This was published in the May 2, 2018 edition of the Joplin Globe.


Every once in a while, my wife reminds me why I can never win an argument with her.

Normally, what my wife does is look at me with a genuine sense of pity before saying: “You know you can never win an argument with me.”

But sometimes my wife doesn’t even have to say anything to remind me why I can never win an argument with her. Well, she says something, but I can’t hear her.

Like most female persons, my wife has the ability to communicate without saying anything out loud. She merely mouths the words with no actual words coming out of her mouth.

We were at lunch the other day and my wife wanted to tell me something that apparently she didn’t want to say out loud, so she mouthed an entire sentence and gave me a look that said, “Can you believe that?”

And, because I’m a guy, this was my response: “Huh?”

In our relationship, I say that a lot.

The thing is, had I been a female person I would have not only understood my wife but I would have responded to her without saying anything out loud — the two of us would have carried on a 20-minute conversation.

I first noticed this phenomenon when I was in seventh grade at St. Xavier’s Catholic School in Junction City, Kansas. One day, from my seat behind Janice Pierson, the prettiest girl in our class, I watched Janice carry on a 10-minute conversation with another girl who was sitting on the opposite side of the room.

I had no idea what they were talking about, which now that I think about it was probably the point, but I could tell whatever it was it was important.

That’s when female persons usually deploy the “talk without talking out loud” trick. When it’s important.

What I’m thinking is that, most of the time, when women talk without talking out loud they are discussing one of the following:

A: How stupid men are.

B: How to win every argument with them.

C: How stupid men are.

Really, when it comes to women talking about men that’s about all they need to talk about.

But every once in a while my wife will forget for a second (a very brief second) how stupid I am and will, as she did the other day at lunch, try to talk to me without talking out loud.

And when she does, I will say “huh?” Then she’ll say to herself: “Oh right, he’s stupid.”

My wife also has a way of bonding with female persons she has never met before. We were in Chicago last weekend and at least four times my wife was able to carry on conversations with women simply by saying something like “I love those shoes” or “I love your nails” or “My husband is stupid, is yours?”

Actually, that third one is usually saved for the talking without talking out loud trick.

Guys can’t do that, and as a result, when the real battle of the sexes comes we will get wiped out because we refused to communicate with each other beyond an occasional “sup?” or grunt.

I’m pretty sure I would get slugged if I went up to a complete stranger and said: “I love your shoes.”

I did mention that men are stupid, didn’t I?

Women are also very good at the “you know.”

My wife will be talking to me and refer to someone whose name she forgets momentarily and by way of identifying the person will say “Oh, you know” and I’ll look at her and say “huh?”

But if I were a female person, I would say, “Oh, you mean Debbie” and the conversation would continue.

Wait a second, is it possible that back in seventh grade, Janice Pierson and that other girl were talking about me?

Sigh. Probably not. I was stupid.