Are you listening carefully?
Dear Regular Guy,
Whatever I tell my husband goes in one ear and out the other. It's so frustrating when he just forgets everything I tell him. I wish I could cast a listening spell on men.
Sabrina, the no-longer-a-teenager Witch.
Women always assume we aren't listening. Saying "hmm", "Yes" and "Right-oh Dear" in every small silence of their rhetoric, is apparently not enough. Worse still, you automatically decide that any message you tell us won't get passed on. I actually think it is a little sexist on your part.
I heard my wife the other day, saying how she needed to text her friend to tell her something (I didn't actually catch the detail). "I did call her yesterday" my wife explained, "but she'd popped out so I told her husband and asked him to pass it on".
"So why do you need to text her, then?" I asked.
My wife stared incredulously at me as if I'd just asked her where we keep the Hoover. Then she shook her head in despair like she did in that posh restaurant when I'd tried ordering steak tartare "well done". (Luckily I had time to change my order when I finally found out what it was.)
My wife looked at me and explained, "Did you hear what I said? I spoke to her husband. I told him where and when I wanted to meet Jane and asked him to pass it on... So now I need to tell her myself!" The look of bemusement on my face told her that I still hadn't quite understood. "If I don't tell her then how will she know?"
"Because he'll tell her...?" I guessed.
And that, it seems was my mistake. Apparently men are so crap that my wife knew for a fact that he would not have listened properly and will forget the message, will even forget that she phoned. Telling a husband any important details that you want passed on is, apparently, a waste of time. Having discovered that her friend wasn't home, my wife had simply passed on the message out of politeness, in order to complete the call. At no point did she consider the possibility that her message was sent. All women do this. They will only pass on important details to another woman. When my Mum phones up to arrange a visit, she asks to speak to my wife.
I'd had enough of putting up with this casual sexism and made my feelings clear.
A heated debate ensued. How could she be so blatantly presumptuous about man's ability to listen to short bursts of information and successfully repeat them? How dare she?
And I was winning. I actually was. Slowly my wife was running out of objections. She had no actual facts to pin against this guy, no precedents of incompetence to quote other than sweeping genetic stereotypes. She put her hands up and apologised. Actually apologised. My point, and my week, was made.
Then her phone beeped. She had a text from Jane.
Life, which I strongly suspect might be female, really hates it when men win an argument.
"Where are we meeting tonight? What time? Thought you were going to ring last night. You ok? X"