Rants & ramblings of the disaffected

Archive for the tag “marriage”

The Man-code, Explained

What am I talking about? The unwritten Man-code  that resides within the male subconscious, it dictates our behavior and permeates our being.

The Man-code is why men behave like men. If it was disseminated in a course like other subjects at school, like math, we’d sit there and stare out the window. Fortunately for those of us of the male species, it is indelibly inscribed in the male psyche. If it had to be passed from generation to generation by cerebral effort, most of us on the male spectrum would be left without our inner male compass.

The Man-code has been hard-wired genetically into the DNA of the entire male species; of which membership is determined by whether or not the individual in question is unable to pee into a semicircular opening without randomly distributing bodily fluids all over the toilet seat. I suspect a teenage boy who can hit a three-point jumper with deadly accuracy from ranges greater than 30 foot, would suddenly be unable to hit the same shot if the basketball rim suddenly resembled a toilet seat. Think about it. All the shots would bounce of the rim or fall short of the intended target.

Simply stated, the man-code is the unwritten rule of conduct for the male species that governs how men react toward other men. It expressly forbids men to exhibit gushing or effusive displays of affection to members of the same species. This apparently confuses women greatly who become extremely agitated why men don’t sob and boo-hoo all over each other when we have those special moments. It also explains why men don’t pry into other men’s personal matters or really even care how other men ‘feel’.

Simulated conversation:

She: That’s so awful about his mother-in-law getting struck by that falling satellite. How’s Bob feeling?

Guy: What? I didn’t know Bob was married?

She: You remember. We ate out with them last night. She wore the yellow dress that was too short with too much mascara. You remember? The blonde with the dark roots? Her dress was too tight and she wore that  gaudy toenail polish. And those shoes…where in earth did she get those terrible shoes at? The  salvage store? I thought I’d gag over her perfume!

Guy: Bob is married?

She: rolls her eyes – So is Bob OK?

Guy: Is he in the hospital? Jail? Is there a missing person’s report out on him? Heart attack? Has he been abducted by aliens?

She: No….

Guy: Then he’s fine.

She: But…don’t you care how he feels?

Guy: I didn’t ask.

She: increasingly agitated – You’ve known Bob since first grade. He married your sister!!!

Guy: I thought she looked familiar!

She: You didn’t ask? (estrogen disconnect) Don’t you care what’s going on in his mind?

Guy: He didn’t mention it to me?

She: exasperated – Youre supposed to find out!!

Guy: You mean, pry into his personal life, meddle, extract information he doesn’t want to share? Use emotional extortion tactics. Force him to open up and share embarassing things about his intimate personal life?

She: Yes! Yes! Yes! You moron! That’s exactly what I meant. Sigh! I don’t understand men!

Guy: silence. Staring blankly at a TV screen, pretending she’s not there.

She: glaring – You’re not fooling me. That TV hasn’t worked in two years.

Sadly, most men have just had this discussion ten minutes ago or less with their wives.See why it is so difficult for men and women to communicate? We lack the technology to interpret the differences between male and female-speak. Same language, different channels. And we also know that any moment in the conversation they’re going to demand we take the trash out or ask questions, like, “Does this dress make my butt look huge?”

Note: The only men who pry into other’s men’s business fall under the category of either lawyers or journalists, neither of whom I suspect could successfully pee into the rim of a toilet seat (see definition above) which would technically disqualify them from actually being a subset of the male species.

Girls, I know you can’t decipher this so let me just point out this is precisely why most men refrain from getting into protracted discussions with those on other side of the gene pool. I see no need to encrypt this sensitive information. If a woman were to attempt to engage in counter-espionage, they could read my little blurb without understanding a word I said. Filtered through the female mind without the benefit of being deciphered via the man-code, it would sound and look something like this, “Blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah? Blah blah blah!!!” I call it the estrogen barrier; a veritable impenetrable wall that underscores the irreconcialiable differences between the two versions of our species. The estrogen barrier is why we can’t communicate with women. They filter everything we say, which is why things we say get turned around to have an alternate darker, sinister meaning. Throw out the dictionary, the words don’t mean the same thing once they percolate through the estrogen barrier.

Back to the man-code. This is why men don’t sit around in their underwear painting each other’s toes, and discussing the inherent failure to commit of the male psyche. It also explains why men have no use for jewelry, baubles, or other ornaments but spend hours silently perusing the same aisle of power tools we did last week; most of which we already have two or three of.

The man-code must be rigidly observed. For instance, you’re driving home from work and pass your best friend; his car is on the side of the road….burning. A 500 pound gorilla has him in a headlock, pummeling him senseless; a large crocodile with a nasty disposition is clamped around his leg: how should you react? If you’re a guy, you automatically know. The man-code forbids you to meddle or ask intrusive questions, like, “Need help?” or Should I call 9-1-1?” Instead the code dictates you pull up slowly beside him, observe a moment, roll down your window, then nonchalantly ask, “How you doin?” Do not point out the obvious. Do not offer assistance or advice. If he wants to tell you he needs help, he will explicitly say so. No subtle hints or innuendos. No deciphering obscure body languages or other gesticulations. And whatever you do, do not ask, “Bob, how are you feeling about all this?” Both the gorilla and the crocodile will leave Bob to assault you for violating the man-code. And Bob will probably join them.

Men eat, pass gas, or play sports; we don’t digest and regurgitate 100 page articles from Cosmopolitan about feelings. It’s why we watch two men in a ring pound each other into bloody stumps but would rather have our fingernails pulled out one by one than be forced to sit through one episode of Oprah.

So ladies, now you know why men stare blankly at the TV when you want to have a conversation. Except, you can’t understand anything I just said.

We’re not being difficult, it’s just the man-code.


After The Melee

Being in a fight with my wife is sort of like being the pinata at a three-year old’s birthday party.

We get in the occasional verbal knock-down, drag-out like many couples but last night was a little more of a nasty confrontation than usual. It was a scene that would have made reality tv viewers blush but may have fit in nicely in a UFC match. I usually opt out to be a non-participant in these no-win debacles of unmitigated fury but its difficult to claim non-combatant status when the punches start flying. The roll-over-and-play-dead ploy lately serves little more than an invitation to incite more ugly reaction. “Come out from under that bed and fight like a man,” she yelled! So I reacted to my verbal bludgeoning with a little tit-for-tat; maybe a little too harshly.

Tempers flared. incendiary things were said. We both demonstrated our ability to sling small, inanimate objects across the living room, like Godzilla running amok. I suppose it’s better to vent our anger out against indiscriminate objects than each other but that is none-the-less a small consolation in the heat of battle. A few moments into the fight she slung something across the room. Not to be out done I picked it up and slung it down again. And then we both, having momentarily run out of infantile displays of immaturity, went into our respective corners. Things went silent. I went to sulk out in the bathroom and slammed the door behind me to announce my self-appointed exile. I’m unsure of how many days I intended to occupy this strong-hold but felt I could hold out at least for two days subsisting entirely on rolls of toilet paper. I sat in silence on the porcelain seat of meditation and reflected. I thought about what had just happened while I cross-examined myself as to my role in the conflict. The instant replay was no less painful than the event.

It seems as soon as a situation reaches that point of critical mass on the emotional level, things get ugly. At some non-discernable tipping point, that old sympathetic nervous system kicks in dumping adrenalin like gasoline-on-a-fire and a tense situation goes ballistic. I don’t know what triggers that old survival instinct switch we call the ‘fight-or-flight’ syndrome but once it hits that emotional crescendo, the restraints are off. It’s like both feet on the accelerator while the brakes are out. I’ve come to the conclusion that the emotional level is not a platform for resolving conflicts or to mitigate hostilities. Looking back, it seems like the whole thing was nothing more that a string of unrelated events each inconsequential on their own, that had transpired. From that, matters simply cascaded downward into a Grand Mal meltdown.

During these debacles, Cletus’ approach is pretty much the same. Cletus is our Great Dane and silent observer in family disputes. He slinks away in my bedroom, tail tucked in. And then he sits up on the bed on his haunches and cowers and looks confused. I caught a glimpse of him during the melee, sitting on the bed with this pitiful look. Sometimes he acts more like a child than a dog. Call me silly but I felt bad for him. I felt bad for her that somehow I had provoked this reaction but I was in no way about to poke my head back into the lion’s den to tell her. I even indulged in a little self-pity for me. And mostly I waited and hoped things would settle down. Eventually they did.

