Alan Linda

Freelance Writer

“I know you don’t ignore me on purpose,” said a woman to me. It was some time ago, and I’ve mostly repressed this conversation due to deep psychological failings. (These are failings common to man; failings completely invisible to women.)

Saying something like me ignoring her is like throwing a soft ball to a major league hitter. Please don’t feed me home run lines like that one, because I might hurt myself swinging for the left field fence.

“Well, then, why do I ignore you?” 

Of course, since suicide by tongue lashing  isn’t high on the list of ways I want to die, I didn’t answer that way. Instead, I went to my well of intellectual plenty, sorted through many semi-intellectual answers that I might use, got a blank look on my face, and came back to earth deciding silence is the only option.

Sometimes I don’t in fact make it back from answer land in time. A lot of men are like that, I suspect. In fact, there are very few males who don’t realize in this enlightened age that a woman making a statement like the one above in fact wants “to talk,” and is liable, if the male doesn’t immediately go change the oil in the car or lubricate a sticking door, to follow this statement up with “we never talk anymore.”

“No, of course we don’t. You’re so right about that. I’ve got this idea: Let’s talk about the car, which seems to be making a noise that isn’t good.” 

But no male would say that. I just made it up in my mind, while I was in there searching around for something a woman would maybe want to talk about. Nope. It’s pretty much a hollow cavern in there. I have yet to find something “to talk about.” Nothing. Nada. No reply.

Men don’t ignore women. That’s not in fact why we don’t talk to them. Mostly, we don’t talk to them because most of the things that happen in our lives aren’t really all that important. To us men, that is.

For example, I heard about this conversation. Husband comes home. Wife, wanting to be part of this weird twosome that nature and society has designed for the procreation of the species, asks: “How’d your day go?” 

“Oh, I went and saw Willie. We went fishing.” Intuitively sensing that this isn’t enough to satisfy her, he goes deep into his reserves of experience and adds: “Willie didn’t catch anything.” 

Later on, a telephone from Willie’s girlfriend produces the great news (to her) that she and Willie are getting married, and Wife turns to her husband with a great amount of disbelief: “And you didn’t think that was important?!?”

Well, no, obviously he didn’t think it was important. Attempting to train a male in what is and what isn’t important is closely akin to beating a dead horse to get him to go. He didn’t catch any fish, a fact that reflects directly on his masculine abilities in several ways, one of which is that, as he sees it, he failed to catch any fish. No man talks about failure. Even though we’re pretty dumb about this stuff, and even though we cannot quite come up with the stuff women want to hear about, we are not going to talk about the fish we didn’t catch. We may not know what they do want to hear about, and may never know, but we know we don’t do failure-speak. For lack of anything else, silence.

In fact, very few men know exactly what it is that women want to hear about, and most women in fact cannot understand why men find it so difficult to figure this stuff out. It isn’t like they don’t give us enough opportunities; it’s just that we mostly miss them when they come.

One of the many books which I’ve read and studied claim that mostly the problem is that men want to range free and women want to be connected. She wants him to call home and let her know that he’s going to be late. He’s ranging. Rangers don’t call. 

To the woman, being called feels like the involvement in the relationship that she’s yearning for. According to the books, anyway.  Note: When I say stuff like that about books and women, I’m kind of like a parrot mouthing phonetic sounds.

To the man, it feels like he’s not his own boss. To the other men, should they discover that he called home, it would seem to him that it would seem to them that he had to call home, which translates to a likelihood that he’ll be kicked out of The Ranger’s Club.

So, men, there you have it. Work on this, will you? Let me know how it comes out. And don’t call home.