Nancy Roman

Let Me Hint Louder

Because I didn’t marry until I was forty, I missed an important little fact about men.

(Of course it is possible that missing this lesson was one reason why I didn’t marry until forty.)

It’s intuition. Men have none.  They have no sense of ‘sense’.

When I was a little girl, communication with my mother and my two sisters was almost telepathic. We always knew how each one of us felt. Every nuance was so easily interpreted. A wave of the hand explained a bad day at school. Sitting down to homework right after school signified a fight with a friend. Sharing a candy bar – obvious guilt.

As I got older, I found most women could accurately read all little gestures and subtexts.

Marian would say “I love this song.”

And Patty would say “When did you and Kevin break up?”

I’d say to a Barbe, “I think Jane Fonda should get an Oscar for ‘Klute’.”

And she’d say, “Yeah, your hair would look cute like that.”

I didn’t realize that men had no such ability. I figured my father was just being deliberately obtuse.

I had a little brother. But having a little brother is sort of like having a pet. You have to take care of him once in a while, and sometimes you play with him.  But mostly he’s just there.

I went through high school and college wondering why boys just didn’t understand.

It took me several years of marriage to finally realize:  Men really DON’T understand. They don’t get ‘subtle’. They don’t get ‘hint’.

You have to tell men stuff as CLEARLY as possible.

You don’t say, “Gee, the trash can is getting full.”

You say, “Stop what you’re doing right now please and come and take out the trash right now please.”

You don’t say, “Michelle’s earrings were pretty.”

You say, “I want pearl earrings for Christmas. I want 3.5mm studs with white gold posts, not yellow gold. They have some at Becker’s, and I’ve written down the sku number for you here, with directions to the store.”

And sometimes, even when you are being pretty clear, they think you are too subtle.

Friday, we were going out and my husband asked me if he needed a coat.

I said, “It’s in the high thirties.”

He said, “But do I need a coat?”

It seems that after twenty years of marriage I would have learned.

NEVER hint.

But I guess I just can’t give up.

This weekend, halfway through the vacuuming, I sat down to take a break.

“I’m so bored with housework,” I said to my husband. “I just don’t want to do it anymore.”

“Don’t worry about it,” he said. “You can always finish it up tomorrow.”

Getting ready to drop a little hint.


  1. Best drawing ever!!


    • Thanks. It was very cathartic to draw it.


  2. Talk to me...I'm your Mother

    Perfect post. I get it…but then, I’m a woman!


  3. HAHAHAHAHAHA! Awesome post, and the illustration just puts it over the top!


  4. bigsheepcommunications

    Oh yes, been there (in fact, I live there)…


  5. I have tears rolling down my face (they are from laughter)…thank you.


  6. JSD

    This is great…so, so true. If we learned it early, it would save a lot of relationships…or end them before we got too far into them.


  7. karen

    So perfect!


  8. So true and yet I still try subtlety once and a while. After thirty years, it rarely works.


  9. This is so funny and so “right on!” You have painted an accurate picture of my husband, and the drawing at the end is priceless.


  10. hahahaha oh yes. I started sending my now-hub pictures of the type of engagement ring I wanted about a year before he actually proposed. You can’t beat around the bush. Especially not when it comes to jewelry.


  11. I love the drawing – you made me roar with laughter! Sometimes you just have to talk to them by hand…


  12. Loved it! It describes almost all the marriages I know.


  13. spot ON, as usual. and, i agree with speaker 7 on the drawing.


  14. Sounds like my house. I need to include details on a grocery list. Great post.


  15. Great post. Except for the fact that I realized that my husband will NEVER wash out my travel mug with the rest of the dishes no matter how many times I leave it in the sink with the top off. I will need to put a post it on top.


  16. Chris

    There was a “Cathy” cartoon where she told a guy “I don’t want to go out with you ever ever EVER again” – or words to that effect. He replied “you’re just playing hard to get”. I was really tempted to do that once when my saying I was “sick” or “busy” every day for two weeks just wasn’t doing it.


  17. Something I’ve noticed is that all the comments are written by women. Maybe some men can’t understand this post because even when women are being ‘direct’ they are too subtle for them!

    Wonderful post, and so very true!


  18. Yup! Zac is the same way, though I think he may be learning.

    I constantly talk about how the electricity bills can get really high if we leave the lights on when we are not using them. He does not do well turning off lights. He usually gives me this blank look.

    At least he turns them off if I ask directly.


  19. But, don’t you still wish he would know what you want, just once?
    My sisters and I played the game “Pictionary” with our husbands. Each drawing could be guessed correctly with a simple straight line or two. We all just knew what the other was doing, with no verbal hints. Our husbands were in awe. They couldn’t figure out complete schematic drawings with written explanations.


  20. I’m a little late reading this, but you’ve started my day with a laugh! Too funny — and oh, so true!


  21. This made me laugh OUT LOUD! You are so absolutely right. I remember when I was a newlywed, I didn’t understand why my husband didn’t automatically do things the way my daddy did. My mother said it took extensive training. And then she told me you have to spell everything out for them if you want something because they cannot extrapolate.


    • I’ve tried Training. After twenty years of marriage, he stopped saying, “What did you do to your hair?” – I figure that’s enough.


  22. I recognize the logic of husbands. Very funny. Wha ?


  23. Words, wonderful words. Evidently our minds are not an open book and never will be for the men in our lives.


  24. The fact that you weren’t writing this post from a prison cell shows how much restraint you exercised.


  25. LOL! I’m still not convinced that they aren’t just pretending to be dense.


  26. It’s hard to say. I vacillate between thinking he is really that dense and that it is all part of an evil plan to drive me crazy one day at a time. It’s worse when he is alone with the kids. Some quotables:

    “I didn’t know I shouldn’t let squeeze their paints on our dishes. Won’t it wash off?”
    “I didn’t know if you wanted them to wear coats [in February] so… *shrugs*”
    [calling me on my mobile from the home phone, mere feet away from where our refrigerator lives] “Do you know if we have milk?”


    • He called me at work once to ask, “Are the dishes in the dishwasher clean?”


  27. Loved this post. The drawing is fantastic.


  28. Red

    I have no doubt why every year the male unit gets Qtips.

    PS No, they do not help him, but they make me feel better.


  29. I can’t believe I haven’t been following you! That has been corrected. 🙂


    • Thanks… I never miss your posts – my kind of humor and enviable artwork!



  1. I Have a Sirius Problem « whatimeant2say
  2. A Helping Hand | notquiteold
  3. A Helping Hand | notquiteold

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: