Saturday, May 13, 2006

What Men Don't Get

The following article is written by an independent journalist in regard to the behavioral differences between men and women. If we look beyond the stereotyping based on physical gender, and instead apply what the author says to the differences between masculine or feminine people (regardless of biology), I think this article is fairly on-point. Knowing that someone born male can naturally feel and behave feminine, and someone born female can naturally feel and behave masculine, I think the author does a great job of humorously contrasting a few of the differences between masculine and feminine people.

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What Men Don't Get
Marni JamesonMarin,
Independent Journal

'WHY DO YOU want to cover that beautiful floor?" This is my husband's standard response whenever I suggest buying an area rug.

"Because a rug will finish this room."

"The room is finished," he insists. Dan thinks a room is finished when the doors are hung and walls are painted.

I huff off, frustrated again by the million and one differences between men and women - and that's just counting the differences in the home improvement arena. When it comes to home decorating, women are from Venus and men are from another solar system. Here are some more head-scratching differences:

- Men don't get drapes. Show me a man who does, and I'll show you a man who got an extra X chromosome. Ditto for wallpaper.

- Men don't get custom bedding. They really don't understand why you can't just zip two sleeping bags together. But usually, if a custom coverlet makes the woman happier in bed, he won't put up a fight.

- Men don't get centerpieces. "Why put something on a table that you just have to move every time you need the table?" they ask.

- Men don't get throw pillows. (See above logic.)

- Men don't get a big, conveniently located laundry room. Men would just as soon put the laundry room outdoors like an outhouse. Women want it central, so lugging clothes around the house isn't their primary workout. Then again, men don't get the need to do laundry until the pile morphs into a giant polar bear that walks into the room and blocks the big screen.

- Men do get home theaters and surround sounds. Women, however, don't get why it's cool to have sound so realistic the whole room vibrates and feels as though World War II planes are dropping bombs down your neck.

- Men want big grills; women want big bathtubs.

- Men love their garages, and will defend them to their death. Actually, deaths have occurred when a woman craving more space wanted to turn the garage into a gym or art studio.

- And men don't get area rugs. If you have carpet, men think putting a rug on carpet is redundant. If you have hard floors, like stone or wood, they know how much they cost, so refuse to cover them up.

None of this surprises Michael Gurian, an expert on gender brain differences, and author of "What Could He Be Thinking." To try to understand men better, I read his book and called him. Turns out the different ways men and women look at home improvement - or life - come down to the way the two sexes' brains are wired. In men, the dominant brain region ponders questions like how big? how much? and does it have a remote? While women's brains allot much more space to the region that ponders how many colors does it come in, and is it washable? Here's what else is different:

- Men focus on gross value, while women focus on fine value, says Gurian, who heads the Gurian Institute in Spokane, Wash. "Men get their identity from how big their home is and how much land they have. Women get their identity from the quality of the interior space." That's why, given a choice between a large bathroom or a small one with fabulous accent tiles, men opt for bigger, women for nicer.

- Women's brains take in more sensory data than men's. They are biologically wired to see more, hear more, smell more and feel more, he says. "This is why men don't understand why women can't relax if the house is a mess." This brain difference also explains why men don't notice gritty counters, and why more women change litter boxes.

- Women trust feelings; men trust logic. A woman will decide to buy a home if a bird is nesting in the eaves, and the cupboard knobs are just like the one's her grandma used to have. Men will buy if the seller knocks 10 percent off the asking price.

- At home, men look out. Women look in. This harkens back to our predecessors' days when cavemen focused on the woolly mammoth hunt, while cavewomen focused on finding the perfect hearthstone. That is why, 10 million years later, when a little extra money flows in for a home improvement, men want rain gutters and women want drapes.

Absorbing all this, I've come up with a strategy to help women prevail on the home front more often: Think like a man. I try this on Dan, and re-approach the subject of that area rug. "I know you think a rug will cover up our beautiful floor," I say, "but think of a beautiful area rug like great lingerie." He lifts his eyebrows. "It invites you to imagine what's underneath."

Marni Jameson is a nationally syndicated columnist who lives in the Denver area. You may contact her via www.marnijameson.com .

2 comments:

Joanie B said...

The situation is absolute, though my circumstance are 180 out. It's my wife, the one born female in our relationship that wouldn't understand draps, bedding, wall paper or the need for coordinating area rugs, candles and fluffy pillows. If were up to her a finished room would have no paintings except for those dogs playing poker, k mart curtians, a chair and a television

Stephanie Yates said...

Blatantly sexist article that perpetuates the myth that women are naturally superior in the aesthetic and domestic realms. Certainly, men and women think differently in some basic ways, but neither have a monopoly on quality. For example, in decorating is not an appreciation of spatial relationships (crudely depicted as "size" in the article) just as aesthetically important as color? But I'll admit, I'd rather be set on fire than look for "window treatments."