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The Witness

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A common conundrum plagues the male species. We don’t listen. Our women know we don’t listen. They use this knowledge against us so artfully that it has become mere reflex; so much so that they don’t even realize they do it. How many times do you hear this exchange?

“Honey. Did you drop off the dry cleaning?”
“I asked you this morning to take the cleaning in.”
“No you didn’t.”
“I absolutely did. See you never listen to me. You are so disrespectful. Bla. Bla. Bla….”

Of course we have all heard this exchange a million times. Our problem exists due to two reasons.

1) We don’t listen that much. But let’s face it—and ladies, if you are reading this, pay close attention—women talk too darn much. Men are simple creatures. We have a finite amount to space in our brains capable of receiving and interpreting verbal data. The problem is that you max us out, on average, in about seven minutes. You speak without punctuation. You give us too many details. We don’t need or want you to recite entire conversations that you had with your girlfriends about subjects we could not care less about. Take a breath for heaven’s sake. Mix in an occasional pause, a nanosecond of silence so that on the off chance we may actually give a tic about what Agnes said to you at playgroup, we even have a chance of keeping up with your incessant ramblings.

2) The second problem we face is the most frustrating one. You have gotten so used to us not listening—and let’s not forget that we’d listen more if given even 3-5 minutes of silence a day—that you have somehow decided that any thought you generate in that sweet little head of yours somehow counts as a verbal request. I’m here to say, formally, for all my brothers out there, that it does not.

We barely have enough energy, enough will, to even pretend to care about some of the endless femaleness you bombard us with. We certainly lack the ESP to be responsible for the infinite conversations that take place between your ears.

Our deadly Catch 22 is simple: because we don’t listen all that much, we have no recourse for the times when you really failed to tell us something. No proof that you really never told us to put the clothes in the drier, or worse, we bought cheddar cheese (as were instructed) but you remember telling us to buy American. This really sucks the life out of us.

How often have we wished we had a camera crew following us around to prove to her she told us to buy wingless maxi-pads, not winged?

Today, I had my moment. I had my first victory. It was small. It was petty. But it was a victory still.

My wife yelled upstairs to me and asked for a pink hair clip for my three-year-old. I obliged. But the pink did not match the outfit, for I brought hot-pink down, not regular pink. I thought it looked good. Then, I was reprimanded for bringing a clip and not a rubber band that she claimed she had asked for. I protested but was quickly rebuffed. For I am man, man no good. I even began to second-guess myself, being that I don’t listen and all. Maybe she did ask for a rubber band. But I held fast and maintained my position. I stuck with clip. “No,” she exclaimed, “I said RUBBER BAND.”

Then the sweetest sound floated to my ears. “No, mommy. You asked for a pink clip.”

I had my camera crew. I had my vindication. I am good.

I will no longer live in fear. Until tomorrow, anyway.

Author: Mitch

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  • comment avatar Karen September 30, 2007

    A small victory for mankind, indeed.

  • comment avatar Lizzy September 30, 2007

    Child security systems, aren’t they great?

    I’ve learned to be as detailed as I possibly can when asking my husband for anything. When I ask him to bring me something I send him with a photo or colored drawing of the item, I write down the location, quantity desired, person to ask if he can’t find it, and my cell phone number. Yeeeeah, I still get cool whip when I asked for whipping cream. I just call us even, though, because I will never be able to remember, or understand, that his dream car is going to have CINNAMON leather interior (why can’t I just call it brown?).

  • comment avatar Catherine Dix October 2, 2007

    Wow. You’ve made me realize that I’m the husband of this marriage. If I had a nickel for every time I was accused of not listening, half listening, or poorly pretending to listen…

    I’m the girl that brings home a key lime pie when he SPECIFICALLY requested something with CHOCOLATE.

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