So, I Googled "Cute Shoes."
This is what I got back.
Copyright © 2018
by Ralph F. Couey
It's always been apparent that men and women spoke different languages, even before the ground-breaking book "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" by Dr. John Gray. It's not just individual words, but entire sentences or paragraphs that can mean one thing to one party, and something completely different to the other. Our brains are wired in completely different ways and the failure to understand that can result in some very uncomfortable situations.
Every husband has been through this conversation:
"Honey, are you okay?"
"Fine." (A word more spat than spoken)
"Okay, what did I do this time?"
"Nothing." (Same delivery.)
What she has said is this:
"There is very definitely something very wrong here, and it's your fault. That this situation has completely escaped your attention means you are in even deeper trouble."
What follows is a version of 20 questions (or more) until the evil deed has been uncovered.
Dr. Mark Gungor has a video on YouTube here where he discusses the vast differences between how those two brains operate. Those differences can create a lot of discord until both parties are made to see that men's and women's brains are two completely different pieces of machinery, and you can't use the same set of operating instructions for both. (Couples should watch the entire series of his videos together. Trust me. It will make things much better.)
We see the world differently. I have a passion for motorcycles. I also have a passion to someday own a Ford Mustang. This passion dates back to 1964 when I first laid my 9-year-old eyes on that car. Sometimes when we're driving, I'll see a particularly good looking Mustang and eagerly point it out to her. The response is a gratuitous glance up from her smartphone and perhaps rolled eyes or a shake of the head. Same thing when I see a great motorcycle. I know she loves me, and acknowledges those passions, but she just doesn't understand.
Then one day she'll come home and show me a new pair of shoes. "Look at these! aren't they cute?" I, having absolutely zero sense of fashion, will nod and gush appropriately although having absolutely no reason why. In my mind though, I'm thinking, "How can shoes be "cute?"
That word, I've discovered, can have amazingly flexible applications. There are the things that are obvious (even to me) like babies, puppies, or kittens. But she applies that word to a lot of things in a way that is a complete mystery to me. A friend of mine once told me about the first time his wife saw a Renault SmartCar. She called it "cute." If two guys are standing in front of a really hot Ferrari, the word "cute" will not come up in the conversation. Guaranteed. I've heard women compliment each other by calling a dress cute, or a hair cut cute, and that's considered a high compliment. If a man calls anything about another man "cute," that is at least a challenge, if not a full-up insult. Think about it; how many times has your boss said to you, "That's a cute idea"? Has that ever been an occasion to respond with "Thank you"?
So, here you have this basic misunderstanding about that word. Now, a woman can say to a man, "You're cute", but guys, before you take that to heart, you'd better check the tone of her voice. But reverse that flow, and call her "cute," and you'll always get a warm smile in return.
There are other things as well. If someone, man or woman, says to me, "You remind me of your father" I am honored. I think my Dad was a great man, worthy of my respect, and someone whose example would be worth following. But tell a woman that she reminds you of her mother, and she likely won't speak to you for at least three days. Clearly, there's a competition there across the generations that we guys just don't get.
Our shopping habits are different as well. Men don't shop; they hunt. And when they locate their prey, they leave. Women may spend hours visiting several shops, and still go home empty handed. For example, a man needs a white shirt. He goes into a store, finds a white shirt, right size, he's done. But a woman has so many other considerations. Long sleeve, short sleeve, no sleeve, tight sleeves, poofy sleeves, long cuff, medium cuff, no cuff. Pointed collar, scalloped collar, no collar. High neck, medium neck, low neck, scoop neck. Four button, five button, round buttons, square buttons, plastic buttons, fabric buttons, colored buttons, sheer, semi-sheer, opaque, cotton, cotton blend, rayon, silk blend, pure silk...and they haven't even started on the matching shoes and handbag. Men are done in 15 minutes. Women may take a week or more.
For a man, talking to a woman can be akin to walking through a minefield. You never know which word, wrongly placed, will set off the explosion. At times, it may not be what we said, but rather what we didn't say. Or notice. But we continue to walk bravely, hoping for the best.
Love has a tendency to get us through those uncomfortable moments, but survival of both parties will depend on acknowledgement that women are highly complex creatures, while men are quite simply, not. Also recognizing that those things that make us angry with each other now, will be sources of laughter later on. Much later on.
These are differences, but they're not wrong. It's just the way we are put together, and our ability to get along with each other is bound to our willingness to recognize and honor those differences.
But it is those differences that make love so dynamic and also fun. As the French say, "Vive la difference!"