Saturday, September 11, 2004

Stop kicking my tires.

I don't know what it is about me that inspires men to refer to me as if I were a vehicle, but that is exactly what they do and I'm getting tired of it.

Maybe if you're a forty-something chick whose boobs spend more time pointing at things on the floor than the ceiling, you'll understand what I mean. If you're a twenty-something chick, this is your future, so pay attention.

When I was seventeen my father decided to have a chat with me about my boyfriend. He was worried that I was going to have pre-marital sex and wanted to make sure I understood that if I gave it up, this boy would leave me so fast I'd think he'd been raptured. (A little Southern Baptist joke there.)

He was trying to convince me that the young man had already been around the block a few times and I was going to be just another notch on his stick shift. I assured my father that this guy wasn't like that at all and he had never even had sex. I was the poster child for gullible.

"Well Sherri, I don't reckon I believe that," Pop said. "But you ought to be able to tell whether or not he's already had experience."

Even with the giant, brown hair wings I wore back then, I still didn't catch what he was saying.

Obviously frustrated by my cluelessness, he explained, "Let's put it this way. If a man gets in a car and knows right where the gears are, you can bet he's driven before." At seventeen, I did not love the idea that my father knew about girl gears.

Years later I can say with some authority that if Pop was right, there are a lot of men roaming free that have never driven anything other than a skateboard. Frankly, most of them have no clue women have gears, much less where they are located. And if they do happen to accidentally figure out how to get us out of park, they suddenly become Jeff Gordon and drive us like the fastest car wins.

Men. Can't live with them. Can't get the lightbulb changed on the front porch without 'em.

My Daddy was the first, but not the only man in my life to refer to me as if I were something off an assembly line in Detroit. They do it all the time, especially the older I get.

"You really look good".... (wait for it)...."for your age." That one is especially ego deflating. The only other time you hear that sentence is when they are looking at a 1967 Mustang. "She really looks good for her age."

They might as well just say what they are thinking, "You're really old, but you're not the crypt keeper yet."

One of my all time favorites was something someone said to me several years ago. I remember it because it stands out as one of the worst "compliments" any man has ever paid me and because I have a voodoo doll in his likeness that I frequently poke with a fork when I'm pre-menstrual.

Attempting to say something nice to me, the very best thing he could come up with was, "You've taken good care of yourself".

What? What does that even mean? That I get my oil changed every 3000 miles and I rotate my tires on a regular basis? Nowhere except in Bizarro World would that be the right thing to say to a woman. I half way expected him to ask me what kind of mileage I get.

So what is the big problem here? Is it that men don't know what women need? Or could it be that I truly resemble a Volkswagen?

Whatever the case, I've got news for you guys. It's not that hard to treat a woman like woman and not a pickup. While it's true volumes of best sellers have been written about what we want, it's really simple to master if you remember one basic rule.

Lie to us.

Sure, most of my sisters out there are fond of telling men how much our gender values truth and honesty. Don't you believe it. Whenever certain topics arise, we want to be lied to. In fact, we'll punish you something awful if for some reason you lose your mind and tell us the truth when we least want to hear it.

Don't believe me? Then by all means, execute this scientific experiment in your own home with your very own woman.

The next time she asks you what you're thinking about, tell her the absolute truth. "I was just sitting here wondering what it would be like to hold Pamela Anderson hostage in the basement as my personal love slave and whether or not it would be easier to hide her from you or kill you."

Chart her response.

When she asks you if you think she looks fat in that bikini she hasn't worn since she gave birth to your giant-headed baby, be honest. "Truthfully Honey, you look like a 5'5" polish sausage wearing a strand of dental floss and I would rather never allow the sunlight to hit my face again than to go out in public with you dressed that way."

Chart her response.

When she snuggles up next to you at night smelling like Mr. Clean and baby puke with no make-up on wearing your old t-shirt and wants to know if you still think she's sexy, tell it like it is. "In the interest of honesty you should know that I find you to be at this moment the exact opposite of sexy, whatever that word might be. And were I not a horny toad of a man that can easily have sex with anyone, anywhere, any time, regardless of their level of basic unattractiveness, I would run screaming from the room."

Pull your pen from whatever orifice she shoves it and chart her response.

In case you're wondering, the correct answers to the above questions would be as follows:

"What are you thinking about?"

"I'm thinking about how much I love you and how lucky I am to have you to share my life with."

"Does this bikini make me look fat?"

"Honey, you look good no matter what you wear. It's impossible for anything to make you look fat."

"Do you still think I'm sexy?"

"I think you're even sexier now than when I first laid eyes on you."

See how easy that is?

But, if you find you must think of us in terms of automobiles, I for one would prefer you keep a few things in mind.

I am a vintage model that has been around the track a couple of times, but for the most part, I stay garaged. My exterior is showing a few minor signs of wear, but I make sure I touch up any problem areas as soon as I find them. I am waxed on a regular basis and although my tires are a little low, they still have a lot of miles left in them. My driver's seat does have memory, but it would be nice if you would put it in a different position once in a while. And most importantly, I was built for cruising, not the Indy 500. Take your foot off the accelerator.

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Copyright 2004, Sherri Bailey
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