It occurs to me now and then that there are so many things that men just don't quite get about women sometimes. Like when my son Blake said to me recently, "I just don't quite get women sometimes."
In this particular instance he was referring to his fiancée after they were snowed in as a result of a blizzard that dumped 14 inches of snow where they live. Since Blake was working from home that day and Abigail's nursing school classes had been cancelled, she was the one who went outside to shovel the driveway.
Five minutes later, according to my son, she came back inside in tears. "There's just so much snow! We'll never get it all shoveled!"
Telling me the story later Blake was bewildered. "It's just snow," he said. "What's there to cry about?"
Well. Plenty. For starters, how’s a woman supposed to make an “emergency” Target run when she can't even get out of her own driveway? Not to mention that, at least for some of us, 14 inches of snow is about eight inches higher than our adorable but expensive and not very practical snow boots.
Having lived my entire life with a house full of males--first my dad and four brothers and then my husband and four sons-- I feel like I've looked at blank, clueless faces a million times. But I'm here to help. So, guys, here are a few of your women questions answered, starting with...
WHY DO WOMEN CRY ABOUT EVERYTHING?
We don't cry about everything. Mostly. Unless it's something sad or overwhelming or overwhelmingly sad, or we're mad or frustrated, or angry or hungry or hangry. Or if something is sweet and touching, like videos of soldiers returning home and meeting their baby that was born while they were away, or a child hearing his mother's voice for the first time after receiving a cochlear implant.
We'll admit it: we can see something online that says "45 Photos Sure to Make You Cry," and we are definitely going to click it. And guess what? They make us cry. Frankly, if you don't get just a little bit misty-eyed looking at a photo of a firefighter pausing from battling bush fires in Australia to give water to a thirsty koala, then you're a cold-hearted, koala-hating robot.
All this talk about crying is making me feel a little sad. You know what would cheer me up? A Target run.
SO WHAT'S A GUY SUPPOSED TO DO ABOUT THIS CRY BABY, I MEAN, THIS LOVE OF HIS LIFE?
Your first instinct is probably to try and "fix" the situation. Obviously this is wrong. Mostly a woman just needs to let it out, to vent, and she needs you to be completely committed to this venting, not half listening while scrolling through YouTube’s “Top 10 Best NBA Dunks.”
Your next instinct is probably to just leave and let her cry it out alone, maybe wait in that very long line at the car wash where no one cares that you’re watching mindless YouTube videos, and hopefully by the time you get back this will all have washed over as well. This, of course, is also wrong. And heartless. You probably also think when you ask her what's wrong and she says “nothing” that she means nothing.
But a little empathy and some kind words can go a long ways. And good chocolate. Unless, of course, it's the kind with calories because that'll just make her pants fit tighter, which will make her cry for entirely new reasons.
WHY DO WOMEN WORRY ABOUT SILLY LITTLE THINGS?
So by "little things" do you mean the health and well-being of our children, and about their future, and if we're doing a good job raising them? Or their children one day, if there will even be a "one day" with all this talk of global warming and nuclear weapons?
Or maybe by "little things" you're referring to the fact that we can't help but wonder at times if we should be doing more with our lives, if we need to set new goals and aspirations before it’s too late?
Or maybe it's a “little thing” to worry about that curling iron with the automatic shut-off that we might have left on, and what if it forgets to shut off, causing a fire which burns down our home and all the memories we worked so hard to create?
Obviously none of these are silly little things, so then we can only assume you must be referring to panty lines, because practically nothing else is a silly little thing.
Truthfully, with all this other stuff going on, I'll admit it's a bit of a head scratcher why a woman in yoga pants worries about someone seeing the outline of her undies. Isn't it a little bit more unsettling when there aren't any lines? So why worry? And yet we do. Maybe it keeps our mind off nuclear weapons and all those parched koalas in Australia.
AND WHY DOES SHE HAVE A MILLION BEAUTY PRODUCTS?
First of all, unless you've ever attempted the "smokey eye" look, you are in no position to judge.
Second, by a "million" do you mean the cleanser, toner, wrinkle cream, eye cream, tinted moisturizer, foundation, concealer, powder, blush, bronzer, eye shadow, eyeliner, brow pencil, eyelash curler, mascara, lipstick and lip gloss?
It's all so we can go for that "natural" look, obviously. Sure, we have 69 colors of eye shadow and only use the same three. And yes, we already have seven opened tubes of mascara and yet if someone tells us there's a new one out there that’s a game changer as far as eyelashes are concerned, we’ll buy three tubes, even if it means not turning on the heat in January to recoup the cost. At least our feet will be warm in those adorable but expensive snow boots.
Why do we keep buying new stuff? Because the next life changing product guaranteed to make us look fabulous is just around the corner. Plus it keeps our minds off things like panty lines and curling iron fires.
So there you have it. I know you have plenty more questions, but let's be honest: your mind has already drifted off to your fantasy baseball team. If nothing else though, just remember the words of Oscar Wilde: "Women are meant to be loved, not to be understood."
It’s a good thing we’re so loveable.
JoAnne Beiermann lives in Columbus. She and her husband have five children, ages 20-27.