Tuesday, October 20, 2009

VIVA La Difference! Kindof.

The other day I had a epiphany. Okay, not so much an epiphany as a thought. It barely even hurt. We're built differently, women and men. Probably intentionally. And not just in the plumbing department.

The difference I'm talking about here is the general operating mode. Have you noticed that men are compartmentalizers. They dissect and separate things to be able to concentrate on them. They shut down all extraneous thoughts, subjects, and feelings in order to focus on achieving results and making progress in one area or on one task. They don't like to be distracted or confused by having several topics or additional tasks or unnecessary commentary introduced while they're still trying to get THE FIRST THING finished.

They're linear. And sequential. And compartmentalized. They don't like details from one part of their life slopping over into another and making things. . . complicated. They don't like dragging memories and old conflicts and previous missteps into the middle of current conflict, muddying the waters. They hate arguments that start with a single pair of underwear on the bathroom floor and end up in a review of four, ten, or twenty years of inconsiderate behavior, boorish personal habits, and family resentments. Their general approach to life is: keep it logical, separate, and simple. (In everything but food-- where they're likely to mix all kinds of things together just to up the "gross" factor and freak out the females in their lives.)

One thing at a time, lady. Make up your mind.

Does any of this sound familiar to you? Remind you of anyone you know?

Women are multi-taskers and syncretizers and synthesizers. They love nothing more than connecting and bringing things together. . . whether it's fashion accessories with outfits or lovelorn friends for dates or volunteers for a charitable cause. We like mixing things. . . our thinking is more often circular than linear. . . we keep coming back to the same areas and ideas, expanding and elaborating on them with each reitteration. We like having "input" and talking about solutions and gathering concensus. . . we want to draw our circle wide and include as much as possible. It's not just the end result that's important, it's the pleasure of having accomplished something together with a group.

We can't help bringing emotions to the table and drawing parallels with former incidents and encounters. . . we're keepers of our families' pasts and of our own accumulalted common wisdom. (There is a very good reason Wisdom is portrayed in scriptures as a "she.") We have to be able to listen to and for children while working on a task and simultaneously planning for the dinner or the evening or even the week ahead. To us, a solution that hasn't taken into account peoples' feelings is just not a complete solution! We think in circluar, encompassing, inclusive terms, and we spend our lives combining and connecting and consoling.

Is is any wonder we make men crazy?

But it struck me, as my mind circled and meandered and multi-tasked, that to have a balanced and functional society, we need both. The compartmentalizers and the multitaskers, the linear and the circular, the dissectors and the synergizers. We balance each other and contribute wonderful, necessary differences to the common dialogue and the common flow of events.

It's not a matter of either/or. It's a matter of both/and. Both are vital to our survival as individuals and as a species. So why do we spend so much time bemoaning the differences instead of celebrating them?

I don't know about you, but there are times that I'm tickled pink to hand over a task and stay out of the way until "Mr. Linear" thinks it through and gets it done. Like taxes. And pluming repairs. And computer problems. I go homicidal after 30 minutes on hold with tech support. Fortunately, the Pool Boy has patience out the wazoo for such things. Don't know how he does it. Don't want to know. I'm just grateful beyond belief that he does it!

So what's your favorite difference? What do you appreciate about the males of the species that is unique to them? Aside from the OBVIOUS anatomical stuff, of course. What is the "difference" that makes you say VIVA!

And if you can't think of anything to apprecicate. . . how about your favorite annoyance. Like "Mr. Spontaneous" in the picture above. . .


lois greiman said...

Betina, love the blog. How fun to smile first thing in the morning.

Sometimes the things that drive me crazy about men are the same things I appreciate. You know what I mean? I hate it that men often don't care what other people think. But every once in a while when I come across a problem person but don't/can't be rude...voila...I can just sic the guy on them. There's a confrontation, things are resolved, and I can stay out of it. Which kind of makes me feel like a weenie, but maybe that's what it's all about...using each other's strengths??

Terry Odell said...

Gee, back to blog synchronicity! Last Friday, I re-posted one of my "his brain-her brain" blogs.

And a friend sent a video clip illustrating Mr. Left Brain, who said he'd go to the grocery store for his wife IF she made sure he could use the express checkout lane.

She wrote the list, and he came back cursing, carrying in huge bags with vast quantities of what she'd asked for.

She couldn't understand it until she realized that in order to make sure he could use the express lane, she NUMBERED the items on her list.

Yep - he came back with 1 pound of butter, 2 bottles of oil, 3 dozen eggs ...

Cindy Gerard said...

Betina, you so nailed it! What's often frustrating about the boys are the same things that makes them endearing.
DH and I, for instance, have huge differences in driving styles. I get this all the time: "Why don't you just pick a lane and stay there?"

Well, what fun would that be??

Thanks for the grins

Michele Hauf said...

Ha! The guy diving into the tub. If they only knew how we dearly enjoy our private tub-time.
I find this post interesting, especially after the NBC story last night of how men and women's roles are changing with this frustrating economy. Women are now becoming breadwinners and men are staying home to do laundry and cook and clean.

So I'm wondering if the things we appreciate them for, home repair, the fact they are gone 8 hours a day at work (wink), that they take out the trash so we don't have to, will all change, and we'll have to starting appreciating new aspects of the 'new' man?

