The power of the feminine "please"

The power of the feminine "please"

Today, a woman I don't know, a woman whom I have never met, a woman on the other side of the world, asked me to do something that requires a couple of hours of work. I have no hope of meeting her, no hope of seeing her face nor having so much as a smile from her.

And yet, I could not resist her request.

She wrote, “Please please please” along with fifteen other words praising me for what I had done—and asking me to do it again. The word “please”, along with her feminine writing style, gave me the energy and the desire to do as she asked.

Often, women ask without asking. How many times have we heard a woman say “the lawn needs to be mowed” or “we're running low on bread”? We're supposed to interpret this not only as a request, but as sufficient motivation to do something for her.

The resentment engendered by such statements—requests without the simple decency of requesting—can slowly poison a relationship.

”I shouldn't have to ask,” is often the retort of a woman whose unrequested request goes unfulfilled, where if she had simply said ”please”, she could have had anything she wished.

The raw power of a woman saying “please” is enough to make a man travel to the ends of the Earth—or even to the mini-mart at 3am—to retrieve the golden fleece, or gather the eggs of a chicken.

”Please” does not make one a slut. It doesn't need to be accompanied by promises of sexual pleasure. In fact “please” is much more powerful than “I'll make love to you all night long”.

”Please” creates a longing to do the thing asked, whereas “I'll make love to you all night long” creates a longing to ... well ... make love all night long. Of course, if that's what you want, you can combine the two: “Please make love to me all night long,” will probably produce the desired results (assuming you say it to your husband or lover).

But you don't have to be a wife, a lover, a slut, a whore, or a mistress to say “please”. A mother can say it to her son. A daughter can say it to her father. A sister can say it to her brother. A woman can say it to a friend, or a co-worker, or an acquaintance or even a stranger.

And it will affect him—often to the point of granting her request.

It isn't indecent; it isn't demeaning; it isn't degrading. It's just plain powerful. When I hear, or read, a woman saying “please”— with that lilt that comes only from a woman—I can't help myself. I want to please her. I want to do as she asks.

Even if the word “please” is the only reward I will ever receive.

Of course, “thank you” or “that was fabulous of you” is kinda nice too.

So, if you want something from a man, try saying “please”—in a nice way—in a feminine way. If you want that special something from him, try saying, “please take out the garbage” or “please put me over your lap and spank me.”

You might be surprised at the results.

CarlF

The Taken In Hand Tour start | next


Have you seen the following articles?
It's not because he's infallible
Alpha males and the women who love them
Do you need more attention in your relationship?
How often do you have sex?
Listening isn't weak
Hands-on approach
Equality through Taken in Hand?
Why Taken In Hand isn't actually unfair
Some possible benefits of taking your wife in hand
Keep your sense of humour!

Comments

Polite

What a great read and so right. My partner will do anything if I ask, however, telling him to do something would make his hair stand up.

Western society overall has become sloppy about good manners. The media promotes the bratty behavior of celebrities as if it matters. Women have been wrongfully led to believe that by being assertive, they will be perceived as stronger and will get what they want.

Please and thank you are of course good words for everyone to use, yet sound delightful when spoken by a woman. I refer back to the book that has been discussed on this sight and often snickered at it unfortunately seems, Fascinating Womanhood, in which the author relays the very truth that women who are courteous and respectful are highly regarded by men.

snickering at 'Fascinating womanhood'

Well, personally I feel about 'Fascinating Womanhood' the way Oscar Wilde said he felt about 'The Old Curiosity Shop' by Charles Dickens: "It would take a heart of stone not to laugh at the death of Little Nell."

Louise

I'm really not sure why, but

I'm really not sure why, but I totally got hot reading that.

I'm gonna go upstairs and ask my man that last question you suggested right now! And I'll be sure to say please very sweetly :)

Please

Well, I never realised the word 'please' could be so exciting to a man. I can't say I've ever noticed a man getting excited when I say 'please' to him, but perhaps I didn't say it in a feminine enough way. But then being feminine isn't really my strong suit anyway.

