Do you think like a man?
I am a woman. Yet I do not equivocate in my choice of words, my body language, or my decision-making. Except – and this is important – if it serves my purpose.
And that, in itself, is thinking like a man.
Men are schooled to be more goal oriented, doing rather than feeling. Focus is placed on destination rather than journey, and result over process.
Has this changed in the past twenty years? That’s not my impression.
Gender roles, gender bias, gender pick-and-choose
Am I looking to shed the beauty of my gender, or to slot men and women into neat little boxes? On the contrary. But as a woman in a competitive world, we have things to learn from our men – just as they have much to learn from us. And we can choose how we think, if not necessarily how we feel.
If I say I think like a man, I will also mention that isn’t the case on every dimension. But I will say this: As a woman, I have greater freedom to think and act in ways that are both womanly and manly – and do so to my advantage.
How men approach problem-solving
Who hasn’t experienced the clear differences in men and women, when it comes to solving a problem?
Most women wish for a kind and supportive ear, a discussion, and not Prince Charming to swoop down with an instant solution. But that doesn’t rule out the fact that at times – that’s helpful. It’s a matter of careful listening, and discerning when suggestions are being solicited, versus conversation to air concerns.
I do like to offer solutions, but first I choose to listen and assess.
There are times to nod and support. There are times to offer suggestions.
Gender Think vs Gender Speak
What is Gender Think versus Gender Speak? What words take form inside your thoughts? What words do you choose before you talk? This is an issue of developing habits in speech, and acknowledging the confidence – or lack of it – that comes along for the ride.
Likewise, I’m recommending attention to body language, some of which emerges naturally. I have found that when I eliminate qualifiers from my speaking, I stand up straighter. My tone is more sure, I come across with more authority. And my body language changes.
Our words and their delivery affect perceptions and thus, reality – our perceptions of self, and those of others concerning us. Diction is a way in which we can transform ourselves – at any time, and any place. It costs nothing to do so, requires practice, and observation as to how the change in language is working – effectively or not.
Life is not binary; in that way, I think like a woman, or a man who has some years under his belt. Black and white assessments are rarely on target, and there is no “one right answer” to most issues, with very few exceptions. Even those exceptions are based upon a moral code which is a product of western society.
My language – including inner dialog – reflects my appreciation of the grays, but it does so with assurance.
Think like a man, act like a woman
I know there’s pop culture literature out there about thinking like a man, and acting like a woman. Frankly, even those words confuse me. (Another sign that I think like a man?)
As for acting like a woman – I’m feminine, I’m flirty when appropriate, my body language responds when I am attracted to a man. I love my perfume, my hot shoes, my lovely attire, and yes – my inherent sensuality, my capacity for empathy, and my natural intuition. These are attributes which may come more easily, but not exclusively, to women.
I am free to mask it or reveal it, as can a man – without ever speaking a word.
Do I really think like a man?
I think the way I think – in direct fashion, and simultaneously considering multiple possibilities. I have learned, through practice, to express those possibilities with confidence.
Romantic interpretation, Reading faces
- If a man isn’t calling, he isn’t interested.
- If a man says he wants X, he wants X.
- If the direct route doesn’t work, then a man takes an alternate path to get what he wants.
Take a look at some of the images here, of men. Their faces and their body language. Can you really read what’s behind the eyes? What’s behind the smile?
Is body language more telling than anything? With gestures and poses, do you know more?
Even if a man is direct, does that mean he won’t have multiple agendas any more than a woman will?
Of course not. We all have agendas, just as we all have times to go with the flow. Our capacity to read another’s unspoken objectives is a function of expectations, wariness, wisdom, and experience – or inexperience. Reading expressions cannot be perfected, but it can be improved.
Ironically, but not surprising – most think like a man, act like a woman articles I’ve encountered are targeted at women and deal only in the romantic arena.
Right. Is this yet one more way that men and women are different? Do women gravitate to emotional and interpersonal spaces, or are we in fact consumed by them?
Sex: Why I think like a man
I do not believe we are meant to be monogamous. I love the idea of monogamy, but its practicality for thirty years? Or forty, or fifty? I suggest that requires openness, curiosity, corresponding levels of libido, and luck.
I believe sex may be enjoyed tremendously, with or without deep emotional attachment. Passion does not convince me that I am in love.
Passion is one thing; love, quite another.
Even in the world of sexual fantasy, men and women are more similar than most (women) will admit, though love adds a dimension to sex that is extraordinary, and must be experienced to be understood.
Ambition: Why I think like a man
I do not think about being happy; I think about feeling good, about achieving, about the journey to achieving and how good that feels. I set goals. I go after them with everything in me. I love the feeling of both – the process and the accomplishment.
Then I set more goals, and go after them with everything in me.
My goals include giving back. I know many men whose goals include giving back.
I will clarify: my integrity is integral to my character, and I will not achieve my ends at the expense of my ethics, or my relationships. I do not think of this as being “womanly.” I believe it is what used to be known as an honorable man. We have, in contemporary society, lost sight of the value of an honorable man.
Love: Why I think like a man
I understand that love is an expandable room of invisible forces. I know this not from stories in childhood, not from feel-good depictions in film, but from life experience. I understand that love is not an absolute, nor a single color, nor a single combination of behaviors or words.
Love does not conquer all. But life is richer with love in it.
I think like a man who is growing older. One who has come to pose questions. To look beyond surfaces. To take time for reflection. For men, this comes more readily with age or hardship, as vitality yields to vulnerability, which in turn offers fertile emotional terrain.
I understand human failing. I find beauty in the entity as a whole, including the flaws. In this, I am very much a woman.
Men and control, manipulation vs management
A desire for control is not gender-specific. There are controlling men, controlling women, and narcissism abounds in both sexes.
As women, we can learn from the context and ease with which men exercise a sense of control; expressing ourselves directly, without qualifying our language and thus compromising our opinions. Unless it achieves a goal – conciliatory, flirtatious, or whatever objective you have in mind.
Some may argue that this is manipulation, and that manipulation is at the core of a woman’s nature. I would respond that manipulation is a term that bears negative connotations. All euphemisms aside, manipulation is the mastery of getting others to do what you wish. It is a tool in negotiation, sales, management, counseling, teaching, and parenting. So let us use more palatable words after all, less likely to offend: persuade, convince, or effectively manage.
Why I am glad to be a woman: emotions
I believe women live closer to sensory and sentimental territories. And I am glad.
We feel our bodies rise and twist, ache and ease back. We feel this monthly for much of our lives. We feel this as life grows inside of us, and for decades after. We dream this beating, rolling, roiling landscape, and it informs our judgments and our actions. We allow ourselves a wide sweep of emotions and their expression: sorrow and tears, joy and tears, delight and laughter, pride and smiles. We know our fallibility, and we should view this as a strength. We understand the value of our inner work and its ongoing pursuit.
Our culture supports us in all of this, though anger is frowned upon, and women are disparaged for expressing rage or outrage. This is a register of the emotional spectrum considered standard fare for men, and “unattractive” or unacceptable in women. Similarly, sexuality as we grow older is more likely to be ignored in women, and assumed, if not applauded when it comes to men.
Why I am glad to be a woman: freedom
As a woman, I am nonetheless freer to pick and choose those acquired and natural aspects of self that suit me. Some are traditionally feminine, and others are traditionally masculine. Men do not possess this freedom; certainly not until they are considerably older. Gender roles persist; men bear more expectations than ever, more confusion than ever.
A woman’s life is no less encumbered, but we have choices we do not fully recognize. Certainly, the way we speak. Certainly, aspects of the way we think.