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The Language of The Sexes

by Pete Godfrey · 15 comments

The Language of The Sexes

FOREWORD: After many thousands of years, countless studies, numerous focus groups, and much angst all round, it has recently been discovered that men and women are different. And it’s these differences we’ll look at in this article and how to use this knowledge to make more sales. Sure I take a light-hearted look at this topic, and there are generalisations going on as well, but in my humble (and accurate) opinion, this little article contains a few lessons all of us should keep in mind.

DISCLAIMER: For the female reader. If you’re married to a male of our species and you’re wondering how on earth things changed so quickly… I mean… one minute you’re going out with a charming athletic prince… and then BANG… you got married and overnight your husband changed into a lounge-loving Homer Simpson… and you’re wondering how did this happen… well this article won’t help you at all. Sorry. But it will give you a few lessons on how the money flows and who’s doing the spending, plus give you an insightful, albeit brief look into the male mind.

DISCLAIMER: For the male reader. If you think after reading this article you’ll know everything there is to know about women, and somehow you’ll turn into some kind of 21st century Casanova; then get a grip will ya? This isn’t that type of article. But you will get some lessons and there are two big things to keep in mind. One, women are different and buy for different reasons than us. Two, women control the money.

The Language of The Sexes

Let’s talk about sex shall we? More specifically, let’s talk about the differences between males and females, and how this effects how each group buys. Don’t worry. I won’t get all deep on you. I’ll keep it light-hearted but you’ll get plenty of lessons.

First up, a very important statistic.  Studies PROVE 70% of the buying decisions are made by women! Now I’ve read different studies, some say 60% or even 80% of all buying decisions are first orchestrated by women. So no matter what study you listen to, it’s a big chunk of the population right? They hold the purse strings. And they buy based on different criteria than males. This means it takes a different message to make the sale when selling to males or when selling to females.

A different language.

But this can lead to confusion.

For example…

When a wife asks her husband, “What are you thinking about?” And he replies, “Nothing”… then trust me on this

He really IS thinking nothing.

There is no mystery here! No cover ups. He isn’t thinking about work or fantasising about some blonde bimbo from the office. Chances are if he answers “nothing”, especially if he’s watching TV, then in fact… give me a drum roll please… he is thinking…. nothing!

NOTE: To male married readers. If you ask your wife what’s she thinking because you’ve been in the same room with her for 30 minutes and she hasn’t made a sound, and she replies, ‘nothing’, I suggest you get outside, preferably with power tools, lawnmower, whatever you can find, and get busy until the danger passes.

So first up, one thing to understand is we males are a simplistic bunch. We don’t share our feelings as much as women. In fact, it’s an unwritten law in the male Handbook Of Life never to share feelings; ever!

Females of course, have a whole big support network of girlfriends to share every feeling they ever experience. For males, the thought of actually telling our friends about any problems we are having makes us shudder. I mean, you just don’t do that! We’d rather run naked through Surfers Paradise on a Saturday night than ever reveal our emotions.

Fact is, males run on just a few key drivers.

But in our defence, we have evolved a bit since our cave-dwelling days. We’ve come a long way since hunting Mammoths with spears and the modern man has clumsily adapted to his new surrounds. Fact is, a few males are becoming mind readers. And, there are a few exceptionally smart married males who know how to actually interpret the meaning behind his wife’s words. (These remarkably talented individuals usually end up as copywriters.)

For example…

Husband asks wife,

“What do you want for Mother’s day honey?”

Wife replies,

“Oh don’t worry about that. You don’t have to get me a thing…”

Now to an outside male, especially a single male, he would assume it’s all cool and no presents are required.

Big mistake.

Married guy instantly realises he better get her something good, something thoughtful and he better put a bit of love into the giving as well.

Or another example…

For the fourth night in a row, a selfish husband kisses his wife on the cheek and heads to the door,

“Well I’m off to the pub to catch up with Bluey and Johnno. You don’t mind do you?”

The wife replies between clenched teeth,

“No I don’t mind. You go. Don’t let me stop you.”

The smart married guy (maybe a copywriter) turns, takes a seat, and gets his boots off without delay.

You see?

The smart married male has evolved so damn far he indistinctly knows…

To do the opposite of
whatever his wife
tells him…

Males and females are different in other ways as well.

Take the humble IKEA furniture for example.

A female will carefully read the instructions, work out what she needs and then put the furniture neatly together with a minimum of fuss.

A male refuses the instructions. He already knows, deep down in his DNA, how to build anything. Besides, looking at instructions is a sign of weakness. So the male plunges in, puts together the wrong bits, pulls it apart again and starts afresh and then, after much grunting and swearing, finally gets the damn thing together (albeit with a few extra parts in hand).

So we are different.

And we make decisions differently as well.

Take shopping for shoes for example.

A male will stride in, choose a pair of shoes, avoid trying them on because they look like the right fit, and gets out as quick as he can.

Total time elapsed 27 seconds.

A woman however will bring along friends. She’ll try on many shoes. She’ll take photos of shoes an upload on facebook, asking her friends which one is the best. It’s a collaboration of minds and great discussions are had before a winning shoe can be purchased. When she finally chooses the pair she wants, a whole morning has disappeared.

So these differences can be confusing and that’s why, above all, as marketers, not only do we have to know what makes each gender tick, we also need a deep understanding and empathy for our market to be able to sell them all the good stuff we’ve got that’ll improve their lives.

The point of this mildly amusing article was to first point out males and females are different and we buy differently based on different things. If you continue to market the same way to both sexes you’re in trouble.

In future posts, I’m going to give you specific steps to take so your message is congruent to whatever sex you are writing to. Until then, keep in mind that women DO control the wallets.

