Feelings on the opposite sex

Our columnists won’t solve your problems, but they may be able to shed some light on your frustration

On hygiene

There is more to hygiene than incorporating the use of soap and water into a daily routine — at least for women.

Ron: It’s difficult to fault women for cleanliness because men are more often than not sweaty, smelly beasts. Women are often pleasant. Their hair smells nice. They smell nice. They are soft to the touch. Their breath smells good. Their clothes are clean. Bravo! It isn’t until you get behind the scenes that you realize there is an immense time investment that comes with the whole package.

If I tell someone we’re going to do something at 7 and I plan on leaving at 6:30, I hit the bathroom at 6:25, or if I haven’t showered, 6:23.

I have sat and waited at times for half an hour, wondering what magical potions they could possibly be applying, what mystical schemes are going on — I have no idea what could even take that much time. Even standing in my apartment with a friend of mine getting ready to go to the bars in our bathroom, I have stared in wonder as a thousand civilizations rose and fell before my very eyes, all to get hair she could “agree with, she guesses” with a disappointed sigh.

I’m not sure who told me this or why it stands out in my mind, but I am going to say it, anyway, “You can’t trust women with measurements; their whole life they’ve been told that 7 is 10.” There has to be some sort of approximation calibrator in the brain that is thrown out of whack by the errant misinterpretation of the truth that men feed to women, but you tell us we should go out at this time and you aren’t ready for another hour after that. Thanks for looking nice and all, but start an hour earlier — or tell us to get there an hour later.

Kristine: I never understood why guys complain about having to wait while the women in their lives primp and preen. If we take a while it’s because we have a lot of work to do to make ourselves look good. The alternative, to being a mere 40 minutes late to that expensive restaurant you made reservations at a year in advance, is that we look like hell. And those reservations are going to seem like a real waste if you’re eating across from Sasquatch who seems to have temporarily adopted your gal’s voice and wardrobe.

“But no. My girlfriend is naturally pretty! She doesn’t need all that makeup. She doesn’t even wear makeup! She looks great the way she is.”

Maybe that’s true. But there is a greater underlying truth: Your girlfriend may be effortlessly lovely, but if she keeps up all that effortless nonsense she will look like a caveman one day. It’s a well-known principle that we have the potential to revert to our prehistoric heritage and unwittingly develop a disregard for hygiene.

It could happen. Let her primp.

On drama

If the dramas of soap and water aren’t enough, there’s the world of miscommunication to boot. Remember, it can always get worse.

Ron: Women seem to choose which problems they present to men in some form of alien roulette. I am sure they do us a favor by not telling us that we smell all of the time, but there are the common instances — the nags — that go on in a relationship that serve to remind us that while we’re great, we’re not that great.

Conversely, things that have the capacity to really undermine or glorify the relationship — the big stuff: being unsure about how you feel, not wanting to hurt someone by doing this or that and anything else that makes you unable to sleep at night is the kind of stuff that I honestly really do want to hear about and never do until they have festered in the bowels of best friends and random guy friends for two months before a teary-eyed girl tells me that the world is ending real soon.

I’m often at a loss as to what it is I am supposed to be doing. I often sit and wonder why the movies always go so smoothly, but I can’t honestly think of those timeless lines until two days after everything has already gone down.

Women look at problems and consider emotions and the urge to work together to form a connection; men are less empathetic and tend to just want to see a rational solution because solving a problem magically makes our muscles bigger and beard fuller. Women think men are trying to hurt them and men think women are being unreasonable. In reality, we just don’t know what the heck the other is doing!

Kristine: I’ll tell you what we’re doing. We’re looking for compliments and reassurance, and if we’re upset, it’s because you haven’t delivered.

Miscommunication is unfortunate. It is most unfortunate in situations involving intimate relationships, friendships, the law and the placing of a fast-food order at the drive-through.

Women do not like the resulting drama, despite the fact that we can be very good at creating it. What we do like is being reassured. If our man isn’t professing his love frequently enough — i.e. at every possible non-cheesy moment that does not exceed 43 times per day with the exception of birthdays, holidays and anniversaries, the occurrence of major and minor accomplishments which can include, but are not limited to, a promotion, a raise, a bargain at Kohl’s, during which an excess is permitted and expected — we get upset.

Imagine a fisherman, decked-out in plaid and up to his waist in the murky waters of his hometown lake which he loves and is familiar with and just likes spending time with even if it’s just watching movies or talking. His rubber overalls keep the water from reaching his clothing, but boy, does he feel stupid in his state-of-the-art rubber suit.

“Boy do I feel stupid,” he thinks to himself.

The fisherman casts his line far into the center of the lake hoping that wearing this stupid rubber suit will pay off. He waits and waits and suddenly something tugs at the line making the fisherman stumble forward. He’s gone too deep and water is pouring over the edges of his rubber overalls. Expletives of all sorts issue from his mouth.

“Boy do I feel stupid,” the fisherman thinks, as he makes his way to the shore, empty-handed.

And so when a woman puts herself out there while casting a line for one of those coveted Comm-Ple-Mant Fish and doesn’t reel anything in, she is naturally upset like the fisherman. And she also feels stupid, having put on hideous rubber overalls and underplayed one of her strengths in hopes of gaining approval and reassurance from her man.

If that man has responded incorrectly to her play for a compliment, he is going to take some heat in a catastrophic conflict that may seem a bit dramatic. That’s just the way it goes.

Ron Soltys is not looking forward to a date with Sasquatch. Contact him at [email protected].

Kristine Gill just needs one more hour. Contact her at [email protected].