This December, I will have been married for four years.
And like an anthropologist who has been living amongst a rare species for some time, I find myself anxious to share with you news from the field. For my experience has provided some stunning insights into the strange ways of the North American male (subspecies: husbandus californicus).
For example, I have managed to unlock the key to one question about men that plagued me throughout my years of dating.
And that question is: What Did He Mean By That?
Through careful research, I have now arrived at what I believe to be the complete and final answer to this query in regards to all men.
What he meant was...
If there is one revelation I have come to in my time amongst them, it is that the male of the species just does not give very much thought to what comes out of its mouth (nor, perhaps, what goes into it, judging from my husband's dinner choice last evening of a handful of tortilla chips paired with a chocolate chip cookie).
Allow me to give you an example based on my own dating history with the man I eventually married.
When David and I were first seeing each other, we had a standing date every Friday night. That was when we saw each other.
After about two months of this arrangement, I found myself in his neighborhood on a Saturday night. I decided to call him up and see if he'd like to come out and join me as I sat listening to some music on the pier with a couple of friends.
He responded, AND I QUOTE!:
"I'm not sure I'm up for that much of you in one weekend."
OK - - - WHAT WAS THAT SUPPOSED TO MEAN????
Months later, after we'd gotten engaged and I was pretty sure that he was, in fact, that into me, I asked him about the exchange. While he admitted to saying it, he couldn't really remember why. Looking back, he thought maybe he wasn't into hearing that band. Or that perhaps there'd been a sports game on TV he didn't want to miss. He admitted, under stern questioning, that his actual response was
And the strange thing is, I believe it. I think he just kind of needed a response and that's what happened to come out.
Since then, there have been hosts of odd exchanges.
There was the time I emerged in a brand new short red dress and my husband exclaimed excitedly:
"Aw, you look like a tomato!"
There was the time when I cooked a three course meal and, without ever mentioning the deliciousness of the current offering, my darling remarked mid-way through course number two, apropos of nothing:
"You know what I REALLY like? Steakums."
In days of yore, such comments might have irked and confused me. I would have read much into them. I would have worried that my husband thought I was fat, hated my cooking, etc.
But all the evidence in our daily lives seems to contradict this. David is wildly loving, he makes a huge effort to let me know that he thinks I'm great-looking, he eats everything I make with gusto. Generally, things seem pretty solid on the home front.
So, my conclusion is this: When it comes to men, watch their behavior carefully and then make a concerted effort to ignore a large percentage of the actual statements they make.
Because, as I was saying to a single friend of mine the other day, who was trying to parse what her suitor might have meant when he replied to her offer of tickets to a performance downtown,
"Are you sure you want to waste those seats on me?"
I'm pretty sure HE DIDN'T MEAN ANYTHING BY IT.
ADDENDUM: This thesis should also be liberally applied to the query: WHAT IS HE THINKING? Based on my research, if your guess isn't one of the following:
e. Sex, again
You are likely off track.