By Kalungi Kabuye
Several years ago I met a few South African friends in an Irish bar in Sandton City, Johannesburg.
We were having a really merry old time, when one of the women said she had a quiz for us. “What are the ten things men know about women?” she asked.
After we had all had our turn at giving answers, she proceeded to give the solution: “One, nothing. Two, nothing. Three, nothing…” All the way till ten, nothing, she said. That got big laugh from everybody, including the guys.
But when you think about it, there are several ‘nothings’ we guys know about women.
Shall we count the ways?
First, there are times when women go very quiet on us. There is no preamble or warning, it just happens. You might have been chatting about something for a while, when all of a sudden it is all quiet on the female front.
So you turn around ask her, what is wrong my dear? Her answer? “Nothing”.
Then there are those times they kind of mumble something, and you don’t quite get what she said, so, of course, you ask: what did you say? “Nothing.” No, you said something except I didn’t quite get it, so what was it? “It was nothing. “
What about the time you go into a room where several women are talking and laughing and obviously enjoying themselves. Of course we know now better than to ask what they are talking about, but before that happened some guy would be curious, and ask what the joke was. Answer? “Nothing.”
But you were laughing at something, what was it? “Nothing”. You were laughing at nothing? “Yeah”.
It happens in the affairs of men that at one time or another we shall ¬ find a dame in distress, right at the end of her tether. You are not sure what exactly is she is trying to do, but she looks like she can use some help, so the gallant you steps forward and asks if there is anything you can do to help.
Really? You are sure you don’t need any help? “Yes”.
She can even be crying, and throwing things around; but when you ask her what is wrong? “Nothing.”
Those are ¬ five ‘nothings’, but on a good day I’m sure we can make it all the way to ten. But what is a guy to do?
Recently there was an Internet debate on the topic ‘why women say nothing’, and some of the responses were really hilarious.’ They’re acting like high school kids, just messing with your mind,” was one. Another claimed that there is really nothing wrong, they just want you to feel guilty about something, or maybe anything.
Another guy said emphatically that he does not play games, and if they say it is nothing, then he treats it like it is nothing.
“As soon as that conversation starts, I’m out of the door”, he wrote.
Most of the female responses alluded to the fact that men should know what is wrong, and deal with it. That’s very irritating, ‘‘if you don’t know I’m not going to tell you’ business.
Another said that it is a test to find out if men are listening to them or not. A guy wrote in that in his experience women often don’t think before saying something, and that they change their minds all the time, so the ‘nothing’ as an answer is hoping you actually didn’t hear what they said in the ¬ first place.
At the end of the day, however, most women will insist that guys are supposed to know what they (women) are saying, whether it makes sense or not.
Now, men will do many things for women - they will change your car tyre for you, bring in the dog when it is raining, push and make room for you at the ATM because Ugandan’s don’t like making queues, and even eat that burnt rice you made for lunch and tell you it is the best they ever had.
Guys will probably wear that bright yellow shirt you bought for their birthday, to go with the tight red trousers you bought last year but they have not worn yet. They will attend that wedding meeting and spend next month’s rent in order to impress your friends and relatives.
But no, they are not going to read your mind. If a guy does not get it when you answer ‘nothing’ to the ¬ first question; and he is still not getting it after the 500th ‘nothing,’ how can you still hope he will get it on the 1,000th nothing? So, can we strike a deal right here? Let us agree, the next time a woman goes quiet on you, just look her in the eyes and say “...
I know nothing is wrong here, and I will not interrupt anything. So I’m not going to ask what is wrong, ok? I agree with you, nothing is ever wrong. So, can you please pass the salt?”