In Other Words: Talk between sexes lost in translation
Published 7:03 am, Saturday, June 13, 2015
A recent study has confirmed that women have larger vocabularies than men. From the time they are little, females begin talking sooner than males thus proving that girls have more to say than boys. The study further states that in the course of a day an average woman will speak approximately 50,000 words while a man’s vocabulary is significantly more limited. If left undisturbed, a normal man would speak only when necessary. His daily word dosage would go something like this:
“What’s for breakfast?’
“See ya’ later.”
“What’s for dinner?”
“Do I need to wear a tie?”
“Please pass the TV clicker.”
There are two theories on the subject of why women talk more: 1) Because women speak 50,000 words a day, a man can never get a word in, and 2) Communication makes them nervous. If given the choice, they would rather:
1. Take a nap.
3. Talk to a favorite animal that can’t talk back.
4. Watch sports.
It isn’t that men are less intelligent than women. On the contrary, men know exactly what they want to say, they make their point and consider it done. For a woman a conversation is never closed. She can, without warning, pick it up any time day or night. Men live in constant fear of this.
“My wife began an argument in 2012,” one man said, “and it’s still going on. I never know exactly what will trigger it, but when I least expect it she begins harping on the same subject.”
When asked what started the argument was in the first place, he replied: “Beats me. Probably something I said.”
Whether a woman has something worthwhile to say or not, she needs to express herself. Men, on the other hand, don’t get all worked up over releasing their thoughts. On a good day, they are willing to discuss a subject for a while, and then move on to something more important like sitting in front of the tube, cleaning out their belly button lint or raiding the refrigerator.
The study also concludes that women complain they’re not being heard.
“You’re not listening,” a woman tells her mate, who is reading the newspaper while she waxes eloquent.
“I hear you,” he says, his eyes never leaving the paper.
“How can you read and listen at the same time?”
“Trust me, It takes years of training,” he says.
She will then go off on a tangent, spouting the rules of relationship etiquette. By this time, the guy has fallen asleep, and nothing but the voice of a sports commentator announcing a score can rouse him. I knew a woman who got so angry at her husband for ignoring her that she threw a fish in his face. I always wondered what kind of fish, hoping it was a flounder rather than a shell fish, but I suppose it didn’t matter — the guy was so taken aback, he was mentally scarred for life.
The fundamental difference between the sexes is that women like getting to the bottom of things while men prefer skimming the surface. Women are queens of the questionnaire. They thrive on details and feel remiss if a sentence ends abruptly. Guys don’t want to be interviewed, and would sooner remain mute than fill in the blank spaces for the sheer purpose of being heard.
One friend says she often awakens in the middle of the night with a burning desire to talk. She begins by clearing her throat, tugs at the covers and gently nudges her husband, who opens one eye and asks, “What’s wrong?”
“I can’t sleep,” she says. “Can we talk?”
He now has two choices: ignore her and go back to sleep, which is only for the brave of heart, or nervously ask: “Can’t it wait till morning?’
There is not a woman alive who, if given such a choice, would ever opt for being put on hold.
“I need to get something off my chest,” she says. This means delving into every possible nuance and variation on any subject that has been on her mind for days. Such banter usually begins at 3 a.m. and doesn’t end until sunrise when the woman, having purged herself of her 50,000 allotted words, falls back asleep leaving her husband to resort to a cold shower, a pot of coffee and being exhausted for the rest of the day. By evening, he enters into the house, bags under his eyes, looking haggard and spent. He prostrates himself in his favorite chair and waits.
“Honey,” she insinuates herself on his lap, “let me tell you about my day.”
He looks soulfully down at her, his eyes glazed over: “Please pass the TV clicker.”
Judith Marks-White is a Westport writer. She can be reached at email@example.com or at www.judithmarks-white.com.