Are you talking to me?

There’s a phenomena that I need to get some feedback on, it has to do with communication between men and women, most likely only between men and women who have been in a relationship for a while, i.e. married.

In brief, what happens is that the women talk and the men can’t hear them so the men are always having to say things like “I can’t hear you!” and the women are always having to get annoyed at the men for being so useless.

I am one such long-suffering man as my wife, wonderful as she so clearly is, has a tendency to just start talking to me irrespective of the direction she is facing and the distance she is away from me. Combine this with a lack of attention to clarity and volume and we have quite a few “I can’t hear you.” situations between us. So many in fact that I’ve started to up the anti by saying things like “If you want me to hear what you’re saying it’s best to point your mouth in my general direction first!”. This, of course, is what is known in English as asking for trouble.

The strangest part of all is that this breakdown of communication is always the man’s fault. It’s as if the men are supposed to have an inbuilt Wife-Speak detector that can signal any imminent incoming communication from the female thus enabling them to shuffle around quickly so that their ears are within range of her mouth in time to hear what is being said. This need for the man to be in the right position is particularly important when the communication is in the categories of; nagging, instructing, complaining or venting but to be honest, any inability of the man to hear what the woman is saying is a failure on the man’s part.

I thought it was just me who was so utterly useless but yesterday I overheard at least two men saying the same things (po polsku) while they were trailing their wives around the shopping centre so now I’m wondering if this is more common that I thought.

Anyone else have this problem? Should we start a movement, the IWC (Incoherent Wives Club)?

I’ll get my coat.

18 thoughts on “Are you talking to me?

  1. you made me laugh, Ian! it is so true, I keep having problems with my (beloved) husband, accusing him of ignoring me constantly. What is even more annoying is that he not only not listen, but claims he never heard of whatever I try to remind him equals he never listen.

    so men, try to implant one of those: -always hear your wife when she speaks – detectors!

  2. I hate it when men can’t hear me. It’s a sign that they’re not trying.
    The logical response to repeat the comment at shouting level, so that the gentleman in question then observes that you have trouble with volume control. This is even more annoying.

  3. Ian my dear friend – Cloth ears designation syndrome – is typical of women. They have, in
    general, no idea of courtesy unless it is aimed at a female (and then it is taken as normal whilst ill manners, bad temper etc by the female is a womans prerogative). Therefore any acton by the female is deemed as ‘honest’ whilst actions by the mail are ‘impaired’ and require honing. She can lie to your face and you can prove to her that she is lying and she will still not admit she is wrong. In her mind the idea of female error is an oxymoron.
    Therefore if you did not hear because she was facing the other way, or the tap running, or a clinking dish, or a loud TV disrupt her speech – tough – it’s your fault and you’re deaf or deliberatley not listening. The the said lady you have not heard fully is ‘making her repeat herself’ as well as being cloth eared. The psychological release here for her is the (subconscious) reassurance of the automatic putdown.

    There is also the other side of the coin, when having actually got your attention she then tells you the same thing four times in a row (in some shape or form).
    There is no use telling her after the second repeat that you heard her because she will still go on to tell you two more times even if after the third time you repeat it back to her. Oh and then you will also get blamed for ‘going on about it’

    Should I get the ball rolling on the next blog subject regarding ‘forgetting’ i.e. the ‘I told you earlier’ syndrome where she either a) told you something clearly (I don’t count the 4 repeats scenario because having had to deal with irritation of the 3rd repeat and had an arguement that led to the 4th, you’re mind is most likely to dump the whole experience as a bad thing) and actually did you forget, b) told you something whilst facing the opposite way, or in another room altogether so you didn’t hear anyway, c)didn’t tell you what she actually thinks she told you but is convinced she did tell you, or d) didn’t tell you but is saying she did because she wants to keep you on your toes (this is also the ‘he would have forgotten anyway’ approach so telling him he forgot is correct anyway), or should I not bother?

  4. Oh no sir, it’s not just you. I believe my wonderful wife speaks low/unclearly on purpose so when I DO forget something or don’t hear her she can yell at me with her righteous indignation that she has perfected over the past 5 years!!! It’s always fun to have to repeat “What?” five times, or “I can’t hear you when you’re speaking to me in the shower!!!”

  5. I used to have it pretty tough in a previous relationship. My then g/f was 5’2″, which is pretty much a foot shorter than yours truly.

    Not only did she have to speak loudly, she had to face me and direct her voice upwards in order for me to hear her. Any occasions when I was in fairyland or she spoke to my back, she had no chance!

    Many, many arguments over me not listening. Amazed it lasted 4 years really. If I used to respond to her accusations, sometimes it just went right over her head! :)

  6. When I show your item about women talking without regard to the whereabouts of their man, I know what she will say: “That’s exactly what you do”! Unfortunately, she will be at least partially right.

  7. Ad, where are your manners? It’s rude to tell a woman that she’s wrong!

    All, the problem with men is that they’re not listening, and they’re not considerate. They are tall, walk fast, and go to the wrong part of a store because there are some toys for them.

    A woman has to spring to keep with them, which is pretty humiliating, and when she’s close enough to attempt speaking he still doesn’t hear because he’s not listening! Visit your fairyland when you’re alone, and keep your wife company when you’re with her.

  8. ok – maybe i got a bit carried away.

    There’s a good book out there called ‘Emotional intelligence’ which will actually explain why people get ‘flooded’ and stressed to the point where they’re over sensitive etc. Heartily recommended.

  9. Ad, I was kidding! I just alluded to one of the thousand rules of Polish knightly manners towards women: you don’t tell a woman that she’s wrong, inebriated etc. A gentleman puts the blame on himself or on other circumstances.

    “No, Kochanie, you didn’t drink too much. The pavement is curved.”

    If she’s clever enough she knows that she drank too much. No need to remind her about it. If she’s not then there’s no need to date her! So it needs never to be your problem.

    I find it interesting though that so many men here noticed that this phenomenon happens only after many years of a relationship. That means that you’re all attention at first, when the woman is at the top of your priorities.

  10. Alternatively, it means that the woman tries hard at first but when she’s got the guy hooked she can’t be bothered anymore because she knows the man is well trained enough to realise that everything (including not hearing her) is his fault.



  11. Oh, it goes much further than that! It’s not even a situation confided to a relationship. Yet in primary school everything was boys’ fault. Polish women just have it easy, so they can’t be bothered in any circumstances. If it was better at first it’s only because you tried hard.

    Not all Polish men are courteous of course, but many can hear even after years of relationship. It may be harder to you to become trained permanently. ;-)

    Why do you think Polish women (yours truly included) are so opposed to feminism?

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