Comic Belief: Get the Details

What do women want to know? Everything! My parents usually call on Saturday and talk for about 20 minutes. Penny always asks, “What did they say?” I say, “Uh, uh, they said … they are coming in April.” Penny says, “You talked 20 minutes, surely they said more than that.” “Well, they sure did. They said, uh …” I can’t think of another thing. I tell her, “It was just insignificant stuff, small stuff. It didn’t matter, I can’t even remember.” She’ll give me a look and say, “Okay.”

Then the next day, somebody brings up something that my dad had talked about on the phone and it reminds me of what he said. So I’m in a group of people and I say, “Oh yeah, my dad said …” and launch into a story. Penny gives me a look. After the story she grabs my arm and says, “See, you tell the whole world everything and you tell your wife nothing, nothing, nothing.” That happens regularly.

I’m a man, so I decided to fix this problem. I’d had enough, and I was going to straighten out the situation. The next time my parents called, I wrote down everything they said, even every little insignificant thing. That way, when Penny asked what they said I’d be able to recite everything. I thought this would finally put her in her place.

The next time my parents called, Penny and the girls were at the mall. (The mall has it all. One day I expect them to come home with the escalator just because it was marked “down.”) As we talked, I wrote down everything. The dog got into the tomatoes, the air conditioning bill was $235, everything. Then I just put it under my chair and waited for Penny to come home. When she came in, I didn’t say anything. I just waited.

Finally Penny said, “Did your parents call today?” “Yes, they did.” “What did they say?” “Would you like to know everything they said?” “I’d like to know anything they said.” “I’ll tell you everything.” I pulled out the paper and went through everything. The dog got into the tomatoes, the air conditioning bill, etc. I thought I had her good and she would never ask anymore. Finally, I got to the end, “They said goodbye and I said goodbye.” Penny was happy. She was smiling. Now she wants me to take notes every time my parents call.

You see, men don’t understand that women want details. But men aren’t into details. Penny and I visited a couple and on the way home Penny said, “Did you like that dress she had on?” “You talking to me?” (Most of the time, men bluff.) “Yeah, I liked the dress.” (But they always catch you.) “I didn’t think you liked that color of green.” “Oh, it was green? Well I guess I didn’t like it.” “You don’t even know what I’m talking about, do you?” “No. I don’t even remember she had on a dress.”

“Did you like the curtains in the family room?” “Which was the family room?” “Did you like the tile on the floor in the kitchen?” I’m thinking, “I don’t have a clue.” “Did you like the taupe color in the living room?” “Taupe color?” I didn’t know there was a color called taupe. It’s not in my paint-by-color set. Is this an imported color or something?

Men just don’t notice those things, and what we do notice we forget. That’s why there is instant replay for men; they have already forgotten. I don’t pay attention to the details. I can watch a rerun of “Murder She Wrote” and still not know who did it. We have to learn to pay attention because women want details.

Meeting the needs of a woman requires work. Typically a man will come home from work and his wife will say, “What happened today?” And he’ll say, “Nothing.” “Nothing? You were there from nine to six and nothing happened? Boy, they sure pay you pretty good for nothing.” Men cannot think of anything that happened at work. But a woman wants to know these things. When I did marriage counseling, I advised the men to write the details of what happened that day at work on a 3×5 card.

One time, a co-worker of mine was expecting a baby. I told my secretary, “Penny wants to know when Laurie has her baby, so let me know when the baby is born.” One day my secretary said, “Laurie had her baby; don’t forget to tell Penny.” I was excited because I could tell Penny something that happened.

As usual, Penny said, “What happened at work today?” “Laurie had her baby.” “What did she have?” “She had a baby.” “They come in two kinds — boys and girls. What did she have?” “I don’t know; I didn’t ask.” But I’m a good husband, so the next day I asked my secretary what Laurie had. Then I told Penny, “Laurie had a boy.” She said, “What did they name it?” “They named it a boy’s name.” The following day I told Penny, “Laurie named the baby Billy.” She said, “How much did Billy weigh?” “Billy was a fat baby.” You get the idea. Free advice: if someone has a baby at work, find out all the details. It’s not enough to know that she had a baby.

To a woman, intimacy means “into-me-you-see.” So, guys, you have to talk to her. Tell her your hopes, fears and dreams. At least tell her where you went for lunch today.

And, ladies, keep it simple, please. Stick to primary colors.