I think it all began in puberty, when I realized that boys didn’t share the misery of a monthly visit from Aunt Flo. As if that little fact wasn’t enough reason for resentment, I then learned that boys conveniently peed wherever they pleased. Those injustices alone were enough to last a lifetime, but then I discovered that boys knew stuff I didn’t know. In fact, they just innately understood foreign items, such as spark plugs, frogs and garden snakes, lawn mowers and home maintenance projects.
Through the years I have remained puzzled about male thinking caps versus those of the female gender. Some of my most frustrating life moments have occurred while trying to think like a man. Standing over a broken toilet, for example, feeling more stupid than a door stop, studying that weird equipment inside the toilet tank like it was brain surgery.
But eventually, I had to admit the truth. My head just doesn’t work like a male head. I don’t know one thing about making a toilet flush. Even with a gun to my head, I cannot change a car battery. I’m not a mouse murderer. I will definitely injure myself with a hammer, a screw driver and any type of power tool. I hate doing stinky, dirty stuff, too. Want me to plunge a toilet? I’ll be heaving in the corner. Can’t do it. Just can’t do it.
A few years ago when a gallon of paint spilled all over the garage floor, I first got hysterical and then started packing. Relocating was the only solution I could think of. But my now ex-husband geniusly scattered kitty litter all over the floor to suck up the paint. I would have thought about the kitty litter idea just about as fast as I would figure out the broken thing in the toilet. Looking back, I realize that was one of the only times the guy impressed me.
Nearly every day I am reminded by married female friends that their men are hurtful when they don’t seem to mean it, childishly needy for attention and just about as romantic as kitchen appliances. But to be fair, I think women are sometimes too hard on men. After all, guys have strange and amazing powers that most women do not have. They know how to change storm windows. They can use fence hole diggers without crying. They perfectly drive nails. And they can guess the mileage from point A to point B while also remembering the intersections in between.
We females should maybe work harder to learn and speak the language of the male. Lord knows their manner of speaking to us is vastly different than what we want to hear. When I once said to an ex-husband that I wished he would occasionally surprise me by saying something sweet, he smiled and warmly said, “Sherri, you are definitely the right kind of woman. You were born to breed.”
Born to breed? Really? That’s all you’ve got? You compare me to prime livestock?
To compensate for their lack of verbal skills, some men do logical favors in a loving way, such as maybe filling the gas tank on the family vehicle. That’s cute. But we women don’t place that action in the category of love. Our idea of a heartfelt surprise has everything to do with a florist or a jewelry store. When a man is on good behavior, leaving the toilet lid down, picking up his dirty clothes, not snorting, scratching or burping in public, we fail to read the love language. Instead, we immediately suspect that he’s either up to no good or he wants something.
After three trips down the aisle and the same amount of trips to divorce court, I really don’t know anything new about the mystery of men. But I do find them more adorable, simply because I’ve studied them for such a long time. Every now and then I catch on to what they “say” without actually “saying” anything. But overall? Nah, I still don’t understand them. I’m still mad about the Aunt Flo stuff, too.
A former Southsider and an award-winning journalist and humor writer, Sherri Coner resides in southwest Florida. To learn about her books for women and to join her on Facebook, visit www.sherriconer.com. She also speaks to women’s groups.