If Tarzan can figure this out…so can you.
I had to laugh out loud at something a guy told me the other day.
Allen was feeling defeated about his interactions with his wife. Without knowing it, he gave me the perfect example of the kind of results men tell me they want most. If they could just figure out how to act more like Tarzan, they would feel so much better about life in general.
It happened again last night, Steve. She was angry about something at work involving her boss and another coworker. She kept ranting and then looked at me and said, “Why do you guys have to be such assholes to women?”
What did you say?
I took the bait again and said something stupid about how women are irrational and impossible to talk to.
Then we got into a nasty, hour long argument about feminism, misogyny and equal rights.
Sounds fun. What would you do if you could have a do-over?
You know those old Tarzan movies? There’s a scene where Tarzan and Jane are in the jungle and Jane gets really mad at him for something, I don’t know what. But he just smiled at her and was totally unaffected. Then he just said, “Jane pretty when mad.”
What did Jane do?
She just rolled her eyes and they went on about their jungle day. Damn, I wish I could have the peace of mind and confidence to say things like that and be like that!
(LOL) Don’t we all, Allen. Let’s talk about how Tarzan got there. You can do this – you just don’t know it yet.
I told Allen about my experiences with reacting to my wife. Like a lot of guys, I had a hair-trigger when it came to any implication of disappointment or disapproval from her. If she was angry, she must be angry with me, I figured. I must have “screwed up” somehow and now had to figure out why and how to fix it fast. That normally included a boyish reaction, an insult, an argument and then – the silent treatment.
If my wife was really upset about her boss, her mother or me I would react by recoiling and preparing a defensive retort. I internalized her anger as an indictment of me and my status as a “really good guy” everyone else seemed to like just fine! Resentment filled my veins.
That’s exactly where Allen was with his wife.
And the thought of saying “Jane pretty when mad” was nowhere on his radar.
What Does “Jane pretty when mad” Look Like?
A client of mine, Bill, learned how to turn his tendency to react to his wife into a “Jane pretty when hungry” response. His wife had a habit of coming home from work in a tense, irritated mood. She would arrive home and immediately start complaining about everything. It was so predictable and annoying to Bill that he would usually get into an argument with her about something just in spite.
Then he figured it out. His wife was always coming home hungry and this always made her agitated. So Bill decided to start making some fun snacks they could share together when she got home from work. He said, “You should have seen the look on her face when I just casually put out the snacks and asked her about her day.” Bill engineered his own “Jane pretty when mad” response and no longer worried about her moods upon arriving home.
Ladies can do this for us too. It happened for me yesterday morning in my kitchen at 7am.
Except that it was more of a “Tarzan sexy when mad” moment.
I was sleepily making my sweetie a cup of coffee with our Keurig one cup magic machine pain in the ass…ummm…coffee maker. Standing there barefoot in my fleece jammies I heard the machine burp, hiss and then erupt hot water and coffee grinds all over the counter and the floor. I felt boiling water between my toes as the cat jumped into the middle of the mess. I tossed the kitty out of harm’s way and just yelled, “F*ck! Goddam piece of crap!”
My “Jane” puttered down the hallway with a toothbrush in her mouth humming some damn song that was in her head. She shuffled up to me, opened her arms and muffled through her foamy lips, “You want a hug?” She helped clean up, made a comment about cleaning the machine this weekend, patted my ass and went back to her business with the hair dryer.
To me it felt like, “Tarzan sexy when mad”. And I liked it.
FYI, ladies. Every guy reading that last part is now shaking their head thinking, “Damn, what a mythical creature”.
For men, this is exactly what the “Jane pretty when mad” energy is all about. It’s about a calm, deliberate and unrattled masculine gift of acceptance. It’s about not following the drama and negative energy of the moment.
It’s about assuming the BEST about your partner. That her anger is not about you. It’s not personal. There is no reason to react to her anger with defensiveness or boyish insecurity.
“Jane pretty when mad” is any response you can muster from a place of self-confidence, presence and love.
This is Really About You – Not Jane
When we start doing personal development work inside our relationships, we need to check our motivations. Sometimes we choose to learn a new mindset and new tools for the wrong reasons.
We want Jane to like us. We want her to swing with us. We bring bananas so she will give us crazy hot monkey love to make us feel good about ourselves.
Jane not like your hidden agenda. And neither should you.
If you want to be more like Tarzan, you also need to know his secret.
Tarzan very happy with Tarzan and not NEED Jane to give him anything.
Tarzan is so comfortable, confident and at peace in his own skin that he only needs a loincloth. He doesn’t rely on Jane to make him feel like Tarzan. But she likes to.
He doesn’t need Jane to give him hugs, kisses and crazy hot monkey love. But she likes to.
Tarzan knows he has options. There are other Jane’s in the jungle if Jane doesn’t like him the way he is.
But every day, Tarzan chooses Jane and offers her his consistent presence, support and strength. He’s independent but dependable. And he sprinkles in some fun and humor in there too.
That’s just how Tarzan rolls.
And Jane like that.
I received this email from Allen a few days later. He had been practicing his Tarzan mojo – calm, present and unrattled. Here’s what he said.
I am amazed how my not reacting turned out to be such a positive thing. But boy in my mind I was definitely having a reaction 🙂 My wife had forgotten about her [snarky comment] in a couple of minutes and her tone turned normal and the morning turned out fine.
If you want to learn more about how to be comfortable, confident and peaceful in your own skin, I’d love to help show you the way. Get started by downloading a FREE copy of The Hard-to-Swallow Secret to Saving Your Marriage. I wrote it just for you. Click HERE.