Kathleen Eagle said...

Betina, I love (heart) that first cartoon!

Debra Dixon said...

Betina-- You get the award for best illustrations in a while! (g)

I appreciate that men are different. Let me explain...there is a general "stamp" from which men are made, but the natural variances make it possible to find one with the right mix of standard features and deviations for each individual woman.

Frankly, I have a few friends married to men I'd have to kill, but the friends are happy and that's all that matters. Those particular men weren't made for me.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Okay...hmm...do I have an extra measure of testosterone pinging at my brain? I hate multi-tasking. I'm a Winchester. "I do one thing at a time. I do it very well. And then I move one." (M*A*S*H) If I have to multi-task--and what woman doesn't?--I worry about sacrificing the "very well" part. I talk about circular and linear brainstorming in my writing classes, and I encourage writers to try all kinds of things to see what works for them. I tend to be linear. When I really clean house I start at one end and work my way to the other end. That's the only way I end up with a true sense of accomplishment. When I go around picking up, doing a thing here, a thing there, I grumble about having to do this. I want to do the job very well, start to finish, or forget it. Is that a masculine thing? Can't be. I am SO not masculine.

Kathleen Eagle said...

The Winchester shoulde read "and then I move on." And then I move one. Funny!

Betina Krahn said...

Lois, it sure is true that the things we love also (in sufficient quantity) also annoy the heck out of us. And I have been more than content to stand back and watch the Pool Boy take on a service guy who was overcharging by a mile. I was both relieved and awed.

Terry, I LOVE that story about the shopping list! Is that a true story? If not, it could be!

Cindy, lol about the lane changing thing. I have sooooo been there. And have you noticed that men HATE it when you channel surf? Mostly because you're too slow. . . because they channel surf at a rate that can give you migraines from trying to focus.

Michele, interesting thought about the news story. I'm sure the guys will change, but I have a feeling that the houses and modes of housekeeping will change too. Has anybody ever had a hubby suggest a more "systematized" approach to house cleaning? And did he live through it?

Kathy, maybe the stay-at-home husbands will be more like you! Linear cleaners! Start at one end and go inch by inch or yard by yard. Or maybe they'll develop systems that really do improve housekeeping-- if they have to do it!

I'm glad you liked the illustrations, Deb. I had fun finding them. This is a broad topic on the internet!

Terry Odell said...

Betina: I believe it's a 'true' as possible given that it came from a comedy routine. Of course, I've lost the link to share. And there were 7 items on the list, the 7th being 6-packs of 7-up (she needed 1 cup for her recipe!)

Terry Odell said...

Aha -- found the clip. I'm getting moderately adept at Google (or is it with Google - or Googling?)

Anyway, here's the link to Jeanne Robertson's "Don't Send a Man to the Grocery Store"

Cindy Gerard said...

LOVE Jeanne Robertson!! I've got to look for a CD by her. She's, as we say in Iowyyy, "A Hoot and a half!"

catslady said...

I am still laughing at Terry's grocery store story. My husband also will only go if it's very few items but even if it's just one - I have to write down in such detail what to get and he still can get it wrong. Mine loves going on errands and stopping quickly (run in, run out) but he doesn't care how many stores - I'm just the opposite lol.

Pamela Keener said...

OMG I loved the you tube bit by Jeanne Robinson. Thanks for sharing.

I myself have been accused of not multi-tasking by the man in my life. I must stay with a job until completion or I get discombobulated. As I have gotten older it truly has gotten worse. If I would clean house I would also have to start at one end and keep going until the house was done.

Great blog post.
Love & Hugs,
Pam Keener in sunny PA

Helen Brenna said...

Betina, you always make me smile!

All day I've been trying to come up with something, anything, and my mind is a blank. Bet that tells you how much writing I've gotten done!

I find the grocery store stories make me chuckle - probably because they hit so close to home!

Betina Krahn said...

Thanks Terry for hunting that down for us! Can't wait to see the whole thing!

Catslady, my guys are the same-- shopping only under duress. Like when I have a broken foot or am in the hospital giving birth. . . neither of which has happened lately. Oh, except for my youngest. I guess he got the "domestic" gene, because he does all the cooking and thus all the grocery shopping. But he's a rare specimen in other respects, too.

Pam, I guess we'll have to admit that if you and Kathy Eagle are single-minded about cleaning-- then it is possible for women to be linear, too. Just not as much as men are. Usually. :)

Helen, I can die a fulfilled woman. . . having brought a smile to your lovely face. sigh. I'm all wamr and fuzzy inside. Outside, too, but that's another story.

KylieBrant said...

What I most appreciate about men is how easily manipulated they can be LOL. One just needs to study a specimen for a lengthy period of time (say thirty years). Then it's easy to figure out exactly how to say things to get them done.

Example: (Him) what are these paint samples doing here? I'm not painting. I hate painting. Last time I painted (18 years ago) I got carpal tunnel.

(Me) Ok. I'm going to hire it done. Here's the estimate.

And voila. New paint in the family room.

Betina Krahn said...

Kylie, I would never have taken you for such a devious woman! And brilliant! GREAT idea. I'm learning at the feet of masters!