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Men Are So Hard to Understand

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I came home and noticed there was a box outside the front door.  I was pretty sure it couldn't have been anything for me, so I left it for my husband.

My husband came home, saw the box, brought it inside, and began to open it with much joy.  "Hmm" I thought, "what's in the box?" I also thought, "maybe he got me a present?"

So he opened the box and pulled out another box.  I tried to look busy and not pay too much attention so that I could be fully surprised in case there might be a present in there for me.

Just as I was expecting to hear a big "Surprise!!!" he took the inner box and went upstairs.  I followed.  I watched him take the contents of the inner box out and realized that it was a toothbrush. An electric toothbrush.

We each have our own electric toothbrush, same brand, same everything.  We don't have the fanciest of toothbrushes, but they get the job done better than the ones that are even less fancy.

Well, my husband had decided that it was time to replace his toothbrush and so had ordered himself a new one.  A new one to replace the old one.  No big deal.  That is until I noticed that he had upgraded to a much nicer, much fancier toothbrush.  The kind that made mine look so last-decade, at least.

Super excited about his new present, he unwrapped all the contents, and threw the old toothbrush into the garbage with pride.

"What's going on?" I asked.

"Oh, just got myself a new toothbrush," he answered.

My immediate reaction was: "Where is my new toothbrush?"  But I decided to let this one go.  It was just a toothbrush.  Whatever.  I really did try to not let his new toothbrush have any power over me.

But I couldn't help myself.  Every time I went into the bathroom, I had to stare at his brand new, fancy, shiny, 21st century, advanced oral care brush with a whitening option.  I couldn't help but compare it to my old-fashioned, 20th century-looking motor brush, which I realized at that moment I'd hated all along.

My reaction was: "WHERE IS MY NEW TOOTHBRUSH?"

And so it started…

"How come you didn't get me a replacement toothbrush?"

"I didn't know you needed a new one."

"You didn't know because you didn't ask."

"How was I supposed to know that you needed yours replaced?"

"Well if you needed yours replaced then why wouldn't I need mine replaced?"

"Do you need a new toothbrush? I will order one for you, too" 

"Too late now, you should've asked me before.  That's what you should've done!" 

"So I'm asking you now.  What kind of toothbrush would you like?" 

"One that is nicer than yours!" 

The moral of this story?  First you date guys who do the kinds of things you can never understand.  Then you marry the best one and he too does things you can never understand.

Looking back, I realize that the issue was caused by the differences between the male and the female perspectives on…well, pretty much everything.

The man decided he needed a new toothbrush, so he got himself one.  The woman could never understand this pattern of action because she would never have replaced her toothbrush without asking her husband if he needed his replaced too.  So his action made her feel left out and unimportant.

That's the beauty of married life.  It's like going to a never-ending school where you major in marriage.  Each day is a lesson.  And each year is a new class.  Except there are no grades in this school.  All the classes are pass/fail.

About Ani Ram

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    So, this is what makes it not only as BC rated material but crucial insight to marriage?? HA! He bought a toothbrush…Get over yourself. It’s not a critical perspective, it’s a decision. And, for you to say that a woman would never take this course of action sounds pretty feminist to me.

  • http://1000thingsaboutjapan.blogspot.com/ Shari

    I don’t think this is a male/female issue so much as a personal one. Your husband frames the world in a particular way. There are things he feels are of concern to both of you and qualify as requiring mutual consultation. There are things that are so pragmatic that he will buy one if he wants one and figures you will do so as well.

    I will grant that women are far more likely to frame life in such a way that they will look after the needs of others before or while they look after each others needs, but I think that women also do things like go buy new clothes without asking their husbands if they need new clothes. I’m sure your husband just sees buying a toothbrush the same way you might see a new pair of shoes.

    I think this article speaks most interestingly to your character, to be honest. Either you feel you need “permission” to get new things rather than buy them when you want them and feel he must also get permission from you, or you feel entitled to an equal material life to your husband, even when you were perfectly satisfied with the status quo before he got himself an upgrade.

  • Paul

    Glad I am not married to you. Jeez. You see, men think logically – “I need a new toothbrush, so I will get me a new toothbrush.” And you’ve pretty much shown how women think.

  • http://www.audio-drivers.org roger nowosielski

    I can see this from both sides of the argument actually. Sure, if the guy buys a new toothbrush it’s not really a big deal. But in a marriage it should be second nature to ask your wife if she needs a new toothbrush too.

    Like, say you’re getting hungry around lunch time on Saturday. You fix yourself some lunch, without asking your wife if she’s hungry. That’s pretty selfish, isn’t it? Sort of the same thing.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    I’m with the writer. I’m not even “married” to my significant other and if I buy a toothbrush, I buy two. Case in point the local pharmacy had a certain brand of toothpaste on sale yesterday. I bought two tubes, one for me, one for him.