I do generally say 'please' to people if I am asking them to do something for me, doesn't everyone? I'm not sure that my husband finds it more exciting than "I'll make love to you allnight long" but that would in any case be a promise I would be unlikely to keep (both of us would probably be asleep long before the night was over).

I can't say that the word 'please' has any effect at all on my sons, who never pay any attention to anything I say to them anyway. My father would have done anything for me whether I said 'please' or not, but I imagine if I did ask him to do anything for me I would have said 'please', it's jsut common civility isn't it? I can't remember ever asking my brother to do anything for me, but if I did I would certainly say 'please', why wouldn't I? I don't think he'd get very excited about it though.

I generally put the garbage out myself, so that's not a problem .I would simply hate having to ask my husband to spank me though, I like him to decide when he wants to do that. Having to ask for it would take all the thrill out of it.

Does anyone really not say please when they ask someone to do something for them? I find that quite extraordinary.

Louise

Please vs. Would you mind

There is no doubt that the word "please" is a polite word to include in a request. But I think it really depends on the context as to how it is received. For instance, I feel much more polite saying, "Would you mind turning down the TV," to "Please turn the down the TV." Actually, either of those requests could come across as either sweet or demanding, depending on tone of voice and which words are emphaszied. Sometimes "please" actually feels more demanding, whining or like it's been added on just to sugarcoat the request, whereas "would you mind" gives the requestee the option to decline. If my husband offers to make me a sandwich or whatever, asking if I'd like one, I do feel good offering a warm "Please" with smile. Like one of other posters, I'm going to do a little experiment and try using it in requests I wouldn't normally have and see if my husband likes it.
Lucy

what if please just doesn't work?

I think in general most people do say 'please' & 'thank you'. However, it is very easy to overlook the importance of these words, especially to our spouses. We become 'comfortable' with each other & it makes it easy to forget our manners sometimes.

I haven't found out that it always works, though. Maybe some of the men here can help me out with this one. This is one area that I can & do get very frustrated with my husband.

We have a very traditional relationship. I pretty much handle all of the housework, cooking, decorating, social schedule, etc. He handles taking out the garbage, mowing the grass, fixing things around the house, etc. For whatever reason, it doesn't always seem important to him to do the projects that need done & fix minor things.
This just infuriates me.

I do feel that I shouldn't have to ask for him to do these things all of the time. I feel like a nag (& so does he) if I do. And each day that passes that no step is taken towards accomplishing these tasks just makes me resent him more & more.

I try to do things for him. I'll take the trash out for him or mow the lawn for him. I do these things not because I have to, but because I want to make his life easier. Maybe it's that nurturing thing inside me. I feel that if I go out of my way to ease his load & make him happy that maybe that will inspire him to choose on his own to get some of the things done that he KNOWS really are bothering me. This doesn't always work.

So, if please doesn't work, & nagging doesn't work, & going the extra mile for him doesn't work... what will??? This is thing about men that I find truly mind boggling.

Oh, and I agree with the editor.....please, please, please write some more articles, CarlF! :) My husband really relates to your views. Your posts (and others) have sparked some great conversations between us!

Dynomite

Be direct...Be unassuming

This is Dynomite's husband. First of all I want to thank everyone on this site for providing an avenue to discuss the Taken In Hand lifestyle in a non-judgmental (usually) forum. Dynomite and I began this journey just a few short weeks ago and I feel we are making huge strides every day.

