She Said, He Heard: A Collaboration of Wits

In the beginning, women were a mystery to me.

Then, I started listening and it all became clear.

Then, I started listening really well and it became all too clear that the result was listening to them talk about other guys.

So, what did I do?  I kept listening, really well, and eventually the love of my life decided that I was the only one she wanted listening to her and pure happiness was found.

Then, at some point around the birth of our first son, I stopped listening and started surviving.  You see, the stuff I was used to listening about so well in the past started to change.  There were hidden intentions behind certain questions now.  ”Do you like what I did with my hair?” suddenly had nothing to do with hair.  So I adapted.  As guys, we all adapted.

We started surviving.

How, you might ask?  The following are actual questions put forth by a pair of very talented women and are examples of what guys might be faced with on any given day.  The responses, what we really hear (and sometimes, think) when asked such questions to ensure we aren’t sleeping on the couch that night.

She said:  ”I’d like to leave the house no later than 7 tomorrow, okay?”

He heard:  ”You have absolutely no shot of pulling this off, which is why I told you 7.  See you in the car at 8, honey.  Oh by the way, you’re driving.” -Brad

He heard:  ”I’m going to spend too much time getting ready but will blame you when we don’t leave in time for a reason yet to be determined.” -James

She said:  ”Did You Hear Me?”

He heard:  ”There is really only one answer to this question and it’s actually not even a question at all.  Answer wrong and you better believe I’ll be washing your whites in arsenic next time.” -Brad

He (thought):  ”She doesn’t think I’m listening.  Although I was listening and will now have to repeat the conversation back to her, with compliments, I will inevitably miss one small detail thereby proving to her that I wasn’t listening.” -James

She said:  ”I don’t think Jessica Simpson is fat…do you?”

He heard:  ”I definitely think she is fat and this is a setup.  She was hot when she had the tv show and I remember you saying as much.  Oh, but she’s had a baby since then?  Well I’ve had two.  I’m listening…” -Brad

He heard:  ”Explain why baby weight is healthy and a worthy sacrifice for bringing a child into this world.” -James

She said:  ”No, it’s fine. Go out with your guy friends on Saturday.” 

He heard:  ”And tomorrow, when you finally wake up around 10, you’re going to clean out the garage, hang up those pictures I’ve been asking you about for a month,  and fix that damn, leaky faucet.  Then when you’re done with all that, I’m going to get my hair and nails done while you give the kids a bath.” -Brad

He heard:  ”If you go, you will pay.” -James

She said:  ”Do you mind if we watch ‘Sister Wives’ tonight?”

He heard:  ”It’s my night to get the big tv and your butt is headed upstairs to the bedroom to re-familiarize yourself with what it was like to watch sports in non-HD.” -Brad

He (thought):  ”She wants me to tell her how my heart only has room for one woman, her, because she is my soul mate and is more of a partner than 50 wives could ever dream of being.” -James

She said:  ”I was thinking about rearranging the living room…it’s time for a change, don’t you think?”

He (thought):  ”Oh crap.  Something is wrong.” -Brad

He heard:  ”We’re buying new furniture.” -James

She said:  ”I have an appointment. Can you watch the kids?”

He heard:  ”Remember when you went out with your guy friends last Saturday?  Yup, me too.  See you this afternoon!” -Brad

He heard:  ”I have an appointment.  You’re watching the kids.” -James

She said:  ”Is it okay if my mother comes to stay with us for a few weeks?”

He heard:  ”She coming either way, and oh yeah, you’re not getting sex for a few weeks.” -Brad

He heard:  ”My mom is coming.  Deal with it.” -James

She said:  ”Did you see how that woman was dressed?”

He (thought):  ”I’m breathing, aren’t I?” -Brad

He heard:  ”Why were you checking her out?” -James

She said:  ”I miss having a little baby around the house…”

He heard:  ”Let’s go visit my sister, she has a newborn and holding the baby will solve everything. (Please, let it solve everything.)” -Brad

He heard:  ”You want another baby?!” -James

**********

Under no circumstances do us guys think we are the only ones who do this.  Wondering how this works when the roles are reversed?

