human behavior

What men want

Posted in Habits & Manners, The Expatriate Life by humanb on May 1, 2010

Living in Australia, I almost never get hit on by men. It’s a different story in the U.S., where men are much bolder about flirting with women than Aussie blokes are. After six years here, I’ve stopped being conscious of my womanhood. So it comes as an enormous surprise to me when a man finally does flirt with me. It’s been a while.

The man in question was a nurse in the Emergency Room. I can’t be certain he was flirting, but I’m usually one of those women who wouldn’t know a man was flirting with her unless he bopped her on the head and said “Lady, I’m flirting!” So since I think he was, I’m betting I wasn’t wrong.

Of course, the nurse was also foreign too. He asked me where I was from. I told him ‘The United States’. I asked him where he was from, and he said with great machismo, ‘The Republic of Czech!’ I’m not sure how Czech men interact with women, so his penetrating stares across the room, his smiles, invasions of personal space, and frequent comments of flattery may all be part and parcel of the run-of-the-mill, friendly, asexual banter between coworkers in his country. But for the purposes of this reflection, let’s say he was flirting.

First, shock. What’s happening? Then, confusion. Huh? Why is this happening? Then, recollection. Oh yeah, I’m a woman. He’s a man. This happens. Then, fear. Sh*t, what do I do? I’m married! Finally, GUILT.

I feel guilt because I’m facing the prospect of having to humiliate this man by telling him that I’m married. I stopped wearing my wedding ring at the hospital for the sake of hand hygiene, and now I’ve inadvertently advertised myself as available and left him open for embarrassment. I feel guilt for making his job harder as a man. They’re always putting themselves out there to face possible rejection.

I told a male friend about this. He replied, with hands held high in exasperation:

OH – MY – GOD! Why are women such IDIOTS?!!!!

We’re idiots apparently, for worrying about a man’s feelings when he flirts with us. His claim, which I still doubt, is that men are constantly putting out feelers just to see who bites. Man sees girl. Girl makes man horny. Man tries to bed girl. If girl rebuffs man, man moves on to next girl. The end. And on and on it goes. It’s not personal, and I’m not special.

I can accept that I’m not special. And I can accept the possibility – nay, the likelihood – that I wasn’t the first girl in the Emergency Room to receive the Czech nurse’s attentions. But I do question the proposition that this man was solely being led by his knob and was therefore impervious to the sting of rejection.  You can have a penis and a heart.

But maybe I’m wrong. I should probably trust another man’s opinion more than my own on the subject of what most men want and feel.  It’s confusing for us women though. The great books and movies always feature a hero with great faithfulness, nobility, and sensitivity. And many of these books and films were written by men. So we women can’t be faulted for assuming that men have the same wants and sensitivities that we do.

Are we idiots?

Maybe we are. But I’d rather be a kind idiot, than a heartless bitch. So I’ll be careful how I manage the nurse from the Republic of Czech. And I’ll continue to respect the other sex for accepting the humiliating task of always making the first move. I wouldn’t do it.

Someone’s gotta keep the species alive.

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