Wednesday, September 4, 2013

She Said, He Heard

(Disclaimer: Posted with Jay's approval. He knows he's not the only one.) 

I've heard many women complain that the men in their lives don't listen. But, ladies, it's not personal; it's biological. A scientific study proved that men only hear one-third of what is actually said. So, instead of balking against this apparent reality, just accept it.

I must admit that I'm fascinated by how this works. How do men choose which words to hear and which words to discard? Do they only hear the long words? Do they only hear nouns? Or verbs? How can they hear only a third of a one-word sentence?

After 11 years of studying Jay, my current conclusion is that there is no formula; male hearing is entirely random. 

Which I find rather funny.

To prove the point, following are some conversations that took place between Jay and me. (Which happened, by the way, when all the televisions, radios, phones, and computers were off, so, there were no distractions.)

One fine morning...

Me: Do you want something for breakfast?

He: No, I didn't.

Me: You didn't want breakfast?

He: I didn't have any.

Me: Yeah, I know; we both just got out of bed. I asked if you want some.

He: Some what?

Me: Breakfast.

He: No, I haven't had breakfast. 

One afternoon...

He: I need a snack. I think I'll get a bagel. Do you want one?

Me: Yeah, a bagel sounds good. I'd like an untoasted, plain bagel with nothing on it. Thanks, sweetie!

He: Got it.

Later, he handed me a toasted, blueberry bagel smothered in cream cheese. 

Me (genuinely intrigued): Honey, 'a plain bagel' doesn't sound remotely like 'a blueberry bagel.' How does that get switched in your head? Especially since I emphasized the word 'plain.'

He (shrugging): I guess I heard 'bagel' and stopped paying attention.

At least he admits it.

Me: Yeah, and I could understand if I'd asked for cream cheese and you confused it with something like 'green peas,' because they at least sound similar, but I said I wanted nothing on my bagel.

He: Sorry, I must have only been half-listening. I'll eat the blueberry bagel and get your plain bagel with green cheese. (Pause) What is green cheese? Like sour cream?

At this point, some of you might be thinking, Perhaps the poor man has hearing loss. He does not; I've had him checked. And he has no problem detecting when I climb on a kitchen counter or strike a match. Even if he's outside, he miraculously hears and comes in to bust me. The holes in his hearing only appear during conversation.

I've even tried speaking in two word sentences to see if that helps.

One day, he came home from the grocery store...

Me: Want soup?

He: No, I didn't.

Me: Didn't what?

He: Buy soap. I don't even remember you asking me to buy soap.

Me: I didn't.

He: Didn't what?

Me: Didn't ask you to buy soap.

He: Well, then why would you expect me to get any?

Me: We don't need soap. I said soup. I made homemade soup while you were gone. Do you want some chicken soup for lunch?

He: No, I didn't.

Me: Didn't what?

He: Buy chicken soup. I don't even remember you asking me to buy soup.

When he asks why I burst out laughing throughout the day, I tell him it must be a laugh track because we're clearly on a sit-com. 

Verse of the day: (Matthew 11:15) "If any man has ears to hear, let him hear." I'm not preventing him. Honest!

To understand why Jay can hear a match strike from the other side of the property, click here to read Panic-inducing Pamela.


  1. Hilarious, as always! I read this aloud to my husband and we were both in stitches! He said to tell you he really enjoyed the two-thirds of it he heard! :-)

    1. Hee hee!! To which Jay replied, "He's more evolved than most men since we usually only hear ONE-third of what is said." Fred is quite impressive.

  2. Pamela, the solution is very simple. You need to talk to him when he is on "high alert." If you're in bed, light a match--then when he rushes in, ask him for the bagel you want. If you're near a counter, climb up on it, and when he dashes in, give him your grocery list. You just have to work with that 1/3 most efficiently. ;-)


    1. Good thinking! Actually, I think I can use this to my advantage. When he finds me on a counter, I can say, "Oh, I heard you say 'Please don't' and stopped listening before you said, 'climb on the counters.' Oh, well."

  3. Clearly humor run in your family...your sister's comment was almost as funny as your post, which, by the way, made me laugh out loud more than once. I love reasons to laugh! Thanks again for giving me one.

    1. Your sherpa post was the BEST! I wish I'd thought of it first because that is SO Jay and me.

    2. Well, I read your blog aloud to Jerry and he laughed over and over. I had trouble reading it because we were both laughing so much. All he did when I read him mine was say, "Thanks, Honey."

  4. Pamela -

    Thanks for the big laughs. Comedy like yours is a blessing. Please keep sharing your delightful (and insightful) take on things!

    1. Thank you for the encouragement! I'm still new at this. I hope you like some of the other posts, too. Bless you.

  5. This is so true Pamela! Only 1 of my sons is completely able to restate everything I say- in detail. He is a rare find :).

    1. Rare indeed. I married a man very much like your other son. But I have to say that life is pretty funny with him around! (Green cheese?)