Friday, March 16, 2007

What Susie Knows About Men

I know a lot about men. Oh, not in the femme fatale, hey-big-guy, get them to do what I want by making them want me way. In fact, I'm quite hopeless at that.

But I've always been surrounded. A brother, no sisters. Many male cousins. Three sons, no daughters, and a house that is the hangout for crowds of their friends. One aunt, but three uncles. You get the idea.

And here are a couple of things I've learned:

1) Televisions exert a strange and powerful hold over the males of the species.

It's really quite wierd. I can have the tv on - and often do - while I'm doing other things. Reading, cooking, paying the bills, whatever. But my males . . . they can walk by a set that I have on, to a program they have absolutely no interest in whatsoever. Paula Deen, or A Wedding Story, or ice skating. And still, I'll look up and find them stopped dead, standing three feet in front of it, staring, glaze-eyed, having completely forgotten what they were on their way to do.

2) That "through his stomach" saw is mostly true. Oh, I know there are a few strange men out there that aren't ruled by their appetite. I just don't know any personally. It works best on the young adults of the species.

Now, I like to bake, but rarely do, because our family is small enough that they don't eat it all and save me from myself. But I cook when the boys' friends are there, and it's like magic. All I have to do is throw a pan of brownies in their direction and I am suddenly transformed into The Best Mother Ever.

3) Naked boobs are good. Naked boobs they are not supposed to see are somehow much better.

It is very strange. I mean, most of the men in my life are - at least technically - adults. If they wanted to, they could go buy a Playboy. They could even go to a strip joint. Several could even go to the women in their lives and see actual, live breasts anytime they want.

But still, the ones they are not supposed to see hold an extreme fascination. Remember when cable channels used to scramble their signals? And you could just catch a bit of what was going on? I used to find my husband - who is in many ways a very mature and accomplished adult - standing in front of the TV, with it turned to HBO, which we did not at the time get, and going "Do you think that was a boob? I'm pretty sure that was a boob." Though I suppose point #1 feeds into this as well.

4) They have one-track minds. Which is sometimes very good, in particular when that mind is focused on you. But it is quite detrimental when they are supposed to be doing two things at once. Particularly if one of them is child care. (Mine are excellent at child care if that is their only task, btw. But if they are supposed to be working and doing child care at the same time, look out!)

I once left my husband in charge while I went on a business trip. Now I leave long daily instructions, with nearly hour-by-hour schedules of what he's supposed to do and check.

But on Friday afternoon, he was working at home, waiting for the boys to get off the bus. At about 5:30, he calls me in Texas. "What time is son #2 supposed to get home?" "Umm," I say in rising panic. "That would be two hours ago." "Oh," he says. Calm, distracted. "Don't you think you should go FIND him?" I say. "I suppose so. Just let me finish this memo . . . "

One of my uncles oversees an amount of money that runs to 10 figures (Yes, 10) and receives regular and flattering mentions in the Wall Street Journal. When his kids were teenagers, and pretty self-sufficient, my aunt went on a trip. My uncle's only task was to, before he went to work in the morning, make sure one of them was actually up, because he was prone to sleeping through his alarm.

You guessed it. First morning gone, she gets a phone call from the school. She calls my uncle at the office, persuades him to go home, and finds the kid still curled up asleep.

My neighbor is head of an emergency room, and has a law degree to boot. Obviously an accomplished and brilliant man, one who saves lives on a daily basis.

One day I met his wife in the street, shaking her head and laughing.

Her husband happened to be home one morning, reading the paper. She had to take one of their children to preschool, and so got EVERYTHING ready for the other two. Dressed them, fed them, packed their backpacks, left them playing. Told her husband that he just had to make sure they went down to the bus on time. When she returned a half an hour later, where was everybody? The girls were still playing, her husband was still sitting at the kitchen table in his underwear reading the paper, and the bus was long gone.

Speaking of which . . . what is it with guys and their need to wander around their home in their underwear? It was the thing my husband hated when the older boys started bringing home girls; it was no long safe to lay around in his boxers.

So . . . what have you all learned about guys?


Barbara said...

HIlarious. The naked boobs and television parts especially.

Oh, and food. Yeah. Not just the young adults, either, but all of them are slaves to great food.

Keri Ford said...

guys will do anything for other guys. something I'm sure is well known, but either way.

