Remember my old job at the caf , where my buddy was nearly stabbed by a waitress while she was PMSing?
During the many down times, my buddy would nearly fall asleep standing up like a horse, and I'd find negative ways to work off the excess energy.
The managers would fly through, telling us to "look busy."
We'd spring into action like a herd of sheep rustled by a sheepdog, wiping down the same unused table repeatedly, only to settle like marine life after a giant barge passes through, stirring up the current.
Why do we have to "look busy" when we aren't busy? Apparently, "look busy" is not unique to the service industry.
I'm super-low-key with the "it will work out at the last minute" attitude. I don't stress over things like the women in my life do, and it frustrates them.
My little sister is coming undone with her upcoming wedding. I'm playing guitar with a few friends during the ceremony. So, we need to rehearse.
The other day my sister sent an itemized Bridezilla-ish email. Everything was a question, too, making it more stressful. It wasn't: "Make sure you set up time to rehearse." It was: "Are you going to be doing the song or not? Did you set up rehearsal time?"
Despite my calming email back, she followed up a week later. So I forwarded her the rehearsal schedule email I sent to the other people in the band and added: "Here's what I sent to them - is this OK with you?"
My sister, usually calm and collected, was the last bastion of hope that stress-free gals exist. But I think all women stress, so when I have a girlfriend I'll have to deal with her stress.
It gets worse: My duties will be on her to-do list, and she'll manage me with constant check-ins. And, of course, I won't think about my task until the last minute, so when I can't offer a progress report during a check-in, she'll stress more.
I stress about the "wrong" things. I'll freak out when the Ravens are 3rd and 1 late in the game, losing by a field goal...or when Chick-fil-A is closed on Sunday...or the cable is out - that's Armageddon.
In relationships, men are stripped of their pride like a person with limited skill sets at a job.
For example, my dad has "very important jobs" that he's "great at," sanctioned by my mom - which is why he's robotically pruning trees most of his weekends.
But he's not capable of holiday responsibility; he must stay out of the way so my mom can do her thing. During the holidays, he's simply a physical, mental, and spiritual obstruction.
He still manages to infuriate her, though. He does get to carve the Thanksgiving turkey (why is this a universally male job?) with this late-'70s electric carving knife that smells the same every time it's activated (that burning metal smell).
Until carving time, he's in the basement hitting the tennis ball against the wall, or karaokeing, or disappearing some other way. The whole time, my mom is stressing - but why is she thinking about him while she has her own duties?
Eventually, he materializes at the last minute, kind of sweaty, and cuts the turkey - I guess that's the best she can ask for.
Guys don't keep their girlfriends in the loop. My dad doesn't assure my mom every couple of hours: "I'm here to cut the turkey when you need me." And I certainly haven't told my sister one thing about the rehearsals I've set up for her wedding song.
These are our responsibilities - I don't care about her to-do list, or how she gets it done, so why does she manage mine?
My last point: A laid-back attitude makes it look like we don't care. Apparently, "stressing" over something important to our girlfriends makes it look like we care...versus not saying one thing about it and getting it done at the last minute.
But I do care - I just know I can wing it most of the time, and the task will get done at some point.
I guess I'm just supposed to "look busy" to my girlfriend when it comes to important tasks and moments.
Do you get frustrated by guys' laid-back attitudes, and do you find that you're "managing" their tasks? Do you agree that part of a relationship is taking on someone else's stress, and my other thoughts above?
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Posted by Rich
Reprinted with Permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.