Love to hear your thoughts on this below… cheers… Pete.

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About The Author

Copywriter, Sales Strategist - Pete GodfreyPete Godfrey, The Wizard of Words, from rebel without a clue to one of the most in demand and highest paid Copywriters and Sales Strategists in Australasia… all with the power of his emotionally charged words that sell… Discover the “Secret Weapon” to increasing your Sales and Profits by downloading the valuable report "The Ultimate Copywriting and Marketing Secret" While you're at it, follow Pete on Facebook

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrew Haddleton June 20, 2013 at 4:10 pm

So true Pete.

In fact just two weeks ago, my 16 year-old daughter went looking for a dress with a couple of friends and took photos in the shop to share with other friends. She didn’t buy the dress until the following week when they had all had their input.

Another trait is that if men find something they like, they buy it. If women will find something they like.they will go to all the other shops just to verify.

And as for feelings, even sporting injuries are brushed off. 🙂

Nice post.




Pete Godfrey June 20, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Hey Andrew, thanks mate…and yeah, my daughter is the same…


Eileen Mays June 20, 2013 at 9:20 pm

Hi Pete
What a laugh, just the other day my son who’s 18yrs needed shoes so off to the shops we went, well we’d hardly walked in the door when he said got them lets go.
I said are you going to try them on first, he quickly looked at size and said no there my size there fine. With that off he went and without stopping or even slowing down he grabbed a pair of socks, any socks any size. l guess it doesn’t matter so long as he can get them on.
This type of shopping is the complete opposite to my daughter, l shutter when she mentions shopping there’s not enough hours in the day for her.


Pete Godfrey June 21, 2013 at 5:23 am

Hi Eileen,

My son can buy a shirt, jeans and shoes and be out of the shop in 5 minutes (that doesn’t mean they will actually fit him though).

Whereas my daughter takes her time and makes sure she really wants the item and it fits.

Big lessons there for all of us who sell.

Glad you enjoyed the post Eileen… cheers Pete


Carolyn June 21, 2013 at 9:56 am

Hey Pete,

I thought it was a great post!!

Makes me laugh every time I go shopping with my partner and he walks into shop – doesn’t even try clothes on and will go and buy it! I of course shop around and take my time…..we are so different!!

Good lessons in the buying process for both sexes in this post – good work 🙂




Pete Godfrey June 22, 2013 at 9:22 am

Hey there Carolyn… thanks for the feedback… and yes, many lessons for us all… cheers Pete


Christina June 22, 2013 at 12:38 am

In a department store in Scotland, they have a mens area in the middle of the shop, with playstations, couches, newspapers and a fridge with drinks. Then the men don’t whinge for their wives to hurry up and get out of the shop.


Pete Godfrey June 22, 2013 at 9:23 am

Classic example of knowing what your market wants! Thanks for sharing Christina… cheers Pete


Scott Meadow June 22, 2013 at 9:24 am

Estimado Pete,

First of all, you know that I think that you nail topics in a coherent and remarkably memorable fashion. Sometimes I belive you are chanelling David Ogilvy. However, that’s not really the point here.

I have been deeply involved in Shopper Marketing since 2002, before it had that name. For major international brands and the agencies who love them, my team and I conducted both quantitative and qualitative research to not only understand the gender differences but the differences among groups of women.

One thing I can tell you is that you offered no false conclusions and your disclaimers on generalizations were in order, as far as I am concerned.

Pete, you probably suceeded in getting more people to read the blog through the mail which stimulated me to write this note; that’s great. I admire how the subtle and powerful rhetorical technique that you have used.

Like they say in these latitudes, “bien hecho” or in my original zip code, “Well done, dude”.



Pete Godfrey June 22, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Always great to hear from you Scott… and I trust everything is going good for you over there… and thanks for the humbling feedback… if I was a different kinda guy I’d get a swelled head. (I know my mate Bret Thomson would… no doubt about it. 🙂 )


Joslyn March 13, 2014 at 9:22 am

Hi Pete
Great post! But just to let you know all women can buy shoes
In 60 seconds…. Just need the right motivation!
Like: as soon as we finish here we’ll go to the jewellers
To buy…. ( anything really!!).


Pete Godfrey March 13, 2014 at 10:45 am

Hey thanks Joslyn… and yeah… point taken …cheers Pete


Denise March 13, 2014 at 1:04 pm

Hi Pete
I must not be the typical woman. I hate shopping and so does my mother. It was my father who loved to be in the shops and would take hours to choose and spend money on stuff he would never use just because it was on special. My husband is the same when he goes shopping on his own he will come home with all sorts of stuff just because it was cheap. when I go shopping I like to go in get what I need and come out but if my husband comes he wants to go up every isle just in case.
They say that there are exceptions to every rule and I must be the exception.
thanks for a great article though


Pete Godfrey March 13, 2014 at 2:13 pm

Can you speak to my wife Denise?

Nah, just kidding… and yeah.. I did generalise on several points…
and there’s always an exception to the rule cheers for sharing Pete


Andrew Crawford March 13, 2014 at 2:46 pm

Hi Pete
With over 30 years of marriage behind me I have experienced every aspect of the female shopping physche’ – so much so that my wife refuses to take me shopping any longer. (we have reached a compromise we are both happy with). It was excruciating to wander for hours without any specific purchase or destination in mind. However I am a free man now & can do a Bunnings mission generally within 3-5 minutes & be back on the job in no time at all. cheers Andrew
PS. I have a few mates that still get dragged along & they bitch & moan about it but are too scared to let their partners know their true feelings.


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