To understand modern men, we need to go back in time to early humans. As fiction writers, you all have vivid imaginations. Take a moment to visualize a prehistoric campsite--perhaps a cave. See the men leaving the cave to go out hunting. Imagine the women going about their lives at home. Got the picture? The male brain evolved to fit ancient man's life circumstances. He was the defender of his clan and territory. He was the hunter, risking his life to bring home meat to feed his family.
To be successful at this, he needed vision that was focused and far-sighted to spot his prey. He needed the ability to focus his concentration on his prey, to the exclusion of everything else. He couldn't be thinking about his mate when he was throwing his spear. He and his fellow hunters needed only hand signals and grunts to communicate. Talking would scare away the game. He was used to long periods of solitude or just the company of men. And when he returned home, he needed time to stare into the campfire, shaking off the dangers and stress of the hunt.
Women were left at home to tend the children and elderly. They might go out in groups to forage for food and other materials needed for their life, but it wasn't safe for a woman to wander alone. They had to work constantly for their own survival and that of their family. Just imagine all the details of homemaking at that time.
Many of her tasks involved group efforts, so collaboration was important. The women also needed to watch each other's children while they were working. Being able to communicate and multitask were vital skills. The better she got along with the other women, the more support she would receive from them. In addition to everything she had to do, in the back of her mind was the constant worry about her mate. Would he come home safely? Would his hunt be successful? How would they survive if he came home empty-handed, or with only a small amount of game?
Now that you've used your imaginations to study ancient man, think about how these characteristics might be still true in our modern society. How do you see these traits in your partners? In your heros?