"You're such a girl," my husband chides when he catches me looking at my backside in the mirror.
"That's why you married me," I respond brightly.
"You're right," he says, "I married you because I wanted to spend the rest of my life trying to guess which shoes you want me to tell you to wear with which outfit (he uses two fingers on each hand to place sarcastic quotation marks in the air around the word outfit) and whether or not your butt looks big in the same jeans it didn't look big in the last time you asked." Deep down, he knows he's a lucky man. He could have had me plus four daughters, instead of his team of three boys and one girl.
"Y'all are all hardwired to be the way you are," he says, referring to females.
"I would never deny that," I reply, knowing that as long as I allow the feminine mystique to have its roots in genetics and not evil manipulation, I'll get my way a whole lot more.
Still, as if to prove the hardwiring theory to me, or perhaps to convince himself he isn't crazy, he relates, "Your daughter came to me this morning holding two bathing suits, a black and white one and a pink one. Guess why."
"I dunno," I feign ignorance.
"She wanted me to help her decide which one she should wear. She couldn't make up her mind on her own and, like a woman, hunted down a hapless man, me, for his opinion. But it didn't really matter to me which one she wore - I only want her to be happy - so I picked the black and white one."
(Therein lies the problem, the reason why he and his male counterparts can never, and will never, choose correctly.)
"'Even though it ties around the neck?' she disputed me. So then I said, 'Okay, the pink one,' to which she replied, 'You like that one better? It has these ruffles around the legs.'"
"After that I didn't know what to say. And she talked so fast and so furious about bathing suits and styles and making proper selections, all I could figure was that she was breathing through her ears. I swear I've seen you do the same thing," he boldly states. "I know she was practicing on me for a future of trapping men in those womanly ways of circular arguments that have no right answer. How can she be so skilled at that game at the early age of eight?"
He looks at me hard, waiting for an explanation. But when I say nothing, the poor man starts talking again.
"I changed my mind back to the black and white bathing suit, thinking that's what she wanted me to pick in the first place, but then she said, 'Okay, I think I'll go ask Mama.' 'Why are you going to ask Mama,' I demanded."
A smile turns upward at the corners of my mouth.
"She said, 'I don't know.' So I wish-washed, saying, 'Then, I think you should wear the pink bathing suit.' 'Really?' she answered. And I didn't know how much more I could take. She went and got dressed and came out wearing something completely different. Y'all drive me crazy with that stuff!"
As my young lass is quickly learning, all men are hardwired the same, too. The only difference is men are born with their wires crossed. And they just don't care; they only want their women to be happy.
Even an eight-year-old can have a little fun with that.
(Lucy Adams is a syndicated columnist, freelance writer, and author of If Mama Don't Laugh, It Ain't Funny. She lives in Thomson. Lucy invites readers to e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org and to visit her web site, www.IfMama.com.)