Today's column is part of my never-ending effort to understand the differences between men and women. Want to play along? I could use the help.
What I'm talking about is an e-mail that you may have seen reprinted in the newspaper, which was sent by a lawyer named Kyle Sampson, who was chief of staff for Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, to Andrew Beach, another lawyer in the Justice Department. I'll quote the e-mail, so you can understand my point:
To: Andrew Beach
Sent: Tuesday, November 21,
2006 6:49 PM
From: Kyle Sampson
Re: Pls sked
Meeting for next Monday. Re: US Attorney Appointments. AG, me, Monica, DAG, Moschella, Elston, Battle. 1 hour. AG's conference room. Thx.
That's the sum total of the e-mail.
Now, that e-mail got everybody else thinking about whether Gonzales was at a meeting about the vaporizing of certain U.S. attorneys. But that's not what interested me when I saw it. What I thought was that if somebody sent me an e-mail like that, I would have only one question:
Why is he mad at me?
What did I do wrong?
Where is the love?
Look again at the e-mail. It's 20 words and one number, total. I never saw such a short e-mail in my life. I never wrote such a short e-mail. It's missing everything!
For starters, it doesn't begin with "Dear Andrew." It doesn't ask about Andrew's weekend or his health. It doesn't say, "Hope you and the wife are fine." What about the kids?
My e-mails contain whole paragraphs of that stuff, especially if children are involved. I thought it was polite or at least expected, like the warm-up act of e-mails.
Is this the difference between girl e-mails and boy e-mails? You tell me.
The ending of Kyle's e-mail is equally, well, male. There's no "Stay well," "See you soon," or even the businesslike "Looking forward to it." And what about "Who's bringing the doughnuts?"
Of course, the e-mail doesn't end with "Love, Kyle." There isn't even "Best, Kyle," "Sincerely, Kyle," or the minimal "Thanks."
There is only Thx.
I admire this.
And I feel the same way about the Pls.
Clearly, Kyle Sampson is an extremely important, efficient and super-smart kind of guy. This would explain why he's risen so high up the ranks. I thought that when you grew up, you had to choose between doctor, lawyer or chief, but Kyle became two out of three. Chief lawyer! What a guy!
Plus, Kyle is saving taxpayers tons of dough by not typing out every letter in thanks and please. Saving money by skimping on vowels - the man is a visionary. Even a vsnry!
And by the way, take a look at the date on the e-mail. It was written on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2006. Thanksgiving fell on Thursday, Nov. 23, 2006. Think about it. Chief Kyle wrote that e-mail two days before Thanksgiving. I checked my calendar for the same week last year. That day, I went shopping for stuffing and pumpkin pie. Then I picked up my mother and daughter at the airport. I was focused on love and carbohydrates.
Girl things, right?
I even remember that I went first to Whole Foods, which was out of cranberries, and then to Acme, where they were, too. It sent me into a tailspin. Not that I'm above canned cranberry sauce. I just mash it up to disguise the ridges from the can. But the bottom line is: That day, I was worried about condiments.
Not Kyle. Kyle was scheduling a very important meeting for as soon as possible after Thanksgiving weekend. Not a moment to lose. We may all have been looking forward to an easy Monday morning with a tryptophan hangover, but Kyle would hit the ground running. Not only that, he also sent the e-mail after normal business hours. Two days before Thanksgiving, Kyle was still at his desk - at almost 7 o'clock at night!
I might be in love with Chief Kyle. You know what they say about a man in uniform.
But I digress. If I can't make Kyle my own, I'll be him. I'll convert my girl e-mail to boy e-mail. I'll delete that dopey hi-how-are-you and I-hope-this-finds-you-well at the beginning. Not to mention my customary ending, Love, Lisa.
Love wastes time.
And I'm also saying goodbye to my xoxoxo, after the Love, Lisa. I used to write my daughter two full lines of xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox. It extended forever, like the quadratic equation of kisses and hugs.
Hoo-boy! So dumb! But no more.