Don't Ask Me About a Woman (sung by: Easton Corbin)

"Honey, you ready yet?" Sam Cross paced the living room floor in three long strides and tugged at his starched collar.

"Am I standin' out there, waitin' to walk out the door?" his wife called from the bedroom, her voice all acid and sarcasm.

Sam mumbled something under his breath and started pacing again. "C'mon, Katie, it's just a dance for Pete's sake."

"I'll be ready in a minute!" she shouted angrily and Sam threw up his hands in despair before collapsing on the sofa. He closed his eyes and fought the urge to walk into the bedroom and throttle his wife.

He felt a draft of cool air as the front door opened and closed and the shuffling of two sets of feet walking into the living room. He cocked one eye open and saw his children standing expectantly in front of him. "I thought you two were waiting outside and keeping Chester company."

"We got bored," eight year old Hannah stated simply.

"Chester won't mind," her younger brother, Michael, added, referring to the reliable old horse standing outside hitched to the wagon.

Sam was about to close his eye again, when he noticed Hannah's dress. His other eye popped open and he lurched forward to look at her better. Her dress was covered in streaks of dust and there was a cobweb in her hair. "What were you two doing?" he asked. Michael was still clean, but Sam knew that any trouble Hannah might get into her brother was never far behind.

Hannah squirmed under her father's gaze and tried to ineffectually dust off the front of her dress. "We wanted to find the kittens in the barn. I thought I could hear them in the loft."

"I told you two to stay on the porch by the wagon or come inside. You know you're not supposed to play in the barn alone, and especially not climb up into the loft, and you're wearing your good dress, Hannah."

Hannah flung herself against the sofa and looked up at him imploringly. "But it was boring! We'd been out there waiting for hours," she sighed dramatically, as though standing on the porch for five minutes on a nice spring evening was the cruelest of tortures. Sam struggled to remain stern. He looked at Michael who only shrugged solemnly as if he understood his crazy sister would have to be indulged.

Sam was about to tell Hannah to go change when he heard the crash of something being thrown against the bedroom wall and a sudden shriek of fury from his wife. He shook his head and mumbled, "Teaspoon was right."

***

TEN YEARS EARLIER

Teaspoon watched as Sam ambled slowly up the road, his fishing rod held carelessly over his shoulder. The boy looked decidedly thoughtful compared to his usual self and Teaspoon grinned; he had hoped that Lou's girl would give Sam plenty to think about. "Sam, my boy," he called out as Sam got nearer, "catch anything?" Sam looked lost for a moment and then catching sight of his own fishing pole shook his head. Teaspoon smothered a chuckle. The boy caught something alright, he thought happily, or somebody caught him. "Why don't you come on up here and talk to an old man for a bit? You look like you could use some sage advice and you know I am always happy to provide."

Dutifully, Sam walked up the steps to the front porch of Teaspoon and Rachel's house before collapsing on the top step with a sigh. "Teaspoon," he said in a thoughtful tone, "What do you know about women?"

"Well, now, son, I'd have to say that when it comes to women," Teaspoon paused and mulled the subject over for a moment, rubbing his scruffy jaw with his hand as he thought. "I'd have to say that on that particular subject, I don't know much. Now, I am more than ready to dispense advice on various and sundry other things, but don't ask me about a woman, son, that is a dangerous topic."

"Well it ain't about a woman exactly," Sam hedged, fiddling with his fishing line and blushing just a touch. "It's about Katie."

"Katie McCloud?" asked Teaspoon, feigning surprise. "And you're sayin' she ain't exactly a woman?"

"Well, no, she isn't, I mean she is, but she's different," Sam tripped over his words and seemed to get more and more flustered as he went on. "I mean she's not like the other girls. I always just treated her like a boy, you know, and then today - it's all very confusing, Teaspoon. I mean, I didn't even know she liked dances."

Teaspoon nodded wisely. "Yep, that's a woman for ya. You see, Sam, women, they're a curious race. Every time you think you got one pinned down, they up and change on ya. That's why, I suspect, it's so difficult stayin' married to one of them, but don't you go tellin' Rachel that or I'll be in some serious trouble."

"But Teaspoon, if they're always changin' then how do you know how you're supposed to, well what I mean is, it's just…" Sam snorted grumpily and finally just blurted, "If we go to the dance together, how am I supposed to act? Cause you know how Katie is, she gets mad when you try to talk about girl things like dresses and what-not. But if we're courtin' then I can't very well talk to her about horses and guns and stuff…can I?"

