So about three months ago, one of my neighbors (male) was chatting with another of my neighbors (female) at a block party down the street. They looked really friendly, chatty, close. My male neighbor has a pretty hot wife – a stay-at-home mom, two kids, one of them less than a year old. But she still takes the time to work out and dress cute, keep house. Not a bad woman, at least from what I can tell from the outside looking in. He travels a lot for business, but gets to work from home when he’s in town. Nice guy. Makes okay money, really likes yardwork, builds shit around the house. Doesn’t really dominate the social scene, but not really a loser. Not super-manly-man Rambo or anything, but he holds his own.
I comment to my wife that our neighbor’s probably cheating on his wife with that woman he’s talking to, and she laughs at me. Do I have a guilty conscience, she asks. Why do I see adultery every time a guy and a girl talk, she asks. I shrug, and tell her, “Men and women can’t be friends.” That sends her over the edge, so I back-peddle a little bit and try to couch my words in woman-speak, “Look, it’s just different when a man and a woman have a friendship. There’s always that undercurrent there. Because sex is possible, you think about it, she thinks about it, everybody who sees the two of you together thinks about it.”
“You honestly think every man who talks to a woman wants to have sex with her?”
“Pretty much. I mean, there are occasional exceptions, but if I’m a betting man playing statistics, then yes.”
“So when you talk to a woman, you want to have sex with her?”
“Duh. But don’t let it get to you. I’m a man. If I weren’t married and had the time and opportunity, I’d have sex with a full third of the women in the city. I don’t waste time talking to the ones I’d never consider sleeping with.”
“So you’d sleep with [woman I was just talking to]?”
“You’re an ass.”
That’s actually how I turned things around with my wife. I became friends with a female coworker. This was before our men-and-women-can’t-be-friends conversation that day. That’s how I knew that despite what she said that day at the block party, my wife knew darn well that I was right. Every night I worked late, every time I grabbed a beer with the office after work, my wife knew that she was there, and it scared her shitless. A single, age-appropriate woman, who might be interested in me, who respected me professionally and personally and valued my opinion, and was prettier than my wife, spending time with me. Buying my beers, to boot. Honestly, I don’t think my wife was afraid of actually losing me. She just thought that, God forbid, she might have to up her game or something.
Anyway, I was right about my neighbor. His wife’s two cities over with her parents and the kids. He’s trying to make things up to her, I think.
So my wife’s been being a bitch lately. She’s really been slipping, which means that I’ve been slipping. New job. Really difficult work, but good money, and a good career move. I’m working my ass off all day supporting the family, so my wife’s forgotten that I’m a badass.
Now, if I really wanted a divorce, I guess I could talk to her about her feelings and mine and try to communicate more, but I kind of like having my wife and my daughter around, and living in my house, and owning my assets, so I took an approach that actually works instead. My former coworker’s been having a hard time at work, so I invited her over for drinks to vent a bit. Nothing unseemly. My wife’s home. Our daughter’s home. Honestly, I’d have met her at a bar or something, but the weather was shitty, and I keep good beer in the fridge. We talk innocuously about work the whole time. But she vents, and I listen. So right there, in front of my wife, I’m totally paying attention and being an emotional tampon – for another woman. Nothing inappropriate. I’m being a perfectly polite, nice guy beta. For someone else.
That’s a great trick to get to your wife or girlfriend in line, by the way. Take note. If you want to dread a plate who respects you, you have to be a manly-man alpha winner and go game girls in front of her. But if you want to scare a disrespectful wife or girlfriend, give the beta comfort they’ve been trying to beat out of you to someone else. That makes them feel like a failure. They’d rather you fuck a million other women than be emotionally close with one.
So while my female friend’s over, she chats with my wife. She plays with my daughter – that really gets to my wife actually. How good she is with our daughter. My wife sucks with our kid most of the time. Then, she mentions that she and some of her family are going to do something fun the next day at an outdoor venue and invites us. I say sure, then look at my wife and ask to make sure we don’t already have anything scheduled. That was her out, but she admits that we don’t, so it’s on the books.
I wake up the next morning, and my wife asks me how we’re going to fit our daughter’s nap into our busy day. That’s code for, “Text your female friend and tell her we’re not coming.” I respond, “She can nap after [event].” “But that’s too close to dinner.” “We’ll deal with it. So will she. We’re raising her to be an adult. Adults like you and I don’t sleep at exactly the same time every day.”
I head to the gym. About the time I’m heading to shower, my wife texts that she’s not feeling well. I’m not letting her have this one. I text back that maybe she should stay home and rest, and that I’ll take our daughter out to give her a break. I then tell the guy with the locker next to me, “Watch this. My phone’s going to buzz in 3…2…1…”
Shit test time: “You’d like that, wouldn’t you?”
“Sure. I love rolling around in the grass with our kid.”
“I mean going without me. You don’t want me there.”
I figure she needs some reassurance: “It’s not a family outing without you, and I’d strongly prefer you there, but not if you’re not up to it.” I brace for it…
“Family outing my ass! I’ve been telling you that we should take [daughter] to do blahblahblah one of these weekends for months, and you barely respond, but when [female friend] invites you out, you jump at the chance!”
“[Female friend] actually planned the event. And it’s today, not one of these days. All we have to do is show up.”
“Sure. Go have fun with your girlfriend.”
Now, I don’t actually want a divorce, so I didn’t actually take her permission to go have fun with another woman literally. “Put your clothes on. If you’re not dressed when I get home, I will. You’re still not over the fact that a friend of mine happens to have a vagina?”
“You said it yourself. Men and women can’t just be friends.”
Shit. She actually listens when I talk! Maybe there’s hope for her yet. I then ignored the next dozen texts while driving home, because texting while driving is stupid. So is texting your wife when she’s being irrational and is supposed to be getting dressed so you’re not late.
I get home, and she’s dressed, because after text #12 of no response from me, she figured she’d better get her clothes on or I’d actually go without her. We go out, we have a great time, and we go home. She liked the venue so much that she wants to take some of her friends out there next month.
We actually waste words when we say “Men and women can’t be friends.” All you really have to say is, “Women can’t be friends.” Women can’t be friends with anybody. Not even other women. And they know this. So if you have a female friend, they know what’s up. If you’re married, women friends are built-in dread.