standing on a beach, waxing my surfboard and admiring the glistening 10-foot waves, when I decided to marry the woman who is now my wife. Sure, this was three years before I got around to popping the question. But that was when I knew.
Why? Because she’d let me go on vacation alone. Hell, she made me go. This is the most important thing a man never told you: If you let us be dumb guys, if you embrace our stupid poker night, if you encourage us to go surfing — by ourselves — our silly little hearts, with their manly warts and all, will embrace you forever for it.
And that’s the truth.
Article from Redbook Magazine