Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Unwinnable Scenario

There are words in a woman's vocabulary, besides "we need to talk", that ought to send a thinking man screaming out the door. They are this: "I'm going on a diet."

At first glance, you would think that this would bring joy and delight into a man's heart. Yes, she has said it! And without him having to point out that she has blossomed past the blushing bride of yore! But no. As with most woman things, what is on the surface is farthest from the truth.

The truth is that this woman who sits by him in the car, steely-eyed, vowing that she is by gum NOT going to give in like those other times, no, she really is going to hunker down and do it - get that nasty weight off - is now the Enemy of Fat. Being a new Crusader, she hunts it down and makes it scream for mercy - but not just in her own life. Now conversations with friends and neighbors will focus on this topic, and with herself in the mirror ("THINK before you eat that ice cream bar, for heaven's sake!!"). So instead of enjoying evenings of comfort with his wife on the couch, watching harmless re-runs of "CSI" or "The Ghost Weeper" to make her happy - no, he's got to hear huffing and puffing as she flings his favorite drinks and snacks out of cupboard and fridge. These are grunts of anger and war, and though she may say it tactfully (she is a good wife), there will be sideways comments for him as well. "Do you know how many calories are in that soda?" or the educational kiss of death: "Did you know that in some cultures, tofu is considered just as good as meat? I think we should go international today."

For women are never content to do anything just by themselves. Men comment on this when women go in a gaggle to the bathroom, or when they can't even go outside in a simple dress without hailing a passer-by for an opinion.....if they can't get it at home, that's always an option. "HEY! You there! Should I wear the red flats or the black sandals?" Somehow, men don't realize that this togetherness trend never ends.

Unlike when she gets pregnant, there will be no great advantage when the diet ends, because it never does. Instead of a pregnancy giving way to a bouncing happy child after nine months of labour, the diet never ends and never produces anything other than a thinner wife. But even then, the future fear of putting the weight back on is ever-present. The child is at least a form of entertainment, whereas diets often mean that entertainment and jollity must be put on hold for extra mood swings and black looks at Burger King signs. Not to mention crying. ("I STILL can't fit into that dress!!!")

And men, you already know that you can't stop her. Even if you try to tell her that she looks fine and doesn't NEED to diet, she will counter with feelings ("but I don't FEEL fine!"), personal projections ("I saw you looking at that thin girl in the mall!"), challenges ("Are you saying you don't think I can do it?") or silence while she thinks all these things but refuses to say them. So as a female, I release you to give a hearty "Amen" to your wife's project: "I think that's great, honey, you go ahead and do that."

But don't you dare say that in my presence. Man, have you NO sense?! I'm going on a diet.

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