We women complain that men don’t listen, when in reality, we don’t listen to men. Not really. We hear what we want to hear. We hear their words but we twist them to the words we want to hear spoken.

When I said, “Patience is a virtue” he replied, “One which I do not possess.” I didn’t listen. I didn’t hear it at all. So while I was waiting for him, he found someone else. That someone was closer, easier, more comfortable, and required less patience. As I held the hand of a man I dated recently, I told him he had warm hands. He told me the clichéd, “Warm hands, cold heart.” He corrected, “Icy heart.” Again I didn’t listen. While his actions spoke to me of kindness and generosity of spirit, he was emotionally cold, ice-cold. I later found out that he came from a home of domestic violence. I perhaps dodged a bullet by extracting myself from a relationship with him, but I did relearn a valuable lesson. When a man says direct words, they have a direct meaning.

 This reaffirmed to me that we really need to listen to what is being said, not what we want to hear. Men in general are direct in their patterns of speech. Not necessarily manipulative but they do lack some of the conversation skills that allow for soft, sub-text. They mean what they say and say what they mean.

I have begun to think that I may be candy for freaks. I know full well that you only have to be spun around once in this life to get lost. To stray from one’s spiritual and creative path and to find your way home in the dark can be difficult and cumbersome. Listening, truly listening to what a man is saying to you can help prevent this malaise.

My heart is still open because while love is not enough, it is all there is. Epictetus was correct when he said, We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen, twice as much as we speak.”

In future, I will attempt to heed those wise words.

I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

~ Robert McCloskey