Thursday, June 01, 2006

Men's Rules

Feel free to comment. I have bolded the ones that I think especially important (and I agree with Fr. Jim: these are issues couples bring to a priest!).

(Thanks to Fr. Jim Tucker for calling my attention to them, at Abhijeet 's Blog, original apparently from here.

Men's Rules

Women, learn to work the toilet seat. You're a big girl. If it's up, put it down. We need it up, you need it down. You don't hear us complaining about you leaving it down.

Birthdays, Valentines, and Anniversaries are not considered by us to be opportunities to see if we can find the perfect present . . . . again!

Sometimes we are not thinking about you. Live with it.

Sunday = sports. It's like the full moon or the changing of the tides. Let it be.

Don't cut your hair. Ever. Long hair is always more attractive than short hair. One of the big reasons guys fear getting married is that married women always cut their hair, and by then you're stuck with her.

Ask for what you want. Subtle hints do not work! Strong hints do not work! Obvious hints do not work! Just say it!

We don't remember dates. . . .Period!!

Most guys own three pairs of shoes - tops. What makes you think we'd be any good at choosing which pair, out of thirty, would look good with your dress?

Yes and No are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.

Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving it. That's what we do. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.

A headache that lasts for 17 months is a problem. See a doctor.

Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument. In fact, all comments become null and void after 7 days.

If you won't dress like the Victoria's Secret girls, don't expect us to act like soap opera guys.

If you think you're fat, you probably are. Don't ask us. We've been tricked before!!

If something we said can be interpreted two ways, and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one.

Let us ogle. We are going to look anyway; it's genetic.

You can either ask us to do something or tell us how you want it done. Not both. If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.

Whenever possible, please say whatever you have to say during commercials.

Christopher Columbus did not need directions, and neither do we.

The relationship is never going to be like it was the first two months we were going out. Get over it. And quit whining to your girlfriends.

ALL men see in only 16 colors, like Windows default settings. Peach, for example, is a fruit, not a color. Pumpkin is also a fruit. We have no idea what mauve is.

If it itches, it will be scratched. We do that.

We are not mind readers and we never will be. Our lack of mind-reading ability is not proof of how little we care about you.

If we ask what is wrong and you say "nothing," we will act like nothing's wrong. We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle.

If you ask a question you don't want an answer to, expect an answer you don't want to hear.

Don't ask us what we're thinking about unless you are prepared to discuss such topics as navel lint, the shotgun formation, or monster trucks.

Foreign films are best left to foreigners. (Unless it's Bruce Lee or some war flick where it doesn't really matter what they're saying anyway.)

BEER is as exciting for us as handbags are for you.

Thank you for reading this; Yes, I know, I have to sleep on the couch tonight, but did you know, it's like camping.
- Howard Daughters


Anonymous said...

Priests always complain when people come to them with "dumb" problems, but when they have real ones, they refer them to the psychologist.

I thought I had the perfect husband. He is the complete opposite of all of those things listed here. But, after eighteen years of marriage, and while I was pregnant with our fourth child, he decided to tell me that he was never in love with me, married me so that he could have his own children and family, and has homosexual tendencies.

I thought there was something wrong with me all of these years. He told me I was too smothering, and oversexed, because I wanted to be with him more than a few times a year. I made me believe that I was too demanding when I wanted to spend time together. He made everything look really great on the outside, but inside it has been very lonely and terribly sad.

I have been to numerous priests with this, and they have all referred me to the psychologist. One, a canon lawyer, said that I have grounds for an annulment, but that he respects my wishes to not break up the family. One avoids me every time I see him. A couple on the internet, express "I'm sorry, but you need professional help".

What I was looking for, was some spiritual direction so that I can survive this, and still be a good mother to my children. What prayers can I say? How can I handle not having sex and still being married? How can I handle the sadness and heartbreak?

My husband went into therapy, only because I threatened to divorce him, but he isn't really looking to help himself. He just doesn't want things to change. He loves being a dad and respected member of our church and community.

What do you suggest Father?

Fr Martin Fox said...


The reason many priests refer a more serious problem is because they are smart to know their limits. For someone to muck around with a delicate matter, when he isn't up to the challenge, is like performing surgery when you aren't a surgeon.

Also, many times people come asking the priest to tell them what to do; far better is for the priest to help the person discover ones own real desires and needs, and the right values to determine the right course of action.

And the reason priests online shy away from dealing with this is that it's really not appropriate. I don't know you, how in the world can I give advice or guidance?

That said, you seem rather insistent. If you really want advice from a total stranger, who knows almost nothing about you...well, do you know the saying, caveat emptor? It means, "buyer beware"!

I'm terribly sorry for your situation, as described.

