At the risk of being branded a feministic-traitor and succumbing the noose, I have to admit; I admire the simplicity of men. In truth, I’ve always friended men quicker than women. Perhaps, my father’s intentions of my gender at birth have stuck with me all these years, perhaps, I’m a so-called tomboy; regardless, I just get men.
As I sit and write this, coffee in hand, I can already envision the steam rolling from my female reader’s ears. “Men are idiots. What is she talking about?” I can hear the tisks, sighs, and disappointment in their inner voices. But, as we commonly do, my female readers are over-analyzing my sentiments.
Until Georgia came along, there were things about my childhood that I had miscalculated. As much as she presses my buttons daily, I must admit I was way worse. Sorry Mum and Dad… I didn’t play like a girl. I know… you’re thinking, “What the heck does that mean?” Until Georgia, I had no context for this either. One sunny afternoon Georgia and I head to the park. Watching the littles play there is an obvious gender divide. Little girls are swinging, chasing one another, playing house, or hide and seek; but, the little boys, on the other hand, are hunting for worms, digging in the dirt, throwing rocks, or sucking the rocks in some special cases. Then there’s Georgia. She’s covered in mud, rocks and sticks shoved in every pocket-like space of her clothing, chasing after the bigger kids. “My want to play too,” she shouts as she stumbles and flails after the bigger kids. My brain swiftly floats back to my own childhood; not unlike Georgia, I too was covered in mud, scratched, bruised, and running free. However, unlike my little free-bird, you’d have to look up to locate me. A tree, the stairs, or even atop the refrigerator, there was no peak too high, no ledge too daring, and no squeeze too tight for this little daredevil. I was carefree, no strings attached. I come back to my current day and my attentions are drawn towards the little girls. So much thought has gone into this game of house. The little alpha is assigning roles with purpose, making sure there is no confusion in the allotted job descriptions. Certainly, she’s a future CEO in the making. Sighhh… my stomach fills with knots, a weight deepens my chest and I feel smothered as I watch her in action. She’s reminiscent of a tiny, better dressed, mini Donald Trump. “How exhausting,” I can’t help but think. Then there are the little boys. I watch as they run, like little Kenyans, fast and free, squealing with delight. Smack. “Got ya!” The little redheaded boy has caught up to his older brother and smacked him with a stick. He he. I giggle, knowing I shouldn’t, but can’t keep it inside. I can feel his mother’s eyes burning a Grand Canyon sized hole in the back of my head. Obviously she was more like Mini-Trump as a child… “Georgia! Time to go!” I holler at my own little and head towards the car, avoiding eye contact with Mrs. Mini-Trump. Exiting the park, my flamboyant flair for the simplistic becomes abundantly obvious. I’m not saying women are complicated; so much as they are complex.
Money, Power, Respect…
I fear I am giving away my age all but too easy; however, does anyone remember that Lil Kim and the Lox song, Money, Power, Respect? Probably not. I don’t think it was a smashing hit by any means, but it did stick with me. For my female readers, you’d do well to pay attention to the saying’s sentiment, as it is the Man’s Manual, so to speak. As I’ve been establishing, men are ultimately simplistic beings. Not unlike babies, pets, or even potted plants (no offense intended here fellas), these are their rules that guide them through the grand scheme of life. Money, power, respect might be a little too broad, so let me break it down for you; sex, sleep, and food are likely more accurate depictions. Seated shotgun in our truck and mid-grocery gathering, I quickly take heed to the speedometer rising, foul language flying, and the white of my husband’s knuckles spreading… fast. “Eff you, Jetta!” He screams as he flies around the little white car ahead of us. I grab ahold of the HS-Bar and close my eyes. “Ok, inventory time” I chuckle internally. “Check, check…. What time is it?” Three pm… breakfast was a ways ago now. I turn towards him and I notice the hangry demons dancing fury in his once peacefully blue eyes. I cautiously run my fingers along the back of his neck. “Charlie, babe. Are you a tad hangr… I mean, hungry?” The words, alive and dripping with tension, almost poured out of my mouth before I could stop them. “Yes,” he snorts, “why?” How do I put this nicely for him? “Well, I was feeling a bit famished, almost dizzy, and thought you… big strong guy… must be starved!” Side note: Ladies, just because you can inventory their day, doesn’t mean you should poke the bear with a stick… you’ll be keen to remember bears love honey. His demeanor instantly softens and his protector instincts kick in. Food o’clock it is! After a late lunch, Charlie sits back in his chair, clearly filled to the brim and pleased with himself. Pensive, he looks at me and says, “You weren’t hungry were you?” I just smile and sip my coffee. Ladies, the next time your grumbling bear rears his ugly head, do me a favor and slow down, inventory the situation, and you’ll be surprised if you can’t figure out what he’s in need of. It isn’t as complicated as you may think. Men are neither complicated nor complex.
As a mom, wife, and business professional, it’s unlikely you’ll often catch me referring to the seedy indiscretions of my terrible twenties; however, since I do take care to conceal my true identity, that’s precisely where I’m venturing. Ahhhh yes… for all my readers, I know in reference to the above statement all you heard was, today’s mission, should you accept it, is to uncover Etta Smith’s true identity and, likely, you’ve now pensively declared, challenge accepted. But, for those of you still tuned in, lets travel back to a time where my body lacked baby inflicted stars and stripes, my biggest worry was whether or not my lip gloss would out last the weekend’s OCD like reapplications, and I had zero war-wounded wisdom. My best friend, Emily, and I are traveling home from a deliriously un-sober weekend away. En route to our destination I could barely keep Emily’s bum in her seat, bouncing up and down with excitement and talking quicker than a hummingbird on coke. Day by day, her mood deepened, slowly descending from a sugar induced roller-coaster ride to stuck in the rain waiting for the bus kind of state. Sigh. I’d asked her a dozen times if she was having fun or if she felt ok, but her response stayed the same, “Oh yeah…” Really though? Why do women do this? It’s infuriating! If you’re pissed, just say so. In case she’d forgotten, my last name was Smith, not Matlock. At this age, I was neither old nor grey. I pull the car over to the side of the road and disengage the engine. Emily looks befuddled and nervous. “At the risk of playing twenty questions, can we please skip the pleasantries and just be out with it? Clearly something is eating at you, so damn well tell me what it is!” Emily looks shocked like a man who’s accidentally stumbled into the ladies locker room. It takes her a moment to recover, gather her thoughts, and meet me back in the present. “Well,” she begins with hesitation, “Friday I asked you if you’d want to move in together and you said to give you a couple hours to mull it over and you’d let me know!” Although Emily is tall, beautiful, and independent, in this moment she’s the smallest I’ve ever seen her. She’s compressed herself into a tiny ball and almost bonded to her seat. I think back to Friday. Did she hit her head? I answered her… I sit for a moment and recap the night. Same amount of drinks, same amount of food, but we certainly aren’t the same in size. Even at 5’2” I still outweigh Emily. I’ve played competitive sports my whole life and I’d be surprised if my left leg didn’t weigh more than her bird-like frame. After dinner I had surprised her with an ecstatic yes, but she clearly has no recollection of this. Alcohol’s a b#&@%! I pick up my phone and quickly scroll back to the photos from Friday night. The two of us are sitting at the table and Emily’s pointing down to my fries. The word “YES” is creatively spelled out. Clearly we’d interrupted some poor by-passer for a photo since selfies wouldn’t become a thing for at least another decade. I hand the phone to her and just wait, silently. Eventually she turns three shades of red, bites her upper lip, and apologizes. Now here’s the thing, I love Emily dearly, but episodes like this are a regular occurrence. My friends, ask any man. They never would put so much effort into staying miffed all weekend long. Likely, they would forget the second their stomach panged with hunger, their eyes grew heavy, or a largely breasted female seductively strolled by. No, if you’ve done something to wrong a man, believe me when I say there will be no Where’s Waldo Games in finding the reason. Simplistic at best, men lack complications at their core.
Ladies, you’ll have to forgive me. I’m sure I’ve managed to break some kind of unwritten rule of the female population; but as I mentioned I was born lacking the proper levels of estrogen to understand any of these rules anyhow. Now then, before you over-analyze my written word, please allow me to remind you of something certainly key. At no point have I attempted to declare which of the sexes is king or queen, nor have I ventured to prove that simplicity trumps complexity, nay, I implore you to see the underlying suggested tone. Men are simplistic. I admire simplicity. In a world where people plead daily with their maker for a handbook, a clearer set of rules, or some kind of direction, there has to be some kind of peace of mind. The buzz, the noise, and the static are overwhelming for all of us. And since it’s socially unacceptable to drink before noon, I choose to spend my wine-free hours in the company of men. At least… until I’m matched with my grandmother’s age. I learned at a young age senile and deluded are easily believed in elder age… “Oh, is it not noon yet? I could have sworn it was noon hours ago. Well, it’s open now! No sense in wasting good wine!” To my kids and future grandkids, I apologize for my lack of couth, but one day, you’ll too see the sneaky tricks for their worth. Until then, someone let me know when Costco starts to carry wine. I’ll be here with the boys.