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Decoding Her Signals By Ambrose Diaz (Lavalife columnist)

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NEWS FLASH – Men and women are very different from each other.

Don't worry, this isn't going to be one of those Men are from Venus, Women are from Mars articles.

Like a lot of men, I love, but do not understand women. A huge portion of my life has been dedicated to trying to figure them out. But perhaps the real joy about the opposite sex lies in not ever being able to completely know them.

For instance, why am I intrigued by a woman who sends me mixed messages so I can't figure out if she's interested in me or not? It doesn't boil down to silly game-playing. It's just an inherent difference between the sexes and how we communicate with each other; the approaches, language, and hidden vocabulary that we use. So let's contrast and compare.

The Approach

Here's where I think shy guys like me get the raw deal. No matter how much I hear about equality of the sexes and "If it's okay for a guy to do it, then it's okay for a girl to do it," the onus will always be on the guy to make the first advance. Standing around and waiting for the girl to do it will leave you with a lot of time on your hands.

So, what's the best approach? Simple: be yourself. If you're a confident dude, then swagger on up and lay it on the line. If you're a bumbler like me, then shuffle over and stutter out something that sounds like a hello.

The good news is I'm told by reliable female sources that women will let you know if they are open to your advances.

All the above information counts for meeting in person, on the phone, via e-mail, or IM. And remember what your mother taught you: be polite. Saying please and thank you never hurt anyone.

The Language

I know a couple that just split up. It's been a painful time for both of them. And as a friend to both parties I find myself in the unenviable position of having each of them confide in me.

One day, the woman in the couple told me something she had told her ex during the break-up: "Barring something drastic happening, we'll never get back together." I wasn't exactly sure what that meant, so when I asked her, she explained that if he could change his entire personality and the way he's lived for his entire life, then that would qualify as "something drastic."

Unfortunately, hearing his side of the story, when he heard her say, "Barring something drastic happening, we'll never get back together," he thought the following: "Hey, there's a chance we're going to get back together."

So, perhaps what she should have originally said was simply, "We will never get back together, so let's move on." I think that's something a man might be more prone to saying… but I've been wrong before.

The words we use carry a lot of weight, so use them wisely. If you don't want to leave any room for doubt, then be precise.

Hidden Vocabulary

We send each other non-verbal messages all the time. Something as simple as eye contact that lasts just a little longer than the norm can mean a lot. But do these messages mean the same thing to both sexes? The experts give us a resounding yes.

It's funny that as a species, we've spent so much time fine-tuning our language, but the most effective mode of communication still seems to be body language, the unspoken word.

Do We Have to Know?

A lot of smart people have spent a lot of their time trying to figure out the opposite sex. It's a noble goal and we could all use a helping hand with a little hint every now and again, but maybe the real beauty of the other sex is their otherness.

For me, it's the mystery of a woman that really gets me going. Knowing that I'll never be able to completely understand her is perhaps the greatest turn on. Don't view it as a source of frustration. Look at it as a constant source of surprise and wonder. You'll both be happier for it.

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