My friend Erinn, just texted me two pictures of different Blackhawks Jerseys. Our friend Jan has been so generous to us both and Erinn thought one of these would be a nice gift to say, “Thank you.”
I should have put up my “dude shield.” Every guy knows what a dude shield is. It’s that mental barrier we have to put up to defend against incoming questions, polls and seemingly innocent inquiries for her clarifications or “group decisions.” In other words, I should have known that I was not really being asked for my opinion; my friend Erinn had already decided on what she was going to buy for Jan or Erinn was just “thinking out loud,” as women do.
What women don’t seem to understand is that we men are literal. If our dude shield is not up, we actually think what you are saying or asking is what you are saying or asking. When we talk back to girls, we always like to give our opinion. In fact, we are ego-centric (you knew that one already) so we like to give our opinions, on just about everything, and we only like it when you agree with and act upon our opinions. It goes along with our need to fix things right away.
Nothing is “about the process” for us — it’s the end result. We don’t enjoy thinking out loud. We want the big finish or win. If we have to talk too much, learn something too difficult, practice or work too hard, we will lose interest. When Erinn asked my opinion, my dude shield was down, I became engaged and I believed I was part of making a final decision. Here was my honest response:
When Erinn gave me a third choice, that’s when I should have put up my dude shield. If this was read as a court manuscript, a judge would say this was a clear case of “leading the halfwit” by confusing me with the men’s sizing thing. This new information just made me associate: this was a man’s shirt so I only thought of myself wearing it, not Jan.
I should have realized Erinn was just “throwing things out there…” But, with my dude shield still down, I was still conversing like I was talking to another guy; on my mobile phone, viewing a small selection of items, picking out one — done! — A sense of wellbeing and accomplishment would surely follow.
Eight minutes later, when Erinn texted back, I realized my folly. There was going to be no win for me. No sense of “mission accomplished.” I was just “one of the girls — just talkin’.” My responses or opinions were not being used properly and I was probably going to have to be very careful about what I was going to say next. What I wanted to say was:
But every guy knows what would happen if I said “WTF.” I would have to pay. I’d have to pay by listening to, I don’t know, something like, “I do value your opinion. But you didn’t really elaborate. I thought you weren’t paying attention.” Erinn’s a girl, so she could turn anything around to make me think I was nuts or illogical and, of course, an asshole. So I let a few minutes go by before I responded, but not too much time as to let her surf the net for three or more choices to throw at me.
And then I waited. And waited. I knew there was going to be more. More questions. More pictures. Just more. And I was going to have to hold back and be careful. I’d only give short, succinct sentences. “Yes.” “No.” “Great!” Either way I was going to be put out of my misery. I just didn’t know how quickly and to the wick it was going to be.
Jon-David is, admittedly, a guy. Even after 30 years of doing women’s hair and writing about the human condition in his introspective novels and how-to ebooks, he’s still a man who is trying to figure out women. No, he does not judge his client’s hair or clothes when they cross paths on the street. No, doesn’t remember the exact haircut and style he constructed for you Hanukka of 2013. He’s a guy. Yes: Jon-David is a women’s best guy-friend and constantly tries to be a better guy.