What the f… ?
Stealthily, his naked belly button peered around the pillar just ahead of my front grill; his t-shirt no longer made any pretense at covering the pasty mass that bulged beneath its hem. Good Lord, his face – sagging, grey, and unshaven, reddened eyes buried in their sockets – was the last one I wanted to see this morning. Frankly, I never wanted to see it … ever again.
Do I park and listen as he continues his tearful pleas, begging for another chance to make the rest of my life as miserable as he has the past decade and a half? Do I back out of my space, race home and bolt the doors, thus avoiding him altogether? Or do I back up, then put my car into gear and gun it, mowing his ass down and putting us both out of his misery?
Oh, such temptation. The toes of my right foot twitched excitedly as they begged me to let them into the game. However, now that I’d escaped that incarceration formerly known as our marriage, I had absolutely no desire to replace him with a mammaried cellmate. I opted to let him spit out as much as he could between my parking spot and the office door.
“Please, can we talk about this?” (snurfle)
“I didn’t know you really wanted me to get a job. You never said you meant it. But if that’s what you want, I’ll do it — right now. I’ll start looking today.” (snurfle … sob)
“You never told me you were unhappy.” (snurfle … sob … snot-wipe).
Guys, really? Much has been made about your delusion that we never say what we mean. Yeah, you jokingly commiserate, slapping each other on the back and laughing into your Bud Lights. However, somewhat closer to the truth is that you never actually listen to what we say. We’re not fooled when you preface “grab me another beer, dear” with “uh-huh.” We’re onto the fact that “whatever you want” loosely translates as “I’m not listening and I don’t want you to know I’m not listening, because if you know I’m not listening, I know you’ll cut me off again.” We’re very well aware that your estrogen deficiency renders you totally incapable of multitasking to the level required to watch the game, operate the remote, play with the dog, scratch your crotch, guzzle, belch, fart — and listen to what we’re saying — all at the same time.
Thus, your failure to listen becomes – in your comic book — our failure to communicate.
Well, today you hit the lottery. In my ongoing quest to make you better men, I’m going to give you a quick guide to understanding exactly what we’re saying so you’ll never again be caught — confused and blubbering — on the dispensing end of “but I thought she was happy.”
First — a couple of preliminaries. Pick up the remote. Oh, sorry; of course, you’re already holding it. Next press that big red button — the one marked ‘power.’ Yes, I’m well aware that the television will go off. Come on – you’re a big boy; you can do this. There, that wasn’t as painful as you thought, was it? Now go hit the head … and while you’re in there look in the medicine cabinet and pull out the Q-tips. Do you know what they’re for? Good! Use them. Okay, we’re almost ready. I want you to sit down (no — drop the cell, dude) and concentrate. Imagine her face and focus on the words as they leave her lips. I’m going to translate some of the things we say more often. You’ll pick this up really quickly — it’s so simple even a man can do it. I promise.
When she says: “Not tonight, I have a headache,” what she means is not tonight, she has a headache. This is your cue to offer her a couple of aspirin and hold her. Yes, we know you think you have a miracle cure. You might want to keep that prescription to yourself for now. Once she’s fallen asleep knowing how much you care, you and your little miracle cure can roll over and heal thyself — without her.
When she says: “I need you to help more around the house,” what she means is she needs you to help more around the house. Oh come on, lifting your feet while she vacuums? You can do better than that. Yes, I know you’ve worked hard all day; but so has she. By showing her that you recognize her as your partner and that you’re willing to do your share to help your home run more smoothly, not only do you show her how much you care, you accumulate get-out-of-the-dog-house-free credits and you decrease the likelihood that she’ll be exhausted when the three of you hit the sack. Clearly a win-win-win – everyone’s happy.
When she says: “I want us to spend more time together,” what she means is she wants you to spend more time together. Be careful; this one is a little tricky. When she says ‘us’ she’s not referring to a threesome with your enthusiastic little friend. I know; he’s your best buddy and you include him in everything you do, but trust me on this. If you spend more time talking to her, being loving and affectionate and doing the things she loves, she’ll be more inclined to invite your little companion to join the two of you every now and then.
Are you beginning to see a pattern here? It really doesn’t take much. Simply listen to her. Don’t judge, criticize or try to fix anything. Just truly hear what she’s saying to you.
I guarantee that if you’ll put forth only a little bit of effort, some other poor schmuck will be sitting on your stool crying to the bartender that he didn’t have a clue.
Meanwhile, you – and your teeny tiny teammate – will be thanking me all the way to your end zone dance.
You’re very welcome.
Okay, you can stop kissing my feet now … I know how grateful you are … Please, that’s enough … Just go forth and listen, grasshopper. Make me proud.