One day last week I discovered that men and women think differently. You can imagine my surprise when the Nobel prize for social insight did not arrive on my doorstep the following day.
With Hurricane Rita on her way to Texas and predictions that it could reach as far north as our humble little abode in the woods, I thought I would go over our emergency preparedness. I was planning to be gone for most of the weekend so I showed Beaven where the candles and matches are kept. A couple of hours later he began in the middle of a paragraph, as older people often do, especially those who have been married a long time. Spouses sometimes work under the assumption you have been inside their heads listening to their thoughts up until now. “You know, I could turn off the main breakers and move the generator up to the garage breaker and it should backflow into the house…” I realized then what I had known all along: he wasn’t going to have anything to do with candles and matches; the man was going to restore power to our house if it failed.
This is the way it’s always been with us: I settle down for a long day without electricity or heat, gathering up blankets and candles, extra water, a few good books…Beaven goes into a frenzy of figuring out how to fix the problem. One year we had an ice storm that knocked out our power for 3 days and he paced around saying “I know how to fix that transformer if I could just get up the pole.” He did, in fact, climb up the telephone pole once to attach a second line to our house. But that's another story for another day; just trust me when I say he wasn't being dishonest, just impatient.
I sometimes tell people that I married the last good man. Translation: he can fix just about anything in the world. Install a toilet? He can do that in his sleep….not just fix it, install it. He put a sink and toilet in our garage the other day and I’ll swear it was more out of boredom than necessity. How many people feel the need for a john in their garage? Run cables for electricity and/or TV or computers? Simple to him. He can fix a car or a children’s toy with ease. Our granddaughter’s first sentence was “Grandpa fix it.” Where I am a master of improvisation, Beaven wants specific tools and lots of them, preferable two in case he can’t find the first one. He is used to being able to fix anything that’s broken, provided he has the right tools.
On the other hand, I can make a workable skillet out of aluminum foil or a decent cup of coffee with a tin can and a candle. Women may have advanced since cave days, owning Cuisinarts, espresso machines and panini grills but we can still cook on a rock if we need to.
I think one of the most basic differences in our sexes is that men take action to change their situation, employing all the proper tools to help them work efficiently and faster while women quietly endure or improvise until it’s all over.
This comes from the difference in our bodies. Men have far more strength than women so they are used to solving problems. Women, from centuries of powerlessness, most of which is directly caused by lack of physical strength, have learned how to ride out any storm and merely endure to survive.
Men change their situation; women endure it. This leads me to believe firmly that, like roaches, women will emerge from a nuclear holocaust and all the men will be gone. They will have been pulverized into dust while they’re running around setting up ladders and running cables.
This may not be the bad news it appears. The human race will survive. After all, we know how to freeze sperm now. We really don’t need men anymore except for opening jars and killing bugs. And you can buy a gizmo that will open the jars for you.