    Relationships, marriage, whatever you want to call it is a partnership. A little common courtesy goes a long way. I tried that when I was married to a woman and for the most part it worked. The frustrations of a relationship cross the gender divide. I know couples — lesbian, gay and straight who whine about the lack of consideration. So, Ani, don’t look at it as a “male” thing. Do what I do when I get pissed — just say NO the next time he wants a little. A smidgen of rejection goes a long way!

  • http://www.understandanyman.com Ani Ram

    Thank you, Roger and Silas…finally!

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    No, Ani, THANK YOU for reminding us that whatever the relationship, common courtesy goes a long way! So, small bit of advice, shut him off for a week or two… the testosterone backup will change his attitude!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Believe it or not, Ani, #4 is not by me. I haven’t read your article and that’s not, anyway, my style of response. Totally foreign to me. Which makes me wonder: why would anyone want to usurp my name. Will the real culprit stand up.

    It’s imperative that read your article now and comment anew.

  • Dan

    The way it works at my house is, I would’ve never bought a new toothbrush until the old one malfunctioned. At that point I would have told my wife to get a new one, and I would take control of her old one.

    I think you should disregard Silas’ vengeful advice. Instead, just continue with the gentle reproach to his thoughtlessness and the hurt it has caused.

    Carefully applied, the soft pedaled approach will eventually guilt him into the behaviour you desire.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    The title seems wrong because apparently you do understand: “The man decided he needed a new toothbrush, so he got himself one,” and then you project all your insecurities of feeling left out and unimportant onto the event.

    Even though you were hoping for a present, you were fine that he replaced his toothbrush until you were struck with envy because you noticed it was nicer than yours, which didn’t need replacing as evidenced by your refusing to answer the question. Then you want one nicer than his. Why?

    Sorry, but the way this is written I don’t see what the relationship advice is other than anyone involved with you should know you are needy and self-centered.

    Also, your generalization that no woman would ever just buy herself something is patently false.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    OH, let her be, Bicho. After all she does launder the husband’s underwear. I have a suggestion for exacting revenge in that regard. Try embroidering “Home of the Munchkin” on the pouch of his jockstrap.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Also, your generalization that no woman would ever just buy herself something is patently false.

    More than that. In my experience there are far, far more things in the world that a woman can buy for herself and in many cases will by for herself. The largest portion of our consumer culture is really geared towards women. For men the opportunities to buy on a whim are few and far between. Self indulgence is frowned on in the male culture in a way which it is not for females.

    So your husband bought a toothbrush. How much make-up and how many new outfits have you bought since the last time he bought himself something?

    Dave

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Self indulgence is frowned on in the male culture in a way which it is not for females.

    Now, Dave, you know I’m a man’s man and that I love you more than my luggage, but…

    Men have their toys and whims. Stereos, computers, cars, golf clubs, liquor, girlie magazines (unless you’re gay then it’s Mandate), pool tables, video games, beer…

    Need I say more? Sure things are geared toward women but they’re all small ticket items. When we boys buy on a whim it usually requires a second mortgage.

    As they say at Fox News.. We report, you retort!

  • zingzing

    jesus christ. this is in the culture section.

    guppy: [to a woman] “Get over yourself.”

    wander in a womanless wilderness until you die.

    paul: “And you’ve pretty much shown how women think.”

    and now you know. and knowing is half the battle. the other half involves intelligence [edited].

    dan: “the soft pedaled approach will eventually guilt him into the behaviour you desire.” [is dan british?]

    why don’t you just buy a woman?

    dave: “For men the opportunities to buy on a whim are few and far between. Self indulgence is frowned on in the male culture in a way which it is not for females.”

    dave needs to see some advertising.

    roger: “You fix yourself some lunch, without asking your wife if she’s hungry. That’s pretty selfish, isn’t it? Sort of the same thing.”

    romance, leftwing styleeeeee.

    silas: “I’m not even “married” to my significant other and if I buy a toothbrush, I buy two.”

    tis cheaper that way too. save some money for this economy. make someone happy.

    el bicho: “Also, your generalization that no woman would ever just buy herself something is patently false.”

    never been in a life-long relationship. (nor have i, but i’ve actually tried.) (and now i’m sexist in his mind.)

  • zingzing

    cuz eye B romantic when eye 1/2 2

  • zingzing

    anyone notice the right/left divide?

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    wow, amazing insight from one sentence. exactly how long is “life-long” because my 12-year relationship might come close?

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Hey Zing…

    First, are you a woman? (Cuz, I never asked before & it would only make sense with some of your responses)

    Second, last time I checked the Wilderness is Womanless…What’s your point?

