The first time I remember Casey ensnaring me with my own language was only about a week into our marriage. I don’t remember what the conversation was about or where we were, but she has made sure that I have never forgotten about it. Somehow on that infamous day, the subject of her neck came up—something about how her neck was tired from being at work or doing work or something. To be honest all I really heard was “blah, blah, blah, ba, blah.”
Sure, I know you’re thinking it—”He’s such a jerk.” I wasn’t being a jerk on purpose. I was a barely-out-of-my-teens full-sized boy who’d only been married for about a week! Does anyone really know what that means? For me, and for many other just post teen boys and even some 30-40 year-old men, that meant 24 hours per day access to a certain part of the woman’s body located below her neckline. The fact that I even remembered to put my shoes on each day should be considered a kind of major accomplishment—someone should give me an award.
Now that everyone is a bit uncomfortable, back to the story. After my wife mentioned how tired her neck was, I decided to tell her what I had learned on the Discovery Channel a few years earlier—that our heads are really heavy. Only, it came out as, “Your neck is tired because your head is so big.” Whoops.
After many, many similar mistakes I have learned to be very careful about what comes out of my mouth. If the topic can even somehow be perceived in the wrong way, I won’t verbally respond.
Recently that non-verbal response backfired. My wife was telling me about the birth control she started using last month. She doesn’t normally take birth control because it makes her kind of crazy. So when she decided to take the birth control in preparation for our cruise this month (something about the non-punctuational kind of periods, which means I don’t really want to know how or why whatever she is doing works), we were a bit anxious about the psychological effects it would have on her.
She told me the only side effect she has really noticed is that she thinks it is causing her to gain weight. She looked at me for a response and I just stared right back at her and I eventually shrugged. I don’t know why I shrugged, but it didn’t seem like I could just stare at her without saying anything. She was going to expect me to respond with something. As soon as my shoulders lifted and started to fall I could tell I was in trouble.
She pounced even before my shoulders went still. “Ah ha, see! You do think I’ve gained weight otherwise you would have immediately said that I hadn’t gained any weight.”
Sheesh. (Shrugs shoulders in disbelief and irony.)
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