He has his morning paper, she is sipping her tea and flipping through an old issue of Vanity Fair. They both love a lazy Sunday morning with nothing to do but read, drink caffeine and listen to "This American Life" on NPR.
She breaks the silence.... "What are you thinking, hon?"
The sweat beads on his forehead as his eyes expand to the size of the saucer under her teacup. He instantly becomes a contestant, she becomes Regis... and he's used up all of his lifelines.
This is the ninth installment in the "Why do Men...?" series inspired from comments on this post.
WordWhiz asked: Why do men always say what they think they should or think you want to hear, and not what they really think/feel?
As I explained in this earlier installment of the "Why do Men...?" series, we men are not adept at the art of communicating our feelings. At best, our Sappynese is limited to parroting phrases we hear in
Without realizing it, women will often corner us into these conversations. I understand that the dialogue has been running in your head for hours before you blurt out the "what'cha thinking". For us it is an ambush. We are walking down the path in the middle of the park and your question is the swat team appearing out of nowhere dropping from copters on tethers yelling "SWARM SWARM" at 1,400 decibels. Under the heat of the lights we panic.
1) Blurt out anything we think may call off the dogs. Understand that we feel surrounded. We can feel the heat of the laser beads from your gun sights burning a hole in our foreheads. Our only priority is escaping without being shot. It is the final question, it is Final Jeopardy and the category is "Things Not to Answer Wrong". In the
2) Blurt out a blank. It is important to understand what the phrase "Nothing" can mean. When you serve us a "What are you thinking?" or volley a "What's wrong?" we often toss back a "nothing." What does this "nothing" mean?
a) Sometimes "nothing" means, well, nothing. Men can sit comfortably for extended periods of time and think about nothing. Mind is blank. We are spacing. We are on Mars.
b) "Nothing" can also mean "not ready to talk about it yet". Discussing our feelings verbally is something that does not come naturally. We have to prepare ourselves for the State of the Emotion address to your congress. When we are sorting through our feelings and organizing them for your consumption the WORST thing you can do is push us into premature dissertation. If you
SOLUTION: Be mindful of when you spring these types of questions on us. Ease into them and try and foreshadow their appearance (and be obvious, we can be a little slow on the take). Be sure to create a non-threatening environment and NEVER give the impression you are Alex Trebeck. Our hand triggers have a short in them and we never buzz in on time with the real answer.
If you want to understand what we think or feel you have to look at what we do. We show our emotions in lieu of talking about them. If we seem distant try some unthreatening affectionate attention. If we don't respond, give us space. We will either come back with our emotional PowerPoint presentation OR we will not come back (which means its over).
Bottom line... we are handicapped when it comes to talking about our feelings. There is nothing you can do about it but accept it. I know it's not fair. I know it sucks. With your patience and care we will learn to verbalize better and more often. With your pressure and demanding nature we will run. You pick the reaction you want.
If you would like your "Why do Men...?" question answered in a future post be sure to leave your question as a comment HERE.