Posted On January 12, 2011 by Print This Post

Honey, Let’s Go Shopping: The Sexes and Dialogue

Is there a writer in the world who doesn’t love good dialogue? It’s fun to read, fun to write and leaves just the right amount of white space on the page. Today, radio show host Bruce Sallan is back to illustrate some differences between men and women through not only the way they talk, but the subjects they want to discuss.

Bruce will also have a new book out in 2011, a compilation of some of his best “A Dad’s Point-of-View” Columns. We’re so pleased to have you with us again, Bruce!

Today it seems there are so many changes in our home and work lives, that the sexes often are unsure of what their roles are.  Notice that I used the word, “sexes,” rather than gender.  To me, “gender” sounds like academics and reeks way too much of the PC police.  We are two different sexes and, while this may come as a shock to those of you in “Women’s Studies” departments at our elite universities, we sexes (e.g. men and women) are inherently different!  Yup, different.  Like in “Black and White,”  “Ying and Yang,” “Laurel and Hardy,” and “A Burger and Fries.”

Okay, maybe some of those analogies are a bit silly, but the point is that men are men and women are women.  And, it’s my assertion that rather than trying to make us “equal” in our behaviors, let’s celebrate our differences and learn the best each sex has to offer!  To be clear, the one area in which I support “equality” is “Equal pay for equal work.”  Whether that means every woman should strive to be a fireman or every man should go to nursing school is irrelevant.  In that regard, I believe it’s up to the individual.

Also, to be explicitly clear, while I think there are generalities that apply to each sex, the key word there is “generality.”  Just like clichés, which only become clichés due to their relative truth, the same applies to generalities anyone or I might make about men and women.  So, PC police and graduate school women’s studies professors, relax, I know there are exceptions.

To illustrate some of our inherent sex differences, I decided to eavesdrop (okay, I recorded it with her permission) on a conversation between my wife and I.  Just as a picture is worth 1000 words, maybe this “dialogue” will illuminate my assertion about our differences.  For the sake of my wife’s privacy, I will name her “wife.”

Bruce:  Honey, I just don’t see the need to make the bed every day with all those pillows.  Do we have to?

Wife: Yes, because it looks better and what if someone comes over?

Bruce:  Who? The pool man?  These pillows just get in the way and clutter up the room when we go to bed.

Wife (sigh): Dear, just do it for me, okay?

Bruce:  Okay, okay.  Can we talk about this shopping trip you want me to come with you on, please?

Wife:  What about it?

Bruce:  I don’t want any new clothes.  I’m fine with what I’ve got for our trip.

Wife:  Bruce, most of your clothes should be thrown out.  In fact, if you don’t go through your closet, I will get rid of most of your horribly out-of-style wardrobe.

Bruce:  Please don’t do that.  I’ll clean out some of the older stuff.  Look, I’m just comfortable wearing the stuff I wear. And, a lot of that stuff has sentimental value to me, just like Pete Maravich’s socks did to him.

Wife:  Pete who?

Bruce:  He was a basketball player that wore the same pair of socks his whole career.  They were in tatters toward the end.

Wife:  That’s disgusting

Bruce:  Well, I don’t get why you have so many shoes and need to change your wardrobe each season.

Wife:  It’s a girl thing and, don’t forget, I was in the fashion business.

Bruce:  All right, I’ll go with you, but I’m bringing my laptop so I can get some writing done when you get stuck in the shoe department. You’re not going to spend that much again on shoes, are you?

Wife: You just don’t get it, do you?  You bought three computers in the last two years, a big-screen TV, plus that new video player thing.

Bruce: But, all that stuff is practical and the whole family enjoys the TV and the Blu-ray player.  Heck, didn’t you watch the “Sex and the City” movie twice in the last few weeks?

Wife: Yes, and you didn’t stay for more than 15 minutes.

Bruce:  Ahhh, but you used it.  And, sorry, those women are unwatchable.  What does anyone see in Sara Jessica Parker?  And “Mr. Big?” Give me a break.

Wife:  You hurt my feelings.

Bruce:  What? I hurt your feelings because I didn’t sit and watch a movie with you?

Wife:  Yes, you did.  Don’t you remember what we learned from that book I got you to read?

Bruce:  What book?

Wife:  “The Five Languages of Love.”  And my languages were?

Bruce:  Oh, yeah, I remember. That’s one of the New Age books you so love.  Your language was receiving gifts.  I remember.

Wife:  No, that was one of two that applied to me.  The other was spending time together.

Bruce:  Well, I don’t see how watching a chick-flick is spending time together.  You drool over the clothes and I end up falling asleep.

Wife:  That’s not the point.  Anyway, we’re getting you some new clothes and I’m getting those knee-high boots I showed you.

Bruce:  Why don’t you just get whatever you think looks good on me and I’ll wait at the Sports Bar, please (winking)?

At that moment, Bruce reaches over and gives his wife a big kiss.  Though she clearly wants to continue the conversation, Bruce puts his hand over her mouth and with a big smile says, “Shhhh,” and kisses her again.

I hope the above dialogue made you chuckle a bit, made you reflect on your own relationship, and felt honest in how men and women are often different with neither, in the above scenario, being right or wrong.

What I’ve learned from my wife and I think she, from me, is that her strengths enhance our family unit because of their feminine origins in the same manner than my testosterone instincts provide balance for our family in the other direction.

That tension is why the sexes are attracted to one another and why it’s fun, why it’s hard, and why I got divorced once.  This time, it’s going to stick.


RU Crew, do you ever have conversations like this with your significant other? What really jumped out at you about Bruce’s opinion on the sexes?

Come by Friday when Kelsey will share her “Writer Interrupted” story about how a life coach is helping her get her writing life back on track.


Bio: Bruce Sallan was an award-winning television executive and producer for 25 years, during which time he produced over 30 television movies, pilots and series.  He produced his first television movie at age 24 and was a Vice President at ABC at 29.  Google him if you care for the specifics.  Along the way he worked with such actors as Ingrid Bergman, Ron Howard (before he was a director), Mickey Rourke, Ben Affleck, Hal Holbrook, Barbara Hershey, Sisey Spacek, Henry Winkler, Alan Arkin and Brian Dennehey.  He wrote articles for Daily Variety and the Producers Caucus Bulletin.

You can find  “The Bruce Sallan Show – A Dad’s Point-of-View” Thursdays at 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., PST on KZSB AM1290 in Santa Barbara, on Sundays at 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. on NewsTalk 1420 WHK in Cleveland, Ohio, or on the Internet via a live stream.  For that link and all information about the show and Bruce, visit his web-site: Bruce created and launched a website for those who would like Tech help, called BoomerTechTalk (  Bruce’s column, “A Dad’s Point-of-View,” is available in over 100 newspapers and web-sites worldwide. Find Bruce on Facebook by joining his “A Dad’s Point-of-View” page: You can also follow Bruce at Twitter:

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64 Responses to “Honey, Let’s Go Shopping: The Sexes and Dialogue”

  1. Hi Bruce,

    Thanks for sharing your conversation with your wife. Loved it.

    If only the Almighty had left a handbook about the sexes, our bodies, and how to make a million, we could have avoided a lot of arguments and unnecessary trips to the doc. 🙂

    Posted by TraceyDevlyn | January 12, 2011, 5:48 am
  2. Hi Bruce. Loved this post. This conversation could have happened in my house. We had one of these over the delivery of the new fridge last week. I was concerned the new one wouldn’t fit through the space between the center island and the counter. Hubby measured the space and it was close. Really close. My suggestion was to go back to the store, measure the fridge at every angle, see if the doors could come off, etc. The hubby said, “Nah, they’ll figure it out. These guys do this all the time.” Of course, I went to the store myself because winging it just wasn’t working for me. Guess what? They wound up taking the doors off and lifting it up over the counters. So, we were both right!

    On certain things (like fridge deliveries!) I think women need the nitty-gritty details and men are okay with just winging it.

    Posted by Adrienne Giordano | January 12, 2011, 7:31 am
    • Adrienne, I think “the conversation” could have taken place in many homes we all know. Love your story. But, what I took away from it was the YOU chose not to make it a problem! You just did what you thought was best to easy your concern. Many wives (or husbands) would have let that escalate to a fight – to what purpose? Love your solution. Another excellent example of our inherent differences and, in your example, how to deal with them and still love each other!

      Posted by Bruce Sallan | January 12, 2011, 7:38 am
      • This is a classic!

        At our house this would have been easy. After rehabbing a 100-year-old house when we were first married, my husband and I quickly recognized neither of us had the do-it-yourself gene. We leave those types of details to the experts!

        Posted by Becke Martin/Davis | January 12, 2011, 11:01 am
  3. Thanks for your comment Tracey. I think the “Almighty” knew what he was doing. Part of our job as spouses, and now I’m definitely quoting my wife, is “to learn the other’s language.” No one said marriage would be easy but too many of us, myself included, are too lazy about the “work” involved. I actually wrote a column about just that subject.

    Posted by Bruce Sallan | January 12, 2011, 7:34 am
    • Would it be fair to say that no conflict would lead to a very boring marriage??? LOL

      Posted by Tracey Devlyn | January 12, 2011, 12:20 pm
      • Yes, it would be fair, but seriously, it’s the amount of conflict that matters. Conflict should be a healthy way of resolving issues and figuring each other out! BUT, if it leads to name-calling and a days-on-end feud (in which you’re not speaking with each other), then it’s gone too far. At that point, counseling is in order if the marriage is to survive!

        Posted by Bruce Sallan | January 12, 2011, 1:37 pm
  4. Great post, Bruce!

    I have the same kind of conversations with my husband. He hates shopping, would wear rags if I let him, and thinks a great vacation includes a stop at printing press or machine tooling convention.

    We do share a few interests, but it’s our differences that keep things interesting. 🙂

    Posted by jennifer tanner | January 12, 2011, 7:40 am
  5. THAT is the point Jennifer! “…our differences that keep things interesting!” Thanks for the comment!

    Posted by Bruce Sallan | January 12, 2011, 8:10 am
  6. Morning Bruce!

    Great having you back with us….=) Love the conversation, although ours probably would have ended with “no” quite a bit earlier in the conversation. What is it with men and not wanting new clothes til the old ones literally fall off? Now I disguise my shopping for clothes for him as birthday and Christmas gifts, that way he’d feel bad about returning them! =)

    Thanks for posting!


    Posted by Carrie Spencer | January 12, 2011, 8:11 am
  7. Carrie, see you’ve highlighted yet another example of how we should “work” with our differences rather than “fight” them! My wife does the same thing with buying me clothes. Reminds me when I’d get clothes as a kid and wonder why I wasn’t getting toys instead! Lol…

    Posted by Bruce Sallan | January 12, 2011, 8:14 am
  8. Great Post!

    It’s amazing that you referred to Chapman’s Five Languages– I’ve been trying to get the hubby to read it for the past month and guess what? His face gets that same look he gets when I start talking about Pride and Prejudice– like he’s praying for a parachute before the jump:)

    Heck ya, we’re different. What fun would it be if we weren’t? But I love that we live in a time that we can flip our differences around a bit. Like I totally get the old socks thing– I have pieces of clothing from high school that I would not part with for anything, whereas, he needs those shopping trips to keep things fresh!

    Thanks again for making me smile so early in the morning!


    Posted by Sonali | January 12, 2011, 8:18 am
  9. Sonali, thanks for the kind words. While I won’t admit it out loud (shhhhh), I actually found “that book” interesting and it did help us further understand our different “languages.” The challenge, joking aside and in all sincerity, has been changing our behavior to match those “languages of love!” We’re both trying and the book at least helped clarify things a bit more for us! Tell your husband I give him permission to read it. And, I won’t tell!

    Posted by Bruce Sallan | January 12, 2011, 8:28 am
  10. Fantastic blog – LOVE the conversation! This is going to be a long reply, because I’m going to have to counter with a conversation from the wife’s perspective. (We’re celebrating our 40th anniversary this year, BTW.)

    I’m not into clothes and shoes as much as make-up and jewelry. (Not “real” jewelry – I like pretty and glittery and fun, like Brighton and Betsey Johnson, Lia Sophia and Silpada.) I love to look at pretty clothes and shoes, but I’m more about comfort.

    So you’d think communicating with my husband about clothes and shoes would be easy, wouldn’t you? Not so much. Here’s a case in point: when we first started going out, he had a pair of a light-colored suede Clark shoes with rubbery soles. He always said how comfortable they were and he wore them all the time.

    Move ahead thirty-some years. We’re at the mall, and in the window of Clark Shoes I see an identical pair of suede shoes. Here’s the conversation:

    Wife: “Hey, those look just like those shoes you used to have!”*

    *(He never throws out shoes so the originals may still be in the depths of his closet, but I know better than to bring THAT up.)

