Men’s Intuition: I Can Tell From Looking at You
[Part of the Conversations with Men series, but a different format than the usual post.]
If you’re a woman, chances are extremely good, likely close to 100%, that you’ve had a run-in with ‘men’s intuition‘. It’s not called this, but we’ll get round to that and what it really is.
Rather, we hear constantly about ‘women’s intuition’, which is a real thing, and which is disparaged, downplayed and used by men in their jealously and fear to hurt women in a myriad of ways. Men define intuition as women’s unthinking, non-rational, knee-jerk, emotional response to everything, or sometimes the ‘neeeeeed to have baybees’ and being naturally good with baybees and unpaid labour. Scientists operationally define intuition as the “ability to discern what other people are thinking and feeling”. But neither are quite correct. I believe the male definition is just bullshit, as most male thoughts on things are. The scientific definition partially covers it. What women often report is that intuition has to do with being able to sense dangerous people and situations before ‘shit gets real’, or the ability to sense what someone is feeling without any information, or the gut feelings they get about things (positive or negative). It’s a hard-to-define, deep sense of the world that results from awareness and experience of how shit works coupled with a deep connection to nature and people. I believe it is strongly connected to empathy and to being part of the prey class. Some scientific studies (with questionable intentions, imo as a bona fide methodologist) posit that there is a partial biological cause for intuition – greater intuition is linked with lower exposure to testosterone in the womb, which explains why they see higher intuition in women. Who knows? Regardless of what the scientists think they’ve found, I see evidence of intuition in women every day, and unlike what men and many scientists like to think, it is unrelated to being rational, analytical or thinking-oriented. Amaaaazingly, people (especially women) can be intuitive AND analytical, as easily as others (especially men) can be unintuitive AND unanalytical. It’s not an either-or scenario. But men love black-white, either-or dichotomies that put women permanently in the shit house when one category can be labelled a ‘woman’s category’, and thus, ‘inferior’.
Let’s get to men’s intuition. First, let’s say straight off that nobody refers to such a thing called intuition when it comes to men. But I’ve done a lot of thinking and omg, analysis of a phenomenon that has happened regularly in my life and, without a doubt, happens regularly in the lives of most, if not all, women. And it falls under this category of intuition, at least on a surface level.
Men frequently have ‘intuitions’ about women’s wants, needs, personalities, states of being, place in the world, etc., and they never fail to let us know what they’ve concluded from these intuitions.
Before providing some examples of men’s intuitions, I’ll say two things. First, the intuitions/conclusions men come up with and actually tell us about are almost always completely wrong. And they are wrong because the intuitions are self-serving AND dangerous to the woman/women in question. Second, men’s real intuitions – the ones they WON’T tell you about – are almost always correct, and are also self-serving and dangerous.
[Note: women’s intuitions are often self-serving too, BUT and this is a huge but, the intuitions are not dangerous to anyone. Even when they are wrong, they are not dangerous. But they sometimes hurt men’s precious and fragile little feelings.]
Let’s look at the first kind of male intuitions. The ones that are always wrong and dangerous and self-serving.
The intuitions/conclusions men draw fall into two categories, but there is one underlying theme. You are a target. You are prey. And the two categories are these. Positive (for him) – he has ‘intuited’ that he can get something from you that he believes you are offering. Most of the time, it is sexual in nature, but it could also be money, support, free labour. He has spotted some kind of weakness to exploit, in other words. He will frame his intuition in a way to show he can help you. Or negative (for him) – he has ‘intuited’ that you are the enemy. He has realized that you are not open to his exploitation and he is going to try to put you straight in some way, including: shaming, guilting, psychological abuse, verbal abuse, physical abuse, and/or sexual abuse. He might end up killing you ultimately.
Much of the time, when men choose to share these intuitions, they take a particular language form. “I can tell…” Man has looked at you, and he can just tell something about you from this cursory look. Whenever I hear one of these, I get very, very nervous, as through my REAL intuition and experience, I know that I have become a target for some kind of woman-hate-in-the-form-of-male-love-or-desire-or-need-to-help-me.
- I can tell from your face…
- I can tell from looking at your eyes…
- I can tell by the way you walk…
- I can tell by the way you are looking at me…
- I can tell from what you’re wearing…
- I can tell from the shape of your [insert body part here]…
I’ll give you an example. There are so many to choose from in my life. Likely, you can think of at least one of your own, and I truly hope, your own real intuition allowed you to get away as quickly as possible before, he acted on his incorrect intuition.
