As someone who has a history of dating the "strong, silent" type, I can see the appeal. As I'd sit there yammering on about something and the guy sat there smiling, nodding his head, and occasionally grunting, I'd think, He finds my natterings so fascinating. But after awhile, it would breed a certain amount of resentment. Here we go again, all of the conversation is up to me! But apparently I should cut the quiet guys some slack. Apparently they're not just being quiet to confound you or to not say anything that might get them into trouble -- they're being quiet because of their genes.

Researchers have discovered that a certain gene, called FOXP2, is responsible for vocalizations, and girls have 30 percent more of this gene's protein than boys do. Granted, they only studied 10 brains of children ages 4-5, but let's just go with it anyway ... because it makes sense. Many guys don't SPEAK. And to think they always blamed it on me: Kiri, I can't get a word in edgewise, blah blah blah. Sure, dude. It's really just your DNA.

Hey, this stuff is backed up by lots of science. One study found that women emit 20,000 words a day compared to a guy's 7,000. Really? Are there guys who speak 7,000 words a day? Haven't met them. Girls also learn to speak and read faster than boys.

Being with a silent guy has its advantages -- for one, you don't have to listen to him go on about baseball or video games or whatever else. But it's got its downsides. Like never really knowing what he's thinking or feeling. And you find yourself saying things like, "Well, are you going to explain that? Hello??? Are you there???"

One friend of mine said her boyfriend was so quiet that she'd make a list of topics to talk about before he called her, because otherwise the conversation would have gone like this: " ... "

I know not all guys are like this. Surely, Robin Williams has as much FOXP2 protein as 50 female gabbers. But it really sheds some light on why so many men will respond to your long diatribes with "Huh" or "Hmm" or "Shaddup woman."

Does it frustrate you when your guy doesn't talk much and what do you do about it?


Image via Rusty Clark/Flickr