You asked for "spiritual direction"; with all respect, wouldn't you be rather suspicious of a priest who thought nothing of giving spiritual direction over the Internet?

I really don't understand why you can't find a priest, in real life, to provide this -- unless you are seeking more than that, and that's why they refer to a counselor or psychologist.

There are no "special prayers"; there is only prayer.

You may, perhaps, find solace in the writings of someone like Theresa Avila or John of the Cross, who wrote about the spirituality of darkness and loss.

I would encourage you to attend Mass frequently, and spend time before the Blessed Sacrament. Pour out your heart to our Eucharistic Lord; but seek, more, to be silent in his presence, and to let him nourish you.

But we are not merely spiritual; we are body and mind, so if you try to deal with this, without wrestling with the psychological realities, don't be surprised if problems remain -- just as praying for a tumor to go away can work; but it shouldn't surprise us -- if we don't go to the doctor too -- it just gets worse.

So not knowing you, I can only surmise that those who do, who encourage you to seek a psychologist or counselor, have sound reason for doing so. Not knowing you, I have no way of knowing even if you disagree, although I suspect that from what you wrote above. I could be wrong.

But if, indeed, you do disagree, again -- I don't know if you're right, or if you're simply resistant -- which, if that's true, is noteworthy, something for you to think about.

One more thing: if you thought I was calling the problems people bring to a priest "dumb," I regret the misunderstanding. That was not my meaning at all. On the contrary; my point was that however humorous or seemingly trivial these issues in this list might be, they do actually become serious issues within couples. I.e., I didn't merely post this for humor.

I don't know if this answers your question. I don't know what more I can offer you. I can and will pray for you.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Martin: Great pastoral response here: respectful, nonjudgemental, and compassionate. I'm glad I found your blog. I'd love to know more about your history-Pentecostalism, politics and the Pope! (sorry, you can't take the journalist out of the priest!)

As to the men's rules-I like the content, but the tone bothers me. Why do men act so antagonistic to women and vice versa? Yikes. Can't we love one another in spite or because of our differences?

Grace and peace, Elizabeth+

Fr Martin Fox said...


Well, I took the list to be meant as humor, and I took the tone to express a little exasperation.

I'm glad you found my blog too. If you hang around, I'm sure I'll post things that will include autobiographical detail, as I have done already (feel free to plunder the archives).

By the way, does the "plus sign" after your name mean you're an abbess or something? Just curious...):

Anonymous said...

Dear Fr.

Agree - your response was very good and I too will add her to my prayer list.

As for your list - which I too took as humor with some truth tucked in - here you go:

I think what this points out at the high level is that men and women, in general, are wired differently and, for those of us with kids, you see it VERY EARLY ON - eliminating the 'It's all the enviroment' concept. And, we perfectly compliment each other.

Take for example communicatin - which 90% of the comments are really about and ALL your bolded comments pertain to. Wouldn't life be boring if all the questions and comments were answered with a yes/no, a grunt and a scratch? On the other hand, life would happen and we wouldn't get anywhere if all we did was talk about how we feel about it and review EXACTLY what everyone said and what their tone was when they said it. In His image He made them - male AND female. But it also points to, I think, what we all need to do - understand not only the 'other side' but more importanly ourselves. (Particularly since NONE of us is all one way and no one is the average!) So - while I tend to have more male communication patterns (and hence have to be careful that I don't intimidate women) I generally start conversations with my boss, male friends, son, etc. with - "Here's what I want you to do or not do." or "I think you need to know this but I don't want you to do anything with it right now." This typically helps most men relax and not think about what am I supposed to be doing to fix the problem. On the other hand, I know that I can be sensitive and have my feelings hurt and have to step back and say - 'Gee is that what they really meant?' Giving the benefit of the doubt on intent is one of the hardest parts of true charity for me.

The other reality is that no ONE person can meet all the needs of another person - not at home, not at work, not in your friendships. So develop a group of people that you can help and that can help you in these areas.

Finally - the whole bathroom seat issue. Yep - I'm a big girl. Yep, I know how the stupid seat works HOWEVER - the consequences are NOT equal. You probably haven't gotten up in the middle of the night, NOT turned the lights on or were sleepy, sat down and HIT WATER and THEN dropped your #*$& nightgown in it!!! This does NOT allow a person to duty her duty quickly and go back to bed. NOR have you lived through your 4 - 8 year old daughter doing the same thing and screaming bloody murder in the middle of the night. So - big boys - put the @#*& SEAT DOWN!!

Anonymous said...

As a woman who works mostly with men, these rules are right on. Especially how differently our minds work. (But because I tend to also think more problem solving rather than just relating, I have to watch myself with women, just like Jackie).

