One day at work a coworker and I were sharing amusing stories about our relationships when another coworker walked up. He listened for a moment, nodded his head in all the right places, and then said, “Well, I tell you one thing. All I know is men, women, they were made in different ovens.”
“Yeah,” I replied, “Wait, what?”
“Men and women. They were made in different ovens.”
“What does that even mean?”
“Men, women. They are different.”
“Well, yeah, I get that. So why not, ‘men and women are cooked differently,’ or ,’at different temperatures,’ or something? Where’s this extra oven come from?”
“I just men they are different.” He’s completely right, of course.
One of the biggest differences between men and women is in our thought processes. Both sexes have logic that internally consistent within their gender, but which is completely foreign outside of it.
A common example is thermostat settings. Every husband in North America fails to understand why 75° is perfect for the winter, but way too hot in the summer. To be fair, we’re more concerned about the electric bill than the temperature, but you get my point.
Not that this lets men off the hook. Every wife in North America wonders why her husband insists on wading in with helpful advice while she complains about her day at work or conflict within her family. The inherent problem is that women just want to explain how they feel about their day, while the men in their lives see a problem they think they can fix.
Then there’s time. I’m convinced men and women perceive time in a completely different way. The most interesting aspect of this is that both sexes describe time oppositely. For example, here’s a couple of conversation I once had with my wife.
“Honey,” I said around 7:45, “We need to leave by eight.”
“Okay, I’ll be ready in five minutes.”
Fifteen minutes later I said, “Uh, Honey, we need to leave by eight.”
“I know, I’ll be ready.”
“But it’s already eight.”
“I said five minutes.”
See? Men view specific, discrete times as . . . well, specific and discrete times, while women view them as open-ended time frames with little real meaning. Oddly enough, this is completely reversed with ambiguous words such as “sometime.”
Another example. Recently, my wife had a request.
“Hey, Babe,” she said.
“Could you put these plate hangers on the wall for me sometime?”
“Sure, no problem.”
Except it was a problem. I define “sometime” as an open ended timeframe. Some time means just that, some time. I could do it that day, or the next, or maybe even the next week. I could even argue that I had several years in which to complete the task (though even I’m smart enough to realize that won’t fly). I define sometime as a point in the nebulous future, or whenever I get around to it. My wife defines sometime as right now.
I don’t know if it’s because of too many bad Lifetime movies, but most women I know seem to see danger lurking where none is present. One morning, Chrisie asked me if I turned on our hallway light in the middle of the night.
“I guess it’s possible, but I don’t really remember.”
“Well, it scared me last night.”
“The light being on in the hallway scared you?”
“Yeah, I thought someone had broken in and was waiting to get us.”
“Because that’s the most reasonable explanation.”
“It could happen!”
“I guess, but if this hypothetical intruder wanted to get us, why turn on a light and announce his presence. Why not just get us?”
“Maybe he wanted to terrify us first.”
“We are not living in a horror movie.” Maybe a romantic comedy, but definitely not a horror movie.
The good thing is such differences can actually strengthen relationships. In ours, Chrisie settles my impulsiveness and I loosen her detailed planning. She keeps me from becoming overly cluttered and I help her understand it’s okay if the bed isn’t made once in a while. When one of us is weak, the other is strong. When one of us is in love . . . oh wait, we get that one the same.
I say we celebrate that we were made in different ovens. Not that I really know what that means.