Slippery Grip: How to win an argument! 1



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First I should point out that the woman is always right, even when she is wrong, and this premise comes from 30 odd years of matrimonial bliss.

But there are times when it’s the principle of the thing, and then the man of the house has to put his foot down, although not too loud to wake the baby, the mother-in-law or the dog, whichever comes first in the pecking order.

The first steps in this aforementioned lesson, is to recognise the argument in the first instance. Not an easy task. You cannot, when talking to a woman, be so bold as to say that you are having an argument and that is that. Women are much more subtle creatures. Knowing the difference between having words, a difference of opinion – usually hers – and a real argument can be summed up with this ready reckoner:

Words; are usually long, protracted and entirely unnecessary to get her point across, but she might go on and on for days about it, whatever it was – as you have forgotten the initial spark right after the sports news.

A difference of opinion is usually prefixed with ‘why do you always have to’; take the opposite, put your two pennies worth in, make it more difficult that it needs to be.

And a real argument is most often dealt with via adverbs like stupid, idiot and the old favorite, I wish just once you would listen to me. This old nut is trotted out while you are trying to do something else to ease the way to still and calm waters.

So once you establish you are having an argument, the thing is almost as easy as one, two, three.

First you must try to get your point across without finger jabbing. Look your adversary in the eye and let her have it, both barrels. Something like,

“I told you it was left at the roundabout, now we are in the wrong lane”. Laying blame straight up usually strikes the adversary dumb for at least enough time to think of a second thrust. She might say incredulously,

“My fault. I said to move over to take the left hand at the road back there”. Now you have the stated facts, repudiation is obvious. How can you be expected to turn – just like that, at the drop of a hat. Inserting the word darling here with just a little snarl might not be wise, and the urge is strong, but it is to be avoided, because it will be thrown straight back at you. Best to stick to the facts and for that added effect;

“You don’t want me to cause an accident – do you?” This last quip brings into play the denial. How can she say yes and risk your A1 no claim bonus that you have been judiciously cultivating for years to get those free gold clubs they offer after 20 years of faithful payments. She might come back with something like;

“Oh you are just being ridiculous”. And then you have won, because the argument has turned from missed directions to Aunt and Uncle Stanton’s place, which is about as much fun as pulling teeth with pliers, to you being ridiculous.

“Well if safety is ridiculous” – and here you say “darling,” with just a hint of sarcasm, “Perhaps you married the wrong man,” and she might shut up.

And that my man, is how to win over the fairer sex. Nothing to it.

Oh, and you can be foolish, idiotic or ridiculous, it’s all the same really.


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Hettie Ashwin

My short stories have been published in America, United Kingdom and Australia in magazines and online. I have published a number of books over the years, all of which have been successful here and overseas. I write a humorous column for the Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette called Slippery Grip.

  1. All of which, pre-GPS, was accompanied by turning the map on its side or upside down, Hettie. True multi-skilling. 😀

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