Good thread and quite an enjoyable read. I almost hate to spoil it with a bit of science but don't worry, I'll put something less technical at the end
of the post. Those who prefer the more anecdotal stuff can skip the next par or two.
There have been various studies, using MRIs, EEGs and other technology, indicating that contray to men, women use both hemispheres of the brain more
in many tasks, including for listening and for language, for emotional processing and even for dreaming. Men tend to use one hemisphere more. This
bi-hemispheric ability in women (and girls of course) may be explained from an evolutionary standpoint but going into details would take ages and this
is supposed to be a fairly fun thread. Simply put, women can often listen to and process two different conversations -- or say, have a conversation in
a noisy disco without being so distracted by music.
Men, on the other hand, focus very intensively on single tasks, and while this also doubtless had evolutionary advantages, it has a certain
disadvantage that most women would be able to relate to. Take for example the case where a guy is watching a football game on TV and wife/significant
female other comes in to tell him something important. If he responds at all, it will often be "Uh-huh" (or something less intelligent
) and then
he goes back to focusing on the football game. Even if she then says in equally calm tones, "Oh, by the way, someone just stole our car and took off
down the street with it," the response will still be the same.
He hears, but he's not listening. It doesn't get processed
, ladies. Literally. Believe me. Yes, you could watch the same game and have a
conversation on a phone at the same time (while ironing and watching two children as well) and not miss a thing, but for men, that's quite difficult
to do. Not impossible, but difficult.
Okay that was the scientific bit. Now to something anecdotal.
I came from a family where for years, we had the kitchen utilities set out in a very precise and orderly way. "Kitchen utilities" are just things like
can openers, clove (garlic) crushers, cutting board, big knife and so on. All that stuff you use pretty often that are not simply regular cutlery. My
Dad designed the