Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Men and the Spoken Word

Recently, I’ve come to the conclusion that all men are born with certain natural abilities when it comes to the spoken word. That’s right, all men have the uncanny ability to say completely irrational things to women. To clarify, men have a, knack, if you will, for saying the wrong thing at the right time when in the presence of women.

Left unchecked, this amazing ability would have lead to the eradication of the male portion of the species by the female portion long ago. That’s why nature also granted men the ‘natural word camouflage’ of backtrack and recovery.

Let’s look at a generic example. When prompted with “Does this dress look good on me?” by a woman, a man’s natural answer might be, “Oh no! That dress is not flattering on you at all. It makes you look bigger than usual.” It’s quite obvious that is not the right answer. So, ‘natural word camouflage’ comes into play, and a man might recovery with “That color is all wrong for your skin tones. It doesn’t match your eyes either.”

For a specific example, there was the time I foolishly said, “The most valuable thing I have is my comic book collection”. In this case, I wasn’t aware of the silliness of my statement until my wife casually asked, “More valuable than your wife and children?”

At which point I employed ‘natural word camouflage’ and responded with “Most valuable paper product because your love is priceless.” Since I am typing this, you can see I survived the encounter.

I always thought this was something that men learned over time. But, while listening to Boy at dinner the other night, I realized it was completely natural. I don’t remember what we were specifically talking about but Boy suddenly announced, “Dad, you’re my fourth favorite thing!” Personally, I was touched because I know, deep down, he really meant it.

I think if he had just moved on to another topic he might have gotten away with the comment. But, Boy decided to explain how he came to this conclusion. He launched right into “My first favorite thing is my Nintendo DS. My second favorite thing is the Wii…”

Mom by this point is quite aware of the conversation and asks, “If Dad is fourth, where would I be on your list of favorite things?”

Boy, because he knew the answer, launched right into, “Well you’d be…”

And suddenly, I could see the words freeze in his mouth. I’m not sure what number he had in mind but it was lower than four. And he realized that it wasn’t the right answer.

Boy continued, “Well, you’re…”
Mom, “Yeeessss?”

And suddenly, Boy’s ‘natural word camouflage’ abilities took over, and he responded in the most confident voice I’d ever heard from him, “You’re fourth with Dad!?” And, as the sweat started dripping off his forehead, Boy quickly switched topics to Pokemon.

I will happily report that the Boy is still alive today.


  1. I have to say, these posts of yours are among my favorites :) When I'm at my "Happy Happy Fun Place" (read: work) dreading the oncoming day, these posts really help.

    One word in your defense (although Boy probably wouldn't be able to use it), you could have told your wife you do not consider her nor your children "things." It might work, it might not.

    I'm glad no one else is in here at H.H.F.P., because I'm laughing so hard at this one.

    Thanks so much!

  2. How many years has Boy lived with 3 women? I think this is more an example of how observant and smart he is than an innate ability. :)