In retrospect, I’m not sure if we resolved anything; we more or less silently agreed to a mutual cessation of hostilities toward each other – or any small objects that might happen to be in the immediate proximity. I am relieved our kids are already grown up an moved out so they didn’t have to see their parents behaving like ….children. All in all it was a pretty successful fight; we both succeeded in acting like overgrown juveniles.

Men Are Like Sheep

The worst thing you can do to a guy is to give him too many choices. We just get confused! After being told what we can’t do for the first 18 years of our impressionable young lives, we’re just not good at making decisions. That’s why men don’t own 38 pairs of shoes, we just have one…it eliminates stress and keeps things simple for us. Women just like to complicate things. Take colors, for instance. Men, we just have red, blue,  green, yellow, brown, etc. But women? What is ‘mauve’ or ‘chartreuse’?

The other day I went to check out at the grocery store and both lanes at the register were open. Oh, no! I was faced with a choice! What made it so complicated was the fact that both cashiers were women. Suddenly I’m faced with a dilemma. Which lane do I take? If it were guys at the register it’d be no problem. But women?!! What if I pick the wrong lane? Maybe the girl I didn’t pick would take it personal and get really offended. Maybe she’d get angry at me for me picking the other aisle?

Oh, I’m not good enough for you, am I? What is it, you don’t like my shoes?” So she runs out to the mall and buys twelve more pair!”

But men…were like sheep. We are so used to being herded into what we’re supposed to do; we can’t function without someone telling us what to do and how to do it. I blame that on my mother, who was also coincidentally a women. She used to tell me what to do all the time. When I went to school, most of my teachers were women and they ruled with an iron fist. Most fell somewhere between a benevolent dictator to iron-fisted tyrants. I didn’t have a male teacher until the 7th grade…but by that time it had already been indelibly ingrained on my impressionable mind that WOMEN RULED THE UNIVERSE!

That was bad enough but then came …girls! Shudder! I was totally unprepared to deal with the female psyche. Boys like to ‘tinker’ with things…take ‘em apart and put them back together. Girls are different, they like to ‘tinker’ with your ‘thinker’. They enjoy messing with your mind. Boys like dogs because we can understand them. We’re on the same level. Dogs are simple. But cats! Have you ever tried to tell a cat what to do? Cats don’t ‘fetch’ or anything else for that matter! Girls are more like cats …indifferent.

Then came married life! My wife gets mad at me because I don’t think like she does. Duh! I’m a guy. I think like a ‘guy’ because I ‘R’ one. Some may object to using the words ‘guy’ and ‘think’ in the same sentence, they say it’s a contradiction of terms. Me? I don’t know.  The more I think about it, the more confused I get.

What Women Really Think

Ah, the mountains!

I’m enjoying a quiet vacation with the family in the Smokies. Suddenly I’m confronted by a snarling angry she-bear with fangs bared …but enough about my wife. On a weekend trip to the mountains, I fully expected to see a bear, I just didn’t expect to be sitting beside one.

Like many bad experiences, it seemed like a good idea at the time to take some time off and go to the mountains. In retrospect, I spent money we didn’t have and all I accomplished was to make her angry…and they call this a vacation? I could have stayed home and made her mad and spent less money in the process. Next time you want to travel with the family, my suggestion is to drug your wife and don’t wake her up until it’s over and you’re pulling up in the driveway. She will be furious but she’s probably going to be furious anyway so what have you lost?

Whoever said that you’re entitled to one mistake was probably single and naive! Want to know what your wife really thinks about you? Just take a wrong turn and she will let you know in explicit terms. None of this encrypted female-speak where you’re supposed to read her mind. I can’t explain why they think that a poor male is supposed to be able to decipher this. Come on guys, quit pretending! You know  what I’m talking about.