I agree wholeheartedly with CarlF. There is a big difference between a true feminine please and a suggestion or request made in a frustrating tone. In addition, I feel that for it to be effective a feminine please must be the consistent method used. Mixing it with nagging or reminding somebody, "The grass needs mowed" or, in my case, a sign posted on the bathroom mirror that read "TRASH NIGHT" (which I kindly changed to "ASS NIGHT" and relocated to the headboard) is in no way a feminine please and only makes me resent doing the desiganted head of the household chores. In addition, for a woman to make requests through suggestion has a negative effect on effective communication. If "The garage needs painted", "The trash needs taken out", "I can't wait to redo the kitchen", "The grass is getting tall", "The brakes are squeeking", "The refrigerator is making a funny sound", "The beach would be a great vacation" and "I don't feel like cooking tonight" are all said in the same manner it is impossible to interpret what is of true importance. The result is for him to lump all of her desires into one big overwhelming pile of endless wants. For many men this causes a lack of motivation because they feel enough can never be done to end the beckoning. Many of us deal with the issue of never satisfying our employers. Experiencing the same type of frustration at home is what drives us to our caves for some escape. Whereas, if she were to clearly identify that which is most important at that moment and in a truly feminine way ASK for it to be done the effect would no doubt be different. Men are logical and sexual. Be direct...Be feminine.

Dynomite has taken a liking to our new Taken In Hand relationship. To truly appreciate it, however, it appears that a feminine please needs to be required before things are to be done around here—including the spanking!

Signed,

Sparky

common sense men

I hope Sparky will write more, also. Thanks for pointing out how all the comments can sound all lumped in a pile that may be interpreted as never being able to do enough to please her and then getting frustrated. This is very helpful to know.

It would be great to read more of Carlf, Sparky and also Sam 2020 (I think his name is) because there is so much practical, common sense behind what you related.

Articles by men

"I hope Sparky will write more, also. Thanks for pointing out how all the comments can sound all lumped in a pile that may be interpreted as never being able to do enough to please her and then getting frustrated. This is very helpful to know."

I agree! I wish I knew this ten years ago! All this time I was going about it all wrong. I didn't even realize how I was frustrating him so. It really does help to hear our men's point of view on these issues.

I would like my wonderful husband, Sparky, to write more also. He is a very intelligent, articulate man. Last night he gave me a very detailed, written plan of how he was going to guide me to my full potential. In the beginning of this plan he included his thoughts on adults living to their full potential. I think it would make a great article that would help many! I plan on asking him to do an article on the subject with a very feminine 'please'! ;)

Dynomite

Communications Style

There are two main communications styles (according to Kiersey). Role Directive ("Paint the garage"), and Role Informative ("The garage's paint is peeling"). While everyone will use each from time to time, different personalities will tend toward one or the other more often. This is not a matter of intelligence, or of leadership or following, it is merely how certain people normally express themselves.

It can also be, as we have seen, a major source of friction if the communications styles of the two individuals are different.

The Directive person may feel the Informative is being "evasive" or tricky, when all they are trying to do is help someone who may be in a position to do something about it by pointing out that a sub-optimal state exists. They don't want to presume just HOW that state is to be addressed. Maybe the person doesn't want the garage painted because they plan to completely re-side it. Or maybe they plan to tear it down and build a swimming pool.

On the other hand, an informative person may resent the directive telling them how to fix the problem, when they have a perfectly good plan in mind.

The cure, of course, is to sit down and discuss the issue, without issuing a "one liner"—either about its state, or what should be done to address it.

And of course, saying "please" never hurts. :)

If 'please' doesn't work

Perhaps you should try the 'Surrendered Wife' technique, and just not bother doing the things that he's supposed to do. Let the garbage pile up and maybe he will take to putting it out. Be more passive to make him more active. That is the theory behind 'Surrendered Wife' anyway, and it might work for you.

Louise

Thank you, CarlF, for your ar

Thank you, CarlF, for your article. I particularly like your fourth and fifth paragraphs, in which you describe the practice of asking without asking, and ascribe to it a pernicious effect. You're spot on there. I might go further: no matter the sexes involved--if one wants to ask for something from someone, one should ask for it--directly, politely--and not pretend it's something else. "The grass needs cutting," "I wonder if my tire pressure is okay," or even "I need a good, hard spanking," are not requests, but unfortunately in our mixed up world, they often pass for them. A real request requires risk. that is: I ask this of you, recognizing that I may be turned down.

