Cover image for If men could talk-- here's what they'd say
If men could talk-- here's what they'd say
Gratch, Alon.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Boston : Little, Brown, [2001]

Physical Description:
viii, 311 pages ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BF692.5 .G73 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
BF692.5 .G73 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



For ages, men and women have been polarized by their psychological differences. Now, Alon Gratch helps decode and interpret male behavior. Contrary to similar books, he takes us not only into the minds of his male patients, but uses his own experiences as a therapistand a maleto illustrate each chapter. He provides practical insights and useful tips on how women and men can learn to talk, and how to change mens non-verbal, action-oriented communications into the language of emotional dialogue.

Author Notes

He has written for both The New York Times & the Wall Street Journal. He lives in Westchester County, New York.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Women drawn to this book by its promise to unlock men's secrets will find that following Gratch's premise requires more effort and sophistication than following the work of John Gray. Though this book holds insights into the male psyche and into the therapeutic process itself, readers looking for a quick fix or easy characterizations will be disappointed. Despite the clever title, Gratch serves up fairly serious theory flavored with dollops of Russian literature and only brief suggestions on dealing with men's behavior. Rather than suggest manipulative tactics, he urges women to hone their emotional understanding, in one case advising women to be like a "detective" in probing for emotions. Observing that "the cornerstone of man's gender identity is his feminine, not masculine, desires," this Westchester, N.Y., clinical psychologist surveys men's motivations using popular catchphrases: "boys don't cry" (shame); "I don't know what I feel" (emotional absence); "tired of being on top" (insecurity); "see me, touch me" (self-involvement); "I'll show you who's boss" (aggression); "I'm such a loser" (self-destruction); "I want sex now" (sexual acting out). In alternately familiar and intriguing composite patient profiles, Gratch illustrates each behavior, documenting his reactions to being challenged and engaged byÄand at times almost jousting withÄpatients. (Feb. 20) Forecast: While Gratch aims for a dual readership, his catchy title and topic are designed to attract media attention and a stampede of women buyers. However, he may have pitched this one too high for a mass audience. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Gratch, a clinical psychologist with more than 20 years of experience (Columbia Univ. and Columbia Presbyterian Hosp.), has taken a distinctly psychoanalytical view of why men do what they do. He posits seven attributes in an attempt to explain male behavior: shame, emotional absence, self-involvement, masculine insecurity, aggression, self-destructiveness, and sexual acting-out. The author blames a lot of these issues on men tryingÄbut not being fully ableÄto hide the feminine part of their psyches. He also blames a lot of gender conflict on men reacting negatively to women being too "womanly": because they don't like the feminine aspects of their own psyches, they feel called upon to revile these aspects in others. This tendentious work is a marginal purchase for most libraries; buy where Sigmund Freud is still "the man" and patrons believe that a cigar is never a cigar.ÄPamela A. Matthews, Gettysburg Coll., PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Excerpt Men Are Difficult ...let me count the ways Men are difficult. On the surface, they often seem distant and elusive. Or loud and obnoxious. And when you try to get to know them, it often gets worse--they can become defensive and impenetrable. Indeed, unlike women, who are generally open with their feelings, most men find it extremely difficult to open up to others. But when they finally do, they invariably reveal a dramatic, bold, and amazingly vulnerable inner self. This hidden self, and the challenges it presents for the occasional visitor, is the subject of this book. As I explore the inner world of men, we will come upon multiple sightings of the central paradox on which masculinity rests: the cornerstone of man's gender identity is his feminine, not his masculine, desires. I am a clinical psychologist working primarily with men, which is unusual because most psychotherapy patients are women. So while many therapists spend their time listening to women complain about men who don't talk, don't listen, or don't understand, I spend most of my time listening to these men. And with a little bit of help, my male patients do talk, do listen, and do understand. In presenting the inner world of men, I am assuming that women will always be in the business of trying to decode male behavior. For them, it's a practical matter of improving their relationships with men--a high priority for many women. In writing this book I hope to help women to attain this goal, not by telling them what to do, but rather, by inviting them into the emotional and spiritual equivalent of the male locker room. My intention is to discuss my experiences with male patients and to share what I do, as a psychologist, when confronted with some of the troublesome aspects of male psychology. In short, I'm going to tell the "inside story" about men. But this book is not only for women. As a writer, I'd like to replicate here what I believe I have accomplished as a psychologist--to reach and connect with men. I hope, as they read about other men's struggles to break out of their emotional isolation, male readers will feel understood and moved and that what they read will mirror and nurture their own self-knowledge--nascent,secret, or not fully conscious as it may be. What brings men to therapy and what they end up talking about in therapy are two different matters. For one thing, at the beginning of therapy many men don't talk at all--that is, about anything significant or interesting. In a sense, men come to therapy because they don't talk. Since their unconscious philosophy is that talk is cheap and that actions speak louder than words, they often enter therapy in the same way that they drive: rather than ask for directions, they keep on going until they reach a dead end, are lost, or have an accident. Even then they may avoid asking for help: their backseat driver might do it for them. In that way, many of my male patients stumble into my office for the initial consultation after some destructive action and/or at the urging of their spouse or girlfriend. In the latter case, they are often "dragged" in because they refuse to communicate or because they communicate chiefly by means of angry outbursts or other unseemly discharges. Sometimes they are forced to come for the same reasons not by an intimate partner but rather by a business partner or a boss. An ultimatum--a threat of divorce or of termination of employment--is often involved. While some men seek treatment for problems or issues similar to women's--depression, anxiety, relationship difficulties--many more enter psychotherapy with distinctly male dilemmas and a uniquely masculine style. Perhaps not surprisingly, research shows that men are particularly susceptible to such conditions as alcoholism, drug abuse, and antisocial behaviors. But in my consulting room, even men who do not fit into such diagnostic criteria--and most of my patients don't--cannot be mistaken for women. Many of the men who come to see me on their own initiative are in the midst of a work-related crisis. Being fired or even "restructured" is a traumatic experience for most men. Even a perception of failure, let alone an actual lack of success, can precipitate a crisis. There are other work issues which bring men into my office, for example, difficulty in making business decisions, getting into costly political conflicts, feeling oppressed by the corporation, and being bored or lacking passion for one's work. Some very successful men come to see me to address the fundamental sense of uncertainty, the oversized survival instincts and the emotional hunger which have served them so well in their drive to the top of their professions. Some of these men come because they realize they will never feel satiated. Others come because of the heavy price they have paid for their success: alienation from wife and children or a lack of personal fulfillment. Last but not least, many men seek therapy for sexual or what they think are sexual symptoms. Impotence, premature ejaculation, disturbing sexual fantasies, questions about sexual identity, infidelity, and sexual impulsivity or compulsivity are the most common "presenting problems." In this group are those who are so ashamed of their difficulties that they don't even tell you for many months why they came to see you. Then there are those who are so "oversexed" that they do not hesitate to be graphic or pornographic as soon as possible. There is a third group as well--those who guardedly allude to their sexual anxieties by cracking jokes. Copyright © 2001 Alon Gratch. All rights reserved.

Table of Contents

Men Are Difficult...let me count the waysp. 3
Shame...boys don't cryp. 29
Emotional Absence...I don't know what I feelp. 59
Masculine Insecurity...I'm tired of being on topp. 95
Self-Involvement...see me, hear me, touch me, feel mep. 132
Aggression...I'll show you who's bossp. 175
Self-Destructiveness...I'm such a loserp. 216
Sexual Acting-Out...I want sex nowp. 251
Bibliographyp. 303
Indexp. 306