Archive | December, 2011

Explaining the unexplainable

18 Dec

Here’s one for the ladies.

A recent YouTube video¬†highlights some basic differences in perspective and understanding between men and women, so as a public service I will attempt to explain a male perspective (at least THIS male’s perspective) regarding the role that sexual attraction plays in our lives.

Ladies, imagine that you have a specific event that you are looking forward to. It could be a party, a dinner, a night on the town, a visit to the opera or the ballet. Something that you have written in your calender in ink in big, bold letters with more than one exclamation point and maybe even a happy face. This happening will require a suitable outfit, and you have been planning this for months. You found the perfect dress for it 3 weeks ago and have so far been able to match it with some great nail polish and lingerie. There is, however one item still missing from the ensemble – the perfect pair of shoes. They will be just the right shade of (insert color here) and be wonderfully strappy with exactly the right heel. You’ve already scheduled time to get your hair, nails and feet done, so all that is left are the perfect wrappers for your soon-to-be-perfect feet.

For whatever reason today you happen to be visiting a nearby city, walking through a shopping district in the early afternoon when out of the blue you see them. They are almost too good to be true, the holy grail of footwear. Exactly perfect in every detail, but it is much too pricey a shop. Every tag that you can see is at least 3x more than you would ever allow yourself to spend on shoes, so you almost don’t even want to find out how much they want for perfection, let alone whether they might have them in your size.

Just as you are making your move toward the door of your newly-found Xanadu of shoes, you catch a whiff of the most delicious comestible delight that you know – (insert name of insanely desirable food item here.) It has been such a long time since you last enjoyed this ecstatic taste experience but since the olfactory sense is directly tied to the limbic lobe and has direct override access to our memory centers. The result is that the concentrated wonderfulness of every previous encounter with this glorious monument to the epicurean arts crashes like a wave over your consciousness, temporarily blinding you to the task at hand.

The fact that it is nearly 90 minutes after your normal lunch time and that you had an early breakfast before leaving your hometown adds to your cognitive dissonance. The object of your long search is close at hand, but your sudden hunger has taken at least part of your mind hostage. You have even gone so far as to take your eye off the prize to turn your head in search of the source of the wonderful scent. There it is, two doors down from the shoe store Рa tiny café cozily tucked in amongst the larger shops. Resting easily after the lunch rush, it beckons with a tantalizing hint of an ambiance within that might possibly match the wonderful scents that first caught your attention.

An internal struggle – which demand on your attention will get the upper hand?

To a guy, whatever he is working or playing with at the time is a bit like the shoes, while sexual attraction is something like the distracting and periodically recurring hunger set off by the sight, scent or thought of some wonderfully fulfilling and tantalizing memory or fantasy. We need to eat. Hunger is a part of our everyday lives. Sometimes we enjoy it more than others. Sometimes it rocks our world. Even so, it isn’t possible for us to have such a great meal that we won’t ever think about eating again, or for us to have such a foul experience that we will swear off food altogether. Fasting may work for a while, but eventually our hunger returns, clawing its way into our consciousness and taking progressively more of our attention until we are pretty much forced to do something about it.

From what I’ve read and what I’ve seen in life I suspect that for a significant percentage of women sexual attraction is more like the pair of shoes. Like their biblical nemesis the cold-blooded serpent, they need to eat, but not anywhere near as frequently as do those whose blood runs hot. Once the party wardrobe is complete (the babies are born) these women experience a more or less permanent shift in emphasis. The purpose has been served. There may be new projects in the future, but it isn’t at all the regularly recurring need, the hunger that can only be satiated on a temporary basis.

It does not seem that many men experience this same shift. For most, the primal urge continues. Controlled for the most part, but unextinguished. The popularity of medicines to treat erectile dysfunction supports my contention that the spirit remains willing even if the flesh may be weak.

I’m sure that separate bed hermits can find bliss with each other just as those with more frequent and urgent needs for physical contact do, but my heart goes out to those who are mismatched in this respect with their partners, no matter what combination of X’s and Y’s may be involved.

Reasonable and unreasonable

18 Dec

Wife has been gone 4 days doing important family-type stuff. No problem with that. Kids have been great, things have run smoothly. Did all of the laundry that was in our baskets as well as the kids’ baskets last night so that she wouldn’t have any extra to do when she got home this afternoon. Lots of stuff to hang dry because she thinks that it is too delicate to go in the dryer. I respect that.

After dinner she discovers that one of her favorite dresses is hanging with the rest of the laundry that didn’t go in the dryer. She says “I sure hope that this dress didn’t get washed because it is dry clean only and is now about 4 sizes too small.”

Where to begin…

Of course the dress got washed. That is why it was hanging there, and that is why it shrunk. It was in the laundry basket. The tag reads “Wash with like colors” so that’s what I did. There were knitted sweaters and other things on the floor beside the basket that did not get washed because they are dry clean only, or they are wool and need to go on another cycle without fabric softener so that the fibers will not be chemically weakened and lose their shape. The material tag says that it is Viscose, but it was purchased here in Europe and made somewhere in Asia, so I assume they mean Rayon. Must be HWM (High Wet Modulus) Rayon if they claim that it is washable. (Look it up. I did.)

I read labels. I used to tutor physics and in high school I got an award for being one of only two junior chemistry students at our school who in a nationwide test came out above the 90th percentile in chemistry. I understand how surfactants and enzymes and detergents and even catalysts work. My wife doesn’t understand any of this. All that she knows is that a dress that she had mentally labeled “Dry Clean Only” because she bought a small because the medium was just a tad too baggy to be flattering is now too small for her.

I understand that she is sad. I understand that she wishes that I had not washed it. I understand why she is saying that she thinks it would be better if I didn’t do her laundry anymore. What I can’t figure out is why this is my fault or what I could reasonably have been expected to do differently to prevent it from happening.