Mr. Nina often asks me if there’s an owner’s manual for me. LOL! I wish. Not that he’d ever read it, I mean come on, he’s a guy. But still, there are some things I tell him, that he still doesn’t quite understand. In no particular order, here’s a list of things women wish men would understand:
1. Unless there are bones, blood or sex involved never interrupt a woman’s first cup of coffee (or tea)… her bath.. or the last chapter of her book.
2. A hamper is a thing… not an area of the bedroom.
When I was in high school I was very active in drama. (I know … such a surprise right? LOL!) When I was on stage I got to become anyone. A fat Russian spy. A traveling dancer entertaining a MASH unit. A woman married to a murderer. I loved it!
Being an author is a lot like acting on stage. When I write a scene I crawl into the skin of that character. Burrow into their heads and think like them. And I really enjoy writing from the man’s point of view (POV). Many female authors I read are very good at creating flawed male characters who rise above their pain and backgrounds to save the world and fall in love.
And I started thinking about this. Why are women so good at this? I think it’s because we’ve spent so much of our lives studying the opposite sex. It starts at a young age with our dads. When I wanted something–to borrow the car or stay out past curfew–I knew when to ask my dad and when not to broach the subject. I also grew up with three brothers. There’s a lot you learn with three male siblings as they go about their days just doing guy things.
I realize not every writer grew up with their dad or male siblings. But it doesn’t matter your home life, every day we interact with others. From the playground to the classroom to the office, we connect with both sexes. And since most women are intuitive, we pick up on little nuances of behavior that most men don’t see or recognize. Writers simply learn how to extrapolate that information and turn it into a believable hero readers fall in love with.
Men are Visual
– They have better light detection and depth perception
– Conversations often stem from visual cues
– Sexual attraction starts with what he’s seeing
Men are Problem Solvers
– They are “doers” not “thinkers”
– They like being in charge (or think they are)
– They rarely admit being wrong (and it’s even more rare they apologize)
– They aren’t detail oriented. They prefer the big picture
– They rarely ask for opinions
Men are conservative in communication
– They speak around 7,000 words per day (Women are more around 20,000)
– Connect to the physical rather than the emotional
– Don’t use euphemisms
– They rarely listen without giving advice
– Don’t use adjectives
– Don’t enjoy small talk
– Rarely use agreeing noises (uh huh, oh yeah)
(Any major characteristics I missed?) So what about you? Do you think female writers create believable heroes who act like real men OR do they create men who act and talk the way a romance reader would want a man to act? What do you think? I’m always curious about stuff like that.
I’m not telling you all something you don’t know … men and women are NOT the same! I really believe it’s God’s way to entertain himself. Because we do not travel through this life dancing to the same beat.
Toilet seat up or down? Socks rolled in a ball or folded neatly? Iron for perfection or straight out of the dryer? Action movie or romantic comedy? Wrestle with the kids or read them a book before bed? Talk it out or ignore the problem? Clean as you go or use every pot in the kitchen and overfill the dishwasher? Clean the dust or use it for love notes? Watch one show or flip continuously so you don’t miss anything?
Those are just some of the things Mr. Nina and I deal with. (And I’m not going to tell you which side of those I sit on.) ROFLMBO! Anyway, you get the point I’m trying to make.
I never realized how different our household was while my two daughters lived at home. The first year my youngest daughter headed off to college, leaving only my son and Mr. Nina to work the remote (because I’m always on my computer) all of a sudden the television programming changed. All kinds of motors and sports shows I had never watched became part of nightly programming. And it wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy Top Gear,Legend of the Seeker and Sports Center (okay, not sports center, but Top Gear rocks). It was like a smuck upside the head at how my men had been quietly shifted into an ancillary room to watch their guy programming.
With our new move we have new cable programs available to us including Discovery. I have become addicted to American Chopper (mostly because I’m totally in love with Paul Jr’s dimples *sigh*). I reward myself with an episode or two during lunch or while I’m working on marketing stuff. Mr. Nina laughed so hard when he turned the channel late one night and I was checking out one of the choppers and said “wow, I like the lines of that one”. He laughed himself silly. It never occurred to him that I would enjoy that show.
Now let me tell you what Discovery Channel has figured out that many sports programs are imitating. They pull the female audience in with relationships. I’m drawn more to the push and pull of the brothers and their dad than the actual technical aspects of building a bike. They’ve pushed it further by having the family build bikes for worthwhile charities, showing the family meeting the needy children. Of course it pulls at the female heartstrings. Great marketing for getting both genders to watch.
Sports programs are hoping to capture the reluctant female of the house by sharing stories of the quarterback’s comeback season from a serious injury or the story of a streetwise kid whose mother kept pushing them toward sports and save them from the gangs. Women are more likely to watch a game when they care about the athletes. (Please don’t give me a hard time if you’re a woman who LOVES the game. I know there are a lot of you out there. I’m just talking about the marketing expertise of these program directors. LOL!) Women are just wired differently, they react with their hearts rather than their heads.
Writing both sides of the gender coin can be a challenge. I know I’ve totally screwed up conversations between two guys when I wanted it to be all about the emotions. WRONG! Guys talk in short sentences around an issues. They’re about solving the problem and moving on. Women work on the emotional level. And both genders use their bodies to communicate. love getting into the head of my characters and having them play off each other.
How do you find reading/writing men and women in your books? Do you enjoy one point of view over the other?