Over the many years of my life that have been spent in marriage, I have learned a stupendous number of things about women that I not only didn’t know beforehand, I never even suspected to be things at all. One thing I do suspect is this: nearly every man who is or has ever been married, has shared the same experience.
Like most guys, I learn this enormous assortment of female idiosyncrasies for only long enough to say quietly to myself, “huh,” and then promptly forget it until it surprises me by showing up again later. An easy example would be this: if we are supposed to put the toilet seat down, why aren’t women supposed to put it up?
Because I can and will eat almost any kind of food that comes within arms’ reach, I’m inclined to always ask, “what are YOU hungry for?” or “where would YOU like to go?” if we’re planning on dinner out. Almost without fail, the answer is “I don’t care,” or “wherever you want to go.” Equally without fail, whatever cuisine or venue I choose, turns out to be the wrong one. So there IS a preference, but it’s left to the brutish mind of the family dolt to somehow sort that out. I would rather go without food for a year than give voice to a suggestion time after time that I know will be met with scorn, but only after we arrive at the restaurant door.
These are all minor tics in the overall flow of life, small things that guys are so accustomed to that they become little more than the background scenery in the painting of a life, like the winding dirt path and body of water behind Mona Lisa, or the little Roman-style bridge over her left shoulder.
There are, however, things on a larger scale…things I will never understand, things I don’t want to understand because to admit understanding them would be to give them validity. One of the most terrifying questions in the world is this: “What do you want to do this weekend?” All by itself, that collection of eight little words—a total of only nine syllables—strikes incredible fear in my heart. Fear, based on the certain knowledge that behind that question lurks a List Of Things To Be Done, a plan for teamwork on a “Project” that the house and grounds have long been overdue for. If I give an honest answer to the original question (“I’d like to sprawl in the recliner for forty-eight hours, watching every sporting event known to humankind, trolling randomly from channel to channel, shoveling bags of chips with dip, plates of cheese and crackers, Oreos and Swiss Rolls into my gaping maw and washing it all down with bottle after bottle of birch beer. And then I’d like to nap.”) If I give that answer, then I may as well walk out into traffic and stand there, stabbing myself repeatedly with a broken birch beer bottle, until an eighteen-wheeler converts my bleeding husk into road putty.
Having said all that, here then is the real Monster In My Closet: “Company’s Coming!” Oh Dear Lord!
Don’t get me wrong, I love having any one of our kids come home to spend time with us. I love having them want to return to their ancestral home to visit The Old Folks. And that’s as far as my thought process goes. But it means something entirely different in the mind of a woman. I’ve done some research, which is to say I’ve asked several women over the years and their answers are always the same. It’s kind of scary, actually. The words “Company’s coming,” are immediately followed by “We’ve gotta clean this place up!” In its’ extreme form, it becomes “We’ve got to re-do the living room, or the kitchen, or the dining room, or the bathroom.”
Guys’ minds don’t work like that. Guys are like, if you want them to come home, don’t you want them to recognize it? As long as there’s a bed for them to sleep on, what else do they need, really? It’s Home. Why does it have to be Home-Plus?
The awful fact is…guys, it matters not a whit what we say…there WILL be something about the house that is new and improved when the offspring comes to call. We at El Rancho Davis are looking forward to a visit from our last-born daughter and son-in-law next week before her reassignment in the Air Force takes them to a two-year stint in Hawai’i (and how tough is that?!)
Therefore, of course, we are currently engaged in repainting the main bathroom walls and ceiling, which will require a new bath rug and shower curtain, and new window dressing. I fear for the sink and the cabinet it sets in. I expect there will have to be a bevy of new bath towels.
How can we expect those poor kids to sleep on old sheets under an old blanket and comforter? And just like that, the madness spills over into another room. I’m sure we’ll find an area rug that complements the comforter, to set on top of the carpet (which is beginning to show its age…)
Contact Lloyd Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org