Blog by VONNIE DAVIS -- International, Award-Winning Romance Author: Adventurous...Humorous...Amorous.

Friday, May 11, 2012

HONORING DIFFERENCES IN THE SEXES

Some years ago, society went through a phase where it was politically incorrect to acknowlege any difference in the sexes. A premise spawned from the thinking "women can do anything a man can." If fact, many women--including myself, for a period--were determined to do whatever their male counterparts did.

In my case, I learned to read blueprints and operate machinery in the heavy metals industry. I was a card-carrying member of the IAM, International Machinists Union. Steel-toed shoes and denim aprons were my fashion statement items. Slivers of steel were embedded under my skin, and I could lift heavy pieces of iron along with Joe and Nathan. Not that I necessarily wanted to compete with a man, but I wanted to earn what he was earning. And I did.

I also got my bachelors in English and eventually changed professions, becoming a technical writer. Throughout those thirty-plus years, I studied men. Hey, someone had to do it!!!



What did I learn? Men are so wonderfully different from women--and I highly respect the differences. For one, our bodies are delightfully dissimilar. And I smile widely as I write that statement.

And for another--and this is especially important for writers--we think and speak differently.



"How was work today?" Alice kissed her husband as he pulled off his grey tie.

"Good."

"Did you get that project done or didn't your partner come through with those research figures you needed?"

"No."

"No, what?" Alice waved her hand. "You didn't get the project done or Carl didn't get his reseach figures in?"

His head and shoulders disappeared behind the refrigerator door. "Where's the beer?"

You see, women like to find out things. Men, on the other hand, like to ignore. That's why if a woman suspects her husband is cheating on her, she will turn into the best private eye on the planet searching for clues. That's also why a man will ignore his discarded shoes and dirty socks on the living room floor, and a woman will pick them up.

There are basic personality differences between the sexes. Sometimes these differences endear the other person to us. At others, they drive us freakin' insane! Don't 'cha love it?

A woman will see another woman wearing a pretty top and notice the color and style. She'll take note of the way the wearer's cinched in her waist with a wide, red stylish belt.

A man looks at the same woman wearing the same blouse and think, nice boobs.

It's how we're wired. And, folks, we're wired differently.

Make sure you remember that in your writing.

I've just finished judging a contest where writers failed to acknowlege those differences. One had a guy remarking how the cut of the heroine's dress made her look short and stocky, instead of emphazing her tiny waist. Men DON'T think that way. Not unless they're fashion designers. In fact, most men are too busy checking out your boobs and butt to notice the color of the dress. They are visual creatures, but only in relation to the body parts that turn them on--or the paint job on a classic car.

When something makes a woman angry, she will growl and talk about it for hours. A man says, "Screw it!" And he's done talking. But, make no mistake, he's stewing mentally over whatever's got his boxers in a twist.

We talk differently. Men often speak in grunts and groans and monosyllabic words. Not all, though, and this is where your characterization comes in. My husband, a retired English teacher and author, can out talk me any day. It's part of his character, based on his education, creativity level and interests.

Women notice details. Men notice what they want. Women are multi-taskers. Men are singularly focused.

Remember these differences as you write and your characters will ring true.

18 comments:

Jennifer Jakes said...

Great post, Vonnie! So very true. You gave some great examples. Learning this part of the writing craft isn't stressed enough.
Thanks!

Vonnie Davis said...

Hi Jennifer. I love it when a writer gets this part correct. As a mother of two grown men, when I can picture one of them saying or doing the very thing the author's written about, I then belong to the writer. She or he has me and I'm hooked.

Maeve said...

Great post! And thanks for the eye candy ;)

Vonnie Davis said...

Thanks for stopping by, Maeve. A little eye candy on a Friday never hurts.

Sarah Grimm said...

Great post, and so very true! I can't stand reading books where the men talk like women. Men don't talk like women. Trust me, I live with three men - husband, 18 year old son & 17 year old son.

Vonnie Davis said...

I agree, Sarah. Even my 13-year-old grandson had now evolved to the one word dialog status. I think it starts in puberty.
"How was school today?"
"Fine"
"Did you learn anything new?"
Grunt
"What did you have for lunch?"
"Don't remem..."

Arggghhhh!!! **slaps forehead**

Jannine Gallant said...

Awesome post, Vonnie. If I've learned anything about men after nearly 17 years of marriage, it's that they're completely oblivious to anything that doesn't directly affect them. Dirty socks on the floor and kids fighting (unless it's in front of the TV) have no meaning in a man's world!

Vonnie Davis said...

You are so right, Jannine. We need to note these differences in our writing of men. I don't always remember to do so and have to keep reminding myself MEN DO NOT THINK, ACT, MOVE OR SPEAK like women.

Nancy Jardine said...

I've just made a BIG post-it to put on my pinboard that sits behind my computer saying... Remember men are 'grunters'! Thanks, Vonnie. You're so right about them...at least about the ones I know.

Vonnie Davis said...

My husband says, "Hunh." several times a day. He's not asking me to repeat what I've said, but responding to it. Go figure. Thanks for stopping by.

Lynne Marshall said...

Hear, hear, Vonnie! Bless you for stating the obvious. There are many who will deny this 'til death.

We need to be realistic and "movements' are more into stating their cause than being honest.

Yes, men and women are wired differently. THANK GOD!

Vonnie Davis said...

Oh, indeed, Lynne. Can you imagine if both sexes scratched their butts and privates or squealed, jumped up and down and went, "Oh, my God!" Our differences, whether slight or major, adds so much to our lives. Yay us!

LaVerne Clark said...

A little late to this post - but just had to add >>> :D

Thanks for lifting my spirits tonight Vonnie! Great fun :)

Vonnie Davis said...

Hi LaVerne. Fess up, now, did you come for the writing tip or the ey candy??? Have a great weekend, hon.

Sandra Dailey said...

I raised two sons and two daughters. Another thing I've noticed about the difference. When the girls get upset, they get right i the face of the offender. The guys stomp around, ranting at empty space.

Vonnie Davis said...

Oh, Sandra, good one! Thanks for pointing that out. Yes, yes I can see that now that you mention it. Another authentic behavior pattern to include in our writing.

Calisa Rhose said...

My hubby gets mad at me for yelling out the window at the idiots who drive stupid.

I go nuts listening to him rant from inside our closed vehicle at them. He doesn't get it- I'M the ONLY one who hears him and I don't WANT to!

Great eye cand...er, post, Vonnie.

Wildcats Wife said...

Fantastic post. Great suggestions! I will check out your Honky Tonk novella.