Hello, there, took a little longer than I thought to return. I won’t dwell on recent events; may I suggest A Cup of Coffee For The Soul, or one of my other friends on my blogroll for a proper perspective.
Me, I’m looking to perform a public service of a different kind: marital advice!
Yes, I, Dr. Matlock, HNIC, will delve into the wonderful abyss called marriage. Just this week, I received a letter from a befuddled gentleman who simply wanted to enjoy the fruits of matrimony, and, being the public servant that I am, I decided to help him. Our correspondence went like this…
Dear Gentle Readers:
I will continue to pour oil on the troubled waters of matrimony, by giving men and women a better understanding of the strange, befuddling creature they thought was a good idea to marry. There is no charge for this service, just the warm feeling Dr. Matlock receives, knowing he is contributing to the reduction in the Louisiana divorce rate. Last column, we were helping a young man who had a problem with communicating with his wife. We successfully guided him through an evening at a restaurant, and now we shall sharpen his game in the bedroom. Let’s read the rest of his letter…
Dear Dr. Matlock….Then when we get home, she gets mad at me because I like to read before I go to bed, but she wants me to watch TV with her. She claims I never spend enough time with her, but geez! I’ve just spent two hours fussing with her, and the last thing I need before I go to sleep is her in my ear. I love her, but I’m frustrated. Can you help?
Sleepless in St. Martinville
Sleepless, let’s deal with your bedtime problem. You want to read, she wants to talk. There are two key concepts that need exploring and clarification. One is “bed”, the other is “talk.” These two concepts mean vastly different things to men and women. Let’s start with “bed.”
The female definition of “bed” is the place where a variety of important activities take place, such as nurturing of children, conversing on the telephone, meditation on important issues of the day, sampling exotic herbal teas, consuming comfort foods, watching Lifetime movies, watching LMN movies, watching The Food Network, making love, servicing one’s husband/significant other (not to be confused with lovemaking), snuggling with the family pet, plus a myriad of activities too numerous to mention here, and, when any/all of this is completed, sleep. The bed is made up daily, and the sheets changed biweekly, more often post-coital.
The male definition of “bed” is the place where two major events take place. Sex, and sleep. In that order. Any other activity is conducted as a prelude to the two major aforementioned events, or is something the female does while the male is in the middle of performing either of the two major events. Bed making is something the female indulges in, and the sheets are changed when body fluids have rendered them to a crisp and crackly crunch. Every 2 months, maybe.
“Talk” to a female, is the verbal/nonverbal expression of thoughts, hopes, dreams, ideas, opinions, questions, conjectures, declarations, gossip and fact, and is the means by which she connects to her loved ones, confronts her enemies, and interacts with her inner self. Essential to life, 95% of all female activity involves talk, and indeed, any activity that does not incorporate talk is considered unnecessary, unimportant, and unworthy of participation.
“Talk” to a male is the use of words to convey facts. It is an activity only performed in conjunction with vital functions such as golf, dominoes, haircuts, poker, and sporting events. In the company of a female, it is to be kept to a minimum, except in the pursuit of sex or food. Talking with a female carries with it an inherent risk of conflict, or, worse yet, boredom. When a female says “We need to talk,” men emotionally run to the nearest exit.
Herein lies your problem. You and your wife are in the same room physically, but emotionally you’re not even on the same planet. She’s on Venus, you’re on Mars, remember? She believes that there are hundreds of things that you can do in this room, but you know better. A little known fact: women use approximately 25,000 words per day, men, only 10-12,000. By the time you walk into this room at the end of the day, you have nearly depleted your daily quota, and the few you have left are reserved in pursuit of the first of the only two major activities you are interested in. She, however, has several thousand words in reserve, willing soldiers ready to do battle….with you.
So, what do you do? This will not be easy to hear. You must encourage her to talk. (I’ll wait a moment to let your howls of protest to die down. There, that’s better.) “But Doc! I don’t want her to talk!” you exclaim. Yes, you do, my son. Why? Because talking is the lubricant that keeps all her other body parts operating at peak efficiency. Talking is also the spark plug that fires the engine of the activity you’re really interested in, whether it’s a hot meal, or some hot…well, you know. Remember, whatever body part is your ultimate goal, it all starts with her lips.
There is something you must keep in mind. Contentment, to a woman, is a temporary condition at best. (Blame Eve.) So, when she sees you laying there (lying there? Whatever.) happily reading a book, an activity that does not involve 1—talking; and 2—talking with her, well, that won’t do, no sir. She feels a need to be connected with you, and your face buried in a book won’t cut it. So, put the book down, perhaps on the night stand. You work this right and she’ll be happy to let you get back to it. Maybe.
Take a deep breath, silently, of course, you don’t want her to think this is an effort on your part (even though it is.) She is convinced that conversation with her is a pleasant activity, and any action on your part on the contrary only serves to bruise her delicate psyche, and shuts down any possibility of you seeing action on the Southern Frontier. Now, ask her this simple question: “Honey, what is this movie about?”
At first, she will be suspicious. A male issuing an invitation to talk can mean only one thing. She’s right, of course, but that’s half the fun. (Why buy 2% at the gas station when there’s a cow in your bedroom just a-beggin’ to be milked?) She will narrow her eyes at you, looking for a hint of an ulterior motive. Don’t look at her, look at the television. (Later, when your skills have progressed to the point where you can pull it off, then, and only then, do you gaze deeply into her eyes and say the magic words, “Talk to me.” But you’re not there yet, so don’t try it, Rookie.) Keep your eyes on the television, and when she hesitates, being unconvinced of your sincerity, ask another question about the movie. It doesn’t matter what you ask, it’s not like you really want to know, you just want her talking. A question to a woman is like a worm to a bass, they simply can’t resist. Just don’t try to set the hook too quickly. Let her talk.
For the first three minutes, keep your hands to yourself. Remember, if you try to strike too quickly, you’ll only spook the fish, making it that much harder the next time. Remember, the trick is to make her think it’s her idea. When you make your first move, do not, I repeat, do not attempt a landing in a major city. An outlying village, such as her fingers or her hair, is generally the better strategy, simply because if you’re confronted, it’s easier to deny having any ulterior motive other than to talk. Once your sincerity is established, and she’s convinced you are actually engaged in conversation, the rest is duck soup.
Five minutes into her talking, smile, and shake your head. Get ready, you’ve just engendered curiosity. Curiosity, my boy, kills the cat. Every time. At this point, she must ask the question: “What’s the matter?”
Bingo! You are mere moments away from The Promised Land. Stay calm, and keep your answer simple: “Nothing…I just like listening to you talk.”
That sound you hear is the gurgle of fresh milk. Drink deeply, son, you deserve it.
You do know you have to talk to her afterwards, right? Sleep, like sex, must be earned. But if you’ve laid the hammer like you’re supposed to, post-cookie conversation is on your terms. Now’s a good time to put in your breakfast order, and let her know there’s more where that came from, if she doesn’t burn the toast.
Hey, a man has to get his pleasure where he can. Speaking of that, I wonder what channel Ms. Matlock has the TV on tonight? Hmmmm……