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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Can Men Ever Really Get Women?

Do any of you remember the book MEN ARE FROM MARS WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS by John Gray? I started thinking about this book other night after my husband and I had a discussion about my birthday. First let me set the scenario.

Next week is my birthday, and I was telling my husband I wanted him to take our two boys to a certain store and let them each pick a charm to give me for a charm bracelet. Not just because I adore getting presents, I do, but I have some ulterior motives. I want my boys to understand the importance of remembering special occasions and of thinking about someone else, what will make them happy, and doing something nice for that person. In other words, I want my boys to grow up to be men who put value on making the women in their life feel special and happy.

Of course presents are not the only way to do this; they are just a miniscule part of the total package of being a thoughtful man, in my humble opinion that no doubt matters only to me!
My husband is wonderful in many ways, but one of them is not his gift buying abilities. He tends to buy Christmas gifts the day before Christmas. Birthday gifts tend to be gift cards, and he has even forgotten a birthday before. This is just for me. Everyone else he knows can forget it. Unless you are on MY radar, you are not getting a gift from my husband because he just doesn’t think about it.

Does it mean he’s not caring? No. He is caring, but he is a man and men, in my opinion once again, think much differently than women. Not all men but some.

In the midst of getting ready to release my first historical novel the whole birthday conversation with my husband got me to thinking how some of the best books I have read highlight the misunderstandings that can occur because of the inherent difference in the way men and women think. I looked up John Gray’s book and found myself realizing the differences he discusses regarding men and women are many of the variances I like to see played out in books as conflicts, especially funny conflicts.

In my soon to be released Regency Romance BARGAINING WITH A RAKE the first time my hero and heroine meet they immediately have a communication problem, which leads to a funny misunderstanding. 

Here is a little excerpt:

Between her father and Mr. Mallorian Gillian was trapped in this room with no escape. Except… She studied the dark corner where long, red velvet curtains covered a window and formed a crimson puddle on the floor. It was the perfect place to hide until they moved on.

She shouldn’t. It was scandalous. The very idea that she was worried about her name being associated with scandal made her giggle. Thank goodness, no one paid her any mind. She’d hate to add suspicions of lunacy to the taint associated with murder on her first day back in society.

She moved toward the shadowy alcove with a glance to see if anyone observed her. For the moment, no one gawked at her. Taking a deep breath, she scurried into the dusty darkness.
Her heavy breathing filled the cramped space. How was it possible that it was hotter in here? What if she swooned and fell into the crowd? Father really wouldn’t like that. The ton would be ablaze with talk about the Duke of Death’s odd daughter who hid behind curtains at balls. She could picture the next ball. Gone would be the attempts at hushed whispers and sideways glances.

She and her sister would be laughed right out of the ballroom. Gillian cared little for herself, except it would make meeting Mr. Sutherland extremely hard, but to imagine Whitney being ostracized made Gillian ache. She gulped down her lemonade and groaned. Men had to have had a hand in the latest fashion. No woman would have designed so many layers. The silk suffocated her. Her chemise already clung to her damp skin. She rubbed her temples. Some escape plan this was. She glared at the corner that confined her.

Breathing seemed to be harder behind the curtains. She reached to part the heavy material, but the velvet opened, and light from the ballroom split the darkness. A man plunged into the alcove and yanked the curtain closed behind him. She drew in a sharp breath smothered by the warm hand he clamped over her mouth.

“No need to scream,” a baritone that promised nothing but trouble ordered. “I assure you I mean you no harm.”

She pushed his hand away. “I feel completely better now. I bet all murderers assure their victim the same thing before slitting their throat.”

“Well, if I was going to kill you, which I’m not, I certainly wouldn’t do it in the middle of a ball, and I would kill you with pleasure.”

She frowned at the odd statement. “Fine. I won’t scream, and you may go.”

“I’m sorry,” the man said in a voice that indicated he was anything but. “I didn’t realize you owned this curtain.”

“You’re funny. Run along and display your wit for a debutante that cares.”

“Interesting twist,” he said with a laugh.

“I beg your pardon?” She tried to instill a frosty note of warning into her tone.

“Don’t worry, kitten. I want to play. I bet you get a hundred marriage proposals this season with that sweet disposition.”

“I don’t need a hundred.” She bit her lip against her loose tongue.

His hand touched her waist. She jumped at the contact and pressed against the window ledge. “Got one special fellow in mind, do you?” Husky tones vibrated his voice.

