8 Things Men Need To Know About Women (From A Former 'Maxim' Editor)

What men should understand about the women they're dating.

Woman getting dressed up to go out with her girlfriends mihailomilovanovic, utkamandarinka | Canva 

I edited Maxim for four years, and let me tell you, we knew everything there was to know about guys.

Our love 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 9 things men need to know about women, from a former Maxim editor:

1. Women like when you play with their hair

Not while she's in the front seat reasoning with the state trooper, but during intimacy for sure. This female-centric 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.


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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 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 socks? Is that it?


Men should figure out what the argument is really about before opening their big mouths, but we almost never do. I know you're all holding out for us to magically develop intuition just because we love you, but in the real world, that's a fantasy. Be direct and precise when expressing your frustration with guys and it will yield better results.

3. Women have the raw deal

This will sound like I'm just sucking up, but I'm not. Haircuts are cheaper. Biology and a patriarchal society have conspired to stack the deck unfairly against the fairer sex in dozens of ways. 

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, 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?


RELATED: Men: Here Are The 9 Things Women Actually Think About All Day

5. Women are vulnerable to the curve ball

Compliment a woman on being attractive and a man will run smack into her defenses, no matter how creative he is. But compliment a smart woman on being hot, or a funny woman on being smart, and unless he is a total dork about it the man will double his odds at least, as his target correctly recognizes him as unusually perceptive, sensitive, brilliant.

With men it's different: We assume you're just telling us what you think we want to hear, and that's fine. If you tell a successful man he's cute, he doesn't believe it the way you mean it; he has no new illusions of aesthetic grandeur. He thinks you're saying that his whole package is enough of a turn-on to fire your engines, and that's all.

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6. Women dress up for their girlfriends, not for men

Women can be highly critical of one another and have to remain cosmetically vigilant at all times. So keep asking us how we like this sweater or these pants or whatever if it amuses you to watch us squirm, but please know you're not really getting a second opinion; you're getting your own opinion reflected back in what he thinks you want to hear.

7. No date is over until they've shared it with their friends

This isn't trivial. Her girlfriends are sure to grill her in the morning, and their opinion matters. And a pleasant, unremarkable date does not a story make. The advice Maxim gave guys was: Make sure, at some point in the evening, to provide her with some heroic conversational hook she can breathlessly convey in the AM.

Otherwise, she's left with "I mean, it was good, he was nice," and her friends will shrug, and she'll start rethinking your interestingness, and before you know it the whole thing will collapse like a soufflé baking on a firing range. So ladies, if you like a guy and the date is heading down a boring path through no fault of his, feel free to step in and throw a wrench in the works just to see what he'll do.

8. Women don't want you to fix it; they want you to sympathize

Men suck at listening because we always try to skip ahead and solve your problem. Why? Because we assume that's what you want. 


So when you say, "This girl at work is such a jerk to me every day," to us, it has the urgency of "Honey, my car has broken down on I-35 and it's raining and this cellphone is about to die." So we jump up and throw the toolbox in the car. It's hard for us to absorb that all you want is, "You must feel so wet and frustrated! How's your hair holding out?"

Maybe we didn't learn everything there was to learn about women, but we truly want to be better lovers, better listeners, and better men. So my best advice for you in dealing with your own "reader" is to be completely straightforward about what you want and how you feel. 

RELATED: How To Get A Woman's Attention (And Keep It!)


Keith Blanchard is a freelance writer and has contributed in various capacities to a wide range of publishing and production enterprises, including Cosmopolitan, Rolling Stone, and the Wall Street Journal, among others. He was the chief digital officer of the World Science Festival.