*Somebody tell me where the mystery is.  

The Bermuda Triangle, how the Pyramids were built,  shelf life of the Hostess Twinkie–these are mysteries. Women are not a mystery.

You simply have to pay attention. Because understanding a woman without paying attention is like trying to sing a song without learning the lyric: you might know the melody, but you’re going to open your mouth and make a fool of yourself.

Not that unraveling the female psyche isn’t a major and ongoing undertaking. It is. But you have to be interested.

My curiosity began when I was four or five, with my mother. I first got the sneaking suspicion she was an actual person and not merely our appointed caretaker after falling asleep in the bed of my parents. Imagine five kids in a one bed room apartment.  When I was very young, I sometimes slept with my parents.  

I remember Daddy, in the wee hours of some mornings, gingerly carrying me into the living room and depositing me among my brothers and sister, who slept on two convertible couches (our sister had one to herself). He’d return  to the bedroom and ominously close the door.

I’d lay awake in the darkness, pouting and wanting no part of my body touching my snoring brothers. I wasn’t sure what was going on behind that bedroom door, but I was instinctively jealous–and, though I didn’t understand it then, a little excited.      

Further confirmation that Mama was someone nurturing independent thoughts and feelings came for me  at age 11, when I overheard her respond to Percy Sledge’s “When A Man Loves A Woman” on the car radio with, “Oh, that’s my song!” A parent digging pop music was a concept I had difficulty grasping.

In elementary school, the female species left me dumbfounded.  Only decades later did it occur to me that I probably had  a chance with my third grade classmate and first love, Regina Pierre. On the phone we’d mostly just breathe, but at least she took my calls. I should have known that was a start.

Likewise, I lacked the intuition and vision to interpret the ass  whuppin’  fourth grade classmate Clara Albright put on me once a week as indication of a serious crush. At least this is how Mama, while applying the bandage, characterized the schoolyard assaults. Forgive me, Clara, baby; your right hook confused me.

By my early 20s,  I thought I knew something, but I was wrong: in the middle of foreplay, my thirty-something lover grabbed my graceless, probing hand and politely but succinctly said, “Honey, let me show you how I like that done.”

Mortified, that evening I learned the precious value of paying attention to women and the unspeakable power in listening closely to both what is said and inferred.

For a man to profess knowing absolutely everything about women is akin to NASA announcing it has sufficiently explored the vastness of outer space.

Nevertheless, what I know about women I learned, one way or another, from women. And thus far I have learned that If a good woman is truly in a man’s corner, he can do anything.

I have discovered that women can say one thing and mean another. Entirely. I have learned that with women, it’s the Little Things that warm their hearts.

I learned that women love men who can make them laugh.  And whaddya know: size does matter.  

I discovered the old notion that women remember everything their man says is a fallacy. Rather, women recall what is important to them.

I’ve learned that a woman will lie to her man in an attempt to make things right, even if she is told the lie hurts more than the deed she seeks to cover up.  

Most women love to kiss.  Alas, to  them, kissing and sex are two different things.

Some women are ashamed to admit they masturbate.  Others never have.

To a woman, the worse thing is a man’s infidelity, even if  she  herself is a cheater.  Sometimes a woman  likes wearing an article of clothing that belongs to her man.

The loudest sound in the universe is a woman’s silence.     

I’ve learned that the choices a woman makes regarding men generally reflect who her father is.  Women often confuse sex with love.

A woman knows. And what she doesn’t know, she still knows, but refuses to admit or accept. A woman can find a seafood dish on any  menu.

I’ve learned that until you actually experience it, don’t believe what a woman tells you about her prowess in the kitchen.

It is estimated that one in four girls are sexually abused by age 18. Based on what I’ve learned, I’d say that statistic is undoubtedly higher.

Women have at least one girlfriend who will  tell them exactly what they want to hear.  Not all women are the sensitive, intuitive creatures that is a female’s reputation.

Most important, I’ve discovered that inside every woman, no matter who she is, lives a little girl who simply wants to be accepted and cared for.

When a man figures this out, everything else somehow makes sense.  

Steven Ivory is a journalist/author who has covered popular culture for magazines, newspapers, radio and TV for more than 30 years.  Respond to him via [email protected].