You buggers, do you actually speaka da English?

Every so often I’ll have a conversation with a man that will leave me wondering if we are of the same species, hell, I’m starting to think you bastards are all aliens, and illiterate ones at that.  Is it so hard to tell me, “Look here woman, there’s a way I penda your ass like a nonsense, si we hook up?  I know, that’s not very sexy, but at least it’s direct and to the point, no?  What is it about men?  For whatever reason you buggers find it damn near impossible to say what you feel for a woman to that (specific) woman.  Oh sure, you’ll go out of our way to ‘show’ your intentions, with (not) expensive gifts and lengthy dinners, elaborate emails and long phone calls, funny tweets and sexy pokes, such like courting nonsense, instead of just looking her dead in the eye and telling her what it is you want and need from her.  Is it so hard to tell that woman that you think she’s the best thing since sliced bread?  Is it really that great a challenge to tell her you crave her like an addict craves smack?  Or is it simply that we don’t speak the same language?  

I am vexed, is all I’m saying, and I’ve concluded that these communication problems are the reason half of us are single, and the other half would like to be.  Folks, today we’re going to break this language barrier, if only so that I’m no longer the slow idiot who doesn’t realise a man wishes her, until he no longer does.   

As always, I turned to google for some unscientific research, such as I do, but oddly enough this time the search itself was more helpful than the results.  First I googled ‘men+women+different+language’, but the results were either psychology mumbo jumbo or marriage counselling, clearly not relevant to me, seeing as how I’m both (not entirely) sane and single.  Next I googled ‘trying to figure men out’, and the results were a load of ‘don’t try and be what he wants, be what you want, be a better you…’ self help bullshit, also not useful (I mean, come on, ‘How can you improve on this?’ she says, pointing at her fabulous, if somewhat delusional, self.  No?  Ah well…).  Getting frustrated, I punched in ‘what is he really saying?’, and that’s when I hit the mother lode, 1.13 billion results, everything from the always frustrating, and ultimately useless, pieces of dating advice from ‘experts’ (all for the magic price of $29.99), through to random analysis of what season four of Mad Men was all about, because that’s somehow related to what men say, apparently.  It would appear that in my quest for clarity, I stumbled upon a question that has been asked by very many people, very many times.

Slight detour, so where do us allegedly undeveloped types (read natives) go for relationship (and I use this term most loosely) advice, online that is?  Is that a paradox, undeveloped and online?  Whenever I search for relationship stuff, the sites I find are mostly by and about Americans, and maybe the Brits, probably because I’m searching in English no doubt, and while I believe the human condition is universal, I suspect some of our problems are not the same.  I’m just saying, when I’m trying to figure out what a Kenyan man meant when he said, “Shoree…si you know I feel you vibayaz…”, I’m not convinced that someone sitting an ocean or two away has the requisite knowledge to help me out, not really.  Where the hell are all the African (or Kenyan for that matter) shrinks, agony aunts, such like ‘dating experts’?  We have relationships too, dammit, stands to reason that there would be one of our own looking to make money off our misery, no?  Ah yes, that’s why they sell us Saturday papers, no?  Detour over.

Before I get into the dodgy research, I’ll be needing you to play the song.  Just press play, this post has a certain rhythm to it, plus the song is funky enough to dance to.  That’s right, my people, today we are getting down!  Give it a minute to buffer, then read on.

You’re not going to play it, are you?  You just shook your head, didn’t you?  Useless buggers.

Sure baby we could be friends… 

As it turns out, there are a million and one sites (literally) on how to ‘decode’ men, what they say, what they do, how they do, how they don’t do, why they do, why they don’t do…its a bit scary how much time has been devoted to this one topic.  Thing is, after wading through more ‘dating advice’ sites than are recommended for someone my age (I should know better by now, no?  No.), I realised that its pretty much the same shit being said in not too many different ways, how to read his body language (Decode any guy in seconds), how to read his mind (36.5 Truths About  Men), even how to decipher his text, as in sms, if you can believe it (Does he like me?).  What I was specifically interested in, though, was what men say and what they mean by it.  In my girl brain, for example, when a man asks me, “Do you have a meeting in the morning?” I take that to mean, “Do you have a meeting in the morning?”, but according to this brilliant article (Translating man speak), the man was really asking, “Do you want to go home with me tonight?  Kuna vile jo…”, and this while I was standing there thinking, “Kwani this bugger doesn’t want to take me home tonight?  Kuna vile jo…”  Now I know I can be a bit slow when it comes to some of these things, but surely, how does asking about tomorrow morning mean you want to have sex tonight?  In what universe is that even remotely logical?  Do you see what I mean by a different language? 