Fortunately, living alone, except for a black cat, I don't have to worry about the toliet seat.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Martin: An abbess! Ha, I wish...the good old days when women had real authority. Nah, I'm an Episcopal priest and a writer. Have you seen my blog I will have to read some of your archival work...but I warn you, I ask a lot of questions! Best wishes, Elizabeth (I go by Pastor sometimes in congregations, because "Mother" sounds even more like an abbess!!)

Ellen said...

Oh my goodness, can't some people take this for what it is - a humorous assessment of relationships. I thought it was hysterically funny. But then, I tend to not look at life too seriously, unless the situation warrants it. I like to look on the bright side of life.

To anonymous, I can't imagine dealing with what you are dealing with. I will pray that God gives you strength to deal with your situation. I am sorry that you have been dealt such a challenging hand in life and I hope that you can find a solution that works for you.

Unknown said...

What worries me is that I see myself in some of the descriptions meant to be of males. (The shoes thing especially. I once wore one pair of running shoes almost every day- until the left one quite literally disintegrated on my foot I was along and suddenly the sole came off ! )

Unknown said...

Walking along, I meant...

Fr Martin Fox said...


My answer to the seat up/down thing is: why can't we put a urinal in a bathroom at home? After all, bathrooms nowadays are big ticket items, how about a urinal -- what would it cost?

And if not, then -- how about a night light?

About communication: yes, you're correct. The thing I would emphasis is that I do believe relationships do have real tensions over these things.

I remember a conversation I had with a woman who came to me for advice about her marriage. I would ask, "Have you told him how you feel about that?" She answered (more than once): "He knows how I feel."

Anonymous said...

I work with males all day, and these aren't that funny if you look at men all day...egads, but at least when they're awake, I can't hear them snoring!

Sorry to make the obvious observation, but hey, that's womens' rules, huh?

Anonymous, you might do well to talk to a therapist. It's not that scary and it might help you come to terms with what you want to do about your version of what is really an untalked about but very common problem nowdays.

You realize I hope that the marriage failure rate is about 50% and of the other 50%, at least half are downright miserable but more or less do-able with a lot of courage and about as much prayer as you are capable of.....It's not at all uncommon to have these problems, just so you know it's not just you because you're female or anything like that.....

You marry a guy and you know what? You get him, and then you get him and know what? You still have him. I cringe every time I see a young girl head over heels...ack. The world goes on. At least we get kids as a result. Lucky they show up early in the marriage eh?

Oh, and Fr. The toilet seat is up when all these guys go because their moms taught them to do it that way--it prevents the spraying. Ack. Guys are supposed to put it down when they're done because it's their problem. Not ours. Capice?

Rick Lugari said...

The toilet seat argument does not fare well for the women. They forget that men need to put the toilet seat down for themselves occasionally (like to read and stuff). I can empathize with the shocking reality of cold porcelain against the bottomside. I committed that same oversight too...ONCE. If a 8 year old boy can learn that lesson, one would think a grown woman could too.


Anonymous said...


Yes, an 8 year old boy may have learned it OR the probability is in a guy's favor - that is - since they read during this part of their time in there - the odds of it happening in the middle of the night is NOT very high. So - you could have learned the lesson OR not needed the lesson since then!! :)


No urinal in the home bath - they are ugly and expensive and what a pain to clean. The night light is intersting, but have you, in a state of sleepiness, ever taken a quick glance - seat up or down - not a lot of difference - especially when you don't spend much of that time facing thre toilet.

Now - here's the other reality that men just need to come to grips with (just like women need to accept that MOST men do not and will not spend time 'sharing their feelings) - if you live with women in your home - regardless of the age - your lives WILL be better if you put the seat down. NO amount of logic will work in the middle of the night as she is pulling herself out of the toilet, wet up to her neck, knees up to her chin and a mess. Save yourselves. Put the seat down!!

God Bless.

Anonymous said...

Like I said, Rick, the whole toilet seat thing is a male problem. If men didn't have this "aim" problem, toilet seats wouldn't have to be made flippable to prevent spray on the wall.

One more indication the world is fundamentally flawed--some things just don't work right. ;)

You'd think with fundamental imperfection staring them in the face like that, there'd be more guys in church looking for transcendency, wouldn't ya?

Fr Martin Fox said...

Re: the toilet seat

I think I sense a double-standard.

Women say, "ack, it's dark in the bathroom, we should be able to do our business without checking! But men leave the seat up, and into the bowl we go!"

OK, then, does that work the other way? When the men goes into the bathroom next, will he find the seat UP -- or, will he have to check?

Or, are you ladies comfortable with the man relieving himself without checking if the seat is up or down?

