What are guys thinking? Told by a guy!

Admittedly, I’m making a few assumptions here. I’m assuming you, like many women I know, have asked this question (perhaps rhetorically), either out of curiosity, exasperation or disbelief. I’m assuming you’ve found some male behaviour confusing, maybe distasteful, almost certainly ridiculous.  Maybe you haven’t, in which case I’d ask you: would you find a small insight into the male psychological process useful?

It’s a cliché, but if you’ve ever received the frustrating reply of “nothing...” when asking about those male thoughts, it’s worth confirming that he was likely telling the truth. Even the thoughtful and bright among us tend to have the pleasant ability to switch off for a few minutes. It often happens after a particularly vigorous round of the horizontal rodeo.

Perhaps we’re lost in absurd sporting, culinary, sexual or survival thought experiments (which we’re not always comfortable admitting), or perhaps we’re genuinely enjoying a mental blank screen, free from interference. This may seem disconcerting, but given the increasing popularity of meditation and mindfulness, I’d argue mental quiet can have real value!

At the opposite end of the male spectrum, I often question my own passion for sports. Like many other rational, well-mannered liberal young men, when “playing” (the word-choice alone seems out of place for impactful sports like rugby and American football, even for us amateurs) or watching my team, the levels of emotion seem disproportionate. Take a premier-league football game; my Watford FC vs Brighton; generally regarded as two fairly benign clubs and fan-bases (just don’t ask a Palace fan).

Twenty-two highly-paid players, zero of whom are from the towns they represent, with thousands of otherwise mostly docile men in the crowds, singing memorized songs at these professionals. I mention this particular game because it involved Anthony Knockaert, a French player who was involved in controversy against Watford several years previously, while playing for a different club (Knockaert controversy Watford vs Leicester 2013 for those interested in obscure sporting history).

The result was thousands of usually fairly well-mannered, yellow clad Hertfordshire men screaming vitriolic abuse at a single Frenchman who kicks a ball for a living. It almost defies explanation, but such sporting realities make me think of human tribal tendencies. They seem fairly dormant, even repressed in everyday life but they really come to the fore in a sporting setting. I think such tendencies are more pronounced among men. This may not be a positive part of our nature, but it deserves recognition, particularly given the current discourse around racism in Sport. Honestly, in such scenarios, I think we men are all too capable of turning our brains off.

The takeaway for you ladies? If you’re confused by our thoughts, it may sometimes be because there weren’t any. For good or for ill.