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Rich: The key to a mans mind is security
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It has taken me all the years - proving that you can always learn important new things - to realize how sensitive men can be.

I get twice as much mail from men who have been offended over something I've written - it always has to do with something that pertains to what they perceive as their manhood - than I get from women over anything.

"Insecure," pronounced Penelope Ann. "They're insecure. Not sensitive. There's a big difference."

Always interested in what Penelope Ann has to say because she sees the world in such a different light from the rest of us, I had to ask, "What's the difference?"

"Sensitive would mean they care if we can't find the right dress to wear to a party. Insecure means that they don't want us wearing the right dress in front of the wrong man." Happily, she dusted her hands together, having solved the mystery.

A bit confusing, but I get what she's saying and maybe she's right. I've never thought of men as having an insecure streak.

But I have to tell you, the girls and I got a lot of laughs out of the men who got ridiculously upset over a column I wrote about dating younger men. Roars of cheers and applause rose up from the female sector while a few men, ones who were either sensitive or insecure, were beside themselves with angst.

Barbara Jean howled over one man's outrage. "See? They can't stand it when the shoe's on the other foot! It's OK for men to date girls young enough to be their daughters but we shouldn't dare think of doing younger guys. Ridiculous!"

For what it's worth, she has more of a firm opinion on this than some of us. Her husband left her for the college girl at the store where he bought their pool supplies.

Over the years, I have watched many friends struggle with self-esteem issues over how they were treated by the opposite sex.

In high school, Lynda was one of the most beautiful girls I have ever seen. She was so beautiful that she didn't look real, with long eyelashes that touched her brow, a creamy complexion and huge blue eyes. Of course, she dated the most gorgeous guy in town. He was even more beautiful than Lynda and, of course, we were all green with envy.

Green turned to blue, though, because we came to be sad for our friend. One night during a date, Tommy announced that she should lose weight. "You're a bit chunky," he said. Not true. She was tall and the perfect size eight.

His comment sent her on a downward spiral of rapid weight loss until the point that she was pathetically thin. Her weight melted away and so did her looks.

In this rambling life I've lived, I've never thought of men in terms of insecurities. I guess I always thought that men didn't care enough about outward opinion to painfully pick over their flaws the way that women do.

In all honesty, I did once know an insecure man professionally in my life and it was not a pretty sight. He was in so far over his head, though, that those insecurities were well warranted.

But I'm telling you, this is good information for us women to have. I wish we had known this years ago. It would have saved many tears and upset. Going forward, it'll be a different story.

Thanks to a few who have sold out all their kind, we now know that men are capable of being insecure.

This is monumental. In the future whenever a guy mistreats one of us, my girlfriends and I will find comfort in strange, unfamiliar words.

"Insecure," we'll pronounce him. "Yep, he's behaving that way because he's insecure."

That's something we have never said in our lives about any man. Thanks guys, for the tip.

Ronda Rich is the Gainesville-based author of "What Southern Women Know (That Every Woman Should)." Sign up for her newsletter