I write to you in response to your column of May 27, specifically on the following: Quoted from this column.
"Please let me know what you think of this. A not so young man in an executive position whom I have met on many occasions asked me if I would go to a concert with him. That is a date isn't it? I was thrilled to go, said yes and then feeling that I should, I offered to pay for my ticket. He said yes, that would be fine. Is something wrong here?"
"Confused". End of quote.
I have read your response several times, and each time I cannot help but think that the advice you give is faulty to some extent. I will explain…First of all, unless you did not reveal the entire letter of "Confused", then your response of "when you unfortunately offered he said an enthusiastic "Yes", seems to me a bit misleading… Nowhere in the original letter to you, indicates an 'enthusiastic' acceptance of "Confused" offering to buy her own ticket.
However, where I find your reasoning is off is the advice given, given the fact that you do not know what was going on in the mind of the person extending the invitation… Most women cannot read minds as far as I can recall.
As a man I can tell you, that if I were to extend such similar invitation to a woman, perhaps in hopes that it would be a date, and she offered to pay her own way, I would then interpret that as a signal that she is not interested in being anything more than friends. However, having already extended the invitation, and not wishing to be rude by withdrawing it, I will accept her offer and hide my disappointment that friendship is all she offers.
Thank you so much for your e-mail.
Sometimes we all have to read between the lines and over the telephone line. Let's go over the scene again. The so-called gentleman asked the lady to go to a concert. She then offered to pay for her own ticket. After this offer was made to him his reply was, "Yes that would be fine". Notice his reply was not even just a "Yes". He qualified it, THAT WOULD BE FINE. That smacks of enthusiasm. Now, I was not there, neither sir were you (or ye gads could this have been you?), but it would seem to me that you are not very savvy about the intuition of most women who can read body language, ergo some of us therefore, do know what you men are thinking and clear and concise communication is not the natural terrain of many men.
As (and I am sure you are) an assertive and confident man, would you have said "Yes, that would be fine?" Surely if you were looking for friendship or more than just friendship with Ms Confused your immediate answer to her offer would have been, "Not at all, I would like you to be my date for the evening". Now that is very clear communication.
But you know something? Having just reread the last two lines of your e-mail I am disappointed in you and am left to ponder if you are hiding behind an over simplification of "manners" and would have been really quite happy that she was going to pay for her own ticket.
Did I unknowingly write about you?
My husband of many years seems to be getting more and more disinterested in talking clearly to me. His answers are "Yes" or "No" or "Perhaps" and our sixteen-year-old son is now just as bad. His speech is also monosyllabic as above or "cool", "awesome" or in phraseology that I do not understand all the time like: "Doh hot yu head". "Get in the dance," "wetting" and "bad" when something looks "good". I know where some of it is coming from, but I am wondering if something is wrong with my role as a wife and mother. He is also most disappointing when it comes to giving directions. I heard him attempting to describe how to get to someone's house and I was appalled.
Thank you for your telephone call. You sounded so upset on the phone. Try not to be and do not blame yourself.
I am neither a marriage counsel nor a family therapist, but can safely say that men internalise and keep emotions in and do NOT communicate in the same way women do. If you feel there are grave problems, then as I told you there is an organisation called "Families in Action" that you can consider contacting.
Now about your son. He is, no doubt, in the grips of teenage confusion which can manifest itself not only in his manners (or lack of it), or in his speech (or lack of it), so the catchy phrases and opposite meaning words may soon depart from his vocabulary. However, you have to be carefully on the alert for his continued incoherence when it comes to relaying directions to get anywhere and his no doubt continuance of the word "right" at the end of sentences. (Right?)
Look, we Caribbean people are notoriously bad at trying to give directions. In Jamaica we might say: 'Is just hover the next hill, you soon come to it" when it could be miles away. In T&T when I get lost (as I am known to do when travelling to and from San Fernando and now Chaguanas), the directions are given like this, "Go straight"– then in Endeavor a few weeks ago – "drive until yuh come to Chief Curry, turn right, and left and right and left, right?" I asked three different people – all very polite – but who gave me the same muddled instructions. The fourth person told me, "Who tell yuh to go to Chief Curry, must be a man, doh go to no Chief Curry, go straight, straight, then turn..." I was trying to get out of Chaguanas and got lost in Endeavor. I could see the highway back to Port of Spain and just could not get there. A kind truck driver kindly took pity on me. Why can't people just be more explicit and give landmarks? Say turn on the second road on the right beside a big blue water tank!"
I, however, now know the way, thanks to a very pleasant and efficient young lady – or two! Yea, yea I can get out of Chaguanas from Yard Street! But still cannot find my way out of San Fernando.
So L, please train your son and husband to 'beef up' their communication skills.
Happy Father's Day, all you CONTRIBUTING Dads, not only in paying to support your children (and knowing how many children you do have), but also in giving them your, time, understanding – and- LOVE.