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I read an interesting article today that attempts to review the “Why” behind a couple of gender based quirks.  It was an interesting read which can be found here: Why Does My Partner.  But, as always, I like to put my own spin on things.  So below, I’ll highlight a few of the male traits they addressed and I’ll relate them to hubby & me.

 

Why he prefers to spend five minutes precariously balancing a banana skin on top of the trash rather than empty it.

 

The Article Suggests:  “Real men test their masculine abilities on an overflowing trash bag.  It’s a challenge to get a thrill out of – a half-empty bag is boring.”

In My House:  If the banana peel actually makes it to the trash can, I’d celebrate!  The true test of his masculine abilities is to see how long he can tune me out as I ask him why certain items don’t make it to the trash at all.

 

Why he can’t find the keys when they’re in front of him. 

 

The Article Suggests: “Researchers aren’t certain as to whether this difference is down to hard-wiring of the brain or learned.  But, women tend to perform better when tested on location memory”

In My House: The reason he can’t find the keys when they’re in front of him, is because I’ve moved them from where he put them to where they are SUPPOSED to be.  And, he’d never in a million years be able to find them hanging on the key holder.

 

Why the way a gift is presented is nearly as important to her as what’s inside it.

Lord help the man who wraps his wife’s expensive gift in brown parcel paper 

 

The Article Suggests: “Because it’s not just about the present; it’s about the communication. And, .. women often try to read a guy’s emotions from his actions”

At My House: A true gift wouldn’t actually need to be wrapped at all.  It could come in the form of a clean bathroom, some folded laundry and a cooked dinner!

 

Why he can recall an obscure ’70s band but can’t remember your anniversary.

 

The Article Suggests: “Emotional memories such as anniversary dates are triggered by estrogen, whereas the ability to recall facts utilizes testosterone,”

At My House: I’ll be testing this theory tomorrow with a sprinkle of estrogen in his coffee… I’ll have to keep you posted!

 

Well, there you have it.  You just got a glimpse into our household… pretty scary huh?!! 

And, even after all that….I’ll admit, I still don’t really understand the “Why”.

Do you?

 

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Yesterday I mentioned that men & women have different levels of need when it comes to information.  I also provided an example of how a woman might provide an overflow of information. 

Well, today, I’d like to share an example of how a man might provide insufficient information.  Because as you probably know… this issue swings both ways!  And, somewhere in the middle lies the ever so elusive balance.

 

Detail gathering tasks almost always fall to the woman in a relationship… and, here’s why.

 

 

Hubby: “I spoke to Chris today… they [Chris & his wife] want to hang out next weekend”

Me: “Ok, which day?”

Hubby: “I’m not sure”

Me: “Did he mention where they want to go or what they want to do?”

Hubby: “No”

Me: “Do they want to come down here by us, or would we drive up to see them?

Hubby: “I have no idea”

Me: “Did he give you any idea of timing?  We have some stuff to do in the afternoons”

Hubby: “Nope, I didn’t ask him”

Me: “So the 2 of you had a conversation about hanging out, but you didn’t actually discuss anything?”

Hubby:  “I guess”

Me: “I just don’t get you”

Hubby:  “Can’t you just call his wife?”

 

A conversation with my father-in-law:

 

FIL: “I called to see if you guys want to meet us out for dinner”

Me: “Ok, where?”

FIL: “Asia Star”

Me: “What time?”

FIL: “I don’t know”

Me: “You called to invite us out, but you don’t know what time?”

FIL: “No, let me check with the boss”

Me: “Is this a family trait.. or a male trait?”

FIL: “What?”

Me: “Well, you & hubby seem to have the same inability to gather sufficient information to complete a task?”

FIL:  “I have no idea.. Here, I’ll put Mom on”

Me: speaking to MIL “What’s wrong with them?”

MIL: “Who?”

Me: “Men”

MIL: “Where do you want me to start?”

 

And… I’ve found that this phenomenon is not just isolated to planning… it’s extends to virtually every conversation that hubby has with someone.

