Tuesday, 12 July 2011

He Said, She Said (The Silent Conversation)

My husband and I engage in a lot of silent conversation. You know the type: he says one thing, but means something else. You say something and mean something else. What you are really saying is in what’s not said. This past weekend, and yesterday, Charlie and I engaged in this entertaining game. It went something like this:


Charlie: We need to wash socks. (Read: Could you throw a load of socks in?)

Me: That’s nice. (Read: I don’t need socks. You need socks. If you want me to do it, you’ll have to ask me properly. Besides, you aren’t doing any more than I am. Do it yourself!)

A very short conversation, to be sure, but I have talked to him about this before. Making a statement like that is not how you get me to do something. (g) Asking is better. Just because I work from home doesn’t mean I have nothing to do but your laundry/errands all day. Despite my noncompliance, the conversation continued yesterday.


Charlie: We need to wash socks. I’m down to holey ones. (I’m still wanting you to throw in a load of wash.)

Me: That’s nice. (Why are we repeating the same conversation? This didn’t work yesterday. And don’t ask now because you could have done this over the weekend. You know how contrary I am.)

Later Monday night

Charlie: I know you and Lily haven’t been wearing many socks, but I really need some. (You wander around barefoot or in flip flops because you don’t work, so do you think you could wash mine for me?)

Me: (Silence. We’ve been through this. Numerous times. What’s so hard about asking?)


No conversation, not even silent, has addressed this subject today. I am debating on whether or not to wash them. Yes, I am that contrary. I would laugh, because this whole situation is so stupid it’s hilarious, if I wasn’t so irritated by the whole thing. I might just let him hit no clean socks this time. Maybe he’ll learn. (g)

Now, I have to be fair and share a conversation full of silent words that had I just said what I wanted, it would have been much easier. That being said, I was tired, sick, hungry, and grouchy. Why didn’t I just say what I was on my mind? Gah! I don’t know. That would be too easy. (g)

Charlie: What do you want for dinner?

Me: I don’t know. (I want a burrito from Tito’s.) Something easy.

Charlie: How about Del Taco?

Me: Well, I kind of want a burrito. I don’t know if they have one I like there. (I don’t want to go to Del Taco. I want a burrito from Tito’s.)

Charlie: Why don’t we just go look? You don’t know.

Me: Yeah, I really don’t think they will have one I like there. Their tacos have been a little spicy lately. I don’t feel like even a little spicy. (I don’t want to go to Del Taco. I want a burrito from Tito’s.)

We are almost to Del Taco. He’s still insisting I take a look. Finally, I can’t take it any longer and say what’s really on my mind:

I don’t want to go to Del Taco. I want a burrito from Tito’s.

Charlie: (He looks at me and shakes his head.) Why didn’t you just say that?

Me: (Giggle) Surely you could tell I didn’t want to go to Del Taco. You should have from what I was saying.

He shakes his head again and chuckles.

BTW, I got what I wanted, but I’m still on the fence about his socks. What do you think?


Shaunna Wolf said...

We have those conversations around here, Mom, do we have any (insert thing that teen does not want to make and wants mom to make)

We also have the what I call restaurant "discussion." This almost always takes place in the car but unlike the car fight it is usually a bit more civil. it rarely takes place between two women, almost always between spouses, do men have this argument I don't know.

Goes like this,

Where do you want to eat?

I don't know where do you want to eat?

(big sigh) I don't know what are you hungry for?

(slight irritation in voice)I don't know that's why I asked you where you wanted to go.

This can go one for some time, until one person says:

Lets go to El Chico or some place that the other person knows they don't want to go to, but for some reason agrees to go.

In the parking lot if fate is with them the person who suggested the place says I really don't want to eat here.

You said you wanted to come here!

That's because I thought you wanted to come here!

What gave you that idea?!

Well, where do you want to go . . .

Brooklyn Ann said...

Gah! Picking restaurants is the worst! I usually know exactly what I want, but I want to give my husband a fair chance. And that usually ends up with sitting around for over 20 minutes going, "I don't know!"