Such a Mixture of Comments

I do love the mixture of comments that arise from this group. Thank you all for your kind words.

I'm really not sure why, but I totally got hot reading that.

There is an inherent warmth in a sincere feminine "please". Depending on the context, that can translate to a soothing touch, a burning passion or anything in-between.

Please and thank you are of course good words for everyone to use, yet sound delightful when spoken by a woman.

Yes. Among other things, "please" implies an acceptance of the reply, whether it is "yes" or "no". With that comes an element of submission.

"Please" grants freedom and respect for the decision.

I can't say I've ever noticed a man getting excited when I say 'please' to him, but perhaps I didn't say it in a feminine enough way. But then being feminine isn't really my strong suit anyway.

While the word itself has power, the femininity is essential to the warmth or excitement—at least for me. The softness, tenderness, perhaps a touch of perfume or a curve or a delicate hand—the uniquely female elements are part of the magic.

Sometimes "please" actually feels more demanding, whining or like it's been added on just to sugarcoat the request, whereas "would you mind" gives the requestee the option to decline.

This touches on another essential element, which I neglected to include in the original article: sincerity. The whining or demanding quality is contrary to a sincere "please". And if there is no option to decline, then it wasn't really a request in the first place.

We become 'comfortable' with each other & it makes it easy to forget our manners sometimes.

I haven't found out that it always works, though. Maybe some of the men here can help me out with this one. This is one area that I can & do get very frustrated with my husband.

It isn't going to work every time. In fact, that's the whole point. Saying "please" isn't simply good manners, it is submission: a pre-acceptance of "no".

Paradoxically, if a man has the freedom to say "no", he will say "yes" more often.

A real request requires risk. That is: I ask this of you, recognizing that I may be turned down.

Exactly.

I think the hardest part for

I think the hardest part for me of accepting this is the potential of hearing 'no.' No matter how the question is asked, be it with 'would you mind,' or 'please,' if I bothered to ask it was because it was pretty important to me, and being told 'no' hurts my feelings. Telling me 'no' is a refusal to meet a legitimate need, because if I didn't need it, I wouldn't ask.

I think that's probably why I get suckered into so much myself. If you ask me to do something, I assume the need. How heartless would I have to be to say 'no' to a heartfelt request or legitimate need?

Being Told "No"

I think the hardest part for me of accepting this is the potential of hearing 'no.' No matter how the question is asked, be it with 'would you mind,' or 'please,' if I bothered to ask it was because it was pretty important to me, and being told 'no' hurts my feelings.

Sometimes your needs and his needs are in conflict. In that case, somebody's needs aren't going to get met—at least not completely.

That is going to hurt one or both of you. If he doesn't say "no", then maybe he is getting hurt and he might not be telling you about it. He might be taking the pain onto himself and sparing you.

By allowing him to say "no" you are giving him the ability to assign that pain to you sometimes.

Of course, it would be best if a compromise could be worked out, but sometimes even the compromise involves some pain.

Telling me 'no' is a refusal to meet a legitimate need, because if I didn't need it, I wouldn't ask.

And if it were easy and painless for him to meet your need, he would probably say "yes"... unless... he is choosing to discipline you.

Some taken in hand relationships include physical pain applied to tender parts of the anatomy. Some taken in hand relationships include other kinds of pain applied more symbolically.

"Please" can be a metaphorical paddle. You are handing it to him and saying "You could hurt me with this, or not. It's your decision."

saying please

If I am asking someone to do something for me I tend to say please as a matter of course whether they be male or female. When I don't say please it is more of a demand hidden as a request.

I'd never considered that it would have more power over a man if it was said by a feminine woman but I guess it goes back to the thread on femininity.

