A Modern-Day Lady's Guide To Interpreting Men (And Why I Hate Women's Magazines)

I don't typically read women's magazines, mostly because I find I'm much more critical of my body after reading the magazines. Yes, this is the same for fitness magazines (I don't have abs like that). Yes, I realize the photos are all airbrushed (but I can't see the "before" image, so....). Yes, I'm happy with my body (despite the fact that I've been sucking in my bloated stomach all day). The fact still remains: I usually end up standing in front of a mirror breaking down the stretch marks I have on my bum and the fact that I have peach fuzz on my body. So I steer clear, and usually I'm much happier with myself.

But I also have problems with the articles in most of the magazines. Even the fitness ones. Because they are all dumb. All. Of. Them.

Example 1: I once read an article from a women's running magazine about how to run with your spouse/boyfriend and the writer stated that it was best to not discuss your problems with your partner and tell your lady friends later on. Because he doesn't want to hear your problems. Because women are running with their husbands now, but it's still the 1950s. (Additional advice, straight from me, but in the same vein: let your husband/boyfriend win every time. Don't be faster than him. Men have fragile egos and will leave you if you don't let him be faster and win.)

Example 2: I happened to find myself in the company of a few women friends in a hospital room, where we had a pile of magazines plopped in front of us. We all grabbed a magazine, perused the pictures, then traded and perused again. I ended up with a pretty well-known health magazine with a cover story about decoding men. (Side note: how does that count as health?) The article was essentially a list of nice things your partner might do for you in a relationship, an entire paragraph on how to interpret that action, and then another entire paragraph on how to respond to that action. (Also, there was a picture of a shirtless man painting the toenails of his supposed girlfriend - how many ways can you say DUMB? And also, no.)

Example 2a:
Action: Your boyfriend takes you out for a nice dinner after you've had a rough day at work.
Interpretation: Your boyfriend is saying he values you as a human being and thinks you work really really hard and he wants to thank you for all the work you do to help put dinner on the table because he's not working nearly as hard as you and he understands that you have problems that are more important than his problems yada yada yada. This paragraph goes on for a while.
Reaction: Some long discussion about whether or not you should say thank you or do the same for him when he has a rough day. (I mean, really? How did your parents raise you?)

Now, here's my theory when it comes to guys: they say what they mean. I've dated several guys, and I like to think they've been a variety of types and personalities, and while some of them did not say anything they truly meant (note: this does not mean males are bad, it means those dudes were bad people), for the most part it is pretty simple to figure things out. Guys, unlike some females, do not cloak things in passive aggressiveness and with the intent to hurt you. (Although really, ladies, you should be saying things you mean and with honesty as well. It would behoove you.)

And so, ladies, I ask you to please stop reading too much into what that dude said to you and just take it at face value. The End. Figure out something else to worry about.*

If you need a helpful guide, or a few examples, I've included a few actions/phrases often used and their translations.

He buys you flowers. = He bought you flowers.

He didn't buy you flowers. = He didn't buy you flowers.

"I'll talk to you later." = He'll talk to you later.

He didn't call. = He didn't call.

"I like you." = He likes you.

He took you out to dinner after you had a rough day at work. = He took you out to dinner after you had a rough day at work.

He rolled over to go to sleep. = He rolled over to go to sleep.

I think you get the gist here. DO NOT immediately jump to conclusions in either direction, whether it's the conclusion that you will be married and in love for the rest of your life or that he hates you and is sleeping with someone else. DO take things at face value and DO make sure you have enough focus on yourself and are developing yourself enough that you realize you're strong enough to deal with whatever comes your way. Because, modern-day ladies, you totally are.

*I reserve the right to not follow my own advice.

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