Girl just relax, I know we just started talking,
Girl I can’t help, but to think how we’d be,
We could sail the seven seas like it was a dream,
We can climb the highest mountain, know what I mean,
Or just chill and watch a movie, or look at TV,
Baby you just gotta trust, I promise you’ll see… 

Which brings me to today’s soundtrack, ‘Why just be friends’, a song that always gets me swaying the hips, even when I’m sitting down (I’m doing it right now…).  You know how I keep saying I’m a music junkie?  Its slightly worse than that, see there’s a never ending stream of music in my background, like the soundtrack in a movie, even when there’s nothing actually playing, and while that is usually brilliant, sometimes the line between fiction and reality gets blurred in my head.  Every so often I forget that life isn’t a mellow R&B track, especially when it comes to matters romance.  As strange as it sounds, I often go out there expecting men to step up to me with lines of great clarity, like in a typical R&B jam; boy meets girl, boy likes girl, boy tells girl he likes her, in rhyming verse no less, then girl falls for boy, all’s well that ends well; but real life is never that easy, is it?  I’m sitting there thinking a bugger is saying what he means, because, to my mind, that’s how a man seduces a woman, and meanwhile the bugger is just being a normal bugger.  Its not his fault I’m clueless and unable to ‘decode’, I’m just wrapped up in a make-believe world of simple lyrics and catchy melodies, hell, it’s a miracle I don’t sway my head when said bugger starts talking (because I’m hearing, make that feeling, the music, unfortunately by myself).  Its no wonder I almost always miss the cues he’s sending, I’m not entirely present at the time, am I? 

Seriously though, my peculiar tendencies (and possible mental imbalance) aside, I’ve come to the conclusion that when it comes to dating the general rule of thumb is less is more.  Don’t say, or do, too much, and for crying out loud, do not ever tell someone what you want, what you really want.  How depressing is that?  Now from what I read, and what I’ve learnt from experience, men, being the allegedly shy bastards they are, will rarely tell a woman what they want, instead preferring to hide behind euphemisms, anachronisms, generalisms, all manner of isms, anything to help him tell a woman he likes her without actually telling her he likes her, because that would just be silly, being straight forward like that.  Can you imagine the utter devastation that would occur if men went around speaking clearly?  Women all over the world would understand you…the horror!  Yes, I’m mocking you.  I’m mocking all of us. 

I don’t want to move too fast, but girl I’m ready,
No pressure girl, just sit back and let it be,
If I’m rushing baby girl just let me know,
It ain’t no thing for me to stop and take it slow,
I ain’t trying to make you feel uncomfortable,
But I can’t help feeling like you are the one I’m looking’ for…

There’s a massive industry dedicated to giving us allegedly clueless types tips on everything from saying hello to crying goodbye, offering up quick solutions and cheat sheets, clichés and metaphors, feel good rubbish and nonsense affirmations, but all they’re doing is treating the symptoms, not the disease.  We say we want to know how they feel about us, but what we really want to know is whether they feel the same way we do, we’re simply running scared and looking for some form of reassurance, even from the dodgiest of sources, like Cosmo, or the Saturday Magazine, or suspect blogs like mine, and maybe Doc’s (he has a four part series on rejection, I’m not kidding…).  Truth is, this decoding bullshit isn’t about differences, it’s about the similarities between the two sexes, we’re both out here trying to say as little as possible, so as not to get crushed into insignificant little pieces when the object of our affection rejects us, with malice no less. 

People, life is hard enough without having to read in between the lines all the bloody time, and the last thing we need is to complicate an already overly complicated dating scene with words unsaid or misconstrued, no?  Look at it this way, if we stopped hiding behind fluffy meaningless phrases and actually said what it is we really want, perhaps we’d actually get round to going on dates and shit, and enjoying them.  Just a thought… 

Now I know that love has failed you many times before,
But I’m trying to make you see,
That the only one is me,
So forget those other guys you dated long ago,
And just let your mind be free,
Let’s be more than just friends…

Listen, I get that men are afraid of rejection and therefore cautious, but here’s the thing, women are too.  No one likes to be knocked back, that shit makes you feel horrible, like you’re suddenly 2 inches tall (big?), or embarrassingly naked in a room full of fully clothed strangers, but every so often you have to grow a pair and just spit it out.  I’m constantly scared that the boy I like, and by like I mean harbour faint hopes of one day exchanging choice bodily fluids with, that he won’t like me back, or worse, that he’ll like me, then stop liking me before I stop liking him.  Thing is, fear is a nasty thing to carry around, it has a way of seeping into even the most remote part of your psyche, and then eventually seeping out.  I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of seeping through life. 

The next time I’m in one of those vague situations and I’m struggling to figure out what language the bugger is speaking, all the while being careful not to say too much lest I expose myself, I’m going to try a new approach.  I’m going to go ahead tell him what it is I want, and don’t want, in short sentences, using small words that cannot possibly be misunderstood, in the pathetic hope that letting my guard down will earn me a direct response.  Worst case scenario, the man then tells me to go fuck myself, and I do.

And all you gotta do is take it off…