Over the years I’ve had my ears powered up, with the volume level set to 10. When I listen, I pick up on things. In the decade since college I have had the fortune, or misfortune maybe, to listen to men talk. I have ascertained that, in all their diatribes, what total idiots men are. In particular, men are morons when they speak to or about women. Here’s one field report.
I used to work with an office mate named Jeff. Jeff was an unintentional typical guy, representing the mainstream American Male. But he was attractive and successful in his career; not a bad start. We worked for a firm that afforded us good pay, interesting work and lots of time to shoot the shit. During downtime, we talked about sports you-name-it and the weather too.
I tried to clue him in on some of life’s great joys like red wine, sushi, motorcycles. I endorsed Spanish Football and the fact that yoga is not a “cult”. Yet, after all the sports talk and weather reports fizzled we were left with dead air and ended up in the same place, over and over.
That place: Jeff’s empty bed. Jeff’s main conversational piece, no matter what the topic at hand, centered around his disappointments with women.
He complained about his mother. Fair enough. We all do. But his grumbling conversation always morphed into how Life didn’t get him laid enough and that this was unfair.
He’d tell me about the girl he took out on a date last week who appeared uninterested, that unappreciative harlot. I asked him where he took her for dinner, what they talked about, and what they had in common, if anything. He shrugged his shoulders as if to say “Why does that matter?” I guess this “broad”, as he called her at one point, should have been happy enough that he had asked her out. Just that he had put in the effort. This should have been enough.
Jeff also whined about girls who wouldn’t date him, and how unfair that was. He nitpicked about the elegant gender’s shortcomings too. Like how some women wear their make-up, go tanning, stay in shape, take care of themselves, look pretty and do other peevish things to attract the men, like him, that they would never think of dating. Awful bitches.
Likewise, there were the complaints about threesomes his friends had that he was never a part of. Sad to say, they had ever thought to invite him, so he lamented that too. And he spoke often about the Big Ten university he attended and its great sports, but moaned how the presence of athletes bound for the pros messed up his chance to get some.
The problem—Jeff’s problem— is his uncompelling, repetitive, pointless argument. His complaining that started out daily as a simple story to me, in the office during a slow work day, was probably taking place with everyone he encountered. My hunch is that Jeff’s dates went downhill before the entrée hit the table, as simple banter routinely led to his storytelling of “My Sad Sack Life”.
First off, guys, women don’t like sad sacks. And they don’t like complaining either. It’s not a selling point.
When was the last time you heard a woman say they love Brad Pitt most for his pissing and moaning, or that the late Andy Rooney’s curmudgeonry was “sexy”? And when was the last time you heard James Bond complain to Q about the turning radius of his supercharged getaway car? (Answer: Never.)
But no matter how much the Jeffs of the world squeak and squirm about how women suck for not wanting to blow them the first time they meet at a Starbucks, things don’t change. I’ve heard it --sometimes eavesdropping, sometimes probing men about their style and approach – for years.
Men assume when they brag that women are impressed. And some assume that when they complain, wince or stew about their misfortunes that women, being sensitive creatures, will automatically offer empathy. Or better yet, sex. Doesn’t work that way. Pouty/Sexy isn't a male trait.
In short, guys, when you’re talking to a woman with the endgame of becoming her love interest (or even a hot fling) the conversation shouldn’t be about you. Don’t complain about how you didn’t get into pharmacy school or your non-existent sex life. She doesn’t want to hear about your irritable bowel syndrome, your overdraft fees, or the fact that Aaron Rodgers f’d up your fantasy football this weekend. Your focus and attention should be on her and why she is special. And it should be genuine.
Looking back, I realized one thing. After the 100th time I heard Jeff’s complaints I can safely say this. That had Jeff’s complaints been interesting, I’d make a lucrative career as his biographer. But no book deal has materialized.
Still, as I live and listen to men daily, I can't help but pick up on their pointless grumbling. Maybe I’ll write that book just for fun.
In the meantime, guys, it you want to dig your own romantic grave and bury your social lives in it, there’s no advice to guide you. You’ll have to dig on your own. Hell, you’re already halfway there.
Pallenburg works in the investment world by day, and swills cognac by night. Follow him on Twitter at @WomanizerThinkr.