Men and women handle problems differently. They perceive problems differently and they pursue solutions differently. Left to his/her own devices, an individual will generally resolve the problem regardless of gender, but naturally, this wasn’t good enough. No! Men and women insist on co-habiting and this is why there are major problems above and beyond those of which nail polish to buy or even reaching that elusive “Z” while burping the alphabet.
Once a man and woman become a couple, things really complicate. Men view problems as obstacles, roadblocks on the path to more steak and Doritos, and think the best solution in all cases is to simply roll over the barrier with any vehicle containing an engine. They’ll use anything, although an Abrams tank is generally preferred. In other words, brute force is the key.
Women, on the other hand, view problems as actual problems, and consider the optimal solution to be: a long, involved discussion centered around the problem itself, the vague causes for the problem, all individuals involved in the problem, how the problem will impact their weight, and how Sandra’s new haircut makes her look like a deranged wombat hit by a riding lawnmower.
Even now, things are not at a critical point. But, as I mentioned, couples will eventually end up attempting to solve problems by working together. This is never a good idea, because the two problem-solving methods are not compatible. Let’s lay out a typical scenario.
A TYPICAL SCENARIOBob comes home from a long day at work, flops down on the couch, and grabs the remote. Ten minutes into an episode of Seinfeld, he suddenly becomes aware of his wife, Flossy, who is whimsically moving about the room and emitting sighs that sound as if they are being torn from the depths of her soul. Because Bob has been married for several years, he recognizes the presence of a problem. Immediately, his manly instincts report for duty and he mutes the television.
Flossy continues her waif impersonation and sighs, “Nothing.”
This is obviously a lie, so Bob persists. “Are you sure? What’s wrong?”
At this point, Bob has options. None of them good. Let’s examine these choices.
OPTION 1: Bob can assume nothing is wrong, unmute his favorite show, and continue enjoying his evening. While this is a common approach and completely logical, given the fact Flossy has twice denied there is a problem, it also will require Bob to ignore Flossy as she observes him watching television in oblivious contentment for several more minutes, before she finally flees to the bedroom and weeps.
OPTION 2: If you have the IQ of a rutabaga, you will have recognized option 1 as the actions of a lunatic. If Bob is a wise man, he will keep Seinfeld muted and, preferably, turn off the television altogether. Then he will rouse himself from the couch and sit upright, while affixing Flossy with an expression of caring and concern. For the next half hour, he will continually ask her if something is wrong. If Bob is lucky, Flossy will finally admit to having difficulties. She will then sit next to him on the couch and weep. While weeping, the entire story will come out and Flossy will discuss the problem itself, the vague causes for the problem, all individuals involved in the problem, how the problem will impact her weight, and how Sandra’s new haircut makes her look like a deranged wombat hit by a riding lawnmower.
Being a man, Bob will run out to his Abrams tank and prepare to solve the problem. We now understand Bob is an idiot, because women do not wish to have their problems solved. Merely discussing the problem in a "meaningful" way (I heard the masculine shudders from here) seems to suffice and even "solve" the problem, if you can call something not involving violent action and explosions a solution.
LIFE LESSON: If your wife is acting whimsical, inquire about her welfare at least 3,675 times. Once she has admitted to a problem after the 3,676th inquiry, do not, under any circumstances, attempt to solve it! Just sit there, nod understandingly, and replay old Seinfeld episodes in your head. Good luck, sucker.