In a moment of not perfectly clear thinking, I agreed to sit on a panel composed of several women for a television show. The idea was that we so-called "experts" would answer questions posed by guys who wanted to know about the inside thinking of a woman.
"How can I know if a woman I have asked out wants me to kiss her at the end of the date?" was one question.
An outspoken panelist, who jumped in to answer each question first and loudest, announced (and this is the gist, not the identical wording), "Oh, get real. If we agree to go out with you, we plan to kiss you."
I spoke up. "I disagree. I've gone out with a lot of guys whom I've never kissed. Just because I go out with you, doesn't mean I'm gonna kiss you!" Her mouth dropped open and she stared at me as if I were the dinosaur that I am. I shrugged it off. I know I'm old-fashioned, but it works for me. And, to be honest with you, it works very well. Men are intrigued by a mysterious woman.
The panel of women, a couple of them very good friends of mine, and I disagreed on another point. And, in complete honesty, most women disagree with me on this, too, so I am definitely in the minority.
One guy wondered why women can act so independently and not allow men to fix their problems, especially after the woman has complained so loudly.
The choir of voices arose and the consensus was this: "We don't want you to fix our problems, just listen to us. We can fix our own problems. We just want someone to listen."
It was my turn for my mouth to drop open. I shook my head in disbelief. Those women do not speak for this woman.
This woman will take any help she can get in solving any problem she has. Seriously. I'm not shy about it. If any man out there can fix any of my myriad problems, then please know you are welcome any time.
Maybe it's because of all these years of singleness where I have battled life's little and large problems alone, some of them practically choking me when they came in bunches. Over the past few years, I have come to rely often on Patti, my capable and calming assistant. Sometimes, I just turn problems over to Patti and say, "Here, you handle this." And she does. Always perfect to the "T." In fact, she handles my problems better than I handle them. I wish she would solve them all.
Now, if I also had a man who would join Patti in solving my problems, I would be president of my life and I could handle the big things that are constructive rather than destructive. This would be a good thing. I don't need anyone to "just listen" to me. Dixie Dew does that. She tilts her head, furrows her brow and listens intently. But, cute dachshund she may be, she has yet to solve one problem for me.
Besides, if you ask Patti, she needs help in solving my problems. It can be a bit overwhelming at times. She would welcome reinforcements. Every time she sees a bouquet of flowers at my house, her hopes rise. "I'll be praying about this one," she'll offer, wistfulness shining in her eyes.
That day during the taping of the television panel, I spoke up and disagreed. I even offered an example. "I have a leak in my roof right now and if any man wants to step up and help, I'm all for it."
So far, no knight in shining armor has arrived to repair the roof. Lest you are thinking of it, though, let me remind you of this: Just because you fix my roof, doesn't mean I'm gonna kiss you.
Ronda Rich is the Gainesville-based author of several books,
including "What Southern Women Know About Faith." Sign up for her newsletter at www.rondarich.com.