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How is it that a man and a woman can share the exact same moment, or encounter together and perceive things about that event so differently?  I mean, it’s baffling enough that my girl won’t sit down and watch the movie Life with me every time it comes on television (or New Jack City for that matter), but that’s a matter of personal tastes.  I get that.

I’m talking about when a couple is making memories of their own, and completely miss each other’s perspective.

Okay, here’s the story:

A man and a woman are in a long distance relationship, but are crazy about each other and are determined to make it work.  The boyfriend (BF) had to go out-of-town for an event.  Since they were overdue for a visit, and the girlfriend (GF) had family in that city, he asked if she would like to join him on the trip.  Of course, GF said yes.  (Side note:  The event was in a cold weather state in the dead of winter, and she was traveling from sunny, always-warm Florida.  That will be relevant later in the story.)

So, BF arrived there first, and therefore it was his responsibility to pick up GF from the airport – which he did excitedly.  They drove to the hotel and checked in.  After that, they did some general, run-of-the-mill things like go to the mall, visit her relatives, and go to dinner.  In general they just hung out, up until the time he was to attend the event.  The next day was a repeat of the first, minus the event.

Anyway…at the conclusion of the trip, and on the way to the airport, BF sensed something was wrong.  GF wasn’t her usual exuberant, chatty self.  She seemed to be in a bit of a mood.  This perplexed BF.  He had a great time.  It was not so much that they were in this interesting place, doing interesting things (and neither of them liked the cold), but they were together.  BF cherished the limited time they were able to spend together.  He hoped she did too, but at that moment, it certainly didn’t seem that way.

After much probing and prodding BF finally got GF to talk to him about what was bothering her.  In her mind, there had been a series of “slights” that BF had committed during the weekend that added up and created doubt in her mind.  She wondered if these items were indicative of bigger problems that would ultimately lead to the demise of the relationship.

The first item on her list was that he was late picking her up from the airport.  In her mind, that had gotten things off to a bad start, and demonstrated a lack of interest by him in seeing her.  If BF was so eager to see her, she thought, he would have been there early (and flowers would have added a nice touch).

Then there was the notion that BF didn’t have anything planned for them to do.  Even though neither of them lived in that city, she thought that it would have been nice if he had done a little research, and come up with something.  The notion that BF was “winging it” made her feel that he didn’t care enough to go through the trouble of planning their limited time.  She wanted every minute to count.

And the most egregious, appalling, and unforgivable sin of all:  he didn’t wake up in the morning and go get her Starbucks coffee (deep gasp…Oh the humanity!).  She had to go out into the cold and get it herself (another, even deeper gasp…Off with his head!).

BF pretended to listen patiently while GF went on about his shortcomings.  What he really wanted to do was pull the car over and shake her.  Hard.  (Is shaking still allowed?  Probably not.  Strike that.)  BF was amazed at how differently they internalized the exact same experiences.

Let’s take them one at time from BF’s perspective:

GF focused on him being late picking her up from the airport.  BF didn’t even remember if he had actually been late.  Of course, that didn’t matter if she thought he was late.  The thing that BF remembered about the ride from the airport was that they had talked non-stop for about an hour.  There was no awkward silence that sometimes happens when people haven’t been in each others company for a while.  Just the two of them, hanging on each other’s every word.  They had even joked about how they had ridden for over an hour without ever turning on the radio.  That is what he had taken from the ride from the airport.

Next, the fact that he hadn’t planned anything bothered her.  Actually, BF knew that GF had a sister in the area who she hadn’t seen for quite some time.  He thought it would be nice if they had a chance to spend some time together.  In fact, BF wasn’t so much “winging it”, as he was being flexible to accommodate GF and her sister’s plans.  When he joined GF, her sister, and niece for dinner later that evening, with all the reminiscent conversation and laughter, it confirmed that he had made the right decision.

And the Starbucks thing…BF’s point was that he was in a warm bed, with a beautiful (and naked) woman, who he happened to love.  Why in the heck would he leave her loving embrace and go out in the cold and snow?  He wouldn’t.  BF wanted to stay and continue cuddling with her (and maybe even get in another “session”)  Besides, there was instant coffee across the room on the desk.  Coffee is coffee, right?!

After talking it out, GF concluded that BF was insensitive and inattentive to her needs, and generally, a bad boyfriend.

BF concluded that her ass was crazy.

How could they have had such differing perceptions of time spent together?

Now, what have we learned from this little scenario?  Ladies first:

In general, women should stop making every act that a man commits – or doesn’t commit – a referendum on how he feels about the relationship.  Maybe, when a man tells you he doesn’t feel like talking because he’s tired from working 12 hours on a given day, maybe he’s really tired from working 12 hours and doesn’t feel like talking. It may have nothing to do with you.

Every request you make should not be a hoop for him to jump through to prove his devotion.  You don’t even like museums!  Why make your man go do some shit that you don’t even want to do, just so he can demonstrate that he’s down for you?!  You’re bored and miserable too…but he proved his devotion, right?

Here’s the deal ladies:  don’t be so quick to condemn a man’s every action simply because it’s not the way that YOU would act in a given situation.  We are different for a reason.  Men are not always insensitive, or inattentive (many times, maybe, but not always).  So maybe there should be a little more communication before jumping to negative conclusions.  Think about it.

Men, there is a basic lesson I hope you learn from this little story:

Getcho ass up and get your girl her effing Starbucks!  That stuff is worse than crack.  The morning session – and the rest of the trip – will be that much better as a result.

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