He Said, She Said

It’s a scientific fact that men and women communicate differently. I didn’t even need to research this statement. I simply asked my wife it if was true, and she said it was.

That’s all the proof I needed.

Lea and I have been married for 31 years, which is kind of amazing when you realize that we don’t speak the same language.

I could ramble on about this for a few paragraphs, but the easiest way I know how to illustrate this is with an example:

* * * *

Me: “Hey, honey. I’ve been thinking about building a goldarn thing.”

Lea: “You’re going to have to be a bit more descriptive. I hate that fucking word!”

Me: “Well, it’ll have an open shelving system. And maybe it’ll have a couple of manually operated storage concealment apparatuses. Or is it apparati?”

Lea: “So, you’re building a…bookshelf?”

Me: “I guess you could put books on it, but I was going to put it out here on the patio.”

Lea: “And what are you going to put on it?”

Me: “Another good question. I don’t know. Whatever I want to, I guess.”

Lea: “And what was the second part?”

Me: “There isn’t a second part. I’m only building one goldarn thing.”

Lea: “You said open shelving, and then something about concealing…”

Me: “Ah, yes! Manually operated storage concealment apparatuses. Or is it apparati?”

Lea: “Do you mean…doors?”

Me: “Yeah, I guess you could call them doors.”

Lea: “Are you going to put handles on the doors?”

Me: “I hadn’t really thought about it. What kind of handles do you want?”

Lea: “Why are you asking me?!?! I’m not building this!”

Me: “Then why do you want handles?”

Lea: “Never mind. Just forget it. I don’t think we need anymore shelves, but if you want to build more shelves, go right ahead. Just don’t ask me to help you with any part of it.”

Me: “I might need some help moving it when I’m done…”

Lea: “Fine!”

And that’s when I decided to go back inside of the house and not build anything. Because I still remember the first time my lovely supermodel wife said, “Fine!”

* * * *

Lea and I got married in Minneapolis, Minnesota in November of 1988. We were going out for Christmas, or New Year’s, or something. I was already dressed, and was waiting for Lea to finish doing her hair.

When she finished, Lea stepped into the dining room, smiled, and spun around. Then she asked me this: “How do I look?”

And I said: “You look fine.”

The smile on her face vanished, and she fired me a look something like unto this:

young woman making a very angry face

She was PISSED!

“Excuse me, but did you just say I look fine?!?”

* * * *

Time stood still. A gellid wind blew through the house. And the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse materialized in our living room.


For those of you that don’t know, the Four Horsemen are: Pestilence, War, Famine and Death

War: “Human man, what did you say to your wife?”

Me: “Nothing! She asked me how she looked! And…and…I told her she looked fine!”

All Four Horsemen: “BLOODY FUCKING HELL!!!!”

Famine: “You did what?!?”

Pestilence: “You never tell a woman she looks fine.”

War: “You might as well tell her her ass is getting big.”

Me: “Can I…do…that?”

All Four Horsemen: “NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!”

War: “What are you trying to do? Get us all killed? Look at her!


“I’m the Avatar of War!! I’ve killed billions of people. I’ve waded through a sea of gore, and even I wouldn’t fuck with her!!”

Me: “Well, what do I do now?”

Death: “Seriously? He just proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he’s an idiot. I vote we kill him now and get this over with.”

Famine: “You say that every time!

Pestilence: “When you’re a hammer…”

War: “Wait a minute. How long have you been married, human man.”

Me: “I don’t know. A month? Maybe two…  And my name is Mark.”

War: “We have to give him a break this time, guys. Don’t you think?”

Death: “I vote no. Trust me on this, if we let him live, we’ll be back.”

Pestilence: “I vote yes. Maybe we could give him some advice…”

Famine: “That’s three against one, again. Listen…Mark, is it? You never tell your wife she looks fine. Tell her she looks beautiful. Tell her she looks stunning! And when you tell her that, you better sound like you fucking mean it. You don’t hesitate. You don’t equivocate. Do you understand?”

Pestilence: “Tell her she looks darling!”

War: “And compliment her shoes. Women like that.”

* * * *

I thought fine meant exceptional, like, fine china or fine dining. Lea thought fine meant acceptable, like, McDonalds will be fine.

There’s another meaning of the word “fine” in womanspeak. When a woman says, “Fine!” it means nothing is fine and all hell is about to break loose.

* * * *

Women have a whole ‘nother language that guys have no idea exists until sometime after they get married. How fast a guy can synthesize this new language will be a huge factor in how long he stays married.

Do whatever you want. It would make more sense if she just drew a line in the sand. Guys would understand that. In guyspeak, this phrase is interpreted as a form of permission.

The classic scenario for this is after you and your buddies have had six or seven beers. You come up with a stupid idea and you ask your friends if they want to participate. They think about it for a minute, then decide they’re not ready to die, or go back to jail. But they’re not going to tell you what you can or cannot do because it’s not their place, so you can do whatever you want…

In womanspeak, this is a test. In fact, it’s the ultimate test. Failure to get your head out of your ass and reconsider your decision could very well end in divorce. 

When your wife says this, she’s not only not okay with your plan, but you have about ten seconds to change your your stupid-ass mind. Or else. Because she will make your life miserable for months if you go through with it. Even if she doesn’t divorce you and eventually forgives you for it, she will never forget it and could use it against you for the rest of your life.

That’s not exaggeration. Ask me how I know.

We need to talk. I fucking hated this line when Lea and I first got married because we didn’t need to talk. She did. And the one thing I better not do was open my goddamn mouth while we talked.

If you go ahead and do whatever you want, you will definitely hear these words.

I’m almost ready. No one knows what this translates to in real time, not even women. It could be five minutes, it could be an hour. What it really means is, I’ll be ready when I’m ready, so shut up and leave me alone! Go ahead, turn on the game. It’ll keep you out of her hair until she’s ready.

Does this make me look fat? Or, Does this make my butt look big? When your wife is finally ready, you’ll probably hear this question. It is easily the most unfair question ever invented, and if you don’t know why, it’s the reason why you’re still a bachelor.

There’s only one correct answer for every variation of this query, and that is No!!! And it better come out of your mouth without any hesitation, equivocation, or qualifiers.

By the way, I’m married to a supermodel, so this question isn’t even an issue for me. My wife has a very cute butt, and I tell her that almost every day.

Maybe. There’s no maybe about it. That means No.

We’ll see. No, we won’t. That also means No.

Yes. One of the tricksiest words in all of womanspeak. It could mean yes. It could mean maybe. But it probably means no.

No. This one’s not open to interpretation. Always, always, always assume that when you hear this word, she means what she’s saying, even if she doesn’t. If you get it wrong, that’s on her, not you.

* * * *

There are many components to a lasting relationship. Trust. Stability. And probably a few more intangible things that I can’t think of right now. But at the base of the foundation is communication. Good communication.

If you can’t understand each other, you’re not going to be able to live with each other. Learn to speak the same language. 

Don’t be an eejet, ya numpty gowk.