(Strip Number 6105, Original Publication Date, 10 April 1983)
Panel 1: As they get ready for bed, Elly tells John that she wishes that he wouldn't refer to his staff as his girls. Since he doesn't realize that she takes that as a sign she regards them as his slaves, he mutters "Oh?"
Panel 2: Since he's a man from a different era than we are and doesn't see himself as being a paternalistic asswipe, he asks "They are...aren't they?"
Panel 3: The strip most newspaper subscribers will see starts with John talking about taking Jean out for lunch that day and having a long talk.
Panel 4: She's been somewhat depressed lately and he wanted to find out why.
Panel 5: They talked about her childhood, her family, her feelings about her job.
Panel 6: Since he's kind of a clod, he doesn't notice that his telling Elly that he and Jean also talked about her marriage, her worries and feeling about herself are seen as something bad.
Panel 7: Having noticed that she's turned away from him, he asks what's the matter. He gets a very loaded "nothing" for an answer.
Panel 8: He then asks if it's a good thing that he has this sort of in-depth discussion with his co-workers. She says it is.
Panel 9: She just wishes that he'd have that sort of discussion with her. This astonishes him.
Summary: This is probably because he remembers something Elly does not: the fact that he can't say anything that she cannot somehow or other twist into an insult and angrily resent. Since she lacks self-awareness, she doesn't realize that the hair-trigger temper and negativism everyone else but her sees gets in the way of the sort of communication she craves.