I can tell from your eyes, you are lonely and need a man.
Through 2009-2010, I once again found myself broke and almost living on the streets (yay white privilege!), and since a) I’m not attractive enough to be a prostitute/stripper, and b) I could never bring myself to do that anyway since I’ve had enough rape in my life, and c) I at least try to turn any indentured servitude I do into something beneficial learning-wise, I ended up doing a series of volunteer work/’internships’ within the realm of agriculture. The last one was with a beekeeper. I was seriously impoverished, and was forced to exchange some hard core physical labour for a place to sleep. Not actually a fair exchange. It never is for women, actually. Luckily, I liked the work a lot, but being really, really poor is a very scary place to be as a woman as you don’t have options and you can find yourself vulnerable to every single man around you with nowhere to run to.
And so it was when I answered the door to the ‘bee house’ where I lived and worked one day. I was expecting a delivery of all the pieces/parts to a massive greenhouse I was going to help assemble. The delivery guy was a middle-aged Russian or Eastern European. And he was an aggressive piece of shit who immediately started in with anger and accusations of things I couldn’t understand – just a general, underlying sense of violence filled the space around him and of course, me. I boldly told him: “I don’t understand why you are so angry with ME. I haven’t done anything to YOU.” This took him aback. It astounds me constantly how abusing women seems to be so many men’s natural state. It is so natural to them and unquestioned by the women they abuse that they don’t even notice it. And I have had endless problems with immigrant men OF ALL COLOURS who bring their extra abusive misogynist attitudes – which are accepted in their own countries – to the countries that welcome them and take it out on the local women they encounter. And the local women are expected to shut the fuck up since they are usually “privileged, rich, white bitches” of course, and let their ‘advanced’ cultures slide backwards into the Dark Ages. No fucking way.
Russian(?) fucker did make a switch in behaviour at that point, but it wasn’t any better. It was the same attitude, but coated with honey. He pulled the truck over to our driveway, and there was a fuck ton of really heavy shit to unload. I immediately began unloading it and carrying it the distance to a dry spot (it was pouring rain). And I tried to move quickly to get the ordeal over with and get rid of this asshat. He didn’t help other than to move the pieces to the motorized lift on the truck so that I could pick them up at ground level. And the rest of the time he spent just watching me. He commented, disbelieving, on how hard a worker I was. Um, yeah, I’m a woman. No fucking kidding, you piece of shit! I work harder than you. AND I’M NOT EVEN GETTING PAID! Like you are. In MY country. For doing nothing.
And then, it came. I was drenched, exhausted, scared, pissed off. It came. His magical intuition.
“I can tell from your eyes that you’re lonely and need a man.”
I said, “Nope. Thanks for your help. I need to get back to my work.” I was terrified that he would come back. He knew I was alone. And he thought he could fill some kind of need that he intuited I had.
Now, let’s briefly look at the second kind of men’s intuitions. These are the ones they WON’T tell you about – are almost always correct, and are also self-serving and dangerous.
Men are actually pretty good at determining one thing. They can tell how easy a prey a woman is or will be. There is some interesting research on male psychopaths, the ultimate hunters. They are incredibly good at reading female body language. As they are constantly on the prowl for easy prey, they have to be on high alert for all the signs that make their lives and ultimate purposes easier. I’d argue that all men are like this to some extent. Not all men are psychopaths, but they all have the self-serving hunter in them. And all women are prey. The better they are at determining the high return for low effort ratio, the more successful they will be.
Now is this ‘intuition’? I’m not sure about that. There are elements that are similar to how women determine how dangerous a predator a man is. But if you can call it intuition, it is not very deep. It is a ‘gut sense’, but it isn’t based on deep connection with people or the earth or anything in the way that some aspects of women’s intuition are. They read body language, and rely upon experience to determine how far they can go with a woman and the risk involved.
Regardless, what we can say is this: men are not very good at understanding women’s thinking, feelings, needs, wants or states of being. But they are, indeed, good at determining how good a mark women are based on our verbal and physical cues. And it’s all about predation.
Posted on February 10, 2016, in Conversations with Men, Feminism, Male Privilege, Violence and tagged intuition, misogyny, patriarchy, psychology, radical feminism, sexual harassment. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Men’s Intuition: I Can Tell From Looking at You.