 

Hubby: “I spoke to Jim today.. he just got a new job”

Me: “I didn’t realize he was in the market for a new job”

Hubby: “Neither did I”

Me: “Well, that’s awesome anyway!  What will he be doing?”

Hubby:  “No idea”

Me: “You didn’t ask him about it?”

Hubby: “No, not really”

Me: “So, he mentions he has a new job and you say what,  ‘oh great, so did you see that game last night’ ?”

Hubby:  “Well, sort of”

Me:  “You weren’t interested in any more details?”

Hubby: “That’s not it…. If he wanted to share more info he would have… Honey, we’re, guys.”

 

So, I’ve realized a couple of things over the years:

 

  • If two men are sharing info… there’s just no hope of getting a full picture or a full story
  • If a man & a woman are sharing info.. AND (and, this is an important AND) the woman has mastered the art of extracting information, you may have decent idea of what’s going on
  • If two women are sharing info.. you’ll likely get not only a full story, but a full back-story, a dissection of the story, an analysis of the story, and a recommendation for next steps.

 

seesawLike I mentioned earlier, I’m sure there’s a spot right in the middle that makes the most sense, but from what I’ve seen, it’s a difficult place to stay.  It’s sort of like being on a see-saw and keeping it perfectly balanced at all times.  It’s just not that easy to do.  Too LITTLE info and one side lowers… too MUCH info and the other side lowers (and, quite possibly, somebody’s head explodes). 

 

The best way for me to try to maintain the “balance” in my own home is this:

 

 

Me: “Honey, do you think you can do me a huge favor”

Hubby:  “Sure”

Me: “Next time you are having a conversation with someone, about almost anything that you think you might mention to me later, can you pause for a moment and ask yourself… What other info might she ask me about?  And, if anything pops into your head, can you please try to gather that info before you tell me the story?  It will make it so much easier on both of us!”

Hubby: “Yes, dear”

 

And there they are…..those magical words that every woman wants to hear… “yes, dear”.  Even though, I know that next time he shares information with me… we’ll be right back to where we are today. 

Because, after all, he said it himself….. “Honey, we’re guys”

 

 

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Hubby is not inherently lazy.  He’s not stupid.  He’s not incapable.  He’s not even intentionally absentminded (or at least I don’t think he is).   But he is, on many occasions, unable to complete full tasks.  And, since we are both intelligent, hardworking adults, I have to admit… this baffles the ever-living-crap out of me. 

Let me try to explain…..

  • He carries his empty soda can into the kitchen and places it on the counter ABOVE the trash can
  • He steps over his dirty clothes 50 times instead of bending down once to throw them in the laundry basket
  • He takes the sponge to clean the kitchen counters after dinner but he doesn’t wipe down the table where we ate.
  • He replaces the empty toothpaste but he doesn’t throw the old tube away.

It’s like he’s waiting for little fairies to appear overnight to magically complete everything he’s started OR.. perhaps….

He’s exercising that Man Rule I mentioned in an earlier post:   The one that outlines how marriage offers a shared life that requires a man to do only ½ the work.

The irony here is that chores are not shared 50/50.  They are literally split in half.  As in, I’ll do half of the chore and I’ll leave the rest for you to finish.

Sometimes it seems that he’s literally just run out of gas in the middle of doing something.  Or perhaps his mind has just drifted to football games or Guitar Hero or maybe it’s just shut off completely like a computer that all of a sudden goes into sleep mode.  The mind of a woman is always going, but a man can somehow just shut his off.  I’ve never understood it but it’s true.  Have you ever asked a man, “what are you thinking about” and he responds “nothing”…. Don’t badger him for a better answer… it’s likely true…he’s not thinking at all.  Men have the unique ability to actually shut off their mental faculties and go into a battery conservation, sleep mode, while they are awake.

So, knowing that I cannot get him out of sleep mode without “pressing any button”, I have no choice but to “wake him up” by pushing his buttons… and we all know where that usually winds up (which is a different topic altogether).  So for now, I’ll get back to his attempts at these chores..

 

Is he putting forth effort?   Yes.

