Men listen, they just can't hear!
What did she say?
Men grow up learning to fix things. It gives us an identity and makes us feel like men. Its not only what we do, its who we are. We buy tools for fixing things. We buy books that tell us how to fix the things we have to fix and we watch T.V. shows that describe how to fix all the things that need our fixin.
In the beginning men needed to hunt, but, with the evolution of supermarkets, the great hunts have vanished with mastodons and man evolved into a modern day fixer.
Marriage provides man with immeasurable opportunity to fix things, however, this is where the real problem in marriage surfaces. Women don't want any fixin. Obviously, this leads to some confusion for our evolutionary handy man.
Returning home from work, last week, I found my wife flustered and crying. I was elated. Here was an opportunity for "Mr. Fix It" to strut his stuff. After all, its what I do. I fix things, I've trained for this day all my life. The problem is, she doesn't want any fixin. She will even tell you so. "I don't need you to fix anything, I just need you to listen." Now what do I do? I wasn't trained to listen. I fix things, I don't listen to them.
"What do you mean, you don't want me to fix anything, you're crying?"
"Yes" she says, "I'm crying, I'm not broken."
Being adaptable and wanting to be useful, I sit and try something new, I listen. She begins by replaying every moment of every hour that has expired since she got up that morning. Women adore details because details reveal the moment by moment unfolding of emotions that will tell a story that will make no sense to any man on the planet. After thirty minutes, we're half way through the moment by moment replay and I still don't know what happened. She's still laying the requisite foundation of necessary details and the only revelation I have, is that something that didn't happen has more details than Wikipedia!
After another thirty minutes I begin to suspect hormones or the side effects of medication. Maybe menopause, pre menopause, post menopause or what ever pause that has come to wreak havoc on her life. One thing I do know is that once you start listening, there is no pause. Anything that has upset her in the last forty years is on the table and I can't figure out what problem is actually confronting her today. At this point, I attempt the impossible and ask her again,
"Just tell me what happened?"
She begins to cry all over again and tells me that I haven't been listening. I've been listening for sixty minutes and I don't know whether the car blew up or if there is an IRS agent in the bedroom!
Men don't grasp the concept of details because they don't want a relationship with the problem, they just want to fix something. Women, on the other hand, want a relationship with everything on the planet. By the time men get the details, they could have gone back to work and picked up a retirement check.
Now I understand that women build relationships from talking. When women talk, they're giving birth to a story that needs to be told and the details are her children. Asking her to get to the point is like telling her you don't want children. Women go real deep when they talk, because what's bothering them isn't what they're really talking about. Women are talking about feelings and the only experience men have with feeling is from flatulence. While men are trying to define this feeling thing, she's giving birth "in the deep".
Men don't venture to the deep because men are afraid of the deep. They want everything up on the surface where they can see it. If they can see it, then they can fix it. Men don't fix stuff from below because they are surface creatures. They don't go into the deep until they die.
Two hours and twenty minutes later, she smiles and thanks me for listening. She and all her details march off like baby ducklings following a mother duck. I have no clue what happened. She's left me there, staring at the deep, dazed, confused and forever disconnected from the identity I was so desperately clinging too. I haven't fixed anything and I'm still afraid to look at the car or go into the bedroom!
Women claim that men don't listen. I say that we do listen, but, with forty years of feelings all climbing up from "the deep" simultaneously, the entire surface is littered with emotions and men can't find exactly, what thing, he's supposed to be listening too. Somewhere in all this mess a monster has climbed up from out of the deep. It is buried in litter and we can't find it.
I've learned that it is best to shut up, nod my head up and down like a bobble head and mirror whatever expression her face is conveying. It is admittedly difficult because men can only listen long enough to isolate a problem and then they need to either fix it or kill it. Women, on the other hand, treat problems like neighbors your going to have over for dinner.
Today, she is still birthing children in the deep and I suspect, waiting for me to take Lamaze classes so that I can share in the experience. There isn't anything to hunt and there isn't anything to fix.
If this evolution thing continues, men will eventually have to get together and talk about their inner feelings. That should take about a minute.