Are men simple?

Father David Epps's picture

A few weeks ago, I asked a female college student, “Do you think women are insane?” Without hesitation she replied, “Oh, absolutely! But men are simple.”

I decided to investigate her allegation, speaking first to men. I asked the men on one of our worship teams if they thought that men were complex or simple. Every man responded that he believed that men were simple.

“So, none of you feel that men are complex?”

“Nope,” they replied.

I went on to ask a number of people, including professionals, blue collar workers and clergy, what they thought about the question. They all responded that men were simple.

Now, truthfully, I do not know precisely what the college student meant by “simple.” She may have had a definition in mind that has never occurred to me but when I think of “simple” I think “not complex,” “uncomplicated.”

I could be mistaken, of course, but it seems like a simple definition to me. I find that most men are simple when dealing with each other.

If a guy were to ask, “How does this suit look on me?” and we reply,” You look like Crusty the Clown,” we do not expect him to be angry or offended. He asked a question, we answered; it’s simple.

It’s only later that we discover that not all people are looking for a simple answer to a simple question.

If the lady in our life asks, “Does this make me look fat?” we have learned by painful and humiliating experience that a simple answers causes ... complications.

So we have learned that when certain people outside our gender ask a simple question of us, the answer is anything but simple.

We then have several choices: 1. Give a simple and honest answer (bad idea); 2. lie and hope it works for us (another bad idea); or 3. pretend we didn’t hear the question and stall for time (not a good idea either, but it’s all we have left).

Men are really pretty simple to figure out. What motivates men? Well, at a deeper level, it is the “need for significance.” It’s not complex at all.

Men need to feel important — to themselves, certainly, but also they need to feel important, or have significance, in the eyes of others.

Why is it that old, graying, balding, overweight, out of shape men in their middle age wear U.S. Marine Corps hats or shirts even though they haven’t been able to fit into a set of dress blues in 35 years? It’s simple. It’s the need for significance.

Why are there trophies, plaques and diplomas in many boys’ bedrooms? And in men’s offices? Yep — the need for significance.

If women ever discover this secret about their sons, brothers, husbands, and fathers, they will control the world, if they learn how to use the knowledge wisely.

Napoleon, who, I’m told, was the first commander to use ribbons and medals to reward brave soldiers, was reported to have said, “Give me enough ribbon and I can conquer the world.”

Somewhere along the way, someone invented athletic letters to wear on school jackets, and most football helmets these days are spotted with various forms of awards for people to see.

If men do not feel significant at home, at work, in sports, or in church, they will find other ways to fill the need. It may be manifested as a 55-year-old playing league softball, or climbing a mountain, or skydiving, or, sadly, having an affair.

I didn’t say that men couldn’t sometimes be loathsome — just that they were simple.

Actually, I didn’t say that men were simple — the college student said that. Still, I think that she may be correct.

We often see ourselves as incredibly complex, complicated, and difficult to understand. As in, “My wife doesn’t understand me.”

One lady in my church said, “Men are incredibly simple. Their priorities are, in order: 1. Sex. 2. Money. 3. Food. 4. Sports. 5. Control of the TV remote.”

“And,” she continued, “as they get older, those priorities reverse!”

Well, I don’t know about that. I really don’t think that we are THAT simple. In any event, I have to stop writing now. I need to retrieve the remote from the hiding place and see what’s on ESPN. Besides, I’m hungry.

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Fins's picture
Submitted by Fins on Sat, 01/12/2008 - 9:38am.

Great article, no doubt my favorite so far. Keep it up and God bless.


Therapy is extremely expensive. Popping bubble wrap is radically cheap. JB

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