June 21, 2006
At a cocktail party my friend's seven-year-old came up to pull on her skirt and asked her to look at her ring. "What does the color mean, Mommy?"
"It tells your mood," my friend replied.
"What's a mood?" asked the little girl.
Just wait until you're 13 I thought. I was amazed to see that yet another fad of the '70s was making a comeback, namely the mood ring. Bell bottoms, John Travolta and mood rings, who knew? I'd better get in on that sea monkey franchise before it's sold out.
The way mood rings work is that they react to surface body temperature - the liquid crystals within the glass change their molecular structure and reflect different light wavelengths. Thus the deep blue of passionate love means your skin has heated up. Black, which indicates nerves or fear, comes from that cold clammy feeling you get when nervous. However, mood rings are far from finely calibrated scientific measurements. If there actually were such a thing as a ring which could alert men to exactly how we women were feeling, it would make a billion dollars.
Women are not the most straightforward of creatures, and there's nothing simple about our emotional wiring. We expect men to intuit what we're feeling and judge their failure to do so as conscious indifference instead of a genetic design difference. While some signs of how we're feeling may be obvious, such as the bunny on the stove, others are much more subtle, and men can be anxious about whether they're going to come home to their loving wife or an alien creature from planet estrogen.
Mostly what men would like is a color spectrum which indicates "I'm going to get some," or "I'm not going to get some," and what is in the middle with room for negotiation. Here is a mood ring chart which might be helpful to them:
BLACK — You've done something wrong, and I'm not going to tell you because if you don't know what it is then you're an even bigger jerk than I thought.
GRAY — I feel fat in it.
AMBER — I'm sad about something that has nothing to do with you (a fight with a friend, a bad haircut, that penguin in the movie whose egg didn't hatch).
GREEN — That is so sweet that you were nice to my (mother, cat, fern).
BLUE-GREEN — The credit card bill with my shoe purchase just arrived, I'd better distract him.
BLUE — I just got a raise at work, found a pair of jeans that make my ass look great, and the yorkie is finally house-trained.
DARK BLUE — Ohmigod, I can't believe you've rented us a suite at the Four Seasons in Maui for the week. Let me go buy edible panties!
The key is that women may get in moods for several different reasons. Mood swings may be hormonally-based, circumstantial, or signs of a psychotic episode. The serenity prayer is helpful for men to know what moods they can help change, which ones they can't, and the wisdom to always know the difference.
And you would think at this point in evolution the female species would realize that the psychic boyfriend is a rarity, and for most of us, it would really help our relationships if we just told our man what we were thinking. But that raises the even bigger question of – do they really want to know?
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