This Is Us

What Women Don’t Say

A conversation might sound one-sided, but there’s more beneath the surface than you’d think

Human Parts
Published in
6 min readSep 25, 2017
A photo of a woman leaning against a wall as a man looks back at her from the corner.
Photo: Frederic Cirou/PhotoAlto Agency RF Collections/Getty Images

Here’s a conversation.

Him: Oh, you’re home. I had a shitty day at work. [Slams door.]

Her: What happened?

Him: They’re restructuring the deal. This means I have to do a fresh set of due diligences. Fucking brutal. I’m going to be at the office till late every single fucking day this month.

Her: Oh, that’s awful.

Him: Awful? That’s the best you could come up with? Never mind the fact that I haven’t gotten any sleep in, oh, weeks and weeks. I’m running on empty. Less than empty.

Her: I’m sorry, baby. That’s so difficult.

Him: I should just quit. But then how the fuck would we afford the new place? Not with your job—we couldn’t make the rent. And in this fucking economy, Lord knows how long it would take me to find another job. If I even got one at all. Who wants a fortysomething dude?

Her: Lots of people! You have a great résumé and work experi—

Him: Hah. They just hired a 26-year-old. Making more than I make. Fuck me, right? What do I have to bring to the table?

Her: Dinner will be ready in a little while. Or, if you want, we could go out. It’s Friday. I could call the babysi—

Him: We probably can’t afford to go to dinner if I quit. Fuck it. We’re not going out.

Her: Oh.

Him: Now you’re upset. Great. As if I don’t have enough to deal with.

Her: No, no, I’m not upset.

Him: Why do you have to get upset so easily? Jesus Christ.


Him: I just wish you understood how hard things are for me right now.

Now read the conversation again.

Him: Oh, you’re home. I had a shitty day at work. [Slams door.]

Her: Oh, no. He’s in a bad mood. I was worried he would be. He looks so tired, the poor thing. And hungry. But dinner won’t be ready for quite some time. I knew I should have gotten it started