I think five of the most dreaded words to come from a woman’s mouth have to be, “Just give me a minute.” I would love to know by what timepiece that ‘minute’ is measured, because once I know I can seek it out and destroy it completely. I think I would be doing men everywhere a favour.
I can think of a number of times where a planned quick outing or a spontaneous excursion has become mired down and turned into a drama because of that cursed minute. Now I have a daughter as well as a wife, I think I am doomed to spend half my life standing by the front door jingling the car keys. It becomes frustrating, which then causes tension, which boils over into sniping and bad attitudes and before you can say “Just one more minute,” the whole experience has lost its shine.
We guys are generally goal oriented beings. We identify an objective and go for it. So when the objective is ‘dinner and a movie’ we become these date-seeking missiles that want to get to the restaurant, eat and then hit the cinema. From the moment that the target is identified to the second that we order the meal, every tick of the clock is time wasted. With that in mind we grab our wallet and car keys, change our shirt (if we are being really diligent) put on shoes and go. It’s how we are wired. To pause beside the garage door and wait for five, ten or thirty minutes is almost intolerable. It drives us crazy because we don’t understand why you would need that long to achieve what we were on top of in thirty seconds. Got money? Check. Am I clothed? Check. Got the keys? Check. Then we’re good to go.
I realise, through careful and prolonged conditioning, that women don’t like to emerge publicly in the same take-me-as-I-am way that most guys do. But guys need to grasp exactly what it is they are waiting for, or they will get annoyed. Fine, put on makeup and change clothes. But realise that from the moment that the decision to go was made, their fuse was lit and they were headed for that target. So clarify what needs doing, and how long it will take. If you really want to shower and do your nails and restyle your hair, give him a realistic timeline, and tell him to play on the X-Box while he waits. If you just want to change into something more suitable, go for it, but don’t take the opportunity to reassess you summer collection or consider the best combination of shoes and bags. If you want to have an existential crisis in your wardrobe, do it some other time.
Probably the best solution would be to learn to live with less, or do more sooner. If you think going out is likely to come up, pre-prepare. Plan an outfit, put on some makeup, wash your hair or whatever. If you can cope with the shock, just don’t do some of it. Focus less on whatever outside motivators you might be bowing too (fashion, friends, social expectations) and remember why you are doing this at all – to be with him. If he loved you in the living room when you made the plan, chances are that won’t have changed when you get in the car to go – unless those two events are separated by something like an hour of preening. Happy will be the man who announces “Let’s go catch a movie,” and finds his girl waiting by the car with a ‘what kept you?’ smile.
I’m prepared these days to let my girls change, for my wife to put on a dash of makeup and for them to take time complaining that they don’t have anything suitable. It’s part of the ways things are. However, I have shaved that mythical ‘minute’ down a great deal, and for the sake of my sanity, I hope it stays that way.