Now it’s just not a coincidence that women are generally able to be miserable and have a bad time while on vacation because they train for it all year-long. One example? Just getting in the car with the family can be fraught with peril and drama. You’re on the road minding your own business and without warning your wife says, “I’m hungry.” Now this isn’t really rocket science here. If you’re hungry, you pick a place to eat, everybody gets full and then you go on. But that would be too easy! We used to eat for survival but now we’ve turned dining out into a quest for satisfaction. The gist of this is since women generally get hungry three times a day, this gives them license to start a fracas as many times.

From here, things deteriorate rapidly. It has nothing to do with getting something to eat, it’s about finding what they want. Women are always looking for something even if they don’t exactly know what it is. That’s why they love to shop and hoard shoes. Most women usually have at least forty-eight pairs; one for each of the multiple personalities that inhabit them.

So being the gullible and sensitive moron you ask the inevitable question, “Where do you want to eat?” To the untrained novice, this appears to be the logical next question. Instead it’s the practical equivalent of hopping through a minefield blindfolded on a pogo stick. So she says, “I don’t care you pick.” Translated, that means that the next 25 suggestions you make will be shot down in flames. She will become increasingly agitated the harder you try to appease her because she expects you to already know just what it is that she wants. She doesn’t know herself but that’s beside the point! And it will become increasing apparent that she does care where she eats. It has nothing to do with being hungry; this is an exercise in humility similar to a public flogging. Symbolically it’s an expression of her overall dissatisfaction of life in general and you in particular. You are simply the designated flogging boy.

Bon appetit! I think that’s French for “you’re in deep doo-doo!”

Pirates In High Heels

Negotiating With The Ruthless

I have this theory. Somewhere in her family tree, there was this cut-throat  pirate; a ruthless, hot-tempered scalawag that enjoyed pillaging & plundering just a little too much. That’s why I’m blaming her distemper on genetics, some sort of rogue DNA passed down her family line. Which is why she can’t help herself when she suddenly turns into a rapscallion and fires a cannon-shot across my bow.

What am I talking about?

It’s the weekend. We’re driving along and I’m minding my own business. That’s when trouble starts. I think I see a pirate ship on the horizon?

She’s hungry. Sounds simple enough so far. We just get something to eat and everyone’s happy. So I ask the logical next question, “What do you want to eat?” However negotiations quickly go downhill from there.

When I get hungry I get something to eat. When she’s hungry, it becomes a quest to achieve some mystical state of culinary bliss. She wants that one special morsel that will satisfy some sub-conscious physiological-emotional yearning. She doesn’t know what she wants but somehow I’m supposed to? I saw this as a prelude to a peaceful meal; she’s already starting to get irate. I can tell by her voice. She says, “I don’t care. You pick!” The situation is rapidly deteriorating. It must be my eagerness to placate her that infuriates her. I’m trying to run up the white flag before the hostilities get out of hand.

Meanwhile, the fracas is about to begin. Curling up on the floor board in the fetal position fails to alleviate her ire.

We finally agree on where to go. I’m driving so everything I do while I’m behind the wheel only infuriates her. I take the wrong route, turn in the wrong entrance, go the wrong way in the parking lot, park in the wrong place… You get the idea. So I shouldn’t be surprised she just ran up the skull & cross-bones and started firing broadsides at me, so to speak. It’s not her fault. She’s a pirate in a skirt wearing high heels and makeup: she’s just doing what pirates do.

This genetic predisposition to the immediate culinary crisis possibly goes both ways. On my side of the family there must have been at least one peace-loving, bumbling half-wit in the lineage. Apparently I got his genetic code along with his ability to botch things up. So I’m thinking perhaps somewhere way back in time, these two progenitors of our current state of matrimonial discord may have somehow clashed. I can imagine her boarding his ship, making all the others walk the plank… and then she asks him. “What do you want to eat?” And he says, “I don’t care. What do you want?” That’s when she grabs her blunderbuss and chases the poor buffoon around deck while brandishing her cutlass overhead. “You pick,” she screams at him!

It’s De ja vu all over again!

And so I think this may explain our relationship. Only now we’re married. And she’s hungry. And I still have no clue what it is she wants to eat.

And that’s why she chased me around the salad bar with a plastic knife today!

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