Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Falling Prey to the Man Code

I'll be on Carbon County's KARB (98.3 FM) in less than half an hour--I'm excited! It's to adveritise my signings this weekend. If you're in Carbon or Davis County and would like to meet me, check out my Signing Schedule Tab. I hope this radio interview will go well. Since things are still a zoo over here, I'm reposting a story from last year. Here goes . . .     I grew up with a very sweet girl.  She'd always smile and laugh.  If our personalities were cast as roles in a movie, I would be like snarky Scarlett and she would be an unpretentious Melanie.


    This girl was wonderful.  Maybe that's why I always cry when I read that section of Gone With the Wind; you know the part when Melanie dies and Scarlett realizes what a schmuck she's been--that's the part I can't smile through since it's too close to home.
    Anyway, I was great friends with "Melanie."  Now, I don't know how I never noticed this, but one day we had a sleepover.  (We were probably fourteen or fifteen at the time.)  We sang songs, danced, giggled.  Then it came time to go to sleep and we washed our faces.  That's when something horrendous happened.  
    As Melanie washed her face, mascara and base flooded into the sink.  She did look different, but I gasped--literally gasped--when I turned to her again because her eyebrows had come off with the rest of her makeup!  That kid's face went on forever like a Klingon in Star Trek, and I wondered if she was an alien!

    Side note: When she auditioned for Star Wars, maybe this is how she landed the part.  I LOVE Portman, but you have to admit, she pulls off the "alien look" quite well! 

    So, back to Melanie.  She came to visit me a few months ago.  Excitement flooded my every action.  I couldn't wait to see her, introduce her to The Scribe, The Hippie, The Zombie Elf, Doctor Jones.  When she got here, she started by acting like the Melanie I always knew.  She was very quiet and poised.  Sweet and kind, like Melanie.  The only thing I didn't like was how close she sat to Cade.  She wore a very low-cut shirt, a short skirt AND her painted on eyebrows.
    I know it's terrible, but the whole time she scooted closer to Cade, I kept remembering what her face looked like without those brows.  It was a freaky memory, so I got up and made us all cookies.  We sat and she didn't say much.   "How have things been?"
I asked her, and it seemed for a moment like I was the third wheel--in her mind--because I rested on one couch while she'd claimed the one Cade sat on. 
    "Great, they've been great," she said.
    "Do you have a boyfriend?"
    "Nope," she responded.  "I dated a couple of guys over the last few years, but then I found out they were married."
    O-kay.  Things traveled nowhere fast.  "You like cooking?"
    "You like kids?"
    What was the deal with the one-word answers?  The rest of the night went like that until she finally left.
    "She's pretty," The Hippie said.
    "Yeah, but she doesn't have a personality," Cade said, still having no clue that Miss Eyebrow-less had practically thrown herself at him. 
    "Wait a minute," I said.  "You think she's pretty?"
    "I didn't say that."
    "Oh, yes you did.  The Hippie said, 'she's pretty,' and you said, 'yeah.'  Tell the truth!  You think she's gorgeous."   He stayed quiet, which is man-code for "Oh crap; she's onto me!"
    "You want me to be honest?"  He paced as if coming closer to the pit of quicksand he didn't know was there.
    "Yes.  I'll even make this easy on you.  Is she prettier than me?"  I bit my lip--so the question that killed me was out there.  The girl with the big boobs and the fake brows had hit on him.  I needed to know what he thought of her.  He could either give the "right" answer, or crash and burn from the trickery of my inteligencia!  (I had to throw that in there; it's one of the only words I remember from Spanich class.)
    Cade looked around.  I know he smelled danger afoot, but part of his man-sense must have led him from the holy path of goodness.  Instead of answering with a safe bet, he took the hard way, the one men should never take--he took the road of . . . HONESTY!!!  Dun Dun DUN!
    "Maybe she's . . . just a bit prettier.  She could be a model, a real model, but she has no personality.  You have A TON if that to go around.  I mean, look at what you did the other day.  You had me roll'n!  You . . ."
    He kept talking, but I no longer had ears to hear his honestly-tainted words.  I wanted a magic mirror!  I wanted to become the fairest in the house THAT DAY!  I wanted to be the girl who could paint on angry brows because I had no real ones to be proud of.
    I glared at Cade and his mouth hung open, then slowly swung shut.  "OH . . . no," he said.  
   "Oh, yes."  I fumed before turning quiet like that Melanie girl.  No wonder Scarlett was so mean to Melanie!
   "Did I say something wrong?" Cade asked--honestly!
    "No," it was a one-word answer, and apparently opposite day as well!
    "Is that woman code for 'yes'?"
    "No," I said, but nodded, hoping he'd catch my clue.
    "You're confusing me?"
    "And you're too honest."
    "But you asked me--"
    "It was woman code!  We've been married . . . for ten years! I thought that was long enough for you to get the code.  Missionaries learn a language in two months and they know it good enough to convert other countries!  And you . .  You've been studying woman code FOR YEARS!"
    He gaped.  "Well, your personality is the best I've seen.  You're even cute when you're mad."
     As I peered at his happy-go-lucky smile, some of my anger flew out the window.  "Thanks." I slumped next to him, deflated.  "I guess that's worth something."  Maybe the man code wasn't quite so bad.  At least I knew he was being honest.  I suddenly felt like an idiot.  Sure he should know the woman code, but I should know the man one.  If I asked him a question, of course he'd take me at face value.
    "Yeah, looks aren't forever and when she's going through the change, she'll look terrible.  I bet she looks weird without all the makeup."
    "She has . . . no eyebrows.  It was one of the worst experiences of my youth, but I found out at a sleepover . . . once."  I confessed it, like it was the saddest damn thing in the world.
    "No way!  How did I miss that?" he asked.
    "I don't know, but I missed it for years too.  It's pretty creepy when she washes her face.  We didn't talk for years after I saw her without makeup.  It was like an alien invasion, in my very own home!" 
    He hugged me then.  "See, she has nothing on you.  You have a personality and eyebrows."
    "Ummm . . . thanks," I said and decided I should learn the man code better than I learned Spanish--because that would show my true inteligencia.  
    If I don't want to hear the truth, I shouldn't ask for it.  But on the bright side, at least Cade likes me and I still have my eyebrows.

    For another awesome post on this topic, please visit:

    On a side note, have you ever fallen prey to the man or woman-code?  Did your story end well?