Our question today comes from...er....me, over at ...well...here.
Look, this has perplexed me for a long time and I don't know how to put the question in words but:
This is not a Sienfeld episode, M-F'er! You are an author, use your words!
Anyway, I get what you are saying, bro...
You poor, clueless bastard. You've been messing around with women...more than you want to admit...for 25 years and you still don't know?
Let us start with something you do know: To a man, nothing means nothing.
Ladies, when you ask a man what he is thinking and he says, “Nothing”: BELIEVE HIM. How do you think men hung out in bushes for hours on end in caveman days to wait for the Mastodon without going insane? How do you think men can drive in a car together, with a broken radio, from Philly to Atlanta without saying a word that does not involve the need to perform a bodily function?
We have the ability to blank out our minds. I know this will come as a shock to women because they seem to have to be thinking about something every single moment, but we don't. And you know what? It is RELAXING. It's mini vacation!
Life sucks. The boss is mad at us. YOU are mad at us. Bills are coming in faster than money. Maybe someone took a shot at us with an enhanced battle rifle and we would like to forget about it for a while. It's nice to just be able to lean back and take a break from the world.
Sometimes, we do it out of shear joy. We have a drink in one hand, you in the other, and nothing serious is weighing on our minds. Bloop! We're gone. We are just living in the moment and, by blanking our minds, that perfect moment seems to last forever.
Until YOU ask us, “What are you thinking?” We try to stay in our happy place and answer truthfully: “Nothing.” But you don't believe us do you? Thinking about nothing is TOTALLY beyond your ability to comprehend.
“How can he be thinking about nothing? Everyone thinks about something. He must be an idiot!”
You have thought those things, just admit it. And if that's not enough, you start making shit up! “I'll bet he is thinking about that woman who cuts his hair. I know he really likes her because he tips her so well. She doesn't even do a good job on his hair, he comes out looking like Moe from the Three Stooges, but all he sees is her boobs....” Blah, blah, blah.
You can't even keep the “blah” inside you, now can you? Nope. You have to tell us what you think we are thinking. That totally takes us out of our happy place where we were thinking NOTHING. You force us to think and, honestly, we don't want to. But you are not happy unless we are expressing something. Preferably deep and heartfelt.
We do not like deep and heartfelt! Nothing is better!
On the other hand, a woman's mind never stops. Something is ALWAYS going on in there and, usually you are more than happy to share it.
As an example: Last week, Jenny and I expressed our love physically for each other (Splitter says I have to keep things clean, but you know I am talking about stuff that involves a lot of flopping around and gasping for air like fish on a riverbank). Not three seconds after it was over, Jenny says, “You know, we should really think about re-caulking the bathtubs.”
So much for the afterglow! There I was all set to think about nothing until I dozed off, but she had to bring up plumbing. Is she going to re-caulk the tubs? And I know she was into what we were doing because she made those demon sounds that she does when she really gets...well, you know.
Anyway, she really harshed my mellow. Snapped me right out of the post-coital trance I had tried so desperately to achieve. We men live for such moments of blissful unawareness.
We know that you all cannot turn your minds off. That's why we get spooked when we ask you what is wrong and you say, “Nothing.” Like we are going to believe that. We saw the look. We FELT the chill. We noticed how you went rigid when we touched your arm.
Here you go, Splitter: When you ask a woman what is wrong and she says, “Nothing,”...it's YOU! I don't know how you screwed up. YOU don't know how you screwed up. But rest assured, SHE knows how you screwed up. And that's all that matters.
Pack a lunch for the aftermath, Big Guy. She might keep you up all night telling you how you screwed up. Don't even bother trying to defend yourself, that just makes it last longer.
When a man says nothing, it means nothing. But when a woman says nothing, it means something. Something bad for the man.
But she won't tell you, will she? Not on the first attempt. When you ask again, you are going to be told, “I said nothing, so stop asking me!” Now you know you are in for BIG trouble. The first two attempts have failed. The third is going to unleash Hell. You know it, SHE knows it. But you are going to ask, aren't you? She wants you to ask. You have to ask.
It is inevitable. You are morally obligated to ask the third and final time. Tolkien was right, the third time pays for all. You know it is going to go badly. She has frustrations and anger that need to be let out. She has been thinking about them ALL DAMNED DAY.
You, as a man, will know it is going to go badly when you hear these words: “Well...since you must know....bar row row row roh!”
Seriously, ladies, it all sounds like Dino from the Flinstones to us after that. I mean, we know you are pissed and we even know that you are probably right, but we also know that there is nothing we can say or do to make things better right then. We shut off our ears and go in search of our happy place when you hit Dino-mode.
Let's face it, you know there is nothing we can say or do right then to make you feel better, too. You are just looking to download all that crap that has been building up in your head because you cannot shut it off. You don't need us to be actively listening, you just need us to be there. We are the crash dummies of your psyche.
Men don't have that thought buildup because, well, we can go blank. We know you can't go blank and just exist in the moment. We know you have to be thinking and analyzing (“I wonder what she meant when she said that?” “Does he know how much that drives me crazy?”).
We still love you even though we wish you could join us in our happy place. We hope you still love us even though we spend so much time with “nothing” in our brains.
It's a damned miracle we can even propagate the species, but I hope that helped.
Improving relationships one step at a time,
Disclaimer: Views expressed above are true and if you disagree...have you ever been in a relationship?