My wife and I were watching a TV show the other day — It was one of those reality type deals. A woman was telling a story about how her husband told her to "calm down" and she freaked out. I muted the show and asked my wife, "Why do you get upset when we say that?"

She explained it to me, I kind of listened, and we started talking about how I should bring this question to the Ethan and Lou Show. Ahead of the on-air segment, I had Erica post this question on one of her social media pages. She wrote:

Ladies, Lou Milano doesn't understand why women don't like to be told to calm down. Can anyone help explain it????

The mail started rolling in. Here are just SOME of the responses:

  • Jessica U. - "Nothing infuriates me more when I'm upset. It's practically like telling us to shut up."
  • Elizabeth S. - “the reason the ‘calm down’ card has such an effect is that it invalidates our emotions, dismissing whatever we’re saying as just getting all worked up over nothing”
  • Tanya S. - "Saying "calm down" dismisses our feelings. Period. Don't you understand we are all cray cray and just want to be validated dang it!!!!"
  • Paige H. - "Because we don’t like being told what to do  and by saying calm down that means in a way you’re calling me crazy so that combo just ain’t happening."
  • Lisa H -  "I feel like this is usually said when they’re not hearing (or not listening) to whatever it is you’re trying to say/why you’re upset in the first place. Also kind of equivalent to saying “shut up” sometimes."
  • Nadia F. - "Because it makes it clear to us that you don't understand the level of seriousness surrounding whatever discussion is being had, and in addition you probably barely even listened to what we said, because if you had you would't be telling us to calm down. YOU make us FEEL crazy. Don't misunderstand."
  • Jen G. - "Just. Don’t. Do it."
  • Stephanie V. - "A. makes it seem like I’m being crazy B. makes it feel like he is dismissing the reason I am upset C. makes it seem like he doesn’t want to deal with the situation....it’s literally a trifecta of a bad idea!!"
  • Tina D. - "If they stop making us mad then we won't need to calm down lol"
  • Tamra B. - "I AM CALM!"
  • Sarah Z. - "Why explain when you can slap him across his face."

Again, these were just some of the many responses. We got a lot of calls on the Ethan and Lou Show about it as well. I was REALLY impressed with uniformity of the answers from our lady readers and listeners. It was astonishing to see how they were all essentially giving the same answer. It's not like they had a meeting about it ahead of time. These were Facebook responses that appeared within seconds of each other.

I will say, however, there is still a disconnect for me as a man. Many of the responses used the words "crazy" and "shut up." What you should know about us "man folk" is we are NOT calling you crazy or telling you to shut up. I think that women are very often searching for the message behind the message. They are trying to get to the bottom of what it is we are REALLY saying.

Let me clear this up. We are very literal. The things we are saying as men are the things we are saying. There is no deeper meaning, no hidden message. We just are not that smart.

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