Teaspoon took off his hat and scratched behind his ear as he pondered Sam's problem. "Sam," he eventually said as he placed his hat back on his head and tipped it jauntily to the side, "there's only one thing I know for sure about women and that's this: You just gotta love 'em. It's the only way to get through to them. They'll chew you up and spit you out, or if you're lucky they'll make you feel like a king, but there ain't a damn thing you can do to fix the outcome one way or the other. All us men folk can do is sit back and let them do their worst and love 'em anyway. You keep that in mind and I reckon you'll do just fine."

Sam looked at him puzzled, "So I should go to the dance with Katie?"

"I ain't sayin' that."

"So then I shouldn't go with her?"

Teaspoon tipped his chair back against the house and propped his feet up on the porch rail. "Didn't say that neither." He settled his hat over his eyes and let out a contented sigh. "This wisdom thing makes an old man tired; I best take a nap, can't risk exhaustion at my age." Teaspoon heard Sam's exasperated sigh and peered out from under the brim of his hat to where the boy was still fidgeting with his fishing line. The old man smiled to himself as he closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep.

***

Sam took a deep breath as he eased open the bedroom door. "Katie?" he asked tentatively, waiting for something breakable to be hurled at his head. "Katie, what's going on in here?" He slunk all the way into the room and found his wife flung across the bed with her arm over her face, weeping loudly. He sat gingerly next to her and rubbed the top of her hand. "Hey, what's wrong?"

"What's wrong? What's wrong?!" she sobbed, abruptly standing up and staring at him. "Look at me! This is what's wrong!" She swooped her hand around, effectively indicating her entire body, from her overdone hair to the crooked hem of her dress.

Sam tried not to smile as he looked up at her but he failed miserably. "Don't laugh at me," she said pathetically, new tears springing from the corners of her eyes. "You know I don't do this dressing up thing very well."

"Katie, honey, you know I wouldn't laugh at you," Sam lied. "You look fine. You look better than fine, you look beautiful. Now, can we please go?"

She stared at him as though he had just suggested they sacrifice their children to a pack of starving wolves. "I'm not going like this."

"Like what?"

"Like this!" she stated emphatically, again gesturing at herself. "My hair looks like a dead animal perched on my head, I'm too fat to wear this dress anymore, and we won't even start with my face - "

"No, we won't start with your face. Your face is lovely. It's beautiful and I love everything about it," said Sam seriously, standing up and pulling his wife close enough to him to kiss the tip of her nose. "And you're not fat, you're pregnant." She rolled her eyes at him in response. "But your hair does look like something unnatural. What did you do to it?"

She swatted at his arm fiercely. "This is how fashionable ladies wear their hair these days."

"But you're not a fashionable lady, Katie," Sam said without thinking. Big mistake.

"Well, I'm glad you're aware that your wife is a big fat slob, Sam Cross. If I'd only known you already knew that I wouldn't have spent the last three hours trying to make myself presentable. We could already be at the dance right now and I could have just worn a potato sack!"

"That wasn't what I meant." Sam pulled her as close to him as her belly would permit. "I love you even if you're hair looks like a dead animal, truly, but for my money I'd prefer you just left it down like you usually do. Why do you always try so hard to look like somebody else when we go to these things? If I didn't know better I'd think you were trying to impress somebody."

"I just don't want to embarrass you," she whispered.

"You could never embarrass me," he answered. He pulled all the pins out of her hair until it fell in gentle waves around her shoulders. He mussed it gently. "There's my girl," he said. For a moment he held her and they danced together in awkward silence.

"Do we have to go to the dance," she murmured against his ear.

"No," Sam said with a smile. "We'll be late anyway and Hannah's already ruined her dress."

Katie pulled abruptly away from him. "What?" She stormed towards the door. "I told you to keep an eye on her." She opened the bedroom door and stomped down the hall. "How hard can it be to keep an eight year old girl out of trouble? Hannah Louise, get over here and let me look at you."

Sam sighed and rubbed his face with his hands in exasperation. "Teaspoon was definitely right," he grumbled.

But don't ask me about a woman
All I know is boy they're something
They're tender and they're tough
Can break it down and lift you up
Don't ask me about a woman
That's some complicated stuff
They ain't made to figure out
They're just made to love

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