Hear Me Out

A Girl's Best Friend
Feburary 3, 1997

"If diamonds looked like raisons,
would they still be so expensive?"
Sally Brown - Peanuts

There are many things I do not understand about women. And don't think just because I happen to be a woman that I have a clue. I must have been outside playing football with the guys when they had the lecture on the procurement of diamonds via feminine whiles.

As you may know, I've been in a relationship with the same woman for ten consecutive years. We've lived together for nine years and been "married" about seven years. Together we have a dog and we menstruate at the same time. By this time, you'd think I knew Leslie pretty damn well.

Well, you'd be wrong.

It started about six months ago, as an innocent comment made on one of those comfortable couch nights. As I sat there absentmindedly rubbing her feet, she mentioned getting rings for our anniversary. Good idea, I thought. Very symbolic. I imagined a smooth band of silver with a small but noticeable diamond to compliment our wedding rings. (If you squint real hard and hold it under a very bright light, you can just make out the diamond chip).

"I want a karat." She said. Somehow I know we weren't talking produce here.

"I don't know, isn't that a bit big?"

"I want a karat." She didn't blink.

"Do you realize how large a karat diamond is? I wouldn't be comfortable with that." That's the truth. I'm not cheap. Ask any waiter who ever ignored me. Even with the worst of service, spilled sauce and cold coffee, I'll tip. And it's not because I'm a wimp, either. It's my way of thanking the Gods for allowing me to go one more day without having to sling hash for a living.

"I want a karat." It was a mantra from deep inside. There was no reason or logic. It was simple. Her needs are few: Diet Pepsi when she gets home from work, big bars of soap in the shower and a diamond that could put your eye out.

Traditionally, I believe women have always used a certain amount of manipulation to get said diamond out of their men. This is known as using your feminine wiles. I have no wiles. This is my mother's fault. She could cajole, bicker and force her way into and out of any situation but there was no subtlety to any of it. I've seen the old lady make a rug merchant cry, a paint guy twitch and a hardware man cuss and mumble. Sure she gets what she wants, but there is so much effort and hurt feelings I never thought it was worth it.

I have a more direct route to getting things. I ask. If they say no, I stalk off and wonder what is wrong with me. When I was still drinking and angry all the time, I had a much more menacing air, so asking worked. If I ever did cause a scene, I must have been very drunk, so I don't remember it.

Leslie, on the other hand, can make men and women jump through flaming hoops. The worst part of it is she'll convince them it was their idea and they are enjoying every minute of it. I know from experience. Most of my body hair has been singed off over the last ten years, and I've had the time of my life!

The difference between our two styles is most evident in hardware stores. I'll wonder around for days looking for the right sized flange, surviving on water from the toilet display and Zagnut bars made in 1953 found under the employee snack machine. Finally, out of desperation and an overpowering sense of doom and failure, I'll ask a Hardware Guy. He'll point over his shoulder, walk theother way and mumble something about "next to the doo-flachies on aisle Q".

Leslie, wondering what has become of me, will walk in to the same store and three old Hardware Guys will ask what she's looking for. Ýhey'll escort her to the flanges, giver her a demonstration and open a register so she doesn't have to stand in line with the riff-raff.

In this life, I am glad of two things. She only uses her powers for good and she's on my side.


Please send me your comments and suggestions. Email me at lmjimene@ix.netcom.com.

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Copyright, 1997 by Laura Jiménez.