'Matter of Laugh or Death,' the award-winning humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
SURPRISE! MEN AND WOMEN ARE DIFFERENT
After 21 years of marriage, I recently learned that men and women are different. No, I don’t mean I just discovered that men and women are different in a physical, biological way. I learned that particular fact during our third year of marriage. (It was at the very moment our first child was born. In the hospital delivery room, I said, “Wow, that is so cool. I wonder if I could do that?” Before offering a quick biology lesson, the doctor, the nurse, and especially my wife, all shouted in unison, “Why would you want to?!”)
What I recently discovered is that men and women are very different when it comes to getting ready to leave the house. For me, getting ready to go out is not a big deal. If I’m reasonably groomed, I have to grab my wallet and car keys and, well, I’m ready. Total preparation time: eleven seconds.
If I’m not reasonably groomed, it takes longer. I have to grab my wallet and car keys, and a baseball hat to cover my greasy bed-head. Total preparation time: nineteen seconds. (It shouldn’t even take that long, but over the years I’ve developed a rather sizeable collection of baseball hats. Sometimes it’s difficult to choose.)
A few weeks ago I was on the phone with a friend. He said, “Hey Bill, I’ve got an idea. Why don’t you two come over to our house for dinner tonight? Can you be here in ten minutes?”
I quickly did the math in my head. Let’s see, it takes eight minutes to drive to their house, plus eleven seconds to get ready—no, wait, I’m a little greasy right now—better figure nineteen seconds. I replied, “Sure, no problem, Jack. See you in ten minutes.”
I hung up the phone, turned to my wife, and said, “The McGillicuddys just invited us over for dinner. I told Jack we’d be there in ten minutes.”
My wife suddenly got that wide-eyed, flared-nostrils, mouth-agape look on her face, which meant one of two things: either she just got hit with a 220-volt electrical current, or I did something really stupid. Since I didn’t notice any live power lines in contact with her body at that moment, I assumed I’d be spending the next few days in the dog house.
She tried to explain to me that for her to get ready, there is much more involved than simply grabbing a few personal items and an occasional baseball hat. She has to spend time touching up her make-up, fixing her hair, and choosing an appropriate outfit and shoes. She has to make sure our kids have something to eat for dinner, start a load of laundry, and last but not least, make phone calls to six other people to let them know where she can be reached during the evening.
Now let me just say at this point—and I said this to my wife at the time—there is absolutely no reason why she needs to spend time applying make-up, because frankly, my darling bride is a real cutie. (It’s true. I’m not just saying that to get out of the dog house.)
My wife got ready as quickly as possible, but after all was said and done, it took us almost an hour and a half to arrive for dinner. At first, I was really embarrassed about being so late—especially after saying we’d be there in ten minutes. But being late turned out for the best because at the very moment I was getting a 220-volt stare from my wife, Jack was getting the same stare from his wife, after saying to her, “Oh, by the way, the Dunns are coming over for dinner. They’ll be here in ten minutes. What are we having, anyway?”
The Chinese take-out food was delicious. But the dining facilities were a little cramped. The girls insisted that Jack and I eat in the backyard…in the dog house.
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