Hi, friends! How are you doing today? I certainly hope you’re doing good and enjoying the lovely weather that’s decided to return.
Gentlemen, it’s come to my attention recently that there are certain things we as men do that have a tendency to irk our wives/significant others. Don’t worry about how I have learned of these things*, the important thing is, I have acknowledged we as a gender have a problem, and that’s the first step to recovery.
Retrieving the Mail
Guys, if you’re like me, you get an unhealthy amount of joy from getting the mail. I honestly can’t explain why I get such a sick thrill out of getting the mail. I guess it makes me feel like the head of the household (KING OF THE CASTLE, KING OF THE CASTLE). But in reality, I think my wife has relinquished this duty to me because, although it may make me feel like I’m the true head of household, it’s purely ceremonial as she makes all the decisions.
Fun Fact: Bill, like the Royal Family, has no real power or authority over their respective kingdoms. They are just made to believe they have power and authority because they look regal.
Or I could get my jollies from getting the mail in the same way dogs traditionally get really excited to bring in the newspaper. Men and dogs are trained in similar ways. When a dog poops in the house, you rub it’s nose in it and whip it with a newspaper. When a man makes a mistake, you rub his nose in it and whip him with a newspaper. When a dog does something good, you reward it with a treat. When a man does something good, you reward him with a treat**.
Getting the mail doesn’t annoy your wife/girlfriend. It’s what you do with that mail that annoys them.
If you’re anything like me, when you get the mail, you rifle through it looking for something that’s actually important.
Fun Fact: Those letters offering you three times the reward points are not considered important. Also, to those companies that send me semi-official looking letters offering a reduced interest rate on an FHA – Mortgage, I hope everyone in your company’s office contracts German Herpes.
After we men have had our way with the mail (and removed anything we have determined to have “value”), we discard the rest somewhere in the house. Here’s where we’re messing up, fellas.
First of all, any woman will tell you that the mail has it’s own designated area in the house. You can’t just go throwing it anywhere you want all willy-nilly! Everything in your house has a designated area*** and it’s in your best interest to know where these areas are, even for something as transient as mail.
Second, you can’t just rifle through the mail and then discard it! I’m one of the worst at this. I sift through the mail, and if I don’t find anything that interests me, I completely sever my ties with the mail and don’t tell my wife if there’s anything interesting in there for her. Add those self-involved actions to my careless disregarding of the mail in an unspecified location (where it will most likely never been seen again), and you’ve got a recipe that will thoroughly iritate your wife/girlfriend.
So how can you avoid annoying your wife yet still being given the privilege of getting the mail? Here’s how.
Ask your wife/girlfriend where the designated mail-drop area is and outline this area with removable red tape (this way you’ll never get confused). This will make it blatantly obvious where the fly- and no-fly-zones for mail are located, saving you the trouble of having to remember (and let’s face it, you have a hard enough time with your memory as it is).
Now that you’ve got the wife/girlfriend approved mail-drop zone clearly identified, you can get the mail. When you get the mail, separate the important and possibly-important mail from the junk. Place the important and possibly-important mail in the designated drop area and shred the rest: i.e., those pesky official-looking refinance offers for your FHA-Mortgage.
Fun Fact: There’s no way in Hell any company will actually give you a 3.4% fixed APR on your mortgage. I don’t care if President Obama co-signs on the loan with you, it will never be that low.
Just be sure to shred the junk mail. You don’t want to be a victim of identity theft, do you?
Don’t have a paper shredder? Buy one. And no, your garbage disposal will not suffice in place of a paper shredder^.
Search and Rescue
There are times when your wife will ask you to find something for her. Be it a set of car keys, a jar of peanut butter, or even your toddler’s sippy cup; she could send you on a search and rescue mission and you will gladly accept.
If you’re like me, you treat these search and rescue missions as they should be treated; with the urgency and importance of a life-or-death surgery glamorized on Grey’s Anatomy. Everytime your wife/girlfriend makes such a request, you begin voraciously searching for the requested item(s) as if the only enemy you have is the clock. Such a request is best suited for a man, as it taps into the hunter/gatherer that is ingrained in our manly DNA.