What Tracy hears.  (Tracy is one of the top four funniest people at her address.  She lives with her two girls and husband in San Francisco, California.  You can follow their hilarious antics at Momaical.com.  Tracy is also a regular contributor to: Mamas Against Drama, Mamapedia, Errant Parent, BlogHer and BloggyMoms.  She has also been published in the book Life Well Blogged. The Epistolarians is her latest effort to bring a whole group of awesome women together to make you laugh.)

What Jen hears.  (Meet Jen…she’s living proof that working full time and raising a tiny little troublemaker is enough to make anyone totally crazy. She’s documenting all the ugly, terrifying, beautiful, hilarious, and heartwarming proof on her blog, ‘Life on the SONny Side’. She understands that writing on the internet is like whispering on a crowded playground. But, she does it anyways, because she loves it. Her supportive husband and son are the limes in her Corona. Her amazing mom is their live-in nanny. Coffee and wine are her sister wives. She writes about motherhood, daughterhood, life, love and millions of other mildly interesting things.)

 **********

Thank you for reading this collaborative effort between myself, fellow Dad of the Round Table - James Hudyma, Tracy, and Jen.  Tracy and Jen are two very talented writers with whom James and I have had the pleasure of meeting in this crazy world of  social media and parenting.  While we definitely appreciate and recognize their skills as writers, we are mostly impressed by their excellence as mothers.  I feel comfortable in saying that the four of us believe there is no definitive line between moms and dads, not only in our roles online, but also in everyday life.  Our lives overlap constantly and learning from each other is essential to raising our children.

You can not only find Tracy and Jen on their personal blogs as linked to in their responses above, but also at The Epistolarians, “a group of kick ass women writers, who are letting the world know how they think, one letter at a time.”

**********

Brad the Dad can be reached at bradmarmo@gmail.com and found on: Twitter|Facebook|Pinterest

The Beginning
About Brad the Dad

Enjoy a unique, fresh and entertaining perspective on parenting as Brad the Dad learns what it takes to raise 2 boys in today's world. Co-founder #DadsRT.

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Comments

  1. You two knocked this out of the park! Well played, gentlemen…well played ;)

  2. Hahahahahaha love it! Nice work guys!

  3. Funny stuff and right on the mark. Well played.

    • James Hudyma says:

      I’ve been married long enough that I have become a better listener (reader of the message between the lines).

  4. LOL hilarious!!! Great work guys!

  5. What do you hear when I say “it goes both ways…”

    • James Hudyma says:

      It does. Go check out the corresponding post on the Mom sites.

      • James Hudyma says:

        To answer your question: “she’s saying I’m not pulling my weight around here and it is time to start being a little useful”

    • James Hudyma says:

      I’m also hearing that husband should hold himself to the same standard as his wife.

      • Brickwade says:

        Bingo. These old stereotypes get tired. Men and women both communicate differently and each has it’s issues. It’s always a story of women not saying what she “really means” and men not “capable” of computing the intent. I’m over the excuses of gender. Yawn.

        I get the humorous intent, really, I do. But I challenge you to consider what you as men and dads are saying or doing that is equally misleading and cryptic. Reading this I hear how you would like women to communicate more clearly. How can YOU be better?…

        • James Hudyma says:

          You’ve cut right to the heart of the purpose of DadsRT for me. How can we be better as dads and partners? Those stereotypes exist for a reason and I hope I am being a part of the movement to change them.

          For me this post uses humor to highlight those differences in communication in hopes to help us better communicate with each other.

          To answer your question, I know I need to work on being less vague and appreciate that my wife needs details. I’ve still got a lot more improving to do but as long as I’m moving forward, I’m happy.

  6. Left Coast Dad says:

    I wish this were a humor post….

  7. Wait? Jessica doesn’t look better with the baby weight? :)

  8. She said: ”I don’t think Jessica Simpson is fat…do you?”

    I Imagine: Rod Serling steps in front of the scene to start a monologue…”There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge…”

    I agree with Brickwade, the topic is almost cliche and that men can be just as evasive in speech as women, but I present another side. It seems that the burden of comprehension/interpretation is tilted a little unfairly toward men sometimes. I resent the stereotype that men are naturally crappy listeners in contrast to women. Women can be crappy listeners too! I try really hard to be as plain and honest in speech as I can, but the interpretation often ends up, well, see Mr. Serling above. If I make the effort to be honest in speech and be attentive in listening, shouldn’t I expect my wife to share those duties equally?