    Husband: “Oh yeah – those were really comfortable.”

    Wife: “I always thought they looked nice, too.”

    Husband starts to walk on. Wife stops in front of Clark’s store until husband realizes she’s not with him. He turns around and comes back.

    Husband: “What’s up?”

    Wife: “So aren’t you going to get them?”

    Husband: (shrugs) “I’ve got shoes.”

    Wife: “But you loved those shoes. And they look nice.”

    Husband: “They’re expensive. And I don’t need shoes.”

    Wife: “You can afford them.”

    Husband: “I don’t feel like shopping. Want to look in Brighton?”

    Wife: “You can afford the freaking shoes. Why don’t you get them?”

    Husband: “Don’t need any shoes. Let’s move on.”

    Okay, there is a sub-text here. If he gets the shoes, it sort of technically gives me permission to a guilt-free purchase at Brighton. Now I have to be a martyr, too, and only window shop. I totally don’t get window shopping, anyway.

    Oh yeah, here’s the rest of the story. Those shoes went on sale in the summer. He still didn’t buy them. But suddenly last fall, when they were no longer on sale, he did. They fit him. They felt comfortable. They looked good. He could afford them. And yet he waited about a year to buy them. And men say women are weird?

    Posted by Becke Martin/Davis | January 12, 2011, 9:09 am
  11. Hi All, I’m the WIFE. Just so you gals all know, Bruce captured our conversation pretty accurately. Good post honey! It’s nice to know we’re not the only ones with these differences. And even though we both read The Five Languages of Love, and we couldn’t be more opposite, we still both SUCK at speaking the other’s language. Oh well, progress not perfection.:-))))))

    Posted by Anonymous | January 12, 2011, 9:49 am
  12. Bruce –

    We always love having your perspective at RU. I’m one of those wives who “gifts” my husband with clothes, etc. at the holidays. For example, he’s had the same pair of slippers since before we were married. Yes, the same ones for almost 20 years! So this Christmas, I picked out a pair from the same place, a little more upscale than his old ones with shearling inside, but close enough that I thought he would make the switch.

    Imagine my disappointment when he tried them on and they were too small! Now, the box is in his car, waiting to go back to the post office. And he’s yet to make a decision on another pair (the ones I gave him weren’t available in a bigger size anymore). It could be another 20 years before we get this sorted out – LOL.

    One other communication lesson I’ve learned in the past few years is this: telling your spouse what you need/want doesn’t reduce the power when s/he fulfills the request. When I was younger, I used to think it didn’t count if I had to tell him I wanted something. Now I know better. I told him I love to get flowers (from the grocery store is fine :)) on occasion. He gets me flowers and they make me happy because he listened!

    Thanks so much, Bruce!

    Posted by KelseyBrowning | January 12, 2011, 10:43 am
  13. I love it! Except I think you’re mistaken. This was a conversation between myself and my husband, right?

    I think it would be interesting for more romance writers to explore the differences in how men and women communicate. We tend to simply make men sullen or all take charge. The average guy is well, average, yet it makes for just as interesting a story. Certainly a funny one.

    Posted by PatriciaW | January 12, 2011, 11:51 am
  14. Great post, thanks Bruce. It’s always nice to know that I Am Indeed “Normal” in my marriage. 🙂

    Posted by debbie haupt | January 12, 2011, 11:59 am
  15. Debbie, “Normal”!!! What’s that? I think that is exactly the problem. We all have this naive idea of what “normal” is! And, it isn’t like the TV shows we grew up with. Mrs. Cleaver doesn’t exist nor does “Father Know Best.”

    Posted by Bruce Sallan | January 12, 2011, 12:03 pm
  16. I think dealing with the other half comes with experience, I some times cringe when I think of my own first marriage and the mistakes I made…like .going to football on my first wedding anniversary and only realising after seeing the date on the program and thinking mmm that date looks familiar. Luckily we lost so my ex-wife took pleasure in my pain when I got in with a card and some flowers. I won’t say where she told me to stick the flowers. In my defence I was only 23 so knew nothing!!!!

    I’m in my 2nd relationship and I think with age comes, understanding, tolerance, the ability to forgive, compromise and to work together. For example my 15 year old stepson decided that being put on report at school was not fair, so refused to go to school. My partner and I worked together to try to find out what was initially wrong and then spent 5 days trying to get him back to school. It was tough but together we got there.