Thank God, it was too dark in here for this man to see her face. Her cheeks burned from the blood gathering under her skin. “You’re not very astute, sir.”

“Is he meeting you in here?” His deep chuckle filled the space at the same moment that his hand brushed her hair back.

“Stop that!” She slapped at his fingers, but he didn’t release his hold. The grind of her hair between his fingers grated in her ears.

“Good, God,” he whispered. “I’m sorry. I thought you were someone else.”

I hope you enjoyed the excerpt. My hero being a man thinks my heroine is simply playing games with him, and my heroine thinks a lecherous lunatic has just popped into the curtain she picked to hide behind!

I’d love to hear about a hilarious misunderstand you have had with a man based on the differences in the way men and women think.

Have a great day!
Julie Johnstone, The Marchioness of Mayhem


  1. Great post, Julie. Thanks for sharing your excerpt! I must admit my husband and son are terrible about gifts. But my husband will spend forever picking out the right card. You've got to take those sweet moments when they come, right? ;) No hilarious misunderstandings, tho. But I agree, what a great idea for building a romantic comedy in a romance! Your book sounds awesome!

  2. You're lucky your husband is good at picking cards. Believe it or not, my husband is even worse at that! I'm so glad you enjoyed the excerpt!

  3. Julie,
    What a fun excerpt! The most recent misunderstanding between my husband and me had nothing to do with how we think. I had received a text message from someone close to us that I had received in three texts. I tried to forward them to my husband, thinking the original sender would show up on his phone. Well, it didn't and the only message he received was "Marriage in trouble". LOL. Needless to say, I received a call back very quickly.

  4. Oh my gosh! That's hilarious! I bet your husband nearly had a stroke!

  5. Love your excerpt, Julie!

    Every once in a while during a conversation, dh will stop, shake his head and ask me speak in English, not Girl. Since I'm the only girl in the family, I'm doing my best to make the rest of them bilingual.


    1. Ha! I love that, Deb! I'm going to work on the bilingual stuff as well!

  6. Well, I don't think it's hilarious. It just is. A month ago, I mentioned - in passing - that I needed to update my kitchen. Before I knew what had happened, the scientist had half my cabinet doors off their hinges, and suddenly I found myself standing in the middle of Home Depot and all I could think was "I didn't mean *right* now."

    1. Too funny, Ava! I wish my hubby would do some of the projects I mention right away!

    2. LOL, I have to wonder how much of that is the male/female thing, and how much of it is the American/German thing.

    3. My engineer is the same way. If mention at a home show that I like something, by the next day, he's got plans drawn up. Seriously? I said I liked it. I didn't say I wanted it.

    4. Sounds great to me! LOL! I have to nag my husband to get him to do things I want!

  7. My husband was in the Navy during Vietnam so when he proposed I told him that we shouldn't spend a lot on the rings because it was the sentiment not the cost that mattered. We got married in 1972 and I guess he didn't realize I didn't mean forever! Well I menat forever on long I wanted us to be married (we still are) but not about buying me jewelry!

    Since then his idea of buying a great gift have spanned from vacuum cleaners, vacuums, an ironing board, I won't go on because some are gifts he gave me are repeats of those stated, but you get the gist! He said they're perfect because they "help me" around the house. I've tried to tell him that if HE would vacuum and dust - that would help me around the house since we both still work.

    I decided to do better for my son's wives and taught them to not only clean the house but to cook and iron as well! Their wives also get jewelry.

    1. Sounds like you did great by your sons' wives! Hilarious about the rings!

  8. Great post and excerpt, Julie!

    Hot Builder is great at stuff most men aren't, but I give all the credit to being raised by a woman. So thank you, m-i-l!

    However,when I discuss future books I want to write, he's all testosteroney about it. Like, "Women actually want to read that?" or If I'm stuck on a scene, he'll suggest that I blow something up or someone should have sex.

    Gee, thanks, honey. *eye roll*

    1. I know what you mean about being stuck on a scene and my hubbie suggesting someone have sex. He thinks that's the cure all in romance!

  9. Julie,
    Love your cover, Julie! The golds and blues look wonderful together! I have to admit I'm so grateful my hubs B-day is New Year's Day because *I* am the one who forgets. "It's your birthday AGAIN?" We're kind of switched--I'm the one who gets a speedy pulse over power tools. I let him use my drill ONCE and he broke the bit! He is no longer allowed in the toolbox. ;}
    Cute post, Julie!

  10. Thanks, Andris! Too funny about your hubby!

  11. great excerpt and lovely cover :)