    I think–just maybe–both sexes are guilty of being crappy communicators. Also, perhaps, we often regard our own interests higher than our mates’. Maybe that’s where the trouble starts in the first place. Yes, it goes “both ways,” but you ladies have to be willing to meet in the middle too. This was a great post and topic of conversation.

    • I see your point as I do Brick’s, where I bristle a little bit is that the topic is overdone and/or cliche. Anybody reading this go out and enjoy the latest Batman movie(s)? Complain about what you overheard some random, crazy person saying while you were standing in line at a store? Post a picture of where your elf happens to be today on Facebook?

      The world is full of overdone/over-said things and cliches. For me, I’m a relatively new writer and this is the first time I’ve gone after this subject. It’s new for me and my take on it is new for my readers. That’s what is important to me.

      DadsRT is about discussions so we can be better parents/spouses and we are obviously doing exactly that right now. We here write and present the topics that are on our minds, but ultimately it is the readers and their comments that steer the ship. Obviously we have a future topic on our hands as a result.

      I value both of your opinions, but politely disagree with the cliche/overdone feedback, because when I look around the world, that’s all I see. We are all guilty of this on some level. On the flip side, if I do this topic over and over again, you have every right to blow up my spot about it.

      • Ha, point taken. Notice, though, I quantify it with “almost.” I enjoy a good cliche, such as this one. There’s a reason it’s a plot element to so many movies and tv shows, and I can certainly identify with some of the “She Said: He Heards.” I would go as far as to say that this definitely would be a great #DadsRT discussion topic.

        My point-to Brickwade’s- was sure you can call it cliche and make a comment, but to not dig any deeper on the “other side” of the topic, that we ALL need to speak more truthfully and listen more intently was to do it an injustice. I’m a new writer too, and my writing is full of cliches like “Let’s face its” and “Don’t get me wrongs.” My comp teacher would wince.

        My intent was never disparage the point of this forum, but to point out that if we want to call something out, we need to be more well “Round”ed. Pun (and this cliche) intended. Sorry for the bristle. I love this place and loved the post. Lets keep lifting each other up and doing this thing together.

        • Maybe I’m being cliche by throwing out a big counterpoint towards the end of the day to rekindle the interest in this article and increase the site hits?

          Lol, I’m not doing that by the way.

          I actually regret using the word “disagree” in my previous comment, when I probably should have said “but politely shrug my shoulders at the cliche/overdone feedback.” I recently went on a rant about the elf on the shelf thing on Twitter, so, I did much of the same against that cliche, if not more, as is being done here.

          I still bristled, but more so because I honestly did this post for fun and nothing else. It’s a great topic, funny topic, and if none of this stuff truly existed in our real life relationships, there wouldn’t be a single comment under this post. But it does exist and it IS funny.

          I don’t think you disparaged the point of this forum in any way at all. In fact, this back and forth defines the forum, so…you did the exact opposite.

          Now, ca’mere you. #manhug

          • Thanks, Man. It is fun. Guess I should have pointed that out too. I really do have those Twilight Zone Rod Serling moments with my wife sometimes: Witness Jared T, age 30, successful in most things but not in the one effort that all men try at some time in their lives – demystifying the female sex…

          • James Hudyma says:

            Looks like we need to do a serious communication post. James and Brad team up again. Awesome. Love working with you and look forward to creating so many more of these hot topics.

      • Brickwade says:

        Being a new writer doesn’t make it a new toic, but I see your point in wanting to tackle it in your own way and I do respect that. I’m always looking for fresh and innovative thinking.

        Additionally, to also speak to Jared, as adults, we are not only accountable but responsible to understand our mate’s needs and this includes communication. We know what our gender flaws are, so don’t let it define us -instead, work around it.

        Sometimes it sucks that the Man cant read my mind but what sense does it make for me to ALWAYS be pissed about it? I’ve found it effective and intimate to be able to stop and say, “hey, don’t fix me right now, just understand and sympathize with my feelings.” He has the chance to know what I need and respond successfully. Isn’t that the end goal?

        So maybe, instead of hammering the stereotypes into the ground, we work to build this kind of comment base around a new way of thinking? It has to start somewhere.

