After speaking at some awesome women’s events recently (shout out to the ASPIRE women’s conference tour!), I was going through security at a Florida airport when I saw a real-life example of a truth about men. There were two grade-school children, a pretty wife with a frown, and a discouraged husband in the security line after a family spring-break vacation.
I could tell that for the husband… it hadn’t been much of a vacation. And I would also bet that the wife had no idea.
When a TSA officer directed me to a different station, I ended up essentially cutting in front of this family, and I apologized. The wife frowned, but the husband smiled and willingly waved me forward, even though I’m sure they were in a hurry as well. I said “Thanks! You’re a good man!”
A hard-to-identify expression briefly flickered on his face – wistfulness? sadness? discouragement? – but he seemed like a jokester sort, so he quickly chuckled.“Thanks,” he said. “This one here doesn’t think so, of course.” He jokingly gestured to his wife, who was looking around the security area rather than listening to our conversation.A moment later, in a mild tone but with a frustrated expression, she said, “Honey, why did you pick this line? Why aren’t we in that short one over there?”
Again, the fleeting expression. He pointed out that that was the Pre-Check line, not the regular one, they were almost at the ID check, would be through security soon, and asked the kids, “Did you have fun?” When the kids said, “YES!” I again said, “Good man!”
He jovially said, “Well, maybe you can share that opinion with her. If you’re on the Jersey flight, tell her that!”
He had no idea how many buttons he was hitting in me at that moment. He didn’t know I was a social researcher who had written a best-selling book to help women understand men, or how all my antennae were up, telling me that this was a deeply discouraged husband. He had no idea how much I wanted to pull that sweet, clueless wife aside, or how much I wished I hadn’t sold out of For Women Only at the conference so I had one to give to her.
Yet I couldn’t go barging in on something that was not my business. So I’m left to write this article instead. Here is what I wished I could have shared with her from my research: what your man is thinking when you frown – and when he sees you pleased instead!