Anonymous said...

That's the point. You have to check. This is a basic flaw of design that makes extra steps necessary if men want to relieve themselves indoors.

And, men definitely should check, yes. Otherwise, they will make a monumental mess that some poor woman somewhere no doubt will have to clean up. Because, hey, you forgot one of mens' rules: Never notice if you pee on the wall--that way you can get out of cleaning it up and you can blame someone else for this design flaw.

You know, women don't have this problem.

Oh, and it's mens' rather than men's. Is bad grammar a mens' rule too?

Fr Martin Fox said...


The possessive of man is man's; the possessive of men is men's, not mens'; this is easily seen by taking away the apostrophe: there is no proper word in English, "mens."

SoonerScotty said...


What a great set of comments you've got going! Everything from real pastoral issues to grammar lessons!

Way to go Fr.!

Ellen said...

Why is it that a device designed for the "process of elimination" can spark such a heated debate. I love it! Fortunately, my husband has found a solution to this debate in our house. A few years ago he read about how many germs are "sprayed" on the flush, so we have all gotten into the habit of putting both the seat and lid down. This solved the problem in our house.

Rick Lugari said...

one of mens' rules: Never notice if you pee on the wall--that way you can get out of cleaning it up and you can blame someone else for this design flaw.



There's a wise old proverb that may help you. It goes something like, "it's better to light a candle than curse the toliet seat.


Tom said...

Wouldn't life be boring if all the questions and comments were answered with a yes/no, a grunt and a scratch?

Boring? Boring?

Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
But to be male was very heaven.

Anonymous said...


This has been a lot of laughs - but might I point out that - like most of the other comments on Father's orginally posted list (which I want to thank him for having the guts to post!!) it's really about the different wiring between men and women - particularly in communications.

The reality of this difference is that while I will absolutely admit that it is logical to check before you sit and that it seems reasonable BUT the reality is that this is an emotional issue - particularly at that cold, wet moment in the middle of the night. It's not about logic!!

And that other really important saying that is oh so true in most families - 'If Mama ain't happy, ain't NOBODY happy!!'

Thanks for the fun - I've had several good laughts - good I wasn't taking a drink - would have sprayed my computer screen!!

God Bless All

glorybe said...

I found this post very offensive. Can you imagine good St. Joseph saying any of these things to our Blessed Mother?

Can you imagine your leaving the seat up if the Blessed Mother came to visit your home?

Are these really considerate things to say to someone? "Live with it!" is not a very nice way to say something.

I didn't find this funny at all.

Also, I feel really sad for that first Anonymous lady. How terrible to be tricked into marriage, and find out about it years later! My heart and prayers go out to her.

Fr. Larry Gearhart said...

I showed your post to Margie, and she got mad enough to provide you with free scatalogocial assistance of an irreversible kind. ;-)

All the talk about flipping the seat reminded me of the unique characteristics of the off-balance seat in my apartment. As my predecessor, you may recall this problem. I finally decided to give up flipping it up, because it was designed with an off-balance center of gravity, causing it to flop down while I was perfecting my aim. Besides causing a quite unexpected scattering problem, it made an awful racket. I finally decided to trust my aim, and supplement, where necessary, with the strategic application of tissue and disinfectant.

I wonder if this approach could be generalized, and save some of the 50% of "tanked" marriages?

Fr. Larry Gearhart said...

I don't know if anonymous is still watching this post, but it strikes me we may be talking about women's intuition gone awry. Of course, not all women can distinguish intuitively between gays and straights, nor can all distinguish between men who would be good fathers and men who just want to play around. Nevertheless, there is some evidence that most women, by far, have such intuition, and they simply make bad choices, with one complex set of emotional needs overriding another under insufficient conscious mediation. See, for example, "Women's Ability to Read Faces Leaves Men at Distinct Disadvantage."

It's also possible something even more convoluted (from a Darwinian perspective) is happening, with the real choice having been made, for selfish reasons, just as the husband indicated, but with the intuition advantage belonging to the husband.

It strikes me that a psychologist who was not acqainted with these kinds of issues could be pretty limited in his or her ability to grapple with these problems, and might be better advised to stick with helping anonymous (and others like her) arrive at a sense of peace through unguided self-exploration, providing little more than active listening and assistance in developing problem-solving skills.

In other words, as well intentioned as these priests were in referring her, her problem may be beyond the current state of the art to handle fully, mostly because a schema for assessing anonymous' deficits, and a program for addressing them, may not yet exist in the clinical literature. Because of the "third rail" of homosexuality in the DSM-III having been dropped in the DSM-IV, this problem, and other social and/or emotional problems connected with SSA, is likely to remain off limits for the foreseeable future.