Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Difference Between Men & Women Simplified

I have two children, a 13-year-old boy and an almost 12-year old girl.  They amuse and frustrate me on a daily basis.  It might just be their particular personalities, but in a lot of ways I think they really personify the major differences between men and women as a whole. 
Take their approach to education for instance.  In our household school comes first before anything else, including sports.  This is more my wife’s rule than mine but like most things in our marriage I just go with it (it’s not like either of my kids are going pro in sports anyways – they were handicapped with my DNA after all).  You’d think, given this rule, that they’d BOTH be extremely focused on getting good grades, right?  Not so much.  My daughter currently has a grade of 100% in 5 subjects, and a 99% in the 6th.  And guess what?  She’s pissed about the 99%.  My son, on the other hand, also has all A’s (barely) and it appears there’s gonna be a photo finish in several subjects.  And guess what?  He couldn’t care less.  So long as he achieves the bare minimum that will allow him to participate in sports (which is all A’s – I know, my wife is a hard-liner), he’s as happy as a clam.  In his mind why would he shoot for a 100% when an 89.6% (they round up at his school) gets the job done?  Mind you my kids are of more or less equal intelligence, and both participate at a high level in youth sports.  Yet one aims for the academic moon while the other aims for an academic check box on his way to the baseball field, basketball court, etc.  Point number one: Women care more about pleasing others (Mom and Dad in this case) while men care more about pleasing themselves.  Translation – men are selfish pigs (not all of us but certainly most of us – oink, oink).   

This next example takes us to the middle of Los Cabos, Mexico.  Wait, perhaps I should back up a little.  For as long as I can remember, my son has had the uncanny habit of having to go to the bathroom at the absolute least convenient times.  And I’m not talking about number one.  That boy, God love him, has probably dropped a deuce at every fast food restaurant, convenient store, and gas station this side of the Mississippi.  Fast forward to last year in Los Cabos, Mexico.  We’re on vacation and shopping for supplies at Walmart.  Side bar: If you think American Walmarts are dirty, try shopping at a Mexican Walmart.  Enough said.  Anyways we’re on the beer aisle (where else?) when my son gives me ‘the look’ and I’m like, “Dude, really?  In here?  The hotel is like 15 minutes away.  Can’t you hold it?”  He just shakes his head and smiles.  So I begrudgingly take him to the bathroom where we’re immediately slammed in the face by the foul stench of sewage as we enter the filthy, closet-sized room.  I mouth-breathe while waiting just outside the stall but it does nothing to quell the watering of my eyes.  After what feels like an eternity he emerges from the stall with a content look on his face.  I make him wash his hands and as we exit the bathroom he remarks (with a grin), “That was a 4-bagger Dad, I touched em’ all.”  God, I love that kid.  My daughter, on the other hand, takes after her mother and is a complete germaphobe.  She wouldn’t dare set foot inside a dirty bathroom, let alone use it, unless it was an absolute emergency.  She would literally rather make herself sick holding it, than use any bathroom she deems less than sanitary.  Point number two: Women are high maintenance while men are low maintenance.  Translation – most of the time we just don’t give a shit (no pun intended).
Next up let’s talk about the conversation that takes place each night when I ask how their days went.  My son could have gone skydiving, met the President of the United States, and cured cancer all in the same day, and I guarantee when asked how his day went I would get the following one-word answer: “Good.”   It’s the same answer I get from him every day.  No matter what.  Without fail.  Getting information from that kid is like pulling teeth.  On the opposite end of the spectrum is my little flower.  She could have had the most boring day in the history of days, but you know what?  I’m still going to get the extended version with every single detail, no matter how trivial or inconsequential they might be.  She’ll tell me about the conversation she had with the crossing guard on her way into school, about the outfits each of her teacher’s were wearing, about the kid who freaked out at lunch because he threw away his retainer, and about every other microscopic detail in between.  I love that little bugger more than anything, but man can she talk.  Point number three: Women are (overly) communicative while men prefer silence.  Translation – when it comes to sharing our feelings men live by a simple paradigm that women will never fully grasp: Less is more.

Along the same lines let’s talk a little more about their feelings.  Out of the blue my daughter will get all weepy for seemingly no reason whatsoever.  I’ll ask her what’s wrong and her typical response is: “Nothing.”  I’ve been married for a long time, so I know that when a female says “nothing” it rarely (never) means nothing.  This is usually the point when my wife intervenes (thank God), figures out what’s wrong after a long and arduous process of elimination, and cautiously proceeds to rectify the situation.  My son, on the other hand, rarely gets upset about anything.  But when he does I can usually narrow it down to one of three things: 1) he’s lost at something (pick-up basketball, fantasy football, TiddlyWinks, it doesn’t matter – he HATES to lose as much as his old man), 2) we ran out of something that he likes to eat, or 3) his sister sucker punched him when he wasn’t looking.  Therefore I can almost always diagnose what’s wrong and quickly figure out how to fix it (let him win, feed him, free shot at his sister).  Point number four: Women tend to be all wishy-washy about their feelings while men couldn’t be more transparent (we’re an open book).  Translation - you ladies are like an emotional Rubik’s Cube.      
I’m now going to lump multiple examples together in order to prove my fifth and final point.  First off my son could go an entire solitary weekend locked in his bedroom (the man cave as he likes to call it) and be perfectly fine.  He’s got a TV, his gaming system, and a cell phone in there.  If we slid a pizza under the door every few hours I swear we might never see him again.  My daughter, on the other hand, can’t go more than 30 minutes without checking in w/ Mom and Dad.  I’m not sure if she thinks she might be missing out on something, if she’s looking for us to entertain her, or if she’s just that attached to us.  The point here is that women tend to be far more needy and co-dependent than men.  Next up is their interaction with friends.  My daughter and her friends are very hot and cold.  Their BFF’s rotate around about as often as they change clothes in a day.  The best word to describe the vibe of their little group is drama.  It’s almost as though they are in a constant competition with one another.  My son and his friends couldn’t be more opposite.  They spend entire weekends together without so much as the slightest conflict.  And if a minor argument should arise, it can easily be resolved with a fun-loving punch to the nuts (I know, I don’t get it either) or a good-natured wrestling match.  The point here is that women aren’t nearly as good of friends to one another as men.  Lastly let’s look at a simple exercise in perception.  My son walks into the kitchen and sees a batch of freshly-baked cookies on the counter.  One thing and one thing only immediately pops into his head: How can I eat a whole boat-load of those cookies without Mom finding out?  My daughter then walks into the kitchen and sees the same batch of cookies.  First she’s pissed off because Mom didn’t invite her to help bake the cookies.  Second she’s even more pissed off because she assumes her brother got to lick the beaters and she didn’t.  Third she starts counting out the cookies to make sure there’s enough to bring for her friends the next day at lunch (if anyone gets left out the drama will REALLY get cranked up).  Fourth she’s back to pissed off because she’s just realized the cookies are chocolate chip and Mom knows full well she prefers peanut butter.  Fifth the pissed off bug has now taken root so she starts thinking about all the shit that pissed her off the previous day, and she’s now scanning the room for her brother to hit him with a sucker punch in the back of his head.  The point here is that women are wired so much differently than men, it’s almost as though we’re an entirely different species.  Which brings us to…  Point number five (the master point of this long-winded collection of points): Women are a complicated battle field of trap doors and land mines while men are a simple wasteland of instinct and gratification.  Translation - I love my girls more than anything but I’m now more convinced than ever that I’ll never fully understand them. 

The boy and I will be in the man cave if you need us.

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