Friday, June 15, 2012

Twenty Years of Field Observations

My husband and I have been together for over twenty years. After two decades, you would expect we finish each other's sentences and communicate using only a combination of telepathy and Morse code. The truth is, after more than half of my lifetime together, I can honestly say that sometimes I still don't understand the male mind. Perhaps that is why God gave me four boys. I can finally observe male behavior close up in their natural habitat, from birth through adulthood, much like a biologist studies the ways of chimpanzees. From the little knowledge I've gained from twenty years in the field, I offer ten observations about men: 

1. Men answer only the questions you ask out loud (not the ones in your head that you secretly hope they'll figure out on their own). So if you're afraid your husband has noticed you've gained weight, don't ask him if you look fat in your jeans.

2. Men never make romantic speeches like they do in the movies. For example, my husband has never once rattled off a list of things he loves about me like Harry tells Sally:
"I love that you get cold when it's 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle in your nose when you're looking at me like I'm nuts. I love that after I spend a day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night."
This is what a speech from an actual man sounds like:
"Why are you wearing a sweater when it's 71 degrees outside? Just run around with the kids in the yard, and you'll warm up. I'm starving, can you order already? Stop looking at me like I'm nuts, I know what I'm doing. I love that after I spend a day with you, I can unwind in front of the television. And I love that you are the last person the kids want to talk to before they go to sleep at night. So you're okay if I don't help with their bedtime routine tonight, right? The second half just started."
3. Men buy stuff they don't need just because it's the latest technology. (Women, on the other hand, buy stuff they don't need just because it's on sale.) 

4. Men apparently believe that shouting at the television when their team screws up will somehow make the players improve their game.

5. Men don't think twice before pouring Gatorade into a 2-year old's sippy cup. They figure that because it's a sports drink enriched with vitamins, it must mean it's healthy.

6. Even grown men secretly wish they were superheroes.

7. A man enjoys quoting from his favorite movies with his male buddies, and he doesn't think he sounds like a dork when he chants, "Stay on target, stay on target..." He doesn't think it's funny, however, when you try to join in by calling him a "stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf-herder."

8. Men can't seem to keep track of birthdays, anniversaries and social engagements, but they know exactly when, where and who their favorite team is playing next.

9. A man genuinely means it when he says he's thinking about nothing. (On the contrary, when a man asks a woman if something is on her mind and she answers "nothing," it usually means the man is in trouble.)

10. Men assume the most literal, basic meaning that can be attributed to any communication. For example, when I asked what he'd learned from spending twenty years with a member of the female sex, my husband thought for a moment and replied: "I guess I've learned some new vocabulary words." Not quite the grand and romantic epiphany I was hoping for, but he makes a point.

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