Sunday, December 21, 2008

The mysteries of guy think

Considering the differences (and misunderstandings) between men and women, it's a wonder our species has managed to survive this long, isn't it? Indeed, I sometimes think that giving us humans the ability to communicate through spoken language was maybe not such a good thing after all (though I am curious to know if partners who use sign language experience the same difficulties/miscommunication issues). Like take last night.

The spouse and I don't go out much, and almost never to parties, so when the occasional party does crop up, I like to make a good impression, which typically means taking some extra time with my hair (though I have not owned a blow dryer in over 20 years), putting on a little makeup, and maybe wearing a sexy top or dress. And being a woman, I like to be acknowledged for making this extra bit of effort. (As my good friend T. used to say, though, "Fatta Chienza." You figure it out.)

So we arrive at the party (thrown by my mother and stepfather, so the deck was a bit stacked), an annual affair which we hadn't attended in a couple years, and I am immediately hugged, kissed, and praised by family and family friends. Yet does my spouse say a word about how nice and/or pretty I look (which really mainly serves to make him look good), even with some not-so-subtle nudging on my and others' parts? No.

Finally, on the way home, in the car, while rehashing the evening (which was very nice), I can take it no longer and ask him (no doubt in that somewhat whiny, needy, accusatory way we women have), "Don't you think I looked nice tonight?" (or words to that affect). And, continuing to stare straight ahead, he responds, "Yeah." As in, "Oh God, not this conversation again. Anything but that. Look, I love you, and the fact that we are still together after 18 years should tell you that." Which is all fine and good. For him.

Sensing I am looking for a bit more he adds, "I told you you looked good." To which I (of course, immediately) responded, "No you didn't. You told me I smelled good. That is not the same thing. That is perfume [technically Chloe eau de toilette]. Not me."

To which he then cast me a quick glance (in my father's old fleece coat, completely covered up, with a scarf half covering my head) and added, "you look good." As in "Okay, there I said it. Now would you please, please shut up and leave me alone?"

But, being a woman, I would not.

"I was going more for, 'Wow, honey! You looked really sexy tonight. I just wanted to tear that shirt right off you and make passionate love to you right there in the living room.'"

Trying (somewhat unsuccessfully) to stifle his laughter while we waited for traffic to move on 96th Street and no doubt sensing the growing tension in the car he finally responded, "I'm going to the Doghouse, aren't I?" Then he added for good measure, "Well at least I didn't get you a gym membership!"

Men. Can't live with 'em. Can't shoot 'em. (Well, you can... but I prefer just hitting mine over the head with a cast-iron skillet. Just as effective and you probably won't go to jail.)

UPDATED 5:05 P.M. ON 12/22/08: I have removed the picture -- and will not be restoring it. While I appreciate the many kind comments, I liked things better when I was semi-anonymous -- and people argued over my views and not my looks.


Anonymous said...

At least I am not alone! I have had that very conversation AND got the training sessions at the gym for Christmas last year from my beloved. a great gift, btw, in spite of his total fear that I would be offended. Add to that--he was sending me to get sweaty with another guy for a few months ;)

Moishie and Sheimoi said...

We think you look very nice. (That doghouse SCARES us!!!)

jjv said...

So lets see...This fellow 1)complimented you on your perfume 2) went you your parents house and behaved himself; 3) was the designated driver; 4) acceded to your demands for a compliment that you looked nice and yet, he is the problem?

This reminds me of the song "Any Man of Mine" by Shania Twain. You can see her do it here:

I will note her husband, a fellow named "Mutt" cheated on her with a woman whose charms are far less evident than Shania's. He was relegated to the doghouse for all time. After seeing the pictures of the two women I have no doubt his fellow inmates tore him limb from limb.

J. said...

(Hanging head.)

You have shamed me, JJV. Though, for the record, the spouse prefers to drive and really likes my parents (and they him, probably more than me) and was happy to go -- and was handsomely rewarded for his efforts, despite my haranguing. So don't feel too bad for him. Though what was Mutt Lang thinking?! Jeez.

