I suppose I should introduce myself: I am an American from North Dakota, transplanted by several degrees of fate to a city in northern Germany. I am divorced and have 3 children, and have a long-term German girlfriend, with whom I do not live.
My girlfriend and I don't argue much.
Partly this is because we agree on so many things, partly because our arguments are of necessity in German, and partly because I am congenitally a Pathetic Arguer, and can only think of rebuttals about one hour after the dispute.
The French, by the way, have a name for this phenomenon: L'esprit de l'escalier, literally translated means The Thought in the Stairway, that is, that brilliant thing that you could have said, the manifestation of your rapier wit, occurs to you only as you have left the party and are going down the stairs.
But then, occasionally, we have a lengthy exchange that leaves me completely baffled. One of these happened last night. Our conversations are in German, so I am doing a rough translation.
"I am so disappointed in you sometimes," she says.
"OK, that is odd because I have always assumed I was perfect, but what do you want to say?" I ask
"Tell me what is going on!"
"What do you mean, what is going on?", I say.
"You know what I mean, I don't have to tell you!"
Actually, I have no idea at all what she means, and say so.
"Don't lie to me!" she says.
"I am not lying, I really don't know!"
She wants an admission of guilt from me, and as it happens, I am feeling quite innocent. I search my conscience and discover a number of embarassing things, but they either predate my relationship with her or have nothing to do with us.
It takes me an hour and a half to glean the information from her that she suspects me of trying to meet up with a young Turkish female pianist, because she had seen an email I had written. It didn't do me any good to explain that I had not met up with her, that she was young enough to be my daughter, and I had written on behalf of my son, who will be traveling to Istanbul next month. I didn't even remember writing the email, which of course made the whole thing even more suspicious in her eyes. And in getting to the point of what she was talking about involved a circuitious route that took her to accusing me of smiling at a Bulgarian girl on a beach in Croatia one year ago, and leaving my bicycle in one place for 5 hours, ten years ago.
OK, so what I want to know is: when we men accuse our wives/girlfriends of something, we generally go right to the point and say, "Hey, why did you sneak off to the movies last Thursday with So-and-So?" whereas women will say, "What is going on? Tell me the truth!" but not tell you what it is you have done wrong, isn't it the law that you are innocent until proven guilty?