11. Men vs Women (Conversation & Vocabulary)

This episode is all about men & women. Are they different? Do they communicate differently? It is inspired by a book called “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”, which is a very popular and successful guide to help men and women understand each other. I talk to 2 male friends, and then 2 female friends. There is lots of useful natural English for you to study, remember and copy – and become a more advanced speaker of English! I hope you enjoy the podcast…

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This podcast is all about Men & Women. Are they different? Do they communicate differently? It is inspired by a book called “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”, which is a very popular and successful guide to help men and women understand each other. In the podcast today I talk to 2 male friends, and then 2 female friends. There is lots of useful natural English for you to study, remember and copy – and become a more advanced speaker of English! I hope you enjoy the podcast…

Here’s the extract from Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus which is about Martians (Men):

“Martians value power, competency, efficiency and achievement. They fantasize about powerful cars, faster computers, gadgets and new, more powerful technology. They are concerned with outdoor activities like hunting, fishing and racing cars, and are more interested in objects and things than in people and feelings. Martians pride themselves on doing things all by themselves since asking for help when you can do things yourself is perceived as a sign of weakness. So, they will keep their problems to themselves unless they require help from another person to find a solution. When they get upset they prefer not to burden their friends with what is bothering them, and instead retreat into their caves to mull over their problems. If they can’t find a solution, they do something to relax and disengage their mind; or they engage in something more challenging like racing a car, competing in a contest or climbing a mountain.”

And here is the extract about Venusians (Women):

“Venusians value love, beauty and relationships. They find happiness through supporting and helping each other and their sense of identity is defined through sharing and the quality of their relationships. Rather than building highways and tall buildings, they are more interested in living together in harmony, community, and loving co-operation. Communication is very very important and sharing their feelings is much more important than achieving goals and being successful. They pride themselves on being intuitive, and considerate of the feelings of others. When Venusians feel upset, or stressed, or confused or hopeless they find relief by sharing their problems with friends and talking about their problems in detail.”

Language from the conversation with Howard & Nick:

“blokes” – a bloke is a man. It’s an informal word that British people use to say ‘man’. It’s not rude, but it is quite informal. People use this word a lot
“I had a difficult girlfriend and it helped me to deal with her” – to deal with something (e.g. a problem or a difficult person) means to ‘cope with’ it, ‘fix’ it, ‘manage’ it or learn to live with it.
“I found myself turning off and not tuning in” – to ‘turn off’ means to lose concentration and stop being interested in it, e.g. if you’re reading a boring book you might turn off… We also say ‘turn off’ for TVs, lights, radios etc. To ‘tune in’ means that you concentrate or focus on something. We also tune into a radio station on an FM radio.
“it’s a chick’s book” – a chick is a woman. It’s kind of a slang word, and some women think it is a bit rude. A chick also means a baby chicken.
“whinging, going on about stuff, moaning” – all of these words mean ‘complaining’
“just back her up…” – to back someone up means to support & agree with someone
“the bestselling book of two thousand and whatever” – ‘whatever’ is a useful word which can mean ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I don’t care’ or ‘I don’t mind’. Here, Howard used it to mean “I’m not sure which year it was, but it doesn’t matter”.

Transcript of the conversation between Luke, Shirley & Michelle:

Luke: Hello hello, 1 2 3 speak…
Shirley: Hello hello, 1 2 3
Michelle: Hello this is Michelle…
Luke: OK, I thought I needed a female perspective on this, so I’m speaking to Shirley and Michelle about the whole thing, erm, so… First of all, what do you think of the, erm, comments that Nick and Howard just made about this book?
Shirley: Well I think that’s probably the reason the book had to be written in the first place, because of comments like that, I’d say.
Luke: Right, so…
Michelle: Interesting that it was actually written by a bloke though, that’s the thing.
Luke: So it was written by a man
Michelle: It was written by a bloke, yeah. John Grey I think his name is.
Luke: Right, ok, do we know when it was released?
Shirley: Erm…
Michelle: Late 90s?
Shirley: I’m not sure actually
Luke: OK, so late nineties, alright, so, errrm, first of all then, have you read the book?
Shirley: Well, err, a friend of mine gave it to me to read, and I was reading it when I was on holiday but I got a bit bored of it quite quickly actually. Some of it’s funny, I have to say, some of it’s funny and you can really recognise
Michelle: Definitely
Shirley: err, you recognise yourself and whatever in it, but… it’s just it’s a bit repetitive at the end of the day, and I got a bit bored with it
Michelle: Yeah, I’ve only read about half of it as well and, yeah, I also got bored with it and that… well, some of it, I started to find myself quite annoyed with women to be honest. I found myself identifying more with men. I’m not sure what that says about me…
Luke: I’m not sure either!
Michelle: Does it mean I’m from Mars?
Luke: Maybe. I think that… err… One thing that I can say for sure, definitely, is that women aren’t from Venus, men aren’t from Mars. Men and women are both from Earth, right?
Michelle: I think you’re probably right…
Luke: I think they are, aren’t they?
Shirley: I think that’s a fair enough statement Luke, yeah
Luke: Basically what I’m saying is, it’s a bit silly in that sense, but, umm, do you think it’s … well you said it was kind of a bit boring in some places…
Shirley: No, I think it’s valid because, at the end of the day, men and women are different
Luke: yeah
Shirley: It’s as simple as that, and sometimes, y’know, you have miscommunications with someone
Luke: Hmmm
Shirley: Just because of the different ways that you use language, for example
Luke: Yeah, yeah
Shirley: and, err, and so I think something like this is quite valid. I mean, the guy who wrote it, as far as I’m aware, I might be wrong, is a linguist
Luke: Right…
Shirley: and he deals with gender miscommunication
Luke: Right
Shirley: So, erm, so he’s kind of like, erm, it’s got a valid base to it I think
Luke: OK. ERM, One of the things that Howard and Nick identified as being, kind of, true or useful about this book, is the idea that, err, when men are listening to women, they often don’t realise how to listen to women, and that what they do is they offer solutions when they should just be listening. Do you agree with that? Is that true?
Michelle: I think that’s a fair point in the book actually. I did identify with that. Very often if I’ve sort of, got something to complain about or just something I want to get off my chest, that’s all I literally want to do. I’m not looking for solutions, I’m just looking for somebody to listen, or at least pretend to listen
Luke: Yeah
Shirley: Howard!
Michelle: Yeah
Luke: Ha ha, so Howard, you’ve got to learn from that…
Michelle: but, definitely, from, sort of, past relationships I’ve learned that when a bloke is talking to me about problems, especially work related things, y’know, he would always want me to offer a solution, he would always say “what would you do?”, and erm, I’m not aware that I usually ask people that kind of thing in that situation
Shirley: Well I think that is, I mean, just from listening to Nick and Howard having that little discussion, Nick seems to think women can’t make decisions, and Howard just seems to think that they just whine all the time. I think we’re perfectly capable of making decisions, and just by sounding off, and telling somebody how, that something’s going on, doesn’t mean we need you to fix it. We can fix it ourselves.
Michelle: Very often it helps you to come to your own solution to…
Shirley: Yeah, exactly…
Luke: So…
Shirley: Saying that you’re weak because you can’t make a decision…
Luke: Alright, but essentially what you’re saying is that you agree, that when men listen they don’t have to offer solutions, they just need to listen
Shirley: yeah
Michelle: yeah
Luke: OK, umm, so, uhhh, one of the other things that they said, err, I think Nick said this, I might be wrong… I might have agreed with them as well actually… umm, anyway… one of the things that they said is that it seems that the book was written for women, which means that women don’t understand men, and that they said that, well, men are ok because we understand women I think, so do you agree? Who understands who?
Shirley: From the first bit I’d say yes the book is written for women, and I don’t think that a lot of men would be terribly interested in reading it, but I think that that’s not just because women need to understand men, I think women have more of a want to understand
Michelle: Yeah, I’d say that’s a fair comment
Shirley: I think that they’re more interested in working out what it is that’s the miscommunication and trying to fix it .
Luke: Men are more interested in, just…
Shirley: Football
Luke: football, yeah. Michelle?
Michelle: But I also don’t like people talking to me when the football’s on, so, I don’t think that’s necessarily gender
Shirley: You see I don’t like people talking to me when I’m watching a particular programme. Does it matter if it’s football, or…?
Luke/Michelle: It doesn’t matter
Shirley: So, there you go
Luke: The fact is, football tends to last longer than most programmes
Shirley: And it’s, y’know, and, y’know, it might be a controversial topic but it’s incredibly dull
Luke: No it’s not. Football isn’t dull, is it?
Michelle: It’s definitely not dull
Shirley: Well, is it?
Luke: No. Football isn’t dull. Fact. Erm, right, so that’s it. That’s all I wanted to ask you. Thanks very much for…
Michelle: It’s a pleasure
Luke: … agreeing to answer my questions
Shirley: That’s no problem Luke at all
Luke: OK, thanks very much
Shirley: OK, bye…

All the words are written there! Listen to the podcast to hear me explain some of the things that Shirley & Michelle said!

There’s lots of useful language there. Here’s some USEFUL ADVICE:

1. Expose yourself to the language – This means Listen and Read a lot.
2. Notice the language – This means, look at the language, think about it, see how it is used, try to see patterns, study the ‘rules’.
3. Think about your language – This means, think about how you use English, and what you would say about the topic.
4. See the difference – What is the difference between your language, and a native’s language?
5. Repeat Repeat Repeat – This means that you should do everything more than once!! Listen to the podcast more than once. Read the transcript more than once. Say the words to yourself more than once.
6. Copy – You can try to copy the native speakers. You can repeat the conversation with a friend and try to use the same language as in the recording. You can try to use the language when you have your conversations in real life or in your English class.


Amazing, isn’t it?

Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus – get the book as a .pdf here

Kiyoshi KayT Tanaka’s Music

Here’s a picture of the Baker Street sign featuring Sherlock Holmes