Mirror, mirror that I see, who’s more stressed–him or me?

Categorized as Grounds for Insanity column, Rhonda's Posts

In the Great, Unsolved Mysteries of the Universe, this one ranks right up there. My vast experience with the opposite sex notwithstanding, I remain confused, perplexed and kerflummoxed; in a word, clueless.

It happened again the other night. There we were, watching television, when the phone rang. Two things happened simultaneously. Someone (that’s me) shouted, “Turn it down!” while Someone Else (that’s The Mister) made a mighty swipe for the remote. And came up empty.

It went downhill from there. Confusion reigned. Remotes rained, too, like so much confetti as the phone continued to ring. At the last split second, The Grabber found the needle in the haystack, punched the button and snatched up the phone as I lay limp, gasping like a trout stranded on the banks of the Pigeon River in Cheboygan.

In the wake of this recent incident, questions remain. Like this, “Why must a man have 43 handheld remotes?” For the life of me, I cannot compute this. On the small, wooden stand that holds such things, there are more remotes than there is equipment. We have fewer children, trucks and vans than we do controls. Why?

The second great mystery is how a remote simply…vanishes 5 seconds after its last use. I am not making this up. Someone changes the channel, then changes his mind, and like that, the remote is gone. I wish I were making this up.

The third inexplicable truth that science has yet to explain is why a man will dismantle a couch, rearrange the furniture in a 50-yard radius and text his buddies for prayer, all of this in pursuit of the missing remote. This is a mere scientific observation, that’s all, and it’s not just The Mister who does it.

It’s his sons, too. To a man, they would rather take the measures detailed above than to do what seems easiest to me; that is, to travel the five steps to the unit and use a finger. Huh.

While there’s much I can’t explain about them, there’s a little ole’ thing they don’t get about me, either. Take the mirror behind the door in the bedroom. It’s long; full length, in fact, and it only showed up after many veiled hints that finally progressed to outright begging. Some fluttering eyelashes may or may not have been involved. I can’t say.

Anyway, after many lunar cycles had passed, it appeared, having been carefully maneuvered up the stairs and around two hairpin turns before settling at last behind the door. Some manly huffing and careful rolling of eyes may have occurred during the mirror’s installation, but these went largely unnoticed by The Asker who’d learned the truth of the biblical promise that “those who ask shall receive.”

When it comes to mirrors, not one of the men here (and this includes the one who still sings in a sweet, childish soprano) appears to need a long one. In fact, they seem content with a simple square the size of a postage stamp, hung above the sink. If it can hold a pair of eyes, a forehead and bangs, it’s big enough. So what if you have to stand on your toes to floss, checking gumlines? It’s a mirror and it works, so it’s good.

The upshot is that there’s no competition, then, for my mirror. There’s no waiting. No jockeying for position. No fudging or budging or cutting in line. There’s no whacking, either, and no fist fights or slugging by someone who “got there first.” I have it all to myself.

This is because men never worry about how a pair of slacks fits across the hips. They don’t fret about the width of their thighs or the way a skirt drapes across the, uh, trunk.

Further, those hairdos they perfect in a stamp-sized mirror? They whoosh it into place and forget it. The polar ice caps will melt, and the Chicago Cubs will sweep the Series before they ever use a second mirror to check the right, the left and the back from all sides, looking for flyaway strands.

What it boils down to is that we all have our stressors. They’re just different, that’s all. A woman can’t eat a piece of pie without worrying about where it landed. For a man who comes home from a long day at work where he’s pushed hard and given his all, he’s shot. Pooped. Spent and exhausted, and he’d just like one thing to be easy. The clicker.

We may not understand each other, women and men, but we can still live in peace. I’ll try not to fuss when the cushions are flying, and he’s texting his buddies for prayer. If he won’t roll his eyes too far, it will help me when I’m “checking” on that last piece of pie. It will help a lot, too, if he gives the right answer when I ask, “Do you think I look fat?”

In the end, it will help him out, too. It sure will.

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