Like Jell-O in Your Hand

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Try holding a cube of Jell-O in your hand. You must have done this a few times in your life. It has a unique texture. You can pick it up, hold it flat palmed, shake it a little, carefully place it on a plate, and it holds its shape. You can even squeeze it a little, and watch it bounce back. If you squeeze too hard, or poke a fork into it, say, it will tear, but will retain its shape. The tear even seems to repair itself becoming virtually invisible. But if you squeeze it so hard that it oozes through your fingers, its shape is lost, never to return, you have a gooey mess on your hands, and all you can do is wash it clean. Okay, I’ve actually slurped it up first, and then washed.

Holding Jell-O in your hand is very much like having a relationship with a man. He wants to be held, but he wants to retain his shape—his character, his persona, his individuality, his sprit. He can tolerate some shaking, and even a little squeezing. You can even squeeze hard enough to tear him a little. But if you squeeze him so hard that his shape is lost, well, you have a mess on your hands, and all you can do is wash it clean. To extend this analogy, you may get the satisfaction of slurping it, I suppose, if you get the house, the car, the dog, and the kids.

To complicate matters, Jell-O comes in different sizes, shapes, colors, and flavors. Some pieces are so big, you need two hands to hold it, and then could tear very easily. If it’s big enough, or if its shape is odd enough, you may not be able to hold it at all. And what about those pieces that have nuts or fruit suspended in them? Whipped cream, chocolate mousse, parfait swirl, multi-flavor (ooh, I’m getting hungry!) There are thousands of ways to make Jell-O; there are millions of male personalities.

At a potluck I attended some years back, one of my engineer co-workers made lime Jell-O and put green olives in it just for kicks. It wasn’t very palatable, but it sparked a number of colorful conversations. Engineers are such nerds … kinda like lime Jell-O with green olives!

Ladies, hold your man. But don’t squeeze so hard lest you are prepared to lose him. Just because he doesn’t call you every ninety minutes or so doesn’t mean he’s not thinking about you. Maybe he skipped your birthday because of his own absentmindedness, but did he skip the mortgage payment? And don’t you think he’ll make it up to you? Okay, you didn’t get your cake, but are your cabinets full? How about your refrigerator? Didn’t he take you to dinner last week or maybe the week before? He may have ogled the waitress—he may have even flirted with her, being the jerk that he is—but didn’t he go home with you? He didn’t bring you flowers, but I’ll bet the kids have clothes and shoes, are well-fed, and going to school.

A man can be squeezed to a point, but because he is utterly unable to express it, he usually explodes at that point. That’s when you know you have caused a tear in the Jell-O-like fabric of his being. You probably get butt-hurt over it, taking it personal and all when all you really have to do is just back off and give him his space and time. Let the tear heal. How much space and how much time? Well, it’s different with each piece of Jell-O, but he’ll let you know. He won’t TELL you “I’m ready now”; he’ll just let you know, and you will see that the tear is virtually gone. Be careful not to squeeze so hard next time.


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