The Woman Whisperer

My niece, my daughter, myself, and my husband were so giddy with joy at our mere togetherness that we recorded it with a "selfie."

My niece, my daughter, myself, and my husband were so giddy with joy at our togetherness that we recorded it with a “selfie.”

A week ago, when our beloved niece came to visit, we were all hanging out in the kitchen talking about foreign languages. Suddenly, my husband announced, “I speak Woman.”

For a moment, there was only stunned silence. Then, I turned from the stove and said very gently, “No, sweetie, you don’t.”

“You really don’t, Daddy,” our daughter said flatly.

Meanwhile, our niece had practically laughed herself into a fetal position.

“I DO,” my husband insisted. “I speak Woman—I should write a book to help other men . . . especially newlyweds!”

My niece, my daughter, and I exchanged a look that pretty much said, “Awe, bless his heart—he REALLY believes he speaks Woman.” Then we let it go. Mostly. Sort of.

At dinner, Hubby took one bite of food and then began questioning me about the ingredients. (Not a good sign.) I said, “Anyone who speaks Woman knows that timing is everything. If you don’t like your dinner, the time to tell me would be later, PRIVATELY, after you’ve thanked me profusely for preparing it, AND after you’ve finished doing the dishes and cleaning the kitchen.”

My husband looked at our niece. She nodded ever so slightly.

The next day, on the boat, our niece commented to Hubby as he bent over the railing, fiddling with the propeller. He didn’t answer.

I said to our niece, “Honey, I don’t think he can hear you.”

Hubby stood up and said, “There’s nothing wrong with my hearing—it’s just selective. I hear HER fine. It’s YOU that I don’t bother listening to.”

“Oh good,” I said. “Then you won’t hear me proclaim that YOU DO NOT SPEAK WOMAN.”

Hubby grinned.

Later, when the conversation turned to Things That Comfort Us When We Don’t Feel Good, our daughter said, “Daddy’s always brushed my hair with his fingers when I don’t feel good, so I like that.”

I said to my husband, “It’s true. If you’re not home, she asks me to do it like you do.”

“That’s really sweet,” our niece said.

By way of explanation, Hubby said, “When my first girlfriend broke up with me to date another guy, I asked her why. She said, ‘He always touches my hair and pays me a lot of attention.’”

Our niece said, “So your take-away was that you needed to do more hair-touching? Not that you needed to pay more attention?”

“Right,” Hubby said.

“You do not speak woman,” I asserted again.

Later in the week, when I returned home with groceries, my husband came to help me unload and put things away.  (SCORE! TWO POINTS IN SPEAKING WOMAN!) When he found a greeting card in a smaller bag within a bag, he opened it, read it, laughed, and said, “I like that card.”

“Yeah, I thought you might,” I said. “That’s why I bought it. FOR YOU.” (MINUS TWO POINTS IN SPEAKING WOMAN.)

Then, this weekend, as we were literally walking out the door for church, my husband said to me, “Baby, are you wearing those pants to church?” (Why else would I be wearing them on my way to the garage, to get in the car and go to church? I mean, it’s not as if I usually perform a quick costume-change after we arrive at church.)

“Yes,” I said.

“You need to go look in the mirror,” my oh-so-helpful husband said. “They’ve shrunk or something—those pants are too short.”

“No, they’re supposed to be ankle-length,” I said. “But for the record, no one who speaks even a little Woman would EVER say to a woman, ‘Hey, your pants have shrunk…or something’—the “something” implying that a grown woman has grown, when grown women only grow one way: fatter! You soooo do NOT speak woman.”

“Yes I do,” Hubby said calmly.  “Go look in the mirror . . .  I’ll be in the car.”

And there we have the very antithesis of speaking Woman: The classic, “I’ll be in the car,” spoken by men all over the world, to women who speak Man, and know exactly what that means (translation: Hurry up, fatty!).

PS. After the language immersion program that is our 20 year relationship, I’m still absolutely crazy about my husband and I’m pretty sure he’s still crazy about me, which makes the language barrier worth bearing.  Also, he makes the world’s best blueberry pancakes. For me. Which might be why I’m . . . “growing.”

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