Since the beginning of time, the question “What do men really want to talk about?” has been asked thousands of times – perhaps even millions of times. Well, here’s the answer: Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
Not much has changed for men since the early days of venturing out to kill food, carrying it back for the people he believes he’s responsible for feeding, and then just staring into the fire all evening.
In fact, if you believe in the Adam and Eve theory of creation, you can almost hear Adam telling Eve “I don’t want to talk about this apple thing anymore. The guy told us not to touch it, so let’s just leave it alone.”
From the oval office of the White House to the kitchen table of any other house, the opening question of most discussions between men and women is often the same and the subjects are always familiar: “When can we talk? How was your day? Do you think we should paint the house? Did you pay the electric bill this month? Have you noticed little Mary is spending too much time in front of a screen?”
Of course, not every conversation between the sexes is this mundane. But even in discussions of the most diverse topics, women still usually ask most of the questions and are also prepared to suggest most of the answers – from ending world hunger and investing in the future to promoting peace in the Middle East (or the local middle school).
But the wheels of evolution grind slowly and, at the end of the day, all most men want is to come home, sit down and stair into the fire; whether that takes the form of a television or laptop screen. A nice, cold beverage may also be involved (but not if it actually requires asking whoever he’s living with if there’s anything cold to drink).
Part of this disparity in communication styles simply stems from the way most women think. While most men tend to be linear thinkers, most women are natural multi-taskers. We can talk about anything or everything all at the same time we return an email, unload the car and cook a meal. It isn’t that women are smarter than men, it’s just that women learn from an early age that talking things out leads to solutions. Solutions are good. Solutions end wars. Solutions create harmony.
Men, on the other hand, don’t necessarily believe that talking leads to solutions. In a man’s mind, talking usually leads to more talking – and that leads to real fear about how long the talking will continue.
So, men are fully equipped with standard answers that avert more talking, gleaned and honed through years of experience with their mothers, sisters and grandmothers. Many of these will also sound familiar to any women who attempt to talk to the men they live with: “Maybe. Ok. Sounds good. Not sure.”
And the ultimate male answer that confirms he just doesn’t want to talk? “You’re probably right.”