    Like you I’m happy with my clothes, but will wear what’s brought for me and I will go round the shops with my partner. I just have not got the knack of fully playing the shopping game yet. Mi instinct is for the yep that’s looks good can we go now routine, where women want to spend all day going round the shops, having a coffee, having lunch, because they enjoy the shopping experience and there might be something better in the next shop!!!. Going round with your lap top is a no no, you must also interact, saying things yes that looks nice on you. It is a mine field one dodgy look or one dodgy comment and it can all end in tears. I must stop faking that old war wound , I think she is beginning to see through that one, oh and the old trick of fainting while clutching my wallet when she shows me an expensive dress is beginning to wear a bit thin now as well.

    On the other hand when the men come back from football, heart broken, devastated a broken man, it’s not good to say oh well it’s only football. A sympathetic cuddle, some soothing words, listen to the pathetic ratings about the ref, the center forward who could not hit a barn door, the manager, the owners, it helps. By all means go into the next room and have a good laugh, but not in front of us please!!

    Posted by steve martin | January 12, 2011, 12:09 pm
    • Steve, nice to hear from another man. Was feeling a bit lonely out here, though I must say the comments and exchanges have been not only terrific but oh so real! As for the laptop thing, my wife actually likes it, ’cause then she can take her time. I can sit in the same store, if she wants, and respond to her questions, “How does this look” (Only one answer: TERRIFIC!), or “Does this dress make me look fat?” (Again, only one answer: OF COURSE NOT), and “Which one should I buy?” (Two answers for this one: “Gee, honey, they both look so good, I couldn’t possibly decide,” and if you want to really win points, “They look so good, I think we should buy both of them.”). The latter answer might win you enough points for a day or two!

      Which brings up another VERY IMPORTANT difference between men and women. Men think the amount of money they spend on something for their woman actually has different value (on a points scale) while it doesn’t actually work that way.

      So, the man who brings flowers home wins the same “points” that the man who brings home a piece of jewelry. Those “points” fully expire the next time “He” messes up!

      We men foolishly actually think the price tag will gain us more tolerance the next time we “get in trouble” when women count EVERY gift as just “one point.”

      Women, do you agree?

      Posted by Bruce Sallan | January 12, 2011, 1:54 pm
  17. Bruce –

    Thanks so much for being with RU today. What a great conversation and fun comments!


    Posted by KelseyBrowning | January 12, 2011, 10:37 pm
  18. This was so much fun! My husband didn’t post a comment, but he enjoyed it, too!

    Posted by Becke Martin/Davis | January 13, 2011, 8:52 am
    • Becke, it was equal fun for me. Maybe even a little “enlightening?” I’d love it if you’d “like” my Facebook page, the link of which is up in my “Bio.”

      For that matter, all RU readers and “students” are encouraged to “like” my Facebook page on parenting.

      And, if any of you would care to do me a favor, I’d really appreciate it if you’d help support my 14-year-old son’s cartooning career, by leaving a comment on one or more of his “It’s a Tech World After All” cartoons on (the link is also in my “bio”).

      Again, I want to thank everyone at RU for bringing me back and letting me loose with this “dialogue,” with a special thanks to both Kelsey and Adrienne!

      Posted by Bruce Sallan | January 13, 2011, 9:03 am
  19. This was a great conversation, Bruce, thanks for sharing it. At my house, though, that conversation would be more than a little reversed – my husband is the one who likes to shop and I’d rather stay home in the batcave!

    Posted by Heather | January 14, 2011, 6:40 am


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jonathan Sherman. Jonathan Sherman said: RT @BruceSallan: "Honey, Let's Go Shopping" – a fun "dialogue" between the sexes! – #Marriage #Relationships #RU […]

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kelsey Browning. Kelsey Browning said: RT @romanceuniv Honey, Let's Go Shopping: The Sexes and Dialogue – A fun discussion today! […]

  3. […] quite a spirited discussion going on at RU and if you’d care to read some of it or join in, here’s the link.  But, following is the “course” for your reading […]

  4. […] quite a spirited discussion going on at RU and if you’d care to read some of it or join in, here’s the link.  But, following is the “course” for your reading […]

  5. […] quite a spirited discussion going on at RU and if you’d care to read some of it or join in, here’s the link.  But, following is the “course” for your reading […]

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