2008-12-18 / Sam Bari

Presenting the annual holiday guide for women

You can't beat a system you can't understand
By Sam Bari

Last week I compiled the holiday guide for men. This week, to be fair, it is the women's turn for much sought after advice for surviving the holidays with sanity, and if all goes well, marriages and relationships intact. If we work on preserving the sanity issue, I believe it is possible that the rest could take care of itself.

Women who wish to preserve their lucidity during the holiday season, especially during these trying times, must adhere to one rule. Do not expect men to respond to anything with even so much as a modicum of common sense as you understand the term.

How can that be? You ask. Aren't men allegedly the masters of logic, while women advocate emotional response to achieve the same end? Although that may be the accepted concept, I believe it is not entirely accurate.

Men are not complicated. They are disappointingly simple. If they ask, "What do you want for Christmas?" Do not think, "What is wrong with this twit? You don't ask people what they want for Christmas. What happened to the element of surprise?"

Moreover, whatever you do, do not respond with an intelligent inquiry like, "Why don't you use your imagination and give me something that you think would make me really happy?"

If you expect good results from that question, you will be disappointed to the extreme. You could expect more from someone who endured a frontal lobotomy. If you were rewarded with anything more than a thousand-yard stare, I would be amazed.

Men have imaginations that invent things like nuclear warheads and weapons of mass destruction. "An imaginative gift born of an understanding of the spouse they have lived with for years," does not compute in their little brains.

Now, you must make a decision. Do you want actual results, or do you want the man in your life to behave on your terms? If you expect both, we have reached an impasse. Both are not possible.

Try to understand that men are accustomed since birth to doing as they are told. Their mothers told them what to do. Then their teachers told them what to do, followed by those in command if they joined the armed forces, who told them what to do. Then bosses told them what to do at their respective jobs.

In other words, men are accustomed to taking orders, whereas girls and women are not. They do whatever they want. Why? Because they can. There is no real explanation for this. It just is. I suppose it is akin to explaining outer space. If space means nothing is there, why was it given a name? Men need orders. Accept it. Do not ask why. It will ruin the "Preserve Your Sanity Program."

When I stop to think about it, space is a good analogy when trying to explain what happens when men are asked to use their imagination to buy gifts for their spouses or significant others. The answer is nothing. Because nothing happens. That part of their brain either does not function, or, it is not there. I believe the latter.

The condition strongly supports the argument that the Divine power occasionally makes a mistake.

If you do not tell your man what you want for Christmas when he asks, he will take the advice his mother gave him when he was a little boy. "Never buy a person a gift that you would not buy for yourself."

Now think about that for a second. If he does as he was told, you could receive anything from an electric drill to a 9mm Uzi submachine gun. Unless you really want something like that, keep reading.

Tell the man in your life to give you something specific, like a new Mercedes, Porsche, Patek Phillipe watch, the Hope Diamond, or say, "Gimme money." Tell him that a shopping spree would be nice. But be specific. Give him a dollar amount or you might receive a quarter along with a card that says, "Shop till you drop."

The same rule applies if you want to go somewhere for a few days of vacation. Do not tell him you want to go somewhere warm. You could end up fishing for piranha in the jungles of the Amazon. Say "I want to stay in a suite at the Bellagio in Vegas for four nights," or "I want to spend a week at the Kahala Hotel and Resort on Waikiki Beach." Never say, "Surprise me."

Otherwise, this is where the element of "surprise" could take on an entirely different meaning than you had in mind. Trust me. I am certain of this.

Never leave anything to his imagination. Men assume that everybody, including you, thinks the way they do. If you tell them differently, they will walk around dazed and confused for months.

For those of you who are young and are just beginning to feel comfortable with your feminine wiles, learn to use "that look" to its best advantage. Most women learn the power of "that look" when they are very young.

My granddaughter used "that look" successfully for the first time when her older brother took her cookie when she was two years old. He hasn't eaten a cookie since.

"That look" has been used for everything from chilling beer to causing temporary blindness when men are walking on nude beaches with their spouses. If you are not aware of the applications, ask your mother. She will be happy to oblige you with a detailed explanation.

Okay. That covers the advice for this upcoming season. Just remember that the men in your life are simple people. You might even say they are delicate. It doesn't take much to make them behave or to confuse them while they live in this system that even you can't understand.

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