I have come to believe that when men say (which they so often do) they don’t understand women, that they are absolutely correct in that assumption. They really don’t have a clue about the fairer sex.

But when they say that women don’t understand them either, they couldn’t be more wrong. We know exactly what makes them tick. That doesn’t seem very fair, does it?

Well guys, this one’s for you. In the interest of fair play and as my Valentine gift to you, I’m going to fill you in on some of the feminine mystique that has been eluding you for so long.

Let’s start with the very basics. I don’t mean the physical difference; we know you are very well aware of that. What you don’t seem to be aware of is the fact that our minds are not adjuncts of yours. They are our very own, and we can use them quite well.

We may occasionally let you think you have control of them because we know that it makes you feel macho, and we probably wanted something at the time. We actually do think for ourselves, and when we are in agreement with you it is only because you just happen to see things our way.

If you can understand that, dear hearts, you will understand that when you are angry with us we want to know why. We want to be able to think it through with our own minds so we can intelligently tell you why you are wrong. What we don’t want is for you to brood for three days sulking in your favorite chair or workshop grunting monosyllabic utterances at us when we ask you questions. When you do this we have no way of knowing what the problem is. We assume you have the mistaken notion that we did something wrong. We don’t assume you have PMS.

Communicating is very important to us, but sometimes you don’t seem to understand what we are saying. Listen up boys! When we say yes, we mean yes. When we say no, we mean no. When we say maybe, we mean probably, but you have to give us a better reason than you have. And when we say we have a headache, we mean we really do have a headache.

You say you can’t imagine how we can spend hours on end on the telephone talking with our friends. You wonder what we can find to spend that much time gossiping about and you look a little worried. Well, you can just get rid of that paranoia because it isn’t you that we talk about at all.

It is true that we sometimes gossip and sometimes we do swap recipes. But, most of the time we are talking about our kids, things we share in common, our jobs. Sometimes we talk politics, and on occasion we even discuss whether the New England Patriots will ever win another Super Bowl.

You worry that our friends mean more to us than you. Stop it right now! No one is more important to us than you. It is you that we come home to and cook and clean for. It is you we want to raise our families with and plan to share our golden years. It is you we choose to have take out our garbage and fix our cars. You really are very special to us.

Understand that we do get angry and annoyed with you from time to time, but it is usually for your own good. It is not ourselves we are concerned with when you track mud all over the floors we just washed. We are concerned that if you do it at home, you will do it elsewhere, and we are just trying to protect you from someone else’s anger.

We do get perturbed when we arrive home after work at the same time as you and you want to know how soon supper will be on the table. We do not begrudge you the opportunity to relax and read the newspaper. We know you are tired, and we really do understand how hard you work because we do it ourselves every single day.

And that thing you guys do with the remote; just stop it! When we are watching something on television, we really don’t need you to see what is on the other channels.

You may, from time to time, think to yourselves how much you love us and that’s really wonderful. But, we are a little insecure in this area and we need to hear it from you every now and then. When you tell us that you love us and enhance it with a hug or a kiss, you have no idea how happy that makes us. It takes so little to make you shine in our eyes.

Don’t spend so much time questioning our motives in what we’re doing. We don’t feel the need to ask you why you are watching a game on Sunday afternoon; we know it is because you want to watch a game on Sunday afternoon. So it baffles us that you feel the need to ask us why we are watching a “chick flick.” Our wants are not so different from yours, just our choice of programming.

Here’s the bottom line guys: We really don’t want to rule the roost, we just want to share it with you. We don’t expect applause for everything we do, but it would nice to see a little appreciation once in a while. We don’t want you to shout that you love us from the rooftops; we just want you to tell us from time to time.

Valentine’s Day is this week, and that’s a great time for you guys to show us how much you care. Though flowers, jewelry and dinner at a nice restaurant (one without Styrofoam containers) would be wonderful, we really don’t expect it. But if you were to tell us you love us, give us a kiss and maybe a card that you picked out and signed yourself, you will make our day.

If you understand nothing else gentlemen, please understand that we really do love you, and we think you are great. With a little enlightenment provided in this column, assuming you paid close attention, you could be nearly perfect. And that’s the way we see it.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

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