You could have heard an ice cube melting.
I think perhaps I did.
She said the words and looked expectantly from face to face of the three men across the table from her. Not one of us took the cue. It was an obvious cue. We looked at her blankly and struggled to think of an appropriate answer (for men).
I don’t remember what was said next, but I think someone told a joke. It seemed the appropriate answer.
Perhaps, I should start a bit earlier in the conversation. Not very much earlier. Just one sentence. Her question.
“You men should have a discussion about that, don’t you think?”
It was a logical point for the conversation to reach, but honestly, we never thought it would go that far. A sensitive subject was being broached and we assumed that the conversation would just move on without a call to action.
Especially a call for us men to talk about that. With other men.
The Lovely Lady and I were with our Old Friends. I write the phrase as a title because they really are–old friends. The same age as we are. Almost lifelong companions.
We stood up with each other in our weddings, decades ago. We carried around each other’s babies, along with our own, decades ago. We helped each other through the teenage years our children went through together, decades ago. We supported each other through the empty nest sadness–well, the ladies did. We men just grunted and acted like it didn’t matter. We knew it did.
Now we show photos of the new grandchildren, and of the black eyes and battle scars the older ones are earning.
We know each other. We like each other.
You’d think that she would be aware. We don’t talk about that.
I came home later that evening and sat thinking. Does she really expect us to talk about things like that?
I am not a socially sensitive man. It’s not because I enjoy being a neanderthal. It’s just that I don’t think a lot about the difference between the sexes. It’s never been that important for me to contemplate.
I’ve been thinking more about the difference between the sexes.
The female of the species likes to communicate with words. They sit around and do whatever shared activity it is they enjoy, and they talk. The activity doesn’t matter; the conversation does.
The male of the species communicates with the activity itself. We fish and golf, we bicycle and play basketball. We do the activity.
When we’re done with the activity, we talk about the activity.
The ladies talk about children and husbands, personal problems, and medical issues. They discuss how to deal with hyperactive kids and what herb or medication is effective for osteoporosis (or even more personal ailments).
Men talk about activities–sports and fishing, the weather and how business is looking. The closest we get to talking about a personal medical problem is to yell at another player on the basketball court to shake it off. We don’t want our personal issues discussed, much less have suggestions made as to a solution to the problem.
Don’t believe it? Watch what happens the next time a man falls down while riding his bicycle. Do you suppose he’s likely to lie in a heap and wait for help to arrive?
He’s up as quickly as he can hop to his feet, hiding the rapidly swelling knee or ankle, and yelling out, “I’m all right! I’m all right!”
What he means is, “I don’t want to talk about it. Get on with riding and let me deal with the pain alone.”
The females of the species even travel to the restroom together, one would assume communicating while waiting their turn to use the facilities. For all I know, they may even talk while using the facilities. I don’t know that. Come to think of it, I don’t wish to know that.
On the other hand, the male doesn’t want anyone to know he’s even going to the little room, much less come along with him. We even use euphemisms to hide our intentions, like I’m going to see a man about a dog, or I have to answer nature’s call. We don’t want company and we don’t want to talk while we’re there. We look at the ceiling or the floor if we have to wait and are just happy to be washing up and walking out the door. Without talking.
Have I made this clear enough?
We don’t want to talk about it.
Wow. For a guy who doesn’t think about the differences between the sexes, there are a lot of words written on this page describing at least this difference.
We don’t want to talk about it. Especially not that.
I wonder though.
Not that men will ever communicate in the same ways that women do (we are from Mars, you know), but it seems fairly important that we talk about some things.
Yeah. That, too.
The Apostle, in his writing suggested that we need to look, not only to our own business, but to the business of others. He wasn’t talking about commercial business either. Right before those words, he wrote that we were to consider others to be more important than ourselves.
Still I wonder. Does that mean I have to talk to him about it?
It does seem likely that communication may be required. That’ll take some effort on my part. And on yours.
Time to get started, isn’t it?
One thing though. I’m not talking with them in the rest room.
A guy’s got to set some limits.
“It sounds so trite, but in relationships, you have to communicate.”
(Peter Krause ~ American actor/director)
“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”
(Philippians 2: 3,4 ~ NASB)
© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2014. All Rights Reserved.
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