    I’ve been married for almost 2 years and I can tell you that if my wife ever flipped on me about a freakin toothbrush, when she went out and bought a f*cking $100 blender, I would most definitely tell her to get a grip.

    And, I certainly don’t know what this Silas guy is smokin but if I ever had to make a major purchase that required a second mortgage then my wife would’ve been in the loop from the beginning. Actually, she would have created the loop & I would have been handed strict orders about the purchasing process.

    It’s obvious Mr. Kain hadn’t been with a woman long enough…

  • zingzing

    zingzing is pandrogynous. like genesis.

    mr. kain knows empathy.

    el bicho has become complacent.

    your wife may be self-sufficient, but…

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Are you sure you don’t mean “androgynous”? Though, I could have sworn a creator can have a physical gender but not the act or event. Or is that a “hipster” remark that I don’t care to “get”?

    mr. kain shows empathy towards feminism.
    (you forgot to finish your sentence)

    el bicho seems grounded but not complacent

    your wife may be self-sufficient, but… what?? It’s not like you to stop in the middle of an insult. Come on now…Don’t be bashful in front of one of our new BC authors.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Pretty sure the Zinger is referring to Genesis P-Orridge. Might want to Google it, B.

  • zingzing

    “Are you sure you don’t mean “androgynous”?”

    it’s not so much a mix, but a flowering of all in random spots.

    “Or is that a “hipster” remark that I don’t care to “get”?”

    you wouldn’t “like” it if i told you.

    “el bicho seems grounded but not complacent”

    only his wife would know.

    “what?? It’s not like you to stop in the middle of an insult.”

    it’s meant to be open ended. imagine what you will. it’s better that way, trust me. your mind can go anywhere it wants to. come on… “self-sufficient?”

  • zingzing

    see, the canadian gets it!

  • zingzing

    “mr. kain shows empathy towards feminism.
    (you forgot to finish your sentence)”

    hmm. i was actually thinking towards women. it makes more sense than feminism, given the context, doesn’t it?

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    It’s obvious Mr. Kain hadn’t been with a woman long enough…

    Long enough to know that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

    And, I certainly don’t know what this Silas guy is smokin but if I ever had to make a major purchase that required a second mortgage then my wife would’ve been in the loop from the beginning. Actually, she would have created the loop & I would have been handed strict orders about the purchasing process.

    Hmm. Well, we know who wears the pants in that household.

    Many of my remarks in this thread were light hearted with no malice intended. I still think that relationships, whatever their dynamics, have to be rooted in mutual respect and courtesy.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Men have their toys and whims. Stereos, computers, cars, golf clubs, liquor, girlie magazines (unless you’re gay then it’s Mandate), pool tables, video games, beer…

    With the exception of beer, porn and videoo games these are all large one-time purchases. Once I have a pool table I never need to buy another (the one I bought in 1976 still works). There’s just not anywhere near as much of a market for high-price and short-duration luxury items for men.

    Dave

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Hmm. Well, we know who wears the pants in that household.

    Yea, and in most cases it’s the same in every marriage. That’s why there is so much great & truthful comedy about relationships(Sam Kinison & Rodney Dangerfield come to mind)

    But, ultimately, I agree with you Silas,though, that mutual respect & courtesy doesn’t always translate well in a married couple’s communication. I still think this “toothbrush” incident was a bit immature. It sounds like a new relationship…

    Pretty sure the Zinger is referring to Genesis P-Orridge. Might want to Google it, B.

    Sorry I asked and sorry I google’d it…*Ugh*

  • zingzing

    told you you wouldn’t like it

  • lily

    We need to get rid of this idea that men ‘think logically’ silliness.

    It is logical thinking that women would ask if their partner would want a new toothbrush also.

  • lily

    “Long enough to know that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. ”

    Another fallacy about women. I don’t know, many times violence escalates against women who leave abusive marriages.

  • Mindraker

    Even if the guy bought a toothbrush for you, it wouldn’t be the right kind/color/brand/model, or he would have forgotten the coupon or membership card. So you would have had to go back to exchange it anyway. And really, would the guy have remembered the receipt?

  • Murry

    This is hilarious! I love u all! 26/ m – not married. Did i mention single!

  • Jon

    That’s not a man thing, that’s a your husband is a selfish prick thing. If my gf , that i have lived with for years, had the same toothbrush as i did and i decided to replace mine, i wouldn’t even ask her, I’d just buy it. I bought both of our sonicare toothbrushes in the first place. When the heads need replacing we take turns buying them and we don’t even mention it. It’s just there. We love each other and aren’t petty, what’s mine is hers and vise versa.