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OK, guys, raise your hand high if you have ever said (thought) this.

“Yes, dear” (now, go away)

I polled several guy friends that I know, without their significant (m)other present, and they all admitted to using this tactic frequently with their spouse — agree without resistance, hoping the topic will be dropped and no further discussion required.  Wasn’t the confirmation the only requirement?

Yes, Dear

Yes, Dear (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It does work.  No woman is ever going to admit that.  Every wife is going to say they are aware of their man’s tactic and they are just letting them get by with it.  Ha.  You, sister slyness, are not fooling any one.  Not one iota of a bit.

Now I am not talking about the typical “does this dress make my butt look large?” question.  For one thing, a “yes, dear” response to that question is far too honest and dangerous, although it might be the most effective response.  My wife refuses to accept pretty much any response I give to the “does this make my butt look big?” trap.

“Oh, come on, be honest with me.  You think this makes my butt look big.”

“That would be impossible, my sweet.”

(Mir turns and faces me with her hands on her hips} “Nice try.  Now just tell me what you think.”

“Yes, dear.”

I learned around 20 years ago to walk out of the room while delivering that last response.  Usually that is the best time to at least pretend that I need to answer nature’s call.  There was a time when that question also was my cue to fondle my wife’s back side, wrap my arms around her tiny waist (which, at nearly fifty years of age is STILL tiny), and kiss the back of her neck while whispering “how’s this for an honest response, sweet cheeks?”.  That was the time in our marriage where that would cause us to miss whatever event we were getting ready for, the pre-kids era.  Oh to have a time machine at my disposal.

Really, the effectiveness of any “yes, dear” is in the delivery.  Too much enthusiasm gives it away.  Too little raises an eyebrow.  Finding a middle ground is the key.  Refusing to make eye contact is the other.  My wife sees it in my eyes and my goose is cooked.

“Are you going to mow the lawn this afternoon?”

(Steve looks up, hoping she doesn’t realize I have a tee time at 1:00) “Yes, dear.”

“Are you sure?”

“YES, dear.” (Steve gets up and begins to shuffle in the direction of the bathroom)

“Where are you going?”

“OK, I have a tee time at 1:00.”

I also don’t fib well.  Most men really don’t.  My 13 year old son has yet to figure that out, but what he does do well is cover his back side by telling the fib then trying to cover up by continuing to talk.  The kid is the master of denial.  Surround the fib with a mass of innocuous non-information (should I look up the definition of innocuous before I publish this blog?  naaaaaa), hide it by piling a shovel full of words over the fib in the hope Mom won’t dig it out.  Thing is, she knows what he is doing.  She just chooses to ignore the fib, occasionally pointing it out so that he knows she is on to him.   He will learn, as I have, that the best tactic is to keep it minimal.  If eye contact is made, don’t lose contact and maintain a soft look of love, your charms too much for the moment.  By the time she realizes the crime, you are gone.

Yeah, I know.  Dream on.

The thing is, I am trying to  think of an instance where “yes, dear” has really worked for me.  That is why I didn’t address that supposition when I posed it above.  I have hoped something would emerge as I talked.  Yes, I am typical male.  Doesn’t work, does it?

But it does.  Admit it.

My maternal grandfather was the master of the “yes, dear”.  Why?  Because it was his standard response.  Sometimes he varied the response to “yes, Enola”  or mixed up the timing by slowly removing his pipe from his mouth and/or taking a quick puff, but always his tone was the same — a patient even manner delivered with a mischievous upturn of his mouth and a twinkle in his eye.  No wonder my grandmother loved him so much.  There are times when I watched her face soften as she watch him respond with that twinkle.  I’m pretty sure he could have said “yes, dear banana fart monkey” with the same delivery and it would have been OK.

And really, when you get down to it, that is the key to this all.  A guy who is a deceiving bastard will not get a loving response, will be challenged more often than not when he delivers a “yes, dear” because his wife knows, she senses the evil.  No man is a good liar.  Not really, not even the ones who seem to get by with it.  A pure heart in front of my wife is always accepted and she knows it.  There have been times in the past twenty plus years of marriage where my heart hasn’t been all that pure.  That is when a “yes, dear” has not been acceptable.  I know it.  Perhaps it’s my body language as I say “yes, dear” or in my eyes, but she knows.

Geez, how did this turn into a blog about lying to one’s spouse?

In twenty years, my wife has had to learn to accept me for who I am, let the good outweigh the bad, the deposits into our emotional bank account building up so that occasional withdrawal doesn’t make a dent into what we have gathered over time.  That is the key to survival, the key to accepting….

Yes, dear.