Friday posts are always about dating and relationships here at More Cowbell. There’s the ongoing Triple D series, which has covered both “Disastrous Dating Don’ts” and “Dynamic Dating Do’s.” There’s also general relationship ponderings, which is what we have today…. Happy Friday everybody!
Have you ever noticed that people seem to tell writers things? I’m talking about people we don’t know, telling us things we DON’T WANT TO KNOW.
For example, I was in the check-out line at Trader Joe’s a few months back – TJ’s is a fantastic and unique grocery store, for all of you that are unfamiliar. Anyway, on this particular day, I was waiting in line, talking on the phone (I know, I know…RUDE). So I get to the front of the line and finish my conversation with my husband and say hi to the cashier, whose name was Holly.
(You’ll understand in a moment why her name is burned on my brain forever.)
Holly’s first words: “So, who were you on the phone with?”
It seemed a bit forward to me, but she was young and friendly so I answered in kind. “I was talking to my husband. I’m buying tonight’s dinner and I wanted to make sure I got everything he wanted.” I had a cart full of groceries and Holly was obviously a chatty checker, so I didn’t see a polite way out of this conversation.
Then she says,“That’s important, that you cook for your husband.”
Important? I’m turning her word choice over in my mind but, before I can respond, she zings me with another gem to keep my writerly brain busy.
“Yeah, my stepmother told me the secret to keeping a man happy and it sounds like your mom told you.”
Suddenly I’m afraid – very afraid – to encourage more conversation with this filter-less girl, so I just offered a non-committal little, “Oh?” A quick glance at the businessman behind me verified that he was completely tuned into this conversation.
Holly was undeterred. “Yep. My stepmother said it’s real simple to keep a man happy. You just keep his pecker empty and his belly full.”
I swear, the word “pecker” swooped down onto the conveyor belt and did a rousing Tango up the middle of my groceries.
Why, WHY do people tell me these kinds of things? I thought it was just that I look friendly but I’ve heard from other writers that this happens to them too. In retrospect, these crazy conversations are gifts from the Writing Gods who want us to have great material. But at the time? Oy.
Back to Holly and her big lead “pecker” balloon…
The man in line behind me coughed (in that way that tells you he’s smothering a laugh) and I blushed to the roots of my hair. My thoughts ran along the lines of, I’m not looking at the guy in line. Not looking…not looking.
Finally, I was home telling my honey about the whole saga, of course over wine since it was date night. He found the whole the thing hilarious and agreed that the writing gods were handing me gold-plated nuggets.
BUT, my husband (Steve) is a complete anti-stereotype hound. He’s pro-women to almost a rabid degree, which makes for pretty interesting conversation. Once he was done laughing, he got a bit fired up.
My favorite “Steve lines” from our talk that night:
- So, she’s saying that men consume and women are there to please them? Like men are unable to cook for themselves, or even take care of their basic needs? What about the women who don’t know how to cook?
- The whole statement is damaging. It makes men look shallow and women look like whores and slaves.
- It’s crap to say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. And it’s sad to hear such a young girl be so sexist.
- The worst thing about this statement is that it gives women the message that, “If you’re a ‘good little housekeeper,’ then you can get a man.”
What can I say? We had great wine and food going on and my honey was on a roll!
My personal take? I think the way to any person’s heart is that feeling of being understood.
Food? Great wine? All those things are lovely, but non-essential in today’s world of frozen meals and take-out. But feeling like your mate completely “gets” you and has got your back… That’s the key to making somebody’s heart go pitty-pat. At least it’s the secret to mine.
p.s. Yes, all my fellow gutter-minds, sex plays in too but we we’re discussing the cliché from the title of this post. Geesh. There YOU go…
So, what do you think? What is the way to a man (or woman’s) heart, in your opinion? On the stereotype front, was my honey just lit up by Syrah or is he on to something? Do you agree or disagree with his take?
Enquiring minds always want to know at More Cowbell! I’m looking forward to hearing your comments…