Ah the differences between men and women. You could write a book about the differences between men and women. Actually there are quite a few, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus being one that comes to mind.
It’s far more than just the shape and function of our bodies. The differences between men and women goes about as deep as you can go.
Us men think completely differently to women, and I know pretty much every woman who reads this will agree, since as much as we don’t understand what goes on inside a woman’s mind, they don’t understand what goes on inside ours either.
But enough of this preamble, and onto a rather long but thought provoking story…
Let’s say a guy named Robert is attracted to a woman named Margaret.
He asks her out on a date. He suggestes they go to a movie, she accepts, they have a pretty good time.
A few nights later he asks her out on another date, this time to dinner, and again they enjoy themselves.
They continue to see each other regularly, and after a while neither one of them is seeing anybody else.
And then, one evening when they’re driving home, a thought occurs to Margaret, and without really thinking, she says it aloud: “Do you realize that, as of tonight, we’ve been seeing each other for exactly six months?”
And then suddenly there is silence in the car.
To Margaret, it seems like a very loud silence.
She thinks to herself: “Geez, I wonder if it bothers him that I said that. Maybe he’s been feeling confined by our relationship; maybe he thinks I’m trying to push him into some kind of obligation that he doesn’t want, or isn’t sure of”.
And Robert is thinking: “Gosh. Six months”.
And Margaret is thinking: “But, hey, I’m not so sure I want this kind of relationship, either. Sometimes I wish I had a little more space, so I’d have time to think about whether I really want us to keep going the way we are, moving steadily toward… I mean, where are we going? Are we just going to keep seeing each other at this level of intimacy? Are we heading toward marriage? Toward children? Toward a lifetime together? Am I ready for that level of commitment? Do I really even know this person?”
And Robert is thinking: “…so that means it was…let’s see… February when we started going out, which was right after I had the car at the dealer’s, which means.. .let me check the odometer… Whoa! I am way overdue for an oil change here”.
And Margaret is thinking: “He’s upset. I can see it on his face. Maybe I’m reading this completely wrong. Maybe he Wants more from our relationship, more intimacy, more commitment; maybe he has sensed-even before I sensed it, that I was feeling some reservations. Yes, I bet that’s it. That’s why he’s so reluctant to say anything about his own feelings. He’s afraid of being rejected”.
And Robert is thinking: “And I’m going to have them look at the transmission again. I don’t care what those morons say, it’s still not shifting right. And they had better not try to blame it on the cold weather this time. What cold weather? It’s 87 degrees outside, and this thing is shifting like a garbage truck, and I paid those incompetent thieves $600”.
And Margaret is thinking: “He’s angry. And I don’t blame him. I’d be angry, too. I feel so guilty, putting him through this, but I can’t help the way I feel. I’m just not sure”.
And Robert is thinking: “They’ll probably say it’s only a 90 day warranty… scumbags”.
And Margaret is thinking: “Maybe I’m just too idealistic, waiting for a knight to come riding up on his white horse, when I’m sitting right next to a perfectly good person, a person I enjoy being with, a person I truly do care about, a person who seems to truly care about me. A person who is in pain because of my self-centered, schoolgirl romantic fantasy”.
And Robert is thinking: “Warranty? They want a warranty? I’ll give them a warranty. I’ll take their warranty and shove it …………….”
“Robert,” Margaret says aloud.
“What?” says Robert, startled.
“Please don’t torture yourself like this,” she says, her eyes beginning to brim with tears. “Maybe I should never have… Oh gosh, I feel so…” (She breaks down, sobbing.)
“What?” says Robert.
“I’m such a fool,” Margaret sobs. “I mean, I know there’s no knight. I really know that. It’s silly. There’s no knight, and there’s no horse.”
“There’s no horse?” says Robert.
“You think I’m a fool, don’t you?” Margaret says.
No!” says Robert, glad to finally know the correct answer.
“It’s just that… it’s that I… I need some time,” Margaret says.
(There is a 15-second pause while Robert, thinking as fast as he can, tries to come up with a safe response. Finally he comes up with one that he thinks might work.)
“Yes,” he says.
(Margaret, deeply moved, touches his hand.)
“Oh, Robert, do you really feel that way?” she says.
“What way?” says Robert.
“That way about time,” says Margaret.
“Oh,” says Robert. “Yes…”
(Margaret turns to face him and gazes deeply into his eyes, causing him to become very nervous about what she might say next, especially if it involves a horse. At last she speaks.)
“Thank you, Robert,” she says.
“Thank you,” says Robert.
Then he takes her home, and she lies on her bed, a conflicted, tortured soul, and weeps until dawn.
Meanwhile, Robert gets back to his place, where he opens a bag of Doritos, turns on the TV, and immediately becomes deeply involved in a rerun of a tennis match between two Czechoslovakians he has never heard of.
A tiny voice in the far recesses of his mind tells him that something major was going on back there in the car, but he is pretty sure there is no way he would ever understand what, and so he figures it’s better if he doesn’t think about it.
The next day, Margaret will call her closest friend, or perhaps two of them, and they will talk about this situation for six straight hours.
In painstaking detail, they will analyze everything she said and everything he said, going over it time and time again, exploring every word, expression, and gesture for nuances of meaning, considering every possible ramification.
They will continue to discuss this subject, off and on, for weeks, maybe months, never reaching any definite conclusions, but never getting bored with it, either.
Meanwhile, Robert, while playing racquetball one day with a mutual friend of his and Margaret’s, will pause just before serving, frown, and say: “Norm, did Margaret ever own a horse?”
Image used under a Collective Commons License from: https://pixabay.com/photos/couple-friends-love-girl-man-1853996/