When I was a teenager, I thought maybe when I grew up I'd start to understand women. Well, here I am, some 30 years later, and I still don't know any more than I did back then. Or maybe I just never grew up.
My failure to gain any wisdom on this subject is compounded by the fact that, for 26 of those 30 years (as of this past Thursday), I've actually been married. To a woman.
It's the simple things that baffle me most. Like underarm deodorant. As I use my deodorant stick, the top gradually becomes convex - that is to say, curved, with the highest point in the middle.
But my wife's deodorant stick takes on a concave shape - slightly sunken in the middle. Why is that? Is the inside of a woman's armpit shaped differently from a man's? I know they shave theirs, at least in this country, but you wouldn't think that alone accounts for such a difference. Someone please explain.
(The reason I seem to know so much about women's hygiene products is that, when I run out of deodorant, I borrow my wife's for a day or two until I can pick some up. She doesn't know this. OK, now she does. Although, now that I think about it, those long hairs clinging to the concave head of her Secret invisible solid probably gave me away a long time ago.)
Speaking of deodorant, another important difference between men and women is that women always smell nice, whereas men hardly ever do.
My wife can come in after working in the yard for two hours and smell like flowers. I shower, wash my hair, shave, splash on aftershave, apply deodorant, brush my teeth, gargle, dress in freshly laundered clothes, and by the time I get out to my car I'm already starting to smell like old sweatsocks.
Also, like most men - I'm not ashamed to admit it - I occasionally have problems with gas. I always have, ever since I was a kid. The only difference is that, back then, I didn't consider it a problem. Heck, my buddies and I used to have contests. Most of you guys understand where I'm coming from.
My wife, on the other hand, has never broken wind in my presence. Not once in the 28 years that I've known her. I find this amazing. Does she just not get gas? If she does, where does it go? Will she simply explode one day?
All of these questions and more I find puzzling, but the most amazing thing of all is that this woman, who is the epitome of grace and beauty, elects after all these years to remain with me, the antithesis of those things.
Now, if I can only get her to stop putting that little dab of Vicks VapoRub under her nose every morning.
E-mail Rob Jenkins at email@example.com.