Thursday, December 02, 2010

Why Men Usually Choose Restaurants

It's Thursday, which means I'm working at home.  I teach at OU two days a week and usually read students' papers after Wednesday night deliveries.  Usually things are quiet and I get my work done.  My wife is teaching school and my 13 year old is getting taught.

Today, however, Sherry had a meeting at school with a scheduled lunch period, something she rarely gets.  So she called me and asked me if I had lunch plans.  (You see, males aren't the only ones who don't listen when spouses talk.)

I had no plans, so she wanted to do lunch.  I said sure.  I'm easy like that.

She came to pick me up, and I've never been one to turn down curb service.  Sherry still likes me, and she loves to talk to me.  I generally sit quietly and listen.  That helps out a lot because she's been under a lot of stress this year with her class.  Getting papers in, dealing with parents, trying to figure out how to get a system in place that works.

Needless to say, she was brimming over with the need to get it all out.  I climb into the passenger seat in her van and she starts in on me.  It's like walking into a buzzsaw.  I sit quietly -- run silent, run deep.  I've been married long enough to know to be quiet and not assume I can solve the problems of the world.

So she's driving, stops in the middle of her diatribe, and asks me where we're going.  You see, we hadn't decided that.  Before I could really say anything, she starts talking again.  We drive on a few more blocks.  She stops and asks where she's going.  I say I don't care.  She starts driving, she starts talking, and she stops again, once more wanting to know where we're going.

See, it's the guy's job to have a plan in place.  That allows women to just talk about whatever is on their minds.  This is the male function.  To set the trip destination and to listen.

This is how it works:  I suggest a restaurant and she agrees or tells me she'd rather go somewhere else.  That way her decision is a stimulus response.  She doesn't have to actually think about where we're eating.  She either accepts my suggestion or she nixes it and replaces it with one of her own -- all within the space of a drawn breath.  That decision is hardly a blip on her radar screen of chosen conversation.

After all these years of marriage, I have learned that I am there to provide a select and very important service:  to facilitate her ability to convey whatever concerns her at the moment without day-to-day business intruding.

I'm going to compare notes with a few male friends and see if they can relate to this experience.  I think I'm onto a whole new dynamic that I should have recognized years ago.

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