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Tuesday 12 December 2017

Carol Hunt: There's one thing we women want ... it's not to be interrupted

Almost one in five women keep secret bank accounts unknown to their husbands, a survey has revealed

"What do women want?" That was the question asked by Sigmund Freud that no male has yet been able to answer.

One would have to assume that they aren't trying very hard. Ooodles of adoration, lashings of devotion (I'm channelling Fifty Shades here) and a willingness to do the hoovering and put the bins out usually suffice for most women I know.

Add a dollop of hard cash, a face that doesn't resemble Wayne Rooney's and you're definitely on to a winner.

Then, of course, there's the ubiquitous sense of humour and, most importantly, the ability to listen. To us. This can be a tricky one for some blokes, who - as we all know - have very low attention spans when it comes to listening to women.

According to a recent poll (there's always one when you need it), the majority of men describe themselves as bad listeners - except when the topic is sports or sex.

When listening to their partners, they switch off after five minutes - even quicker if she's talking about her "feelings", but they'll hang on for up to 20 minutes if the conversation is about Man United or threesomes.

conflicting

It's hardly any wonder that there are so many men seeking advice on the internet on how to understand women. But what is surprising is the amount of conflicting information there is.

A UK broadsheet recently published an article headlined "Men, if you want to woo a woman, keep quiet and listen". Citing academic research, the piece said that "men should avoid talking about work and listen more to women if they want to succeed at dating".

Hmmm. Most of us would say that a lot of good money was spent researching something that would appear to be mind-bogglingly obvious.

Is there anything worse than having to listen to a bloke yammer on about what a brilliant business deal he just landed or how much the boss relies on him?

But the trick is not just to listen, it's to butt in - at the right time.

Last week, a study conducted by researchers from Stanford University said that if men interrupted at the right time this would show that they are really listening - and not just pretending to.

It would appear that men just pretending to listen to women is a regular occurrence (and would certainly explain the frequency with which women find they have to repeat themselves).

confusion

"But I told you that the dog was sick/my mother is coming to stay/I'm leaving you for the milkman" are regularly repeated statements in my own household, owing to the fact that my devoted husband has perfected the art of nodding genially in my direction while watching TV.

Sometimes I ask him to repeat what I've said, just so I can enjoy the look of utter confusion that comes over his face as he attempts to tell me the dog is staying with the milkman.

And, like most women, I find that men rarely have any problem interrupting me - or indeed any woman. It's one of the things I find most irritating about the little darlings.

Feminist writer Soraya Chemaly recently said: "Every woman needs to learn the following 10 words: "Stop interrupting me. I just said that. No explanation needed."

This is because often when men interrupt women, they do so in order to "mansplain" things to us.

This means they interrupt to explain things to us poor girlies that we already know - because, being men, they know best.

Which is very sweet of them but - if they only listened - they'd know that it just isn't true.

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