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Monday, August 4, 2014

Are You Hearing This, Honey?

This is especially frustrating because I happen to
be an excellent listener.
A study shows that men find women who listen to them sexier than women who don't listen.

I am not doubting the conclusions of this study, but it sounds like the sort of thing concocted by men who were getting tired of being ignored by wives and girlfriends.

I cannot tell you how many times I have posed a question to my darling wife only to have it hang there in space like a levitating potato waiting for a reply that never came.  Sometimes I will repeat the question; others I will decide I didn't need an answer that badly in the first place.  In case you think I am making this up, this has been witnessed by outside observers.  I once asked Nancy a question in the presence of her sister Donna.  Donna looked at Nancy waiting for her reply, then looked at me - is she going to say something? - then back at Nancy again, and then at me.  Finally, the suspense was too great.  She asked the question again herself.

It isn't as simple as just repeating the question because sometimes Nancy is making up her mind how to answer, and if you jump in with the question too soon, she's likely to be irritated.  This may be a congenital trait.  Her father can be extraordinarily slow at framing his words.  I have heard Obama throw in some pretty weighty pauses as he carefully chooses his next word, well, compared to Nancy's dad, Obama is a piker.  He will begin a sentence and then come to a complete standstill as he searches his data banks for the precise phrase or adjective he wishes to employ regarding, say, the mutilation and repair of garden hoses.  A few words deeper into the sentence, and he will hit another roadblock.  I am not proud to admit this, but I've taken to silently counting to see how high I can get before the next word comes out.  I've gotten as high as 17.  Not the most respectful thing to do, but it fills the idle moments of conversation with Dad.

But back to the main point which is Nancy's - and as I suspect from this study, many women's - failure to listen to their significant others with sufficient absorption.  This is especially frustrating for me because I happen to be an excellent listener.  I make it a practice not only to go "uh-huh" at intervals but to nod my head in agreement or at least acknowledgement.  When I'm really at the top of my form, I can even isolate key phrases and say them back as questions, as if in disbelief.  "A garden hose?"  For example, Nancy left for the week and said several things to which I did an outstanding job listening.  I not only said, "Uh-uh," and nodded my head, I sometimes said, "Got it," or "Right."  It was something I was supposed to do or not do while she was gone.  Either turning something off, or turning it on, or else possibly not turning it off.  I'm pretty sure it either had to do with the dog, the washing machine, or the dishwasher.  I'm ninety-percent sure it had something to do with water.  It definitely did not relate to electricity, except in the most tangential way.  Whatever it was, she seemed to think it was pretty important.

Maybe it was something to do with the garden?

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