Anonymous said...

You shame a man when you whip him. Sometimes it's easier for a man to just give in. You've got to choose your battles, indeed. But come on now! Don't let your insecurities make minced meat out of your man.
Lighten up. Actions speak louder than words. Leave him alone. It just makes us want to turn on the radio and tune you out :)
Happy Holiday!

J. said...

Dear Anonymous #2,

If only more (all?) men would realize it's easier to just give in. ; ) Btw, the spouse is partially deaf and tunes me out most of the time. And I was the one who suggested we put on the radio (to our local sports radio station, which I listen to even when he's not around). But I hear you and appreciate your comment.

EMM said...

I'm sure you looked very pretty!

Oh, how we should listen to that tiny voice inside our heads...the one that desperately tries to filter and to prevent us from saying something we really don't mean. I've regretted similar comments/questions myself.

marindenver said...

J., speaking as someone who's been in the same relationship for 37 years, I would say that you've just got to train them - that a little stoking of the middle aged wife's ego has a 100% correlation to "getting lucky" later on.

J. said...

Oh I meant it -- and don't regret it, EMM. And yes, I looked very pretty. : ) (I will send you the picture the sitter took.)

Marindenver, RIGHT ON! Thirty-seven years?! Where do I send your medal? (You are a bigger hero to me than your namesake ever was. ; )

And btw, I CONSTANTLY compliment the spouse and give him lots of positive reinforcement. The bottom line, he just thinks I'm a dog. ; )

Dave S. said...

It is possible that men rate compliments related to smell more highly than women. On the other hand, always assume that social event = lots of fussing and prep even when it's not necessary = "You look great honey!"

I have reviewed the evidence and ruled in favor of the plaintiff - should have received a compliment. The mistletoe bra was a nice touch.

TommyMac71 said...

There is a picture and you didn't post it? Your fans are all weeping.

seeing as yesterday was Global Orgasm Day, I hope the spouse made it up to you.

though, as a male, I will say this: Men almost NEVER criticize women for something they did NOT do.

Anonymous said...

Your look great!!! Silly he thought it.

Anonymous said...

Are you ignoring the elephant in the room: Maybe you're ugly. The picture accompanying the article certainly offers support for this hypothesis.

J. said...

As I suspected. : ) Thanks for verifying it, Anonymous #4, though quite cowardly of you for being Anonymous.

TommyMac71 said...

Anonymous #4:

How do I say this delicately?

You're an a-hole. How is that.

Why would you say such a thing. J is a gorgeous, exciting, intelligent woman. And she looks amazing in this picture.

How dare you.....keep your mouth shut if you have something to say that might hurt someone.

And you are a coward

Dan said...

I agree, TommyMac71. Anonymous #4 must not know J. She looks great.

In any case, what kind of jerk posts something like that.

Overall, I recently (like five minutes ago) learned that I don't know how to compliment women either. I guess we need to find middle ground between implied compliments and "nice ass."

larissa said...

oh anonymous
so much insecurity
might belong to you

vubby said...

Wow! J-you look amazing! Thin, sophisticated, AND sexy!!! What is up with the grumpy guy? Going with inadequate in the manhood department!!!

Lizzy said...

To anonymous # 4:

As said by the other posters, you are a coward!!! Let's see a picture of you, and I'm sure we can disect it inch by inch!

More importantly, you are ugly inside. No matter what you look like on the outside (and I suspect it's not great), your septic personality will always make you ugly.

Does it make you feel good to pick on someone? If so, please give us your blog address and we can have a real debate on the merits of bullying someone behind the armor of "anonymous."

J is beautiful both on the inside and outside....I suspect your comment comes from jealousy because she's also smart, funny, caring and has a husband who loves her unconditionally.

Crawl back into your hole, troll! And don't come back!

Dave S. said...

Looks like I picked the wrong day to pick up my parents from the airport...