Sunday, April 24, 2011
The Difference Between Men and Women
Having spent most of my adult life married, I have had the good fortune of spending time with not only my guy friends but my wife's friends as well. And after years of observing, there were glaring differences I began to notice in the dynamics of our relationships with each other. I am not here to say which is better or which is worse, but that these differences, when thrown together, can be like throwing football fans in a room of polo fans. It's not that they won't necessarily get along but there will be that odd feeling in the room that one group just doesn't get the other. And I believe these differences between men and women has nothing to do with who handles relationships better, but it can be traced back to our early ancestors.
There was a comedian I heard years ago that did an interesting bit about the differences of men and women and how it can be. The languages of the sexes do not cross over.
Suppose you are at a party with six women, he suggests, and the chip bowl is getting low. All six women rise together, most likely hand in hand, and make their way to the kitchen. Once there, they refill the bowl together. One woman offers to make some dip while another washes the dishes from earlier. Two of the women fill the wine glasses and they all join each other out and the sun drenched patio as birds chirp hello from the blossoming Crape Myrtles.
There are no birds at the men's party. The same situation elicits another response.
"Hey man, the chip bowl's getting low."
No one moves.
"I bought the chips."
"It's my bowl."
"I ate the chips."
"What did you do?"
"I … I watched TV."
And that man refills the chips. The process is a negotiation. TV man lost the negotiation; he understands that it is his role to refill the bowl. "No one cares that an hour just went by and no one had chips."
The problem comes when the party is mixed company. Someone points out that the chip bowl is getting low. One man says, "I bought the chips." Women stare in disgust. Expletives abound.
"No one wants to negotiate?" asks the man. "I must have missed the meeting."
It isn't so much that the humor is particularly original. The accepted stereotype is that women like to shop and men will gladly wear the dirty T-shirt straight from the hamper. The originality, rather, is in the explanation of how this gender gap arose. The behavioral differences between men and women, the comedian claims, is the result of evolutionary processes stemming from the days of the caveman. Today, men and women are simply the modern-day versions of hunters and gatherers.
Women, as they shop, gather clothes with no end goal in mind. They take their time, taking in all of the sights and sounds around them. Reminiscent of the days when they had to store for the winter months ahead, women "fill their basket" and never stop at just one shirt. They are gatherers.
Men, on the other hand, just need a T-shirt. They hunt one down, and the first one they find that meets their needs, they kill. Then, "me go watch TV."
While I know this will not gain scholarly acclaim among anthropologists, you have to agree there is some truth. In fact, as soon as my wife gets back home from shopping and as soon as the Mavericks game is over, I will get her opinion and I am sure she'll agree.