Chapter One: What Most Guys Never Know
To find the truth, we take you to the ultimate source–more than one thousand of them
There are so many reasons why you don’t need this book. You don’t need it to know how to text a girl in the middle of a rollercoaster ride. Or to build a computer on your bedroom floor. Or to belch the alphabet in tune, or kill a city full of zombies with just your thumbs, or sink your famous no-look jump shot.
All that you can already do.
And for all those reasons you are already…legend.
On the other hand, like most young males you live among aliens who don’t know or appreciate your achievements. The aliens, of course, are girls. Some of them, especially the cute ones, have the power to make you stutter, shake, and fall on your behind right when you want to look your coolest.
You know it’s true. Girls drive us crazy. They can turn a famous jump shot into nothing but air. They can make us so confused we want to scream.
So we have to ask, will you–male legend–survive girls with your coolness intact?
Plenty of guys don’t. We know. Well, at least I (Eric) know. When I was a teen, I drove all the way from Texas to Tennessee on a hot day just to hear a girl say, “Bye, Eric.” Very hot, very bad day.
All that stuff about stutter, shake, and fall down? That was me. Most of what I learned about girls was from urban legends or in locker rooms or by guesswork. And most of what I learned was dead wrong. That’s why we decided to write FYMO, which is code for For Young Men Only: A Guy’s Guide to the Alien Gender.
Now that we’re post-cool but also post-stuttering grownups, we want to help teen guys understand, talk to, listen to, get to know, learn from, care for, enjoy…maybe even impress a girl. Sure, it’s not quite as lofty a goal as stopping terrorism or bringing back the glaciers. But it’s something smart guys care about–and smart girls too. Understanding how girls think can make a huge difference in your happiness now and in the future. Even better, a crash course in Girl 101 can put you way ahead of most other guys, who will spend the rest of their lives being totally confused.
In the book you’re holding, enlightenment starts with you. You bring your legendary genius. We bring our shocking data. Pretty soon you can get inside her head.
Yes, FYMO takes you inside a teen girl’s head (scary but fascinating, you have to admit). We help you accomplish that feat by listening to hundreds of smart, attractive girls who were willing to talk about themselves–and keep it honest. (And if you think we hunted down only boring, shallow, or unappealing girls for this project, jump to foryoungmenonlybook.com. You’ll get a different picture.)
How are we able to deliver insights that will get you shouting “No way!” and change how you think forever?
Let me (Jeff ) explain. Shaunti, my wife, just happens to be a Harvard-trained policy analyst who unexpectedly became a social researcher. One day she woke up to the fact that men really do think differently than women. (Okay, sometimes we don’t think at all, but let’s not go there.) Shaunti realized that even though she loved someone as smooth as me, she simply didn’t get a lot about me. Not just didn’t get. More like had no clue.
And here’s the weirdest part: I had no clue that she had no clue.
When Shaunti asked around, she discovered that our problem was a common one. In fact, she talked to men and women from all over who had simply given up on thinking that you could understand someone of the opposite sex, even one you loved very much. That realization prompted her to launch a research project that asked men how they really felt about certain topics. Especially about some of the more hidden, difficult, and important aspects of being a man. Their answers led Shaunti to write For Women Only: What You Need to know about the inner lives of men.
It became a national bestseller. Men everywhere breathed a sigh of relief because suddenly they weren’t treated like freaks. And women everywhere realized they could know and love their man for who he really was, not for who they thought he was. We’re still amazed at how often just one new insight about the opposite sex can turn a light bulb on over our heads–and turn a relationship completely around.
Other bestsellers in the series followed, including For Men Only and For Young Women Only. Each of them uses a carefully designed, nationally representative scientific survey to help one gender understand what goes on inside the heads of the other.
Which brings us to FYMO.
Honestly, we delayed bringing out this installment in the series as long as possible. Would your average teen guy read a book about how girls think? Watch a YouTube clip maybe. Or wait for the manga version. But actually read a carefully researched book about how to figure out and relate to girls? We weren’t sure.
At first it was just worried parents and about a million teen girls who asked us to write this book. Parents said things like, “Our darling son seems somewhat, oh, challenged around the opposite, you know, s-s-sex.” Girls said things like, “Boys are just stupid.”
Then teen guys themselves started asking. After the hundredth high schooler told us he wished there were a “chick manual” for ordinary guys, we decided to go for it.
Our No-Rehash Promise
Shaunti and I (Jeff) enlisted my best buddy, Eric Rice (the husband of Lisa, Shaunti’s coauthor on For Young Women Only), to help me write this book. Being a talented screenwriter and director, Eric makes the perfect coauthor. Also, he’s father to three of the smartest, most attractive teen girls we know. Also, he’s insane. (Maybe it’s the teenage daughters.)
