Men Aren’t Simple

Recently on Twitter, @taralconley asked “Who out there feels the need to date someone who is as (or more than) financially, spiritually, and/or intellectually powerful as yourself?”  Disappointly, and not surprisingly, a number of men responded that all they need is what one man referred to as the “three goods: good looks, good sex, good cooking.”

This, of course, is utter and complete bullshit.

Many men are vested in the notion that men are simple.  This belief works to absolve them from responsibility for what goes wrong in relationships.  You want to make me happy, they say?  Just look good, feed me and fuck me.  Accordingly, if your man isn’t happy in your relationship, it’s all your fault.  His dissatisfaction is attributable to something you’re not doing, or not doing well enough.

It also helps him to make you wrong by comparison.  If your needs are complex, there’s something wrong with you.  You don’t have to do much to make him happy.  His needs are simple to satisfy.  Why should he have to work so hard to satisfy yours?

Sigh again.

Setting to one side the notion that any human being has the capacity to make another happy — topic for another blog post — I have never met a simple man in my life.  My father wasn’t simple.  My brothers aren’t simple.  My ex-husband remains one of the most complex people I have ever met.  If anyone ever figures out how to decode him, his needs and his behavior, they’ll deserve a Nobel Prize.

But we women often fall into the trap of trying to do just that, to decode the so-called “simple” man so we can figure out how to really meet his un-stated needs.  Spend enough time with a man, and you start to understand just how un-simple he really is.  Meet his family and his friends, and the ah-ha moments just keep flooding in.  You understand his insecurities, his faults, his strengths and his weaknesses.

In the process, we find ourselves blaming that girl he liked in 7th grade, his baby mama, his ex-wife, his messed-up sisters, and especially his mama for how he turned out. 

And in the meantime, he’s still free to chase after that gourmet chef with the perfect ass and a great head game, because there’s always going to be at least one of the three “goods” where you’re falling short.

It would be great if men stopped claiming to be simple creatures with simple needs.  It would be great, but I’m not waiting for it to happen.  I’m also not messing around anymore with any man who claims to be simple, or who claims his needs are.  It’s not a woman’s job to unpack a man’s psyche and uncover his issues.  That’s his job.

And if he’s not willing to do the work, then it’s on to the next one.


12 Responses to “Men Aren’t Simple”

  1. Just Wondering... Says:

    You’re single right?? Divorced?? Yeah.. figured.

    • carolynedgar Says:

      What was your clue as to my marital status? The reference in the post to my EX-husband? I don’t know what you intended, but my relationship with my ex-husband is one of many experiences that taught me that men are indeed complicated. And complexity, in my opinion, is not a bad thing in and of itself.

  2. dnyree Says:

    “It would be great if men stopped claiming to be simple creatures with simple needs. It would be great, but I’m not waiting for it to happen. I’m also not messing around anymore with any man who claims to be simple, or who claims his needs are. It’s not a woman’s job to unpack a man’s psyche and uncover his issues. That’s his job.

    And if he’s not willing to do the work, then it’s on to the next one.”

    I like to file that under, ‘make sure you’re willing to carry your own bags’

  3. jonubian Says:

    I completely agree with you Carolyn (as I often do), the idea that men are simple and monolithic is a fallacy. I also believe that this theory is why there is a market for Steve Harvey books on relationships. Women feel, as you pointed out, if men are so simple and have such simple needs, why is it that I can’t “find” or “keep” a man. Again, a theory that absolves men of wrong doing and places the blame of relationships that don’t work squarely on the shoulders of the “overly complicated” woman. I can’t and I won’t. I’m glad that I am old enough to have had life experiences (long term relationships, marriages) that teach me that men are indeed very complicated and that me being single at this point in life is not only my choice, but also not my fault. Kudos. 🙂

  4. sunshyne84 Says:


  5. OneChele Says:

    I would even go as far as to say that more “simple” a man claims to be… the more complex and multi-layered he is. IMHO. A person who doesn’t know who they are (especially after a certain age) is problematic – to say the least.

  6. Tara Says:

    Thanks so much for this post, Carolyn. I’m glad I was able to help spark some insights that you’ve very well outlined here. I hope that since you’ve now deconstructed the issue surrounding complex personhood, perhaps we all can revisit the discussion of power dynamics in romantic relationships – without the unnecessary anti-male sensitivity/feminist drivel from others.

