A man named Gerhard likes a woman named Susanne. He asks her if she wants to go to the movies, she says yes, and both spend a very funny evening.
A few days later he invites her to dinner and they have a lot of fun again. From then on, you meet regularly, and after a while, neither of you meets anyone else any more.
One evening, as they drive home, a thought shoots through Susanne’s head and, without really thinking about it, she pronounces him: “Do you realize that we are meeting this evening for exactly 6 months?”
Susanne finds the silence very loud. She thinks, “Uh, if it annoys him, that I said that, maybe he’s feeling limited by our relationship, or is he pushing me into a compulsory role?”
And Gerhard thinks ” Wow , 6 months.”
And Susanne thinks to herself: “Wait, I’m not sure if I want a kind of relationship, sometimes I’d rather have more freedom, I’ll need time to think, if I want to go on like this, I mean, where is leading Will this continue, or will we continue to marry, perhaps even to children, to spend the rest of our lives together, am I ready to make that commitment, do I know that person at all?
And Gerhard thinks: “Hm, that means it was … let’s see … February … when we started to meet, that was right after I had the car at the service, that is … like is the mileage? Au weia ! The cart is overdue for an oil change! “
And Susanne thinks, “He’s worried, I see it in his face, maybe I did not realize how he’s seeing it, maybe he wants more of our relationship, more intimacy, a deeper bond, maybe he, even Yes, that’s why he so seldom talks about his feelings, he’s afraid of being rejected. “
And Gerhard thinks to himself: “They should definitely look at the transmission again, I do not care what these idiots say, the circuit still does not work properly, and this time they can not put it on the cold weather 30 degrees, and this thing turns off like a truck from garbage collection, and I’ve paid 1200 marks to these incompetent rogues.
And Susanne thinks to herself: “He’s angry, I can not blame him, it’s me too, I feel so guilty for doing that to him, but I can not help my feelings, I’m just insecure.
And Gerhard thinks: “Probably they will say, there are only 90 days guarantee, these bags!”
And Susanne thinks to herself: “I’m probably too idealistic, waiting for a knight on a white horse, while I’m sitting here next to a super-loving person, a man I like to be with, who I really care about and who really cares about me, a person who has to suffer because of my autocratic schoolgirl fantasies.
And Gerhard thinks to himself: “Guarantee, they talk about warranty, they can have it, I take their guarantee and put it in their hands …”
“Gerhard,” says Susanne loudly.
“What?” says Gerhard, startled.
“Please do not torture yourself like this,” she says, her eyes filling with tears. “Maybe I would never … Oh God, I feel so …”
(She falls silent, sobbing).
“What?” says Gerhard.
“I’m so stupid”, sobs Susanne, “I mean, I know there’ll never be a knight, it’s so stupid, neither a knight nor a horse.”
“There is no horse?” Asks Gerhard.
“You also think I’m stupid, right?” Says Susanne.
“No!” Says Gerhard, glad to finally have a correct answer.
“The thing is … it’s just … I need a little time,” says Susanne.
(There’s a 15-second break in which Gerhard tries to come up with a sure answer as fast as he can and finally thinks of something that should work.)
“Yes,” he says.
(Susanne, deeply moved, touches his hand) “Oh Gerhard, do you really think so about it?” ask her.
“About what?” asks Gerhard.
“About a little more time,” says Susanne.
“Oh,” says Gerhard, “Yes!”
(Susanne turns to him and looks him in the eye, which makes him terribly nervous about what she’s going to say next, especially if there’s a horse in it.) She finally speaks. “Thank you, Gerhard,” she says ,
“Thank you,” says Gerhard
Then he brings her home, where she lies down on her bed, a tortured, conflict-ridden soul, crying until morning.
Gerhard drives home, gets a bag of chips, turns on the TV, and is quickly drawn to the repetition of a tennis match between two New Zealanders from whom he has never heard anything. A soft voice somewhere in his head tells him that something really important happened in the car today, but he’s sure he would never understand what it was, so he decides not to think about it.
The next day Susanne will call her best friend, maybe even one, and talk to her for 6 hours about the whole thing. In meticulous detail, they will analyze everything they say and everything he said, every word, every phrase, every gesture, to find nuances in the meaning of what they said, and to go through every possible variation. The whole thing will last for weeks, if not months, without ever ending in a plausible conclusion, but also without ever getting boring.
At some point during this time, Gerhard, during a squash match with a friend who knows them both, pause for a moment and ask “Peter, did Susanne ever have a horse?”.
And that’s the difference between men and women.