To make sure we were asking the right questions, Eric and I started with some things we never understood about girls when we were in high school. Then we set up focus groups with dozens of Atlanta-area teenage girls. With Lisa and Shaunti helping to host the groups (so the girls felt they could talk safely and candidly), we started to identify important problem areas to cover.
Interesting questions came naturally to our team. Lisa is a journalist, Shaunti is a relationship analyst, I’m a lawyer, and Eric is crazy.
To every potential topic we applied one important test: would it be a big surprise for today’s teenage guys? If not, we weren’t interested. We didn’t want to rehash the obvious stuff. We didn’t want to preach. We just wanted to go for those shockers that most guys wouldn’t believe–but that were true…and were true for most girls, no matter their ethnic or religious backgrounds, no matter where they live or what kind of cars their families drive.
Next, Shaunti and Lisa hit the malls around Atlanta to ask questions of hundreds of teens. And since they regularly travel and speak around the country, they also randomly interviewed any teenage girls they came across (“So, Courtney, what would you be thinking if a guy said this…?”).
Finally, we took what we were hearing informally and tested it with an expensive, scientific, nationally representative survey of more than four hundred girls, conducted by the highly regarded firm Decision Analyst. If we were going to claim that girls really did think a certain way, then an official, expensive national survey had to confirm it. (Did we mention it was expensive?)
After we analyzed the survey results, we boiled down all the subjects on which most girls agreed and came up with these six lightbulb-over-the-head insights.
And that’s how this journey into the adolescent female brain came to be. In the end, more than one thousand girls provided input for this book. What we’re bringing you, therefore, is not our opinion. (In some cases the research directly contradicted our opinion!) Instead, what we’re bringing you are the heartfelt thoughts of the girls themselves.
Read This or You’ll Explode
Before you begin your quest through the rest of the book, note these important points:
• FYMO was written weird but well. Eric and I wrote it, with a lot of help from Shaunti and Lisa and some more help from our impossible-to-please editor, David Kopp. When you read “we” in this book, usually it means Jeff and Eric. But sometimes it means all long-suffering males (that would include you). When you read “I (Eric)” or “I (Jeff ),” don’t get alarmed. You don’t have an author with multiple personality disorder. It just means one of us doesn’t want the other guy to get credit for the amazing insight or funny story that follows.
• We’re focusing only on what you need to know about girls but probably don’t. We don’t deal at all with what girls should know about you or other young male humanoids. If you want to find that out, sneak off with your girlfriend’s copy of For Young Women Only.
• We present our survey results with confidence. But when we report that “most girls” think a certain way, remember that most means “most,” not “all.” There are exceptions to every rule, and you probably know one. To read the entire survey, go to foryoungmenonlybook.com.
• Our survey describes what girls say they think or want when it comes to guys, not what we believe they should think or want. We sometimes found ourselves wishing the truth were different. But that’s the point of this book: the truth about how girls really think. Even when it’s surprising or hard to hear.
• We approach life as Christians. This book describes what is going on inside teenage girls regardless of race, culture, or religion, and it outlines their advice for what guys can do to best relate to them. But in the parts of the book where we give advice, our convictions (like “the Bible is right”) are just going to leak out. We hope you understand.
• If you’re looking for a book that pulls together biblical “rules” for dating, there are plenty of good ones out there. But FYMO isn’t one of them. This is a short book, and in our limited space, our only focus is the honest truth about how girls are wired and how you can apply that to your relationships. (You can find pointers to other great resources at www.foryoungmenonly.com. You might start with Boy Meets Girl and other Joshua Harris books.)
• To help you and your friends get even more out of the book, we’ve included a short small-group discussion guide at the back of this book.
Confidence: The New Superpower
You may not realize it yet, but for the price of this book, we are handing you a silver platter of wisdom that will help you navigate the challenges of the alien gender with confidence–the confidence that comes from realizing that you actually understand what is going on around you. You will come away with a whole arsenal of new insights. You will move from the average “I don’t really get girls” guy to someone with superpowers. You will basically have a master’s degree in Girl.
We challenge you to use these powers wisely and not for your own selfish purposes. If we hear that you haven’t used your new knowledge well, we will hunt you down and force you to sit through our twelve-hour two-on-one seminar. And we’ll charge you for it.
You ready for the adventure? Sit back for a fun ride and plenty of big–and amazingly helpful–surprises about how girls think. When you’re done, be sure to let us know what happened.
–Jeff and Eric (Shaunti and Lisa too)