I can ask my hubby, can you get me *fill in the blank* down from the closet (I'm short, he's not.). While sitting in front of the tv, in yes, boxers, I get a "In a minute. After this commercial break. OR My arms are sore from work." blablabla. twenty minutes later, phone rings and it's guy wanting him to come help move funiture or some crap like that. he's out of the chair and out the door like fire ants just attacked his butt.

All the while yelling, "Can you record that??"

"Sure" I tell him, "As soon as you get me *fill in the blank* down from the closet."

Debra Dixon said...

Susie-- I grew up in a house with one guy. We called him Officer Daddy because he law enforcement. You know the type. But he was cool dude. :) Different era. Didn't watch football. Always fixing something around the house, etc.

Then I married. New generation. Had a boy child. Newer generation. And then I lived in the world of boys from that moment. It was quite a shock. They just don't think like we do.

Once on GENIE (an old DOS bulletin board) a group of writers was discussing the fact that a divorcing author was concerned her incessant deadlines had caused the distance between her and her husband. They never talked. They drifted apart.

I was horrified. Hadn't thought of all those hours in *my* office being the same as some CEO who's never home and then is shocked when his wife leaves him.

I went immediately to my husband and told him what I was concerned about and asked if he had anything he wanted to say to me.

What did he say? "You have too many clothes on."

Susie's husband, if I recall, had a similar reaction.

Men! Duh!

Michele said...

I've dreaded the 'boy growing to a man' day for ages. My friends have warned me that the sweet little boy that I can talk to and watch movies with and discuss the latest bands with will eventually find his mother 'not cool' and will pull away from my mothering arms.
That has happened. My boy now has 'a girl'. The other day I overheard The Boy asking my hubby about flowers. Flowers? I piped up. "I know where to get pretty ones cheap!" The Boy was mortified, and immediately slipped into his room without a glance back. He didn't want mom's opinion. This was a guy thing. And I had interferred.
My heart broke.
I fear many more mini heart breaks over the years. But if any girl out there even thinks she can have my son--we got some talkin' to do, girl.


Betina Krahn said...

Susie and Deb, count me in with the world of males. I crossed from a world of entirely females to "the dark side." Yeah, dudes are different. . . but not quite a different species.

Everything is physical with them and competition is bred in the bone. To boys, walking on a retaining wall or climbing a tree or running to the ice cream truck can be a life-and-death race. In my growing up family of girls, when things came to blows, it was the equivalent of WWIII, and never to be forgotten. In my parenting family of boys, trading blows was as normal as breathing and given about the same amount of thought.

Also: the life cycle of the human male should be charted in terms of water consumption. Love baths as babies and children-- especially when they discover they have a "winky." They change overnight into to a stage where bathwater is like battery acid to them-- getting their sweaty little bodies into the tub or shower takes a platoon. Somewhere about 14 they discover showers again. . . again having to do with the winkies. . . and begin to take multiple showers in one day. By 18 or so, they're back down to a reasonable one or two showers a day and stay that way until they're married. . . when they immediately start to slide into sporadic bouts of water-avoidance. It begins on fishing trips and over the next fifty years gradually expands to Saturdays, then weekends, then whole vacations, then whole winters. . . and by the time they're seventy they're smelly pretty much 24/7. "The wife" has to demand they shower for important family functions so people won't avoid sitting next to them.

Also, the male of the species has a genetically mandated attraction for shiny things: fishing lures and sequined g-strings come to mind. But shiny cars, shiny tools, and shiny new garden tractors also fill the bill. It was, of course, a guy who invented "chrome" and guys who decided to put it on fast cars and beer can openers.

Betina Krahn said...

Keri. . .

"Out the door like fire ants attacked his butt."

I'll be laughing about that one for days to come! Thanks!

Christie Ridgway said...

Susie: When my younger son was little and in a stroller, my husband organized the neighbor kids and our older son to go up the street and ride bikes in the cul-de-sac. He was going to watch over them.

And yeah, he did that. But ten or fifteen minutes later my across-the-street neighbor called. Husband had left the baby-in-the-stroller in the front yard! He was able to supervise five other kids but couldn't remember the littlest one of all.

Anonymous said...

I went from sisters, to married and two sons. It was like moving to another planet. I still have to remind myself that some of the things that bug me about my DH and sons are the result of testosterone poisoning! I love them so much that I guess I have to take that as part of the package.

I'm going to the RWA convention in Dallas this year, and it will be the first time that I have been gone and left the boys with my husband for that long. It sounds like I should start planning now!