    Hopefully . . .

    Thanks again!

  7. Renea Says:

    As your heels click toward the door, remind them ‘…an unexamined life is not worth living.’ Being simple and uncomplicated one is as an adult is nothing to boast about either. If a person hasn’t that insight yet, they will likely bring grief to anyone close to them.

  8. kjenblues Says:

    LOL, I enjoyed the post.
    Whenever I’ve heard guys brag about themselves as being simple and only having simple needs, I think ‘do you realize how uninteresting you sound?’

  9. Bert Delgado Says:

    After reading this blog I felt it necessary to contribute my $1.38 to this discussion. Lets first understand that men are simply not fish that swim, eat, reproduce, shit, piss, and swim some more. Now we may do things that could make you feel that our mental capacity is that of a fish but you can’t expect that one of natures most complex species in every way but emotionally?

    The core problem from this blog is about men making claims of emotional and physical needs of simplicity only for you to find the contrary and thus your stuck playing psychologist trying to make sense of this boys life, dig thru all the facts to make sense of it to explain it, then solve it, and move the fuck on with things. To make matters even worse he is probably resisting any real information because a metaphorical alarm is sounding in his head to stop, warning of the approaching vulnerability, where the rubber meets the road. Shut down.

    Why does it happen to you and why is what your asking unreasonable?
    OK, everyone has their own idea of relationship, what it is, how it works, etc, and after reading the end of the blog you say…”It would be great if men stopped claiming to be simple creatures with simple needs. It would be great, but I’m not waiting for it to happen.”

    That to me is a tacit acknowledgement of the fact that your internal thought process is on the lines of…Hey, me and my partner should be able to talk shit through but not on a doctor / patient level and please don’t bullshit me by saying your simple because when I hear that I know that you are the direct opposite of what simple is. Your subconscious is saying, Warning! Your must determine though any means his level of need before getting involved, last time I was vulnerable and got really hurt was by my ex husband so what can I ask to make sure Im not going to get hurt like I was with him, what were the signs?

    So then I thought, why is it so important that you want a guy to be very forthcoming with his emotional stability or how damaged the road is behind him? Easy! That would make it really easy to judge someone and allow you to make a judgement call so you don’t have to waste your time on someone like you have in the past. It won’t ever happen that way, I promise you. Its the same as when a girl says…how many girls have you been with? Are you a cheater? Blah Blah. Do you really think I’m going to say about 237 girls and don’t worry I’m really great at not getting caught cheating behind your back, Where’s your hot friend by the way? It won’t happen because of the primitive drivers of attraction within you.

    Guys are driven by the attractiveness of a woman, especially her body because on the subconscious level my brain is judging her reproductive value by her hips and attractiveness. This is why you will seldom find a very attractive man in a magazine with ripped abs with some over weight heifer, it won’t happen, when was the last time you saw it? Women think that there attraction works the same as men, thinking your looking for a sexy man. A female subconscious looks for alpha male qualities displaying financial, survival, and protective values. For this reason you may see a beautiful women with a very unattractive male and though she knows he isn’t hansom, she can’t explain why she is so drawn to him. We see this often. Having said that as guys, we know we have to display that dominance so when you ask whether our needs are simple…we as men will choose the path of least resistance and say of course I’m simple.

    I know that if I say, Im like a girl and I’m pretty complex and do carry some emotional baggage but who doesn’t. My survival and protective value are taking a nose dive and it might have just turned you off.

    In conclusion, Let me brace you for the bad news first, you will waste more time and a relationship may sting a little. I find that your a very attractive woman with beautiful eyes and to really put the icing on the cake your very intelligent, made significant achievements, and are probably very dedicated. So your not just anyone to someone, your are by most standards the definition of the woman you take home to mom. Henceforth, your either going to attract a dominant Alpha male who is going to sell the hell out of you to appear baggage free. It’s going to happen…live life and throw yourself out there, its better to get burned than to never get near the fire at all. This was long but I’m done now.

  10. Chez Cocoa Says:

    There’s a special place for people who blog in comment areas…great post. I’ve been saying this forever. A simple “man” is a teenager whose main desires are to eat, sex and have something pretty to look at.

  11. Cheaters as Relationship Gurus « CocoaMamas.Com Says:

    […] I don’t think men are simple. I think men are wonderfully complex human beings. Harvey says men need loyalty, support and sex. Don’t women need the same things, too? […]

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