Many years ago, and I'm guessing this was at least 15 years back, possibly even as far back as 20, I proclaimed that I thought I had a pretty good understanding about what made women tick. Alas, I made this statement in a bar surrounded by many of friends. What was worse was that I was sober so I had no excuse for saying something that stupid. What damned me was that many of my friends present were women.
Now, under other circumstances I might have gotten away with it. Perhaps some people have female friends who would have just rolled their eyes, and went "whatever." However, most of my female friends tend to be the physical embodiment of pure evil on this plane of existence, so naturally they made my life a living hell for the rest of the evening, pointing out that I was pretty stupid. There was much mocking going on. I probably deserved it, but hey, when you're young you're cocky, generally stunned, but think you know it all anyway.
I got another reminder years later about the fallacy of trying to understand women. I was talking to one of my friends who, by my estimate, was about 60 weeks pregnant and feeling....grumpy. I was getting a vent about how annoyed she was with her husband because he was coddling her all the time and, damn it, she was quite capable of taking care of herself. Except two minutes later she was venting about another time when she needed help and he didn't do anything. I pointed this out to her.
"So you're problem," I said "is that you're pissed off he isn't psychic."
"Yessss," she said with almost a hiss. "That's it exactly."
If I had been in the same room, I probably would have backed away slowly.
So yes, trying to understand women is a dangerous bit of business. However, I figured if there was one woman who I had a pretty good grasp of, it would be my lovely wife. We've been together now for more than eight years and, as of today, married for five of them.
We've had conversations over the past few months about how we really wouldn't do anything for our wedding anniversary. We weren't going to be together on the big day (not unusual, we've only been together for two of the five), plus we were going to be tight on money after the sealift. Made sense to me. Other than a call wishing her a happy anniversary, I figured that would be the end of it.
Yes, you can all see where this is going.
I'm at work this morning and coming up for air after a particularly intense 90 minutes or so trying to get a project finished by deadline. That's probably why I didn't hear the door knock or only just barely heard someone say my name and that they had a package for me. By the time I looked up, there was this being put on my desk.
I was in shock, although I immediately knew who they were from. Understand, my brain was a little fried at that moment, which explains why I was alternating between laughing and saying "oh fuck" a lot.
Naturally this is when one of my female co-workers swung by, noticed the flowers and exclaimed, "Oh my God, they're beautiful! Who gave you flowers?"
"My wife. It's our anniversary today."
"That's so sweet! What did you get her?"
(It should be noted there was a temperature drop of several degrees at this moment. In fact, on Twitter a friend of mine in Iqaluit mentioned seeing snow fall today at roughly the same moment. It is likely the two are linked.)
"We said we weren't going to get each other anything," I said, laughing because I was still giddy from the flowers, the first onset of panic and the stress of the morning. It was probably not the best reaction.
"Well, you've got to get her something. Flowers. Or a spa treatment. Something."
"Yes, yes. I should probably do that."
(cue another temperature drop.)
"Yes, I most definitely will do that."
So part of the morning was then spent scrambling trying to get flowers delivered to her (mission accomplished) and enduring the pitying looks of co-workers who couldn't seem to understand how I didn't know that just because my wife said we weren't doing anything for our anniversary didn't mean that she actually meant it.
Look, in my defence, there have been years where Cathy wouldn't have remembered our anniversary if I hadn't mentioned to her. Lovely woman, heart as big as the moon, tons of excellent qualities. Being good with dates and numbers - not one of them. So I think I was well within my rights for believing her when she said we wouldn't do anything because I honestly half expected her to forget what day it was.
Cathy was bemused/mildly horrified when I was talking to her this evening. Bemused because I had sent her flowers as well. Mildly horrified when I mentioned I got teased and mocked at work (I should mention most of it was good natured and I may have been exaggerating certain things for dramatic purpose. Although it really did snow briefly in town this morning). She just had to send them to me at work because that was the only place the delivery person could be sure to catch me.
Plus, she thought I might like them because I had been sounding a little blue this week. It really was incredibly nice of her to do that and it did put me in a good mood for the rest of the day.
It's also nice when you can still be surprised after being together for that many years. Not always understanding isn't always a bad thing. I think.
Anyway, happy anniversary, babe. Love you....
1. Queer - Garbage
2. Underneath days - Bob Mould
3. Brothers in arms - Dire Straits*
4. The Canadian dream - Sam Roberts
5. Factory - Band of Horses