And when I ask him to do something he says he will but he has like no short term memory and forgets instantly,then gets pissy because I have to tell him at least 5 times before it gets done.

Faith said...

You know me, Marci. My prompt reply to the sock issue would be: "Your arms and legs are not broken. You want socks? Go wash a damn load of socks! For god's sake, it's not rocket science."

I've only had to do that a couple times with the hubby, but it wasn't about clothes. It was about the kitchen table, behind it, and under it where the hubby sits and watches TV when he comes in from work. I'm at home while he busts ass at a labor intense job, so I don't mind washing his clothes, etc. The table issue, however, is a dif story. When you sit four-freaking feet from a trash can and leave all your trash AND dirty work clothes on the table, behind it and on the floor, Faith will go KA-BOOM!

Been almost 3 months now since he's left a mess at the table. I'm so proud of him, so I think I'll give him a gold star on his chart.

Faith said...

Btw, did you give in and wash socks yet?

trinity said...

Well since he did get you the burrito I'd wash his socks, but that is me. And yes I've had this many times, but mine has to do with his drinking. Don't even want to go there.


Jennifer Johnson said...

If he'd been a professional, he would have said, "Would you please wash my socks since I'm too lazy to do it myself" when you responded where you really wanted to go to eat. Men. (shakes head)

Cassie Exline said...

Forgive me, but I'd have washed the socks so I didn't have to hear him say another word about socks again. ;)

Faith said...

Cassie, that made me chuckle and had to comment again. I do see your point. Those constant obvious hints (or nagging) do grate on the nerves, don't they?

Jaime Samms said...

I think these conversations come about because, for instance, after fifteen years of marriage, a man should know it doesn't matter how he asks, I still don't like pizza, and there is no point asking what toppings I want, what pizza place I want to order from, or if I want thick/thin/stuffed/whole-wheat/deep-dish/frickin-beer-flavored crust, I still don't want pizza, and don't offer Chinese instead, because I don't like that, either. Why do I need to say it again? You forgot from last week? Again? We get tired of saying it over and frickin' over.
Just order me the damn chicken wings and leave it, already.
And Marci, the whole idea that since we work from home and have time to do housework and shit? Don't. Even. Get. Me. Started. Really. Don't.

HeWhoMustObey said...

I hope Charlie enlightens us on the real issues here...

Anthology Authors said...

Hahahahaha-- well, I still haven't washed the socks. Maybe not today. You know, on Friday, I felt like crap. We were laying in bed, and he asks me, "Do you think I should go to work?"

Me: Do you think you'll be able to stay all day?

Him: I don't know.

He stayed home. As I said, I didn't feel well, but I still have to get up and make breakfast. He, on the other hand, didn't do much until I made a snarky comment.

The issue I have is the passive aggressive shit. That's what these "hints" are. Besides which, he could have washed the socks Sunday.

I'll think I'll throw a load of towels in. (g)

Anthology Authors said...

Actually, this was a week or so ago with the restaurant. I don't owe him on the socks. Thus is a log running battle. He either learns to ask or does it himself. (g) Besides, he could have done it Sunday.

Anthology Authors said...


Yeah, it kind of irks me this "you work from home therefore you can do this for me." Um, no. Do it on the weekend or find time to do it. If I was at an office, what would you do then? Do that.

Anthology Authors said...


Yeah, it kind of irks me this "you work from home therefore you can do this for me." Um, no. Do it on the weekend or find time to do it. If I was at an office, what would you do then? Do that.

Anthology Authors said...

We have those conversations, too, Shaunna. They are maddening.

Fiona McGier said...

We settled the housework issue by my vacuuming while he was trying to take a nap, and I slammed it into the bed so hard it knocked a chunk of wood off...he taught the kids to vacuum after that. He also taught them all to do their own laundry, and he does his own while I'm at work.
My biggest complaint is he still hasn't learned that when I tell him about my problems, I'm not looking for him to provide a solution...just pat me and say, "There, there". I'm smart enough to solve my own damn problems! I'm just venting! Isn't that obvious?
After 30 years haven't you learned that yet?

Margaret said...

Ah, yes. I'm so glad I'm not the only one who engages in the silent silent treatment.

Elizabeth Parkinson Bellows said...

Definitely a universal language - especially the "we" need to wash socks. "We" always means "you".
Sometimes I hold out (especially when I want him to mow the lawn); but when I see him wearing his socks that are so old they sag around his ankles I take pity on him.

Jaime Samms said...

What totally irks me, Marci, is that when I am working a day job, there is no issue. the house is maintained in a moderately clean level, the kids get where they need to be on time, practice what they need to practice and learn what they need to learn. They are fed and watered and occasionally shower, and all this happens without my input, when I am working out of the house. the minute the day job ends, suddenly, he needs me to help out around the house doing stuff that all--what--magically happened on it's own when I wasn't there?

Jaime Samms said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jaime Samms said...

Elizabeth, I am a broken human being and a sorry excuse for a wife. I have no pity. or, how's that song go? my give-a-damn is busted.

(As I sit here at the YMCA watching the kids when I should be home writing and he sits at home watching doing whatever he does when he's managed to get me to do this.)

Elizabeth Parkinson Bellows said...

Jaime, I rarely take pity on him (which I feel bad about admitting) I do a lot more bitching about all of the double standards I have to put up with.
It is my own fault because I married a mama's boy. He was raised by Super Woman. Shute, they even had white carpet. Who has white carpet in their house with four boys? She did everything for him.

Anthology Authors said...


I don't know if that will ever change. It will be 10 years for us next month, and no matter how many times I've told him that I want him to just listen, but don't fix, he still tries to fix. Drives me batty! LOL

Housework? His housework includes: washing clothes (it does happen), vacuuming the living room, and washing dishes (provided all of the dishes are in the sink because, you know, he's got those blinders on. grin)


Anthology Authors said...

I think it's a universal language, Margaret. (g) You are not alone. No one is alone. (Sorry, started singing a song from Into the Woods.)

Anthology Authors said...

I'm so there with you, Jaime. The same exact thing happens to me. When I did work out of the house, the agreement was pretty good. Since working in the house, he hasn't cleaned the bathrooms. Guess who gets to do that. I've even tried letting them go. Nope. It's amazing what kind of disgusting a man can put up with. ;)

Anthology Authors said...

Mine wasn't a momma's boy, Elizabeth. He lived on his own for a long time. You'd think he could do for himself. I think he just wants me to take care of him. Fine, but it goes both ways. :)

Robyn M Speed said...
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Robyn M Speed said...

Oh that is so freaking hilarious!!!

My husband finally realized that I was not going to wash his clothes any more (having done it for 25 years of marriage) when the pile just got bigger and bigger. Finally he took the hint. He makes the odd complaint about the exhaustion of doing his ironing, generally just before I walk out the room and make myself a nice cup of tea.

Loved your blog!

Janice said...

Hubby and I had a conversation like that just today. But the problem is, I'm kind of thick.

Hubby: "I'm taking friend from work all the way to Clovis. It's a long drive and I'll be driving back all by myself." (Come with me so I won't be lonely.)

He look me up and down. I'm dressed in a kind of nice at home outfit. (His look implies that I'm dressed nice enough that I won't embarrass him in public.)

I nod. "Yeah you will be all alone."

Hubby: "I won that gift certificate at Wal-Mart." (There's a bribe in this for you, if you'll go with me.)

Me: "Yeah, you did."

Then hubby's bottom lip come out. (Your not getting what I'm trying to tell you.)

"Oh!" I look a him again. "You want me to go with you."

He grins and bats his big brown eyes at me. (That's what I've been trying to tell you.)

Me: "Okay, let me get my purse." (God, I'm dense. But I'll take that bribe.)