Once upon a time females were comprehensible to males. Everyone understood the language spoken between females and that segment of the race comprised of boys under the age of twelve. It was clear to both speaker and hearer when a mother or other adult woman would say, “James Marion Redwine, stop that!” There was no need for translation or even exposition.
However, as puberty arises in boys the gods set a curse upon said boys and the entire female population over the age of menses. Use of a boy’s middle name, a completely clear indication that something some female said or was about to say ought to be heeded, was replaced by a bewildering habit of talking in sentences void of direct objects.
When boys talked with boys there was no confusion when one boy asked another boy to play baseball or fistfight or fish. If the other boy wished to do so, they would just go forward with understood purpose. Should the other boy not wish to be so engaged a simple “Nope” was sufficient.
This facile system of clear declaration carries on among males from rocking horses to rockers. No man needs to wonder what another man means whether the other man answers aloud or simply grunts. Feelings are not offended nor is there any need to ruin a perfectly good hour of silence discussing them.
On the other hand, with a boy’s first attempt to communicate with a non-family female, the lessons of misdirection, misperception and just plain misery begin. Such a conversation might go as follows:
“Hi, Peg, would you like to go to the Seventh Grade dance?”
“Why Jimmy Redwine, that would be ever so much fun. Just let me see if I have anything to wear or if I want to hold out for anybody else. But I may get back to you. Can you wait until I know what kind of car you will have in four years?”
If any females actually read this column, they may know what that meant. As for me, after fifty years I still don’t.
Then there is the excruciating non-communication between husbands and wives. No area leads to more angst for men than the attempt to decipher what spouses mean concerning daily activities. Would it be too much to ask for simple declaratory sentences constructed with a subject, verb and object? Is oblique sarcasm required by Athena or whoever the goddess of female communication may be? For example, if a man wants a beer he might say, without even having to move from the couch, “Beer”. One simple word; isn’t that clear to everybody? But the man’s wife will feel the uncontrollable urge to respond with obfuscation such as, “I suppose I could shut off the vacuum, walk ALL the way to the fridge, and get you a beer if you wouldn’t mind drinking it through a straw in case you miss it after I throw it to you.”
Now, what does that mean and is it called for? How about a simple, “Sure, Honey, I can always finish the cleaning later”.
And what does it mean when women just refer to things without giving any context or direction. Take jobs around the house for example. Men know without having to be told that there may be branches blown down or a garden to be tilled. Why do women approach such topics as if touching upon them directly will have cataclysmic consequences? Let me suggest an example.
“Jim, it’s only May and onions should have been planted weeks ago.”
When I respond, “Yeah, I know it’s May”, Peg puffs up like a blowfish and has a headache for days. See what I mean, Gentle Reader? You would think my agreement with her would have made her happy.