At my age you would have assumed that my experiences would have equipped me to deal with most situations. For the most part, I am fully capable of coping with life’s mysteries. However, one thing continues to elude me; how to understand what is going on inside a woman’s mind.
I love women. They are fabulous, fascinating and wonderful people. My problem is that I am forever getting into trouble with them because of my lack of understanding. And it frustrates the hell out of me. I have tried repeatedly to escape from this predicament and just as I am almost at the point of being able to boast “I understand women”, I suddenly say or do something that pushes me back to the start. I can go for weeks talking to ladies, discussing interesting topics of conversation and generally getting along fine. And then I say something that upsets or annoys them and I find myself staggering backwards against a tsunami of verbal abuse, simply because I have done it again; said something without thinking.
It is like playing a game of “Snakes and Ladders”.
I end up spending a week walking around with a limp, and not always because my foot is entrenched firmly in my mouth.
I have already given you one example of this ("The World's Most Difficult Question") and you would have thought that by now I should have learned my lesson.
Here’s an example of a conversation with my boss, who happens to be female. The background is that she has been trying to lose weight. I hope this illustrates my point. I will play the part of “The Idiot” (which is in reality what I am):
THE BOSS: It’s Fred’s birthday today and he’s put a box of chocolates in the kitchen.
THE IDIOT: Are you going to succumb to temptation?
THE BOSS: What do you mean?
THE IDIOT: Are you going to have a chocolate or two?
THE BOSS: Why do you ask?
THE IDIOT: Well, you said you were on a diet so I assumed that you wouldn’t bother. You know – chocolate makes you fat.
The tension increases at this point as THE IDIOT realises that his foot may be approaching his mouth at rapid velocity
THE IDIOT: No, of course not. I just thought …
THE BOSS: Just thought WHAT exactly???
THE IDIOT: (gulp) I just thought that you would stick to your diet?
THE BOSS: You ARE saying I’m fat!!!!!
THE IDIOT: No, of course I’m not saying you’re fat. In fact I think you look fabulous. You look really slim and really nice; you are delightful.
Seconds pass - tick tick tick tick
THE BOSS: ARE YOU COMING ON TO ME?????????
At this point the entire office is in uproar as once again the Plastic Mancunian has kicked himself in the teeth and upset yet another woman.
What should I have said? I mean, to be honest, I asked Mrs PM when I got home and she, like everybody in the office, laughed her head off. Thanks for the support Mrs PM!
I need to go on a crash course. I need to write to an agony aunt. I need a book that tells me how to talk to women without upsetting them. My head can’t stand many more blows. I’m punch drunk.
Can anybody help me?