My wife, Kate, has this hormone imbalance thing. A lot of woman do. It caused us a few problems so we decided to see a marriage counselor.
The marriage counselor, Dr. Seesaw, said that woman were from Venus and guys were from Mars. I asked Dr. Seesaw where she got her counseling degree? NASA, maybe?
She laughed. (Why shouldn’t she? She was raking in a hundred bucks an hour to listen to our hormonal problems.) Dr. Seesaw said that this Venus/Mars thing was a metaphor.
Apparently, woman want to talk about problems; men want to solve them. Understanding this single point is the key to all successful male-female relationships. Dr. Seesaw explained that if we wanted to have a good marriage, I should listen to Kate and respect her feelings.
This is how it works. Kate might say to me, our bathroom needs painting. Prior to counseling, I would have simply waited for her to leave town and then slapped red or green paint in the john.
Dr. Seesaw said that Kate needs to talk about the colour of the paint with me. Then when we come to an agreement about the colour (which also involves talking about the rest of our home and other important things to women such as the fact that they are not getting fatter even though the bathroom scale says they are) we go onto stage two.
Curiously, stage two is not the actual painting. It’s simply more talking and respecting each other’s feelings. Think of it as painting foreplay. It deals with colour and mood but has nothing to do with getting that can of paint open and dipping your brush into it.
Stage three is way past the painting. Here you learn that although women like to talk about stuff, there’s some stuff that you should never talk about. For example, the hormonal imbalance. (Take my advice: if you ever have an urge to bring up the topic of your wife’s hormonal imbalances, discuss the colour of your bathroom paint instead.) It’s a tough concept for guys to learn, but after they end up sleeping alone a couple of times, they catch on.
I could hardly wait to try out the Mars/Venus approach. Luckily, Kate fell down our stairs.
My first impulse was to call 911 or carry Kate to the car and drive her to the hospital but, thanks to Dr. Seesaw, I switched on my Venus mode. I got right into my wife’s feelings and asked her how she felt.
“I feel my leg is broken,” she said.
“Broken. Well, fancy that. That must feel pretty uncomfortable.”
“It’s very uncomfortable,” said Kate. “My entire leg is throbbing.”
Here’s where I would have made Critical Mistake Two. Before counseling, I would have rushed to the freezer and gotten some ice and put it on Kate’s leg. But I remembered what Dr. Seesaw had said: talk about things. So I said, “What do you think would make your leg feel better?”
“Ice, you damn fool,” said Kate.
“Yeah, but what kind of ice are we talking about?”
“Just ice, get me some ice,” she said.
“Okay, I’ll do that, Honey. Should I put it in a bag or wrap it in a towel?”
“Go to the freezer. Take out the ice. Wrap it in a towel and bring it here now!” she yelled.
“What kind of towel? Paper? Cloth?”
“Cloth. What the hell is wrong with you?”
“Are you absolutely insane?” asked Kate. “Just get me the ice.” She pulled herself up onto a chair but when I tried to help, she attempted to slug me.
This proved Dr. Seesaw was right on the money. Women don’t want their guys doing anything, until they discuss things first. I was learning.
“Stop standing there like a telephone pole and move it! Get me the ice,” screamed Kate.
“I think I’m going to use a blue bathroom towel,” I said.
“You do that.”
I ran off and got a blue towel, but before getting to the freezer I showed the towel to Kate. “Isn’t this a beautiful shade of blue?” I asked.
She had elevated her foot and although the leg was turning black, it didn’t look broken. There was no blood, always a good sign.
“What would you say to painting the bathroom this shade of blue?” I asked, holding up the towel.
“It’d be all right,” she said. “Maybe just a little bit lighter.” Kate gave me a strange look. It was the kind of look she sometimes gave me during our magical honeymoon so many years ago.
“Yeah,” I said. “perhaps on the way to the hospital we could stop at a paint store and pick up some blue colour chips.”
“I don’t need medical attention. Could we go to the paint store together, darling?” asked Kate.
“Absolutely,” I said.
“I don’t know why I love you so much,” said my wife.
The next day I mailed a hundred-dollar cheque to Dr. Seesaw.