Amy Rees Anderson

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN

Years ago, before I was married, I was riding in a car with a guy I was dating.  As we sat in silence together driving along the highway for quite some time, I couldn’t help wondering what was going on in that head of his.  He was quiet, just staring out the front window at the car ahead of us.  So I decided to ask him.   “What are you thinking about?” I asked.  “Nothing” he replied.  “It’s impossible to think about nothing” I said “Just tell me what you are thinking about?”.  “No” he said.  “Why?” I asked.  “Because you will think its stupid”, he replied.  “No I won’t!” I answered,  “Just tell me”.  “Fine” he said, “I was thinking that the symbol on that back of that Toyota looks like a guy wearing a cowboy hat”.  I looked at him in disbelief, but it was clear he was telling the truth.  “See” he said, “and that is why we men don’t want to answer that question when you women ask us.”   

I am always amazed at how different men and women are when it comes to, well, pretty much everything.  As I sat tonight trying to have a conversation with my husband, who clearly wasn’t listening to anything I was saying, I finally stopped and asked “are you listening to me”.  “What?” he said.  I was clearly frustrated with him.  “Seriously?!?” I responded.  His next comment was “Men are always in trouble with women for stuff we have no idea about what is even going on.”   “You weren’t listening to me” I said.  “I was totally listening” he answered.  “Then what did I say?” I asked.  He sat staring with a blank look on his face and then said “Well, whatever you said it was fine.”  

Tonight’s experience reminded me of a story I heard long ago that is the epitome of the differences between men and women. I had to look it up so I could share it with all of you – it’s a hilarious yet sad story because it is simply too true!!! 

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN

Let’s say a guy named Roger is attracted to a woman named Elaine. He asks her out to dinner; she accepts; they have a pretty good time. A few nights later he asks her out again; 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 Elaine, 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 there is silence in the car.

To Elaine, it seems like a very loud silence. She thinks to herself: 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 Roger is thinking: Wow! Six months.

And Elaine 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 Roger 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 Elaine 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 Roger 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 better not try to blame it on the cold weather this time. What cold weather? It’s 87 degrees and this thing is shifting like a garbage truck, and I paid those incompetent thieves $600.

And Elaine 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 Roger is thinking: They’ll probably say it’s only a 90-day warranty… idiots.

And Elaine 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 Roger is thinking: Warranty? They’d better not say its only a 90-day warranty.

“Roger,” Elaine says aloud.

“What?” says Roger, startled.

“Please don’t torture yourself like this,” she says, her eyes beginning to brim with tears. “Maybe I should never have… Oh my, I feel so… (She breaks down, sobbing.)

“What?” says Roger.

“I’m such a fool,” Elaine 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 Roger.

“You think I’m a fool, don’t you?” Elaine says.

“No!” says Roger, glad to finally know the correct answer.

“It’s just that…it’s that I…I need some time,” Elaine says.

There is a 15-second pause while Roger, 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.

Elaine, deeply moved, touches his hand. “Oh, Roger, do you really feel that way?” she says.

“What way?” says Roger.

“That way about time,” says Elaine.

“Oh,” says Roger. “Yes.”

Elaine 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, Roger,” she says.

“Thank you,” says Roger.

Then he takes her home, and she lies on her bed, a conflicted, tortured soul, and weeps until dawn.

When Roger gets back to his place, 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 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 Elaine 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, Roger, while playing racquetball one day with a mutual friend of his and Elaine’s, will pause just before serving, frown, and say, “Norm, did Elaine ever own a horse?”

And that’s the difference between men and women.

——–

Hopefully that story made you smile (while crying a little on the inside).  Have a great weekend everyone!  I LOVE WEEKENDS!

~Amy

23 Comments

  • Dr. Nanguneri says:

    “Women are from Venus and Men are From Mars.” Nice story here by Amy and well articulated for this millennium.

  • nirmalhere says:

    Hilarious & Serious at the same time. Intense read.

  • cameron winkley says:

    ha ha ha Amy I thought this was awesome. As a newly wed of six months and after knowing my wife since middle school, I still sometimes wonder if she ever owned a horse

  • Amy D. says:

    I love this!

  • Anonymous says:

    I just L.O.L’ed! So true and ridiculous. Thanks for the laugh. 🙂

  • Leta says:

    That story was a good look into the way most communication happens. Overthinking vs simple and uncomplicated 🙂
    Thank you for the giggle and Happy Weekend!!!

  • Lindee says:

    Wow. I think like a dude?!
    Seriously, major role reversal in my relationship! ha. This story made me giggle hard. Thanks, Amy.

  • Brennan says:

    Thank you, Amy. I have not laughed that much in a while, are you sure your in the right profession, I mean you would make a great stand up comedian. : )

  • Dr. Nanguneri says:

    What matters is not whether we are different or complicated, but how we interact with others by knowing what matters to the other person. If a spouse is detailed oriented (wife or husband) how are we supposed to react when they do want those gory details that may not be our cup of tea. On the other hand if one of them is a driver personality lacking the patience to get something done how do we calm them down and give them just enough rather than giving them oratorial pitch for which they aren’t ready to receive.
    Understanding the differences on how to receive and give is more important than the complexity or simplicity itself. To maintain a great relationship, it is important to know when to lunge and forward when to withdraw back in our aggressive or passive approach. Given that the spouse may also undergo emotional or hormonal changes being analytical on one day may not even be the same based on their moods.
    So this article by Amy does the right focus on how the baseline is today and the takeaways for me is to utilize the general differences and apply my logic and emotions at the right time to communicate in the most effective and constructive manner. The question now is will I be able to manage the conversations perfectly time after time? Easily not, however, that is what is all important that we do not try to design our thinking when we interact but give an overall impression that when in need we are in deed.

    America is a land of a huge population that has English speaking people and yet there are severe communication gaps beyond the vernacular aspects. This is a great awakening even today past the publishing of “Women are from Venus and Men are from Mars.”

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