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Earth to Mars! … Earth to Venus!…

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In his book Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, John Gray asserts that women complain about problems because they want their problems to be acknowledged, while men complain about problems because they are seeking solutions.

In anticipation of Valentine's Day next week, I'm posting a classic by Dave Barry that highlights Gray's assertion. I laugh every time I read this!

Let's say a guy named Roger is attracted to a woman named Elaine.

He asks her out for dinner, she accepts, and they have a pretty good time. A few nights later he asks her out to a concert, and again they enjoy themselves. They continue to see each other regularly, and after a while neither one of them is seeing anybody else.

And then, one evening when they're driving home, a thought occurs to Elaine, and without really thinking, she says it aloud, "Do you realize that, as of tonight, we've been seeing each other for exactly six months?"

And then there is silence in the car.

To Elaine, it seems like a very loud silence. She thinks to herself: I wonder if it bothers him that I said that. Maybe he's been feeling confined by our relationship; maybe he thinks I'm trying to push him into some kind of obligation that he doesn't want, or isn't sure of.

And Roger is thinking: Wow. Six months.

And Elaine is thinking: But, hey, I'm not so sure I want this kind of relationship, either. Sometimes I wish I had a little more space, so I'd have time to think about whether I really want us to keep going the way we are, moving steadily toward ... I mean, where are we going? Are we just going to keep seeing each other at this level of intimacy? Are we heading toward marriage? Toward children? Toward a whole lifetime together? Am I ready for that level of commitment? Do I really even know this person?

And Roger is thinking: ... so that means it was ... let's see ... February when we started going out, which was right after I had the car at the dealer's, which means ... lemme check the odometer ... Whoa! I am way overdue for an oil change here.

And Elaine is thinking: He's upset. I can see it on his face. Maybe I'm reading this completely wrong. Maybe he wants more from our relationship, more intimacy, more commitment; maybe he has sensed – even before I sensed it – that I was feeling some reservations. Yes, I bet that's it. That's why he's so reluctant to say anything about his own feelings. He's afraid of being rejected.

And Roger is thinking: And I'm gonna have them look at the transmission again. I don't care what those morons say, it's still not shifting right. And they better not try to blame it on the cold weather this time. What cold weather? It's 87 degrees out, and this thing is shifting like a garbage truck, and I paid those incompetent thieves $600.

And Elaine is thinking: He's angry. And I don't blame him. I'd be angry, too. I feel so guilty, putting him through this, but I can't help the way I feel. I'm just not sure.

And Roger is thinking: They'll probably say it's only a 90- day warranty. That's exactly what they're gonna say, the rats.

And Elaine is thinking: maybe I'm just too idealistic, waiting for a knight to come riding up on his white horse, when I'm sitting right next to a perfectly good person, a person I enjoy being with, a person I truly do care about, a person who seems to truly care about me. A person who is in pain because of my self-centered, schoolgirl romantic fantasy.

And Roger is thinking: Warranty? They want a warranty? I'll give them a warranty. Why, those ....

"Roger," Elaine says aloud.

"What?" says Roger, startled.

"Please don't torture yourself like this," she says, her eyes beginning to brim with tears. "Maybe I should never have ... I feel so . ." (She breaks down, sobbing.)

"What?" says Roger.

picture of knight on white horse

"I'm such a fool," Elaine sobs. "I mean, I know there's no knight. I really know that. It's silly. There's no knight, and there's no horse."

"There's no horse?" says Roger.

"You think I'm a fool, don't you?" Elaine says.

"No!" says Roger, glad finally to know the correct answer.

"It's just that ... It's that I ... I need some time," Elaine says.

(There is a 15-second pause while Roger, thinking as fast as he can, tries to come up with a safe response. Finally he comes up with one that he thinks might work.)

"Yes," he says.

(Elaine, deeply moved, touches his hand.)

"Oh, Roger, do you really feel that way?" she says.

"What way?" says Roger.

"That way about time," says Elaine.

"Oh," says Roger. "Yes."

(Elaine turns to face him and gazes deeply into his eyes, causing him to become very nervous about what she might say next, especially if it involves a horse. At last she speaks.)

"Thank you, Roger," she says.

"Thank you," says Roger.