        And yes, I do feel strongly about it, especially after 13 years of marriage.

    • Brickwade says:

      Also, regarding Jared’s comment about it being unfair to tilt as men being crappy listeners…. it’s better than the “women are crazy” tilt. Just sayin.

      PS : Brad, your know I enjoy your writing. Don’t be bristly.

      • Like telling me not to breathe. ;)

        • Brickwade, so true. I can be just as irrational as my wife. Usually less often but in GRANDER style and with much more permanent consequences!

          • This is probably a day late and a dollar short, but I love to bring my opinion to the party anyway…even if it is more than “fashionably late”. As one of the female counterparts of this collaboration, I thought I might toss in my two cents about the post. As someone who has also been married to my amazing husband for nearly a decade I can say that I highly value honesty in our relationship and understand the absolute importance of keeping the lines of communication open, as well as the necessity of being direct with one another. But, for me, this post was more about the inner-monologue that I use to cope with certain situations that arise again and again in our relationship. In a household as hectic as mine, I’ve learned to pick the issues that feel worthy of a disagreement as well as the time that said disagreement feels appropriate. If I’m annoyed that he left the pots in the sink for me…again…I’ll likely tell him that. Sometimes calmly, sometimes not as calmly as I should. Regardless of what tone I take with him, I’d feel dishonest if I didn’t admit that I was having a much lengthier conversation in my head about just how annoyed I actually am with this silly expectation of his that I’ll just “take care of it again.” To me this post was not necessarily an exercise in gender stereotypes…it was a funny take on very real coping mechanisms that some of us use to keep the peace in our house for the sake of one less argument or disagreement. I’m a card-carryin’ feminist who resents a stupid stereotype as much as the next gal. I just saw this more as a piece that took a lighter approach to the age-old issues that pop up again and again in households the world over. But as a writer, I certainly appreciate that the beauty of the written word lies in its ability to remain open to interpretation ;)

  9. BTW, the man pictured above is my (great) Uncle Albie and is pretty much my idol. When he talks, there is ZERO confusion as to what he means. This man shoots straight from the hip and is about as old school as they come.

    Food for thought: In today’s culture of being hyper-PC and overly sensitive to each others’ needs, are we really doing what is best for each other? On the surface this approach sounds good, but what’s going on just beneath? Are we really doing right by each other by dancing around the issues when a firm, “This is what is pissing me off and I may or may not want your response to it,” is in order?

    The woman pictured next to my “uncle” is my (great) Aunt Joan and his loving wife of over 50 years. I’m by no means saying it’s been all roses for them, because knowing my this man as I do I’m sure it hasn’t, but they are still happily married after all this time and play no small role how close my big, crazy New Jersey family is and will always be (see my recent Thanksgiving article if you don’t know what I’m talking about). Those things have to count for something.

    I’m not saying don’t be sensitive to each others’ feelings/needs, but maybe my Uncle Albie’s approach is closer to the mark than whatever is going on today.

    • James Hudyma says:

      Love the photo. It really does speak to this post and when I first saw it this morning I thought, “Way to go Brad, you nailed it with this one.” A great image for a great post.

      • My favorite part is his hands as he is in the middle of doing the “no way, no how” thing. When we go camping we oftentimes sit around and quote some of his more notorious sayings and laugh till we are blue in the face. He once tried to tell us that “hot is cold,” and from what I recall, he won the argument.

  10. I feel I would be remiss to not comment on this diatribe regarding cliché topics. I agree that bashing of the opposite sex is trite and quite frankly the lowest form of humor. In this vein, however, I believe that this compilation of writers is a funny take on how different genders and even people “hear” what is being said. As someone who is a staunch feminist I would never lower my morals simply for the sake of a crass joke. As an intelligent, bold, type A woman it is ok to make light of certain circumstances. I have been with my husband for a decade and have learned that a lot of things that cause ire in our relationship are best dealt with humor instead of acerbic words. After all, if we can’t laugh at ourselves – what right do we have to critique others?

    And, sometimes my husband can shut down a disagreement simply by saying “Tracy, stop being weird.” Just as I can stop a verbal altercation with a simple “Don’t be a jackass.” It’s not bashing – just painting reality in a humorous light.

This is what I think...

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