Of course, after 10 to 15 minutes of searching, your wife sends in her own search and rescue party for you and for the item(s) she requested you find. She finds it within a few seconds of searching, and makes sure to call it to your attention that the item(s) was/were hiding in plain sight. She has no idea how you can spend so long looking for something that was right there, in plain sight, and completely unconcealed.
This annoys her, too.
I think that some part of us thinks that if our wife/girlfriend has had trouble finding the requested item(s), that it must be hidden in the bowels of our house/apartment. This line of thinking not only makes us miss the blaringly obvious, but also results in spending unnecessary amounts of time searching for these items… time that could be better spent rubbing our wife’s/girlfriend’s feet, or writing her a romantic poem/sonnet^^.
So in order to prevent this annoying thing from happening, you should really just relax, open your eyes, and don’t ignore the obvious or the “right in front of you”. Also, try to limit your search to realistic places where the item(s) may be (at least at first). The rocky road ice cream is probably not in the pantry. The car keys are probably not in the bath tub. The sunglasses are probably not under the bed.
Disclaimer: If you have a toddler or small children, please ignore those last three sentences.
“Did you even hear a word that I said?”
That has to be the most common complaint women have about men in general. I’d like to offer my best explanation as to why men don’t hear what women have to say, but I’m at a loss^^^.
Apparently, I have especially bad hearing*, despite my self-asserted claim of being a Model Husband. There have been times my wife has told me something (or at least purports she did) that I either didn’t hear or didn’t remember. Which makes me think that I’m either slowly developing hearing loss or Alzheimer’s disease.
But I hear just fine+ and, at least according to my wife, I can remember things that are important to me; like what time my flag football game is or the date and starting time of my next obstacle course race.
We only remember 20% of what we hear, but there is no definitive scientific research pertaining to how long we retain it after we hear it (be it 30 seconds or 30 years after we hear it). It’s quite possible our wife/girlfriend could tell us something and 30 seconds later we have only retained 20% of it (mostly articles and pronouns, I guess).
ADD/ADHD. You may have it++. That could explain why you can’t pay attention to your wife or what she’s saying.
Fun Fact: SQUIRREL!
Or maybe it’s because women communicate so much to us that our simple minds are too bombarded to remember everything they tell us. No seriously, women are very effective communicators. They tell you exactly what they’re feeling, in explicit details. Men+++ do not have this capacity and probably never will.
So what can we men do to prevent our wives/girlfriends from getting annoyed with us because we don’t remember something they said?
The obvious solution is to TAKE NOTES. Treat a conversation with your wife/girlfriend as a college course you’re taking, where the professor tells you things that will almost certainly be on a test at some point in time (possibly even a pop quiz). Everything your wife/girlfriend says is important and it should be treated as such. Write it down. Memorize it. Stay up late cramming every night.
Also helpful? Turning off the TV or pausing what you’re watching. Unless you were just thawed from a prehistoric ice-tomb (a la Encino Man) you should have a television viewing device that is enabled with a DVR Pause button which pauses live TV so you don’t have to miss a thing. Sure, it may get annoying to keep pausing the same show multiple times in a 10 minute span, but do you know what’s more annoying? That nagging pain in your lower back from where you’ll have to sleep on the couch if you and your wife/girlfriend have another fight about how you don’t listen to her.
Using the pause button isn’t really that bad. I could understand wanting to watch a sporting event live, but with all the commercials that interrupt today’s televised sporting events, you’ll be back in real-time in no time. And let’s be honest, do you really want to see the same 10 commercials they show during sporting events more than you would otherwise? I’d hope not. Just pause it and listen to what your wife/girlfriend has to say.
But if these tips don’t work, I’d seriously go have your hearing/memory checked out by a professional. Proper diagnosis is the key to being treated properly!
… and having an excuse as to why you didn’t hear or don’t remember what your wife/girlfriend said is pretty cool, too.
* Cough! My wife told me. Cough!
*** As designated by your wife/girlfriend.
^ Lesson learned the hard way.
^^ Or just being a better husband.
^^^ Mark your calendar!
+ Well enough to know any song from Justin Bieber is crap.
++ Like yours truly!
+++ I’m going to limit this statement to heterosexual men. I have no experience observing the homosexual male’s ability to communicate and I don’t want to lump them in to a group that, so far, has struggled with communication.