When compliments attack

Clothing on sale!

A man can go days without uttering a word. Sit two guys in an empty room for a week and grunts, farts and hand gestures will satisfy any necessity for communication. I once drove from Eglin AFB, Fla., to Washington, D.C., with another guy and the only words exchanged in that 13-hour trip went like this:

Me: Hungry?
Him: Yeah…

Then we pulled off the next exit and shoved a couple of burgers in our face.

Now, let’s contrast the whole speaking thing with women. Actually, I won’t discuss the generalities of women’s gift of gab. Instead I will focus on a specific and reoccurring event that I am sure every guy can attest too.

We know women like to shop (Uh, HELLO… Why else would they put a collapsible child seat/purse holder in shopping carts?). And it goes without saying (Well, to guys anyway) that women like to talk. Combine the two and you’re in for a storm. No, literally… You are in for a storm because the amount of air exhaled by the group of women conversing around the “SALE!” rack drops the atmospheric pressure creating the ideal environment for bad weather.

Come on ladies, you know you got a little excited when you saw that “Clothing Sale” graphic.

Anyway, the situation I am referring to occurs when someone compliments a woman on her attire. The gesture could be as simple as a passing comment like “Nice pants.” or a full-on “Queer eye for the straight guy” assault typically prefaced with “OH… MY… GOD… Like, where did you get that!!!” Either way, the result will be the same.

Let’s say I compliment a female co-worker by stating “I like your shirt.” Simple… To the point… A typical guy’s attempt at conversation with the opposite sex. In response to this brief compliment comes a disproportionate HUGE response.

It begins with a “Thank you!” and a pause… She then takes a deep breath and goes off on a ten minute rant about how cheap she bought it (Only $3!) and the friends she was with at the store (Did you know Suzie wears “Granny Panties?”) and how she felt at the time she saw it on the rack and how she talked the manager into giving her a bigger discount because the shirt had a microscopic tear in the armpit and OH! Did you know it comes in twenty different shades of fuchsia?

At this point I instinctively went into “wife mode” so the rest of the conversation resembled the muffled, tuba-like noise that all the adults make in the Charlie Brown cartoons. I threw in a couple of head nods once in a while and grunted whenever the pitch in her voice elevated suddenly… Just in case she was asking a question.

I guess this is another example of how men and women, despite their great differences, are still able to get along. Hmm… Just think of the utopia women would be in if men were sold on clothing racks and were put “On Sale!” occasionally. I wonder what kind of return policy Wal-Mart would have then?

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