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February 22, 2014

Women unravel dreams to dismay

NORMAN — I have this recurring dream where — have you stopped reading yet? If you’re a guy, I bet you have.

If you’re a woman, I bet you’re saying, “Oh, please, just wait until you hear my recurring dream! I’ve had it since I was 6. It only happens if I’m stressed plus I’ve eaten cilantro. Fresh cilantro. The dried stuff doesn’t do anything and it’s never really as good; I don’t care what they say. But tell me about yours first because my dream takes a long time.”

If there are any men still left in the room, by this point they’re tying ropes to lighting fixtures because they’re planning to hang themselves. They’re thinking that death might be quicker and significantly more pleasant than waiting for these two to stop talking about what happened when they were asleep.

Haven’t you found men to be less than fascinated by the detailed recollections of the unconscious and haphazard experiences that constitute dreams? For a few years, I had a male shrink. Even he didn’t want to hear my dreams.

And when recurring dreams happen over, say, 10, 20 or even 30 years of marriage and are ritually recited over breakfast as if they were somehow “breaking news,” I’ve known men to get downright irritated and take their coffee to another room.

(That’s where he is now: the other room. I told my husband what I was writing about and he decided to go to an entirely different section of the house. It’s not as if I was reading out loud or sounding out my words. I wasn’t asking him how to spell “labyrinth” or “polyp” — although both appear in the dream, in case you’re interested.)

Men don’t want to hear about dreams. When somebody says, “I was playing Barbies with Madeleine Albright and we were either in a circus or a brothel when suddenly I started to cut my hair with manicure scissors and Albright says, ‘Shouldn’t a priest read you your rights before he hears your confession?’ which is what she always says in the dream but this time I answered, ‘These are not my walls, but my paintings are on them,’” the natural question is, “What do you think it means?”

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