The cowboy asks me a question. Let’s say it’s something like, “Are you going to that place on Friday?”
It is a yes or no question. So, naturally, I answer along the lines of, “Well, I’ve got to make sure the sitter is going to be here on time, and I need to get my dress from the cleaners first. Did you know they said 75 people have already signed up to go? Omigosh, I better get the car detailed. No use getting a black dress cleaned if you’re going to sit in dog hair. I’m so sick of that dog.”
The cowboy’s face grows mildly annoyed, and he repeats the question. “Are you going to that place on Friday? Yes or no, dear.”
I blink across the room at him, failing to understand why he has failed to understand that, yes, I am going. Is he deaf? “Why would I be getting my dress from the cleaners if I weren’t going?” I retort. “Gosh, I hope they got that stain out. Mustard! Who the heck eats a hot dog in a cocktail dress? In front of the publisher? Me. That’s who. Next time, I’ll wear yellow, like the man in Curious George. Next time, I’ll just dress like a banana and save us all a lot of trouble. I think Lady GaGa already did that, though. I hate Lady GaGa. I used to like her, when ‘Just Dance’ first came out and I didn’t know she looked like the Crypt Keeper in drag. Then she started trying too hard, hatching out of eggs and so forth. I hate when entertainers try too hard. That’s the main reason I can’t stand Elton John. That, and ‘Rocket Man’. Do you like that song?”
The cowboy sighs deeply through his nose, and turns his head ever so slightly to one side as though to crack his neck a bit. He closes his eyes slowly, to compose himself. “I’ll say it one more time,” he annunciates deliberately. “Are you going to that place Friday? Yes or no.”
I start to answer, but he holds up a hand to stop me. “Hang on,” he says. “I don’t want any other words. Just a yes, or a no.”
I frown. “Yes,” I say, at last.
“That’s all I needed to know,” he says. “What time do you need to be there?”
“Well, it starts at seven, but you don’t always want to be exactly on time to these things. Right? You don’t want to look desperate. You don’t want to be too early, either. I mean, late is okay, but not too late because then they’ll think you don’t care about them. Which I do. I really like these people.”
The cowboy sighs, and we begin again. “Alisa? What. Time. Do. You. Have. To. Be. There. It’s a number between 1 and 12…”
Yeah, I know. We do this all the time, the cowboy and I.
At first I thought it was just because he wasn’t listening. Then I read this brain study, showing that in women the part of the brain that deals with language is 17.8 percent bigger than it is in men. This leads to what scientists call “significant sexual dimorphism in verbal ability.”
Behavioral scientists have said as much for a while now, but this is the first study to prove it anatomically. Another study shows that this brain difference influences the way males and females problem-solve, too. Women are more abstract thinkers. Men are more spatial and literal. Which is all a roundabout (and very female) way for me to tell you this one simple thing: Women talk more than men and are better at it. This means we probably also write better. In your face, Shakespeare! Booya! (Cue: Literary touchdown dance.)
But back to the topic. What was the topic again? Oh, right. Thanks.
My point? Men, it seems, don’t just want simple answers because they wish to irritate us — though, let’s not fool ourselves, they can be spectacularly good at the latter. It’s rather that men prefer clearly stated answers because their brains process language differently than ours. This isn’t to say we’re smarter than they are, or they’re smarter than we are. We’re just different, in spite of the feminist mantra about us being equal in all things. Difference is good. Men and women evolved this way, to compliment one another. See? He gets me there on time. I make sure we’ve brought the right gift.
So, ladies, remember this the next time you’re talking to a man. Keep it clear and direct. Not that the cowboy doesn’t understand me when I go off on tangents. He does. He’d just rather not have to decipher. Here, see what he wrote about it after reading this very post.
For clarification, (again, mainly to facilitate better communication between us, a better understanding of where we’re each coming from……not merely to critique) it’s not really that you have to Keep It Simple Stupid when communicating with me. It’s that I’d like the answer to my question first…….then whatever further explanation you desire. When I ask a question, I’m trying to get information. Information I need to be able to facilitate the goal. The information I need to plan. In the scenario given, I could discern the answer to my question. But, I remain firm because I’m trying to get you to give me a straight answer on a regular basis, create a habit……..for the times when I don’t have time to decipher your response. I’m being consistent, not obtuse.