Then he takes her to her home. After he leaves, she throws herself on her bed, a conflicted, tortured soul, and weeps until dawn; whereas when Roger gets back to his place, he opens a bag of Doritos, turns on the TV, and immediately becomes deeply involved in a rerun of a tennis match between two Czechs he's never heard of. A tiny voice in the far recesses of his mind tells him that something major was going on back there in the car, but he is pretty sure there is no way he would ever understand what, and so he figures it's better if he doesn't think about it. (This is also Roger's policy regarding world hunger.)

The next day Elaine will call her closest friend, or perhaps two of them, and they will talk about this situation for six straight hours. In painstaking detail, they will analyze everything she said and everything he said, going over it time and time again, exploring every word, expression, and gesture for nuances of meaning, considering every possible ramification. They will continue to discuss this subject, off and on, for weeks, maybe months, never reaching any definite conclusions, but never getting bored with it either.

Meanwhile, Roger, while playing racquetball one day with a mutual friend of his and Elaine's, will pause just before serving, frown, and say:

"Say, Norm, did Elaine ever own a horse?"


Do you think this is a pretty accurate picture of the relationship between most men and women you know, or is your experience a lot different from this?


"The labor of self-love is a heavy one indeed. Think whether much of your sorrow has not arisen from someone speaking slightingly of you. As long as you set yourself up as a little god to which you must be loyal, how can you hope to find inward peace?" - A.W. Tozer

=^..^= =^..^=

Men are from earth. Women are from earth. Deal with it!

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9 Comments on “Earth to Mars! … Earth to Venus!…”

  1. #1 Dahv
    on Feb 5th, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    First Comment!!

    I saw this performed as a duet acting in high school—it was QUITE hilarious!!

  2. #2 Rob
    on Feb 5th, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    @Dahv – Congrats on being the first to comment! 🙂 I think I’ve seen it done also at a Valentine’s banquet … also quite hilarious! Etudie bien!

  3. #3 Jewel
    on Feb 6th, 2009 at 7:09 am

    This is one of my favorite Dave Barry pieces! I read it a few years ago and about died laughing! It is still just as funny! BUT I’m not sure that this is how all men think. Surely not mine? *grin*

  4. #4 Deb
    on Feb 6th, 2009 at 8:30 am

    Yes, unfortunately men are like this….:)

  5. #5 Joe
    on Feb 6th, 2009 at 10:39 am

    This is classic, and its very accurate. Very funny!

    I have been a long time reader of your blog, and look forward to each new post. Thanks

  6. #6 Michael
    on Feb 6th, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    I would argue that most women are not as analytical as Elaine and most men are not as dense as Roger. I actually tend to be quite analytical about things like this. Or, I should say, I used to be. Now that I’m married I don’t get into all the little nuances that I used to before getting married. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad. I suppose it would be bad if I were taking things for granted in our relationship, but I don’t believe that’s the case.

    Anyway, thanks for the post. I’m a big Dave Barry fan. I get a real kick out of his humor. He has a book on his version of American History that is downright hysterical. Makes me laugh out loud when I read parts of it. Thanks also for the quote from Tozer.

  7. #7 Rob
    on Feb 7th, 2009 at 9:03 am

    @Jewel – I love this one too. Someone e-mailed to say they thought is was boring, but I LOL everytime I read this one.

    @Deb – How about women, Deb? Are they all like Elaine? 🙂

    @Joe – It is indeed a classic … and classic Dave Barry. I just had to have this as something on my blog that people could stumble across and enjoy time and time again. Glad you enjoy my posts.

    @Michael – I agree that it’s way too hard to stereotype all men and all women. Many of us defy the box people try to put us in. But I do recognize that men and women think differently, and in fact, I count on it. I treasure my wife’s input on many issues, and vice versa, because we do look at things from slightly different angles. It’s a wise man who at least considers his wife’s concerns and fears – it can keep him out of a heap of trouble! I believe that that’s part of what designed when he gave Adam a help suitable to him. She complemented him, and maybe even complimented him from time to time. 🙂

  8. #8 Vikki
    on Feb 8th, 2009 at 6:42 am

    I believe that women do tend to emotionalize and complicate things more than men. I once heard it put like this:

    Men say they’re hot – but women say they’re MELTING!
    Men say they’re hungry – but women say they’re STARVING!
    Men say they’re tired – but women say they’re DYING!
    Men say they’re cold – but women say they’re FREEZING!
    Men say they’re wet – but women say they’re DROWNING!

  9. #9 Rob
    on Feb 8th, 2009 at 8:22 am

    @Vikki – That’s an interesting perspecitive you’ve added. I’ll be interested to see if there are any reactions to it.