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How to be miserable without even trying

Check out the above graphic of a recent Wakefield Research survey conducted for 1-800-Flowers.


And by shocking I mean not at all surprising.

What the survey results don’t show is to whom that disappointment is directed towards, but can we all agree that women are disappointed in their significant others? Whether that be their husband, their boyfriend or some poor schmuck who was foolish enough to ask a girl out on Valentine’s Day?

In a recent articleI read at, speaker and author Cindi McMenamin wrote:

Surveys show that countless women feel frustrated every year and let down on February 14, primarily because of unmet expectations. Women look for expressions of love that will meet their preconceived romantic notions. And many times, even well-intentioned men can’t possibly compete.

In a recent study of what makes married women happy, it was found that the biggest predictor of women’s happiness is their husband’s emotional engagement. The extent to which he is affectionate, to which he is empathetic, to which he is basically tuned into his wife was the most important factor in predicting the wife’s happiness. The study also found “if the wife had to choose between having a husband who is taking half the housework and having a husband who is really making a conscious, deliberate effort to focus emotionally on his wife, the emotional focus is much more likely to be a paramount concern.

That speaks volumes of what women want and expect. And men, who tend to be more action-oriented in how they show their love (by helping with the chores, repairing the garage door, and bringing home a paycheck) can miss the mark with us when it comes to trying to express their affections on Valentine’s Day, or any time, for that matter.

That said, fulfilling a woman’s idea of romance is not something most men, in particular, specialize in. In fact, many men struggle with how to convey their feelings in a way that their wives or girlfriends will understand and appreciate. And often times, what they think will impress you, doesn’t.

Do you see the disconnect here? As a woman who actually likes men, do you understand why I don’t like Valentine’s Day? Because February 14 tends to leave women feeling disappointed that whatever their men gave them was not enough and leaves men scratching their heads at best and in the dog house at worst.

A recipe for misery for life in general and in romantic relationships specifically is assuming what you desire is naturally what your partner desires, because that’s so rarely the case. In a survey asking “What do spouses really want?” for Married Romance (dot) com, a married man of 14 years put it well:

Men want their wives to respect them and their opinions. Women want to be loved and appreciated affectionately. Apparently the problem arises when men give only respect to their wives, and women give only love and affection to their husbands. We are giving what we want to receive and not what the other person needs or wants to have. A man’s needs (wants) in marriage from greatest to least are sex, recreational companion, her to be attractive to him (not necessarily to society’s plastic mold standard), a good home life, to be admired by her. A woman’s needs (wants) from greatest to least are: affection, someone to talk with, honesty and openness, financial security, and famly committment. When we as husbands and wives begin to focus on the other’s need we will improve our marriages.

As a woman, how can you be miserable without even trying?

By expecting your man to act and react like a woman.

By failing to recognize that that leaky toilet he fixed or the garbage he drags down to the curb or the air he put in the kids’ bicycle tires or the spider he squashed in the bathroom or the job he goes to 5 days a week are all love notes to you.

It’s not that most men don’t show their love to their wives or girlfriends, it’s that most women fail to recognize it.

Men are not big, hairy women. They’re men. Recognize that. Celebrate that, and you’d be amazed how much more loved you’ll feel.

This post is part of the One Word at a Time blog carnival: Disappoint hosted by the lovely and talented Peter Pollock. To read more disappointing posts (Ha!), visit him at

The Manly Man(ifesto) by Billy Coffey

I usually don’t introduce Billy Coffey’s posts here, because let’s face it — no one comes here on Monday to read what I have to say. But hey — this is my blog after all, and I couldn’t be prouder to present Billy’s first ranting post. Not incessantly ranting, but still…


My daughter is perched on my lap in front of the television. Her blond hair pokes me in the eyes and tickles my lips, but she’s almost asleep and I dare not move. Besides, I like her here. Every little girl belongs on her father’s lap.

The show we’ve been watching goes to a commercial, where I see three boys prancing around a stage surrounded by thousands of screaming prepubescent girls. The noise is enough to stir the little blondie on my knee.

“Yuck,” she says.

“What’s yuck?”


“I thought all girls loved them,” I say.

“I don’t,” she answers. “I love you.”

She rests her head back onto my shoulder and I smile. There are a lot of things I’m still not doing right when it comes to raising a daughter to be a woman, but I’m doing okay with this one.

From what I understand, the three boys on our TV are the types of males women seem attracted to nowadays. The guys who know more about hand cream than their mothers. The ones who exfoliate, wear pink shirts, and like to talk about their feelings.

This is what most women call men nowadays. My father has another word for them—pansies.

The Oprahfication of our society is such that we’ve been told the male of old is outdated and barbaric. That we’re mean and nasty and dirty. There’s no place for Neanderthals in the modern age. We must evolve into kinder, more nurturing people.

Somehow along the way kindness was remade into softness and “nurture” was turned into “neuter.”

I still blame men for this. Yes, my own kind is at fault here. More than anyone, guys are to blame for allowing themselves to buckle under the whims of convention.

I’ve heard faint grumblings lately that men are making a comeback. Manly men. And for that I am exceedingly grateful. If there was ever a time when the world needed more real men, it’s now.

The problem is we’ve gone so long since the manly man was common that no one knows how to spot the real ones from the fakes. Wearing flannel shirts, lifting weights, and cussing a lot doesn’t make you a manly man. There’s a little more to it.

So for the uninitiated and the confused, I offer this little primer on what it means to be a manly man.

A manly man does not draw attention to himself. He blends in rather than stands out, does much more than he says, and his eyes will say much more than his words ever could.

He knows the realities of this world, that despair and conflict are the norm rather than the exception. But even as he sees the way things are, he will work toward what should be.

A manly man knows the unimportant moments are just as meaningful as the important ones. No matter how alone he is, Someone is always watching.

He is eager to open his hand to help the helpless, and willing to close it to defend the defenseless.

A manly man is at ease regardless of his surroundings. He is a man of the world and yet untouched by it.

A manly man is by nature kind and compassionate, but those traits have their limits. He is not a doormat and will refuse to be stepped on.

He knows it is better to die with courage than to live without a spine.

A manly man knows that there is no equality of the sexes. Women are a step above men and should always be treated as such. To make a woman a man’s equal is to make her less than she is.

A manly man knows that this world is not his home and keeps his end in mind. He is ready to die, whether it be on a battlefield ten thousand miles away or a bed in the next room. And he knows that it isn’t the manner of death that defines him, but how that death is faced.

And maybe most of all, a manly man knows he will not always act like one. He knows that he is fallible and fallen, beaten and scarred. His mistakes and faults are many, and yet he owns them. He sees the darkness in his heart and yet chooses daily to stand in the light.

That is a manly man. Someone worthy of one day taking the hand of the blondie snoozing on my knee. I hope she finds him. And I hope that once she does she hangs on to him tight.

Because there are far too many kittens out there and far too few lions.


To read more from Billy Coffey, visit him at What I Learned Today and follow him on the twitter at @billycoffey.