Where feminine woman are more will you do this for me please flutter flutter flutter and the more self sufficient less feminine woman will be if I can do it myself I will and only ask for a man's help as a last resort.

I do find I ask my husband to do things for me that I would not ask anyone else. Eg some diy jobs, like plumbing, that I don't like doing I will ask my husband to do but when I lived on my own I took great pride in doing it myself and would not have dreamed of asking a man to do it for me. Perhaps it is because I do not hold men, in general, in high esteem only my husband.

Sully

"By allowing him to say "no"

"By allowing him to say "no" you are giving him the ability to assign that pain to you sometimes."

While I understand what you are saying, in a relationship both partners occassionally hurt each other, accidently though it is. I do not see myself as the only one with the potential to cause pain in the relationship, nor do I see any reason I should invite the pain of rejection.

I find it much easier to simply not express the request if I feel that there is a potential that he will say no. For example, if I ask him to go for a walk with me and he says 'no,' it is not the fact that he won't walk with me that hurts as much as the feeling of rejection. The feeling that I'm not important enough to give that time and attention to. Rather than risk that feeling of hurt I tend to mask it as: "would you like to go for a walk with me." If he says no, he simply wouldn't like to, and I'll go by myself, but if I say, "please go for a walk with me" and he says no, he knows it's important to me and still denied the request. That stings more. Doing it my way he still has the opportunity to say no, it just doesn't sting quite as much if he does.

I suppose it sounds rather spoiled, but I've never really been able to handle hearing 'no' when I truly want something. Better not to ask, in my mind, than to risk hearing 'no.'

Pain

I think there is a big difference between hurting someone's feelings and hurting their bottom. Saying 'no' with the deliberate intention of causing pain seems to me a horrible thing to do. If I asked my husband to do something and he said 'no' it would be because he had a reason for not doing it, even if it was something he simply didn't want to do, I can't imagine he would ever say 'no' with the deliberate intention of hurting me, nor can I see how that would benefit our relationship in the least.

Louise

This is a tough one for me be

This is a tough one for me because while I believe that saying please is polite I resent saying please about household chores. A man doesn't have to beg me or say please to me to get me to pay attention to and take responsibility for our home. I just do it! It is just natural for me to assume that as an adult he will tackle home responsibilities with this attitude as well. Please feels like groveling and gives the appearance of what I am asking him for as taking him for granted. I wouldn't put a man in a position to do this and I would wish for him to be mature enough not to put me in one as well. The laundry list of "to--do's" works both ways and can be just as overwhelming to a woman but I don't hold a man asking "what's for dinner?" or "Do I have clean socks?"... as never being able to please him. It is a natural response to living together and sharing a life together. If a man is truly being overwhelmed by his domestic responsibilities then outside help may need considering and he should communicate to his wife that he feels burdened, but resentment of her tells me that he is shucking his adult responsibilities and making her his fall guy.

When I was single and raising my daughter by myself I never resented her for the domestic responsibility of owning a home and all that it entailed. I mowed the grass, planted and weeded the flowers, cleaned house, ironed clothes (I hate ironing) and it never occured to me to resent anyone for having to do this, nor did I find it necessary for her to say please for me to find motivation as I am an adult and this is part of my job of having a family.

I do say please in areas that have to do with non-- domestic responsibilities as in "I know that you dislike so and so but would you please accompany me to her/his party?" or if I know that he doesn't care for the rollerblading as much as myself or a night out dancing I would say "please, please take me" or "go with me". If he tells me no I mostly accept this answer with the occurence of an occasional pout if it is something that I really wanted.

Please has it's place but for me it is not in reference to our adult domestic responsibilities.

Respectful deference

Saying “please” or “would you mind” or otherwise being polite could form part of CarlF's “powerful” approach but, as others have indicated, the words alone are not the whole formula. Good manners are part of it, but not the end of it.

I have known at least one woman who, merely by asking a question about some perfectly innocuous and humdrum matter, was able to convey to a man her willingness to be subject to him.

Perhaps communicating a willingness to be subject to the man might be a significant part of the equation?

Perhaps it would be true to say that men respond more positively when they are approached in a respectful, non-aggressive, non-threatening, non-pressuring, deferential manner?

Perhaps the woman whose request conveys a willingness to be subject to the man, is adding to his burden (by adding something to the list of things to be accomplished) but simultaneously is reducing his overall burden by inducing positive emotions, reducing stress, reaffirming her trust in him, and reminding him that she is available for him in whatever way he needs her?

Perhaps I'm over analysing?

??

I don't know that you're over

I don't know that you're over analyzing, but that makes things even more confusing for me. I know that my boyfriend wants me to be more direct. I think it's a difference in how men and women communicate. I am indirect and seldom ask for things (as I said earlier, if I don't ask, you can't tell me no). He finds the indirect "hinting" to be annoying. I find asking for something to be pushy. When I hear you say that men may want to be approached in a non-threatening manner I think: "that's what I thought, and that's what I'm doing."

I think for me it's a difficult balance in determining how to make my needs and wants known without being pushy...especially since asking is just so difficult.

A Difference in Men's vs. Women's Styles

I know that my boyfriend wants me to be more direct. I think it's a difference in how men and women communicate. I am indirect and seldom ask for things (as I said earlier, if I don't ask, you can't tell me no). He finds the indirect "hinting" to be annoying. I find asking for something to be pushy.

Yes... at least in general.

A lot of men find "hinting" to be annoying because it is dishonest and less than honorable. A hint—an indirect request—avoids the risk of rejection, and is thus cowardly (in general from a male perspective).

An indirect request puts him at risk (if he ignores your hint, he risks hurting your feelings) but keeps you safe (since you can deny that it was ever a request in the first place).

By making a direct request—and allowing him to say "no"—you give him a double benefit: shared risk *and* submission to his authority.

To many men, a hint is just as pushy as a direct request. It just isn't as honest.

Now, I say that as a *general* communication difference between men and women. Of course, all generalities come with standard caveats, such as YMMV.

These kinds of issues are covered extremely well in the book You Just Don't Understand by Deborah Tannen.

Generalising

I think the difference in communication style might be “in general” as you say, CarlF. I am a woman and ask for things directly. If I make an observation like “The grass is long” then it’s just that, an observation. It’s not intended to propel my partner into action with the mower, yet I find many men do indeed react that way.

I’m just as likely to observe and vocalise something that needs doing which I have every intention of doing myself.

It might instead be a difference between how something is intended and how it’s received. Possibly it’s the standard difference of men being more action or achievement oriented or keen to be seen as being on top of things—in general—and women being more verbal. Women tend to be talkers and men doers. With bereavement for instance, it’s been documented that there are differences—in general—between the way men and women grieve. Women are more likely to want to talk about their feelings and men are more likely to find expression in doing things, for example carrying out the deceased person’s last wishes.

On the occasions that I ask directly and my man says “No” well, I can take the disappointment. It’s par for the course in life that there will be some refusals and sometimes of course it’s damn sexy to be told ‘no’ in the context a Taken in Hand relationship! As noted, it entails the man exercising his authority. For the rest I assume that my partner is a responsible person and that I won’t have to nag him to complete chores, directly or indirectly.

As a person who has a tendency to make direct requests, I do become irritated with indirect requests. However I just wish the person would say what they mean and make things clear rather feeling resentment because I feel I’m being manipulated into something. Once the thing is ‘out there’ and I know what the person wants, well then I can respond accordingly.

Communication styles

"If I make an observation like “The grass is long” then it’s just that, an observation. It’s not intended to propel my partner into action with the mower, yet I find many men do indeed react that way.

I’m just as likely to observe and vocalise something that needs doing which I have every intention of doing myself."

I couldn't agree with you more, Lauren! I am the same way. It drives him crazy! I don't intend to come off as nagging, but I think I often do. I am just very vocal. I vocalize many of my thoughts and observations. This, as I've learned, (see Sparky's post above) tends to overwhelm my husband & comes across the wrong way.

Since this has been brought to my attention, I've caught myself 'suggesting' rather than 'requesting' a lot! I didn't even realize that that was how I was communicating. I've since tried to change my way of communicating my 'requests' to him.

I think women in general are more vocal & talk about their wants, needs & things that just need done. We don't always intend for our men to react or 'fix' the situation, it's just our way of communicating. We need to talk about things. This is where men are different. If they comment on something they want or that needs done, it is usually with the intent of attaining a desired result. They are definitely wired to 'fix the problem!'

Dynomite

Agree with Lauren & Dynamite

I, too, tend to state my mind and don't beat around the bush. I think many men have been trained to think that women are generally hinters and don't get to the point of what they're really after. Just the other day, we were with friends and I brought a controversial topic up for discussion. Awhile into the discussion, I brought up a related issue. One of our male friends referring to me said, "Ah, that's what this is all about." No, it wasn't about that. The secondary point came to my mind later. What IT was about was what I'd brought up in the first place. If I'd thought of my secondary point initially, I could just as easily started the conversation discussing it. I was kind of irritated at him but then realized that that was probably indicative of how women in his life have communicated with him. I believe his wife to be somewhat like that. So, sometimes it comes down to patterns that have been established that create certain expectations of conversation styles. Over the years, I've done my best to let my husband know I'm not a hinter, and more or less he's caught on and it's not an issue.
Lucy

Directly non-threatening

Hi cj,

Being direct isn't the same as being threatening, so therefore I think you can be direct as your boyfriend prefers and not worry about him feeling threatened or pressured. In fact the hinting would be, I suspect, much more pressuring for many men because then they have to interpret and there is the risk of interpreting wrongly.

When I used the word threatening I was thinking of the threat of disharmony if the person being asked doesn't respond as the questioner would like. Some people seem to be able to imply that threat quite easily but it is (I think) an expression of their underlying attitude and expectations; they have low expectations that the request will be met as they wish and they cannot hide their consequent, but premature, irritation or stress. The result is that their nervous stress and premature irritation leaks out into their tone of voice and body language, even before anything has actually gone wrong, before they have been refused or rejected, even before they have asked the question.

I'm sorry if I have inadvertently given you something to fret about. I was making a concerted effort to be concise for once in my life but it seems I may have compromised on clarity.

If you suspect that your own nervousness, fear of rejection, or other stress is introducing an unwanted and unfortunate element of threatening aggressiveness (i.e. pushiness) into your body language or tone of voice then you can modify your own conduct slightly to reduce the effect. For example, don't ask questions from a distance because then you will need to raise your voice which will tend to amplify any nervousness, stress or irritation in your speech. Instead, come close so that you can naturally use a quieter, softer voice. Also, there might be times when it will be easy for you to kneel down to make your request. I don't mean in a theatrical or artificial way but just when it seems to be a naturally good way for you to be close, affectionate, deferential and physically lower than your boyfriend. The idea being that you “drown out” the inadvertent stress in your body language and voice with some other deliberate body language.

I agree that 'no' can sometimes feel like rejection and that it can be painful. Don't be too hard on yourself though ... getting the answer that you hope for is not just a matter of you asking the question in the “right” way, or, if it is, perhaps somebody needs to have a chat with your boyfriend and help him to better understand your needs and consider whether any of his own attitudes would benefit from revision.

Communication can be a surprisingly tricky business and it takes two people. Although it is possible you might need to change the way you ask, it is also possible that your boyfriend needs to improve his ability to listen and understand and respond. Don't torture yourself over the “form” of your question.

I always wondered why when ma

I always wondered why when making a comment like "Gosh the grass is long" some men seem to treat it as an imperative to fix the very thing I'm commenting upon. In fact to me it's just a comment, along with things like "It's a beautiful sunny day today" or "That wind is strong", an observation. If I make a comment such as "We're low on bread" then I follow it with the action of putting it on the shopping list to include when I go to the supermarket later. To me these things are just observations. I have a tendency to vocalise. They're not intended as indirect requests. If he doesn't cut the grass I don't mind wading through it or if it really bothers me, I'll probably do it myself.

Rather than an inability on the part of women to put requests directly and courteously, I think a man reacting with resentment to a statement of this kind perhaps reflects that the man feels overly responsible and burdened in some way. Why attribute his reaction to the woman? It's his reaction.

I agree that it's not helpful for a woman to say "I shouldn't have to ask". I'm of the opinion that requests should be made directly and clearly. No one should be expected to be a mind reader. However I agree with Precious Baby. Why should there be careful and courteous requests to do with household tasks or an established division of labour in the household? I don't expect respectful requests to clean the toilet, or whatever I customarily do. Surely people normally just get on with these sorts of things?

Oh this is the best!

I have to say "please" is probably the closest thing my husband and I have to a safeword. I have been with him for 11 years. I feel safe with him and trust him very much. Not until I have been humbled to the point of using the word "please", will he ever listen to me. It is this word "please" that lets him know that I willing to respect him again.

Who knew?

Wow. I always say "please" when appropriate, as a matter of politeness. I had no idea it was so powerful. Thank you. And while I'm not married yet, I certainly hope that a reminder sign would quickly turn "TRASH NIGHT" into a good night.

My please

Saying please has been a powerful force I have used to help my husband understand how thoroughly I want him in charge. I have started asking please for everything, even necessities. From "Can we please get a pizza tonight instead of me cooking?" to "Can I please buy a new pair of jeans that fits?" It reinforces my desire to be led on a daily basis. Even though I often get a "You don't have to ask." in return.

I know I don't have to ask, but I want to show Mr G respect.

Oh, and thank you for all the time you put into writing these articles for everyone. You are one of my favorite authors on this site. Fantastic writing style, great insight and understanding. I have emailed more than one of your articles to Mr G ;)

-Mrs G

Please

Please stop over analyzing what CarlF said. He is simply saying use the word please. Men do not process the lawn needs to be cut into will you please cut the grass soon? As a women I can say that I have done that very same thing and then became angry when the grass is not cut in a timely manner. So I stomp off go outside and start cutting the grass. Our lawnmower was not made for a women: it takes 3 men and a Boy Scout to turn the wheel. After running into something or getting it stuck in the woods that border our lawn, I'd be having a fit when he came home from work. He would be yelling at me because he had told me to not cut the grass so I did not get hurt.

It's nice to know that all I might have needed to say is please. Or I'm hungry can we please stop and eat instead of there's a restaurant while we drive past.

I do not agree with many things I have read here on this site but I am able to see that I am not the only women that drove her husband crazy. The only time he ever put his hands on me was when I would freak out and start running in a panic around our house. He would chase me down physically force me to stop running and hold me in a hug until I stopped freaking out. In fact I think I need to write this man a letter and tell him how sorry I am. I wish he had communicated the male views I have read on here. I now realize how crazy I must have made him.

We've been separated for 4 years. Neither one is filing for divorce. I've never cheated to this day. I've dated but no one can match the level of love I feel for this man. To think PLEASE could have made a difference or looking at things from the other side. He was far from perfect but so am I. If only he had told me how he felt. How much a word like please could have changed things.

I was so busy being all I could be to my special needs daughter I forgot he needed me too. So stop over thinking this and see the meaning behind what CarlF is saying. And no big surprise the word please works the same on women. All my husband had to say is that xyz sounded good for dinner and it showed up as dinner the next night. If he had said please, who knows, he might have had it within a hour. Thank you, CarlF, for writing your post.