The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By Bob Huber 

Decoding phrases for the married man


You ladies undoubtedly want to go in the other room and talk about whatever it is you talk about when you get together, because we guys will be smoking cigars in here, talking football, and we’ll flat out bore you to death.

Aw, don’t thank me. We’ll miss you.

Have they gone? Can they hear us? You there by the door, keep a cocked ear in case they come back. Now, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.

Red alert! It’s time for you young guys to learn the devastating phrases and gestures that your girlfriends will employ after you marry them. Research shows these expressions lie dormant before marriage, but just because you haven’t heard or seen them doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Think of the movie “Jaws.”

So the topic of today’s lecture is: “Expressions Wives Use to Keep Guys off Balance.” I’m an expert in this area with a PhD in plodding and 50-plus years of experience, and I have the knocks to prove it. We’ll start with the first devastating expression you’ll encounter — “FINE!”

Wives employ this expressive word as a finale to arguments, or as they say in French movies, “coop day grass.” Spoken with vigor and a bit of rancor, “Fine!” puts an end to further discussion even though you don’t mind saying you’ve never run out of gas or driven in the wrong direction. Well, hardly ever. Not in town anyway.

So when a woman says, “Fine!” she cuts a guy off at the ankles prompting him to reply, “Fine what?” or some other witty retort. I used to say, “Well, fine to you too!” but I gave it up, because I hate to eat out a lot, alone.

Warning: A guy should never use the word “fine” to describe his wife’s appearance. It delays dinner parties, and often results in staggering legal fees.

In addition to “Fine!” other wifely expressions will pop up from time to time, such as:

“I’LL JUST BE FIVE MINUTES.” In feminine parley, this means “one hour, more or less.” But it can be a two-edged sword if a guy plays his cards right and puts his nose to the grindstone. An erstwhile knowledge of metaphors helps too.

Wives employ the expression to designate the time it will take to get ready for a dinner party. Guys use it to explain how much time is left in a televised football game, especially if told to carry out the trash.

So what happens is, a wife says, “I’ll just be five minutes. Why don’t you carry out the trash while I’m getting ready?” The guy must reply, “That’s exactly how much time is left in the game. I’ll get the trash tomorrow.” It’s an even trade.

“NOTHING.” Wives say this word following a long, lingering sigh, which prompts an inexperienced guy to ask, “What’s wrong?” It’s best never to ask such a stupid question in the first place, unless you like to whip dead horses or wrestle with windmills.

“GO AHEAD.” This expression is often accompanied by raised eyebrows. When that happens, it’s a dare. “Go ahead, lift the stupid piano, Arnold. I’ve always wanted to hear you sing soprano.” With normal eyebrows it means “I give up. Do what you want.” Normal eyebrows show up when a guy says, “I’m thinking about bear hunting this year with just a pocket knife.”

“LOUD SIGH.” Though not a word, this is a statement that your wife thinks you’re an idiot, and there’s no use arguing about it. A loud sigh is simply a restrained expression for “Fine!” but over the long haul it doesn’t carry as much weight.

“SOFT SIGH.” This expression means, “Oh, I give up.” A soft sigh is her way of saying, “My mother told me there’d be days like this.” However, guys are warned not to move or make undue noise. Remember “Jaws.”

“THAT’S OK.” A woman employs these words when a guy points out she shouldn’t put celery or dead animals in the garbage disposal. A guy should be happy to hear her say this, because it’s always better than “Fine!” or even a “Soft Sigh.”

“PLEASE DO.” This is a wife’s way of saying, “Go ahead, tell me why you’re late,” and you will lie, of course, depending on the situation. But watch out for a lurking “Fine!”

“THANKS A LOT!” This expression is often followed by a “Loud Sigh,” or even a “Fine.” But you should never answer with “You’re welcome,” unless you prefer starched shorts. If she employs a “Loud Sigh,” don’t ask what’s wrong. You’ll just get a “Nothing,” and you know where that leads. Remember, “Fine!” is always on the prowl.

What’s what? They’re coming back? Uh, where were we? Oh yeah.

Well, how about them Cowboys?

Bob Huber is a retired journalist living in Portales.


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