I edited Maxim for four years, and let me tell you, we knew everything there was to know about guys. Like this: All guys really care about is girls. Our sex and relationship pieces tried to break down the great female mystery, and they were consistently the highest-rated articles in the magazine aside from, well, the pictorials. And we learned a lot ourselves. Here are nine interesting nuggets of wisdom I gleaned from my job presenting women to men.
1. Women like when you play with their hair.
Not while she's in the front seat reasoning with the state trooper, maybe… but during sex for sure. This female-only erogenous zone is news to most guys. (For us, hair is nothing but a nuisance.) Men who figure this out, and learn to run their fingers through her tresses, can log major brownie points. And here's the key: They don't tell other guys, because that would give up a competitive advantage. If you don't say something—or at least coo invitingly when his fingers accidentally stumble through your hair—odds are he'll go to his grave never knowing.
2. Arguments are ALWAYS about the relationship.
When it comes to fighting, women get a bad rap for being irrational and melodramatic. The real problem? Men foolishly think the thing you're mad about is the thing you SAID you were mad about. Let's say he's once again left his dirty socks on the floor. A 4-year-old girl would recognize you're steamed because he's taking you for granted. But an adult male will take you at your word. And—stay with me—if he thinks you're complaining about the socks, well, jeez, what kind of nagging, shrieking harpy are you? Do you want me to pick up the goddamn socks—is that it? Men should figure out what the argument's REALLY about BEFORE opening their big fat mouths, yes, but we almost never do. I know you're all holding out for us to magically develop intuition just because we love you, like the romantic leads do in the movies, but in the real world, that is a fantasy. Be direct and precise when expressing your frustration with guys and it will yield better results. Aww… isn't that sweet?
3. Women have a raw deal.
This will sound like I'm just sucking up, but I'm not. We actually catalogued the details in one of the earliest Maxim pieces, "50 Reasons It's Great To Be a Guy." You know: "you don't have to carry a purse around," and "just one mood, all month long, ha ha!" and so on. Well, as the guys brainstormed, our list kept growing ("haircuts are cheaper!" and "more pay for the same work!" and "nobody is ever, ever looking at your ass!") and it started to dawn on us that this wasn't just a funny conceit: Biology and society have conspired to stack the deck unfairly against the fairer sex in dozens of ways. So, uh… sorry.
4. Women want a simple, clean apology.
Men feel an aching need, when apologizing, to tell you WHY they screwed up, incorrectly assuming this information will be of some interest to you. But women interpret this as waffling; they think the guy's trying to say: "Here's why it's not really my fault." Mitigating factors can come later, maybe, but only after a solid, clean, "I'm sorry" with no strings attached. On average, it takes men seven years and three relationships to learn this one on their own. To speed up the process, be blunt: Cut him off and say "Could you just apologize? For once?" He might get mad, but you're already fighting, so who cares; he really will start to absorb this once it's brought to his attention.