Should he be applauded for helping?  Yes.

Should I want to kick him, every time I have to finish his chores?  Yes. (oh wait…. I meant No!)

Should I reward him with a treat every time he completes a task…  hmmmmm, I might be onto something here!?

 

More often than not,  it just falls under the category of…”if you want something done right, just do it yourself”.  And, who knows maybe that’s really what he was striving for all along!!!

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I have heard it said that…. Behind every great man is a great woman.   

I’ve also heard the argument that this phrase better reads…. Beside every great man is a great woman.

 

Personally, I say potatoes, potatoes… (wait,  that doesn’t work so well if it’s not actually spoken…)

Let’s try it again.   I say pō- tā- tōs,  puhtah– tōs .  

 

Why?  Because I am not a feminist and I have no interest in debating the semantics of standing behind or beside your man.  On any given day, I’m sure I do both.

Anyhow, whichever statement you prefer, I think there is true wisdom in this concept.  Not because I feel that men need women to be great, but because I do believe that great men are oftentimes better men because of a woman.

I think the truth in this phrase lies in the underlying stages of relationship development.  Case in point my hubby.

 

When I met hubby, he was living, quite happily, in a “Bubble”

  • He hung out in the same bar, with the same 2 buddies every night.
  • He chose between 3 food items and never strayed from this diet
  • His wardrobe rotation included 2 solitary pairs of jeans (one pair was black.. ewwwww!)
  • He wore white socks with his black sneakers. 
  • He claimed to “not eat seafood” (although he had never tried most of it)
  • He barely knew the difference between a hammer & a screwdriver

Oh my, what a project he was for the right woman!

 

I say project, because as a young man, he hadn’t learned that he could do more and be more. He didn’t realize he was selling himself short. 

 

And, this is the crux of my earlier statement.  That great men are great because they have the gentle nudging, never settling, always look better, always be better, love of a woman.

 

There’s nothing like knowing someone is always behind you (or beside you) to try new things and to improve upon yourself.    And, in case you’re wondering… these improvements didn’t just come in the form of more stylish attire (although that was icing on the cake!).  I mean who knew that when introduced to new things, hubby would become a sushi fanatic, discover he actually likes pickles, gladly own 6 pairs of shoes and even successfully tackle home renovation. 

 

We often joke that when I came into his life I completely “burst his bubble”….   

 

My position: I opened up his sheltered, boring world to new opportunities and options.

His position: Ignorance was bliss.

 

Who wins this argument??  Well let’s just say, we’re having salmon for dinner tonight.

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This is the age old question that haunts all single men. 

It’s one of the first things a guy hears from his buddies when he announces his crazy, love clouded, intentions of proposal.  (Even those that are happily married will jump on the back slapping, band wagon to enumerate all the ways life has changed since they exchanged vows).  

Ironically enough, these lists mostly include all the ways they’ve had to “grow up”.  But, to each of them it was the day they closed the books on their childhood dreams of becoming:

  • A World Champion Grand Theft Auto player
  • The Supreme King of the all-night, chili cheese dog eating contests
  • The Record Holder of the most viewings of the Lord of The Rings Trilogy
  • #1 Bachelor Extraordinaire with the best water bed, silk sheets and pizza box collection.

While these are admirable goals for a young man, they somehow may not be a priority as you start to build a life with your new wife. 

So, do things change?  Well, I guess the true answer is.. yes they do. 

And, although not every marriage is the same, there will be things that require compromise, discussion and modification.  After all, you are now sharing your life with someone else. 

And therein lies challenge #1. 

It’s not just all about you anymore.

 

Here’s my theory (and, I’m sure we’ll dive deeper into this in other posts… But I’m putting it out there for you to mull over).

When a Woman Gets Married She’s Thinking: “I’m so excited to share my life with someone… now that there are 2 of us, we’ll be able to get twice as much done!” 

When a Man Gets Married He’s Thinking:  “Cool, now that there’s someone else sharing the work, I’ll only have to do half as much!”

 

And, perhaps that’s where the disconnect begins…………

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