Nearly every live presentation I did in the last several years, from east coast to west, was for women. In fact, I not only discouraged male attendance, I even politely asked a well-meaning husband or two to wait it out — outside. This isn’t because I don’t love males (I so do!), and it isn’t because I’m afraid of what they might say or do in my class. The real honest-to-goodness reason for minimizing the testosterone in the room is because I didn’t want to embarrass anyone. I knew that women might be embarrassed to ask questions and that men might be embarrassed by the answers…
…not because the answers are derogatory, but because the answers are real.
At a presentation of “Understanding, Appreciating, and Supporting the Men (and Boys) in Our Lives” late last year, a curious husband snuck in. Actually, three or four snuck in. There wasn’t much I could do about it under the particular circumstances that night, so I weighed anchor and sheets-to-the-wind, just as I would have if the room were filled with females only. It was smooth sailing for the first five minutes or so, but soon after, as we got into deeper water — I could see color in the cheeks of every one of the male stowaways: red, green…blue. (Get that guy some air!)
Two hours later when it was all over, I stood at the door shaking hands and taking comments. When the first masculine grip came along, I blurted out, “Thanks for being a good sport. I hope you weren’t uncomfortable.”
He stared at me for a couple of seconds, then said very deliberately, “Let me tell you what it was like.” He paused–searching for the right metaphor. “I felt like…a cadaver at a medical school.”
(Wow. He really hit the word “ca-DA-ver”.)
“Like I was lying on the table naked and you were all poking and prodding around inside of me.”
I apologized and explained that the presentation was designed to help women understand men. He said that he understood it was about understanding and then showed me the notes he’d taken. Seems he not only learned a thing or two about how his wife thinks, but actually came to understand himself much better.
How about that.
Among the other men in the room were two who had come to “audition” me actually. They waited until I had hugged the last woman and signed the last book and then asked me to speak to their organization in two months.
Obviously, I wasn’t expecting that kind of reaction from men. I wasn’t expecting these kind of book reviews either:
“As a husband, I never expected that I would enjoy reading a book about marriage. However, when I started reading “Wife for Life” I just couldn’t put it down… The male perceptions given in “Wife for Life” are spot on… I have recommended this book to my friends, both married and single…”
“My wife and I of nine years recently divorced despite us both having the best of intentions during marriage. I came across this book and…found that Zabriskie very accurately describes the male condition (fears, drives, and desires)…”
“This book helped shift the way I view my role as a man…I’m speaking specifically of the part when Ramona compares a man’s heart to a baby chick, held in his woman’s hand…I was in a place where I wanted to be honest, but that may have been the last thing I wanted to be true. It is true.”
Surprise!… not because I wasn’t sure of my exhaustively-researched take on the male psyche, but because I never dreamed that men would be keen on having their emotional underbelly exposed
which means of course, I’m still learning about MEN!
which of course, is GOOD THING!
“I am a social worker/therapist. I have heard quite a bit on relationships and nothing has resonated with me as well as your material!“
“EXCELLENT! Seriously was on the edge of my seat the entire time taking notes. So, so good!”
“I’m NOT a seminar type of person, because I hate sitting still and I get very bored). This was far from boring. It was fascinating, and Ramona is so funny and entertaining!”
“Absolutely phenomenal! Profound, entertaining, and oh-so right on!”
“I am a professor of Marriage and Family with a stay-at-home husband. This was very enlightening!”
“Your words and teaching have been a major blessing in my life. You’ve helped me learn some things that have brought some much needed perspective changes.”
“I’ve been married for over 40 years and have 4 sons and felt that I probably didn’t need this class. I was wrong.”
“As promised in the presentation, I can tell you this is also improving my relationship with my teenage son!”
“Awesome! I want to go deeper and deeper! I learned so much!“
“We laughed a lot but the bottom line was right on! Funny, inspiring, and true!”
“I feel so hopeful, so empowered! “
“I’ve been married 42 years and this is the best presentation on men and marriage I have ever heard!
“Perhaps the biggest take away from your presentation, and there were many, was the knowledge that I now had the understanding and the tools of how to draw my husband to me.”
“This was like going to a Zumba class! I love my husband!”
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