In the movie “Love Story,” Ali McGraw says to Ryan O’Neal, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” It was incredibly romantic line that helped define the movie. Since this movie was made in 1972, I can only surmise that the writer was still high on all the drugs he had been doing in the 60’s.
Love means never having to say you’re sorry? Oh Puleeeeeeeease! Actually, not only does love mean having to say you’re sorry, love also means buying flowers and expensive jewelry on a regular basis just to counteract your screw-ups. In fact, men do this so much, women have begun to expect it.
Many years ago when I was happily married and still madly in love, I decided to do a really romantic gesture. I decided to buy 4 dozen roses for my wife. My plan was to create a path of rose petals from the garage, up the stairs into our house and into the bedroom, where the other 3 dozen roses would be. So I went to the florist and I got my 4 dozen roses. And when I got to the counter, the sales clerk actually said to me, “Wow, whatever you did must have been really bad.”
Not that I was immune to screw-ups in my marriage. How could I not be wrong? I have a penis. Have Penis + Wife Disagrees = I am wrong. I believe this is known as “Descartes Law of Maleness.” “I talk, therefore I’m wrong.”
Actually my wife and I pretty much had a 50-50 split on arguments. Half the time I was wrong and the other half on the time she was right.
Fortunately, I learned to counteract this inherent flaw in my genetic code by learning the I’m Sorry Head Nod. Whenever I was wrong (defined by when my wife thought I was wrong and I didn’t feel like arguing) I got to do the I’m Sorry Head Nod. This is actually a very simple procedure that any man can perfect with just a little practice. First, hang the head slightly down, somewhere between 45 and 70 degrees. Less hang than 45 degrees is not enough to show real regret. More than 70 degrees and you are in serious danger of looking whipped. Women don’t like whipped. Women like strong men . . . who can admit they are wrong. It’s a very fine line; one that the flying Walendas would have trouble balancing on.
Next, say the words, You are right. I was wrong. I’m sorry. It is important to clearly enunciate. Mumbling just pisses them off even more. They think we are faking it. Let me rephrase. They realize we are faking it. Of course, we are always faking it, but if we fake it with sincerity they might just buy it.
Sometimes one repetition of You’re right, I’m wrong, I’m sorry, will be enough. In fact, the first time you say it, it usually is. It catches them off guard. There she is going off about how if you really loved her you would put the seat down, and you say, You’re Right. I’m Wrong. I’m Sorry. She doesn’t know how to respond. Suddenly, she is like a deer in the headlights. “What is this?” her mind is saying. “We were not expecting this. He admitted he was wrong. This does not compute.”
If you try this strategy you will notice a sudden confusion in the female subject. Think of it as the female equivalent of the computer’s blue screen of death. Unfortunately, like the computer, she really only needs about 5 minutes to reboot and then you are back to square one.
Well, maybe not. Most women will accept a real apology and will no longer be mad at us until the next time we screw up. Unfortunately, this is typically 16.2 minutes later.
Copyright 2004 – 2008, Glenn G. Millar