We all know men don’t ask directions. It’s part of their genetic code, issued when they get their first yearnings for cheerleaders, motorcycles, driver’s licenses and muscle-style tank tops.
But there are other, more subtle masculine idiosyncrasies, or genetic foibles, depending on your viewpoint, that tend to leave their feminine counterparts shaking and/or scratching their heads in bemusement.
I tell myself all men share these traits, probably so I won’t take a frozen flank steak to my husband’s head.
For instance, to continue with the automotive analogy, there’s the “I’m not turning the windshield wipers on unless we’re in a hurricane” syndrome. When drizzle turns to rain turns to a downpour, and he’s driving, the Tanners’ wipers stay snug in their little windshield enclaves.
“What’s the matter?” I think to myself. “Don’t you want the wipers to get wet?”
But if I can’t see out of my side of the windshield, surely he can’t see out of his side, either, and that makes me terminally nervous as we whiz down the Big Sur Highway, Lombard Street in San Francisco or just about any street in Cambria.
It’s a little like discovering that your pilot has palsy. I can be sympathetic and scared spitless all at the same time.
And then there’s the Weather Channel ailment. Most women I know watch the Weather Channel oh, once or twice a month, whether they need to or not. Usually they’re checking on a rumor about a local tornado, or making sure the evil weather in one Carolina or the other isn’t wiping out Aunt Esther. The gals get the answers they seek and then switch to Oprah, General Hospital or—if they’re really strange—Baywatch. Or like me, they turn off the set.
Let’s face it. The meteorologists on the Weather Channel weren’t hired for their high ratings on the entertainment scale. Some of their voices have all the appeal of heavy metal music played on a comb and a harmonica.
However, the minute the Weather Channel programs show up on the screen, most men are mesmerized, hypnotized and brain dead. “Did you hear that?” he’ll exclaim. “It’s 87 degrees in Boston!”
So? Do I really care? I’m sorry Bostonians are hot, but I don’t know anybody in Boston. I don’t plan to visit Boston in the near future. And 87 degrees (while truly awful in almost any East Coast city, with all their humidity) isn’t wild enough to attract the attention of AP, the Wall Street Journal or even the National Enquirer.
If they don’t care .
But what can I tell you? It must be a guy thing, just like asking for directions.
This "BEST OF SLICE OF LIFE" column ran first on July 30, 1998 in The Cambrian. While columnist Kathe Tannerhe recognizes the foibles of Husband Richard, a noted weatherholic, she says she wouldn't change a thing. And now, since she's doing most of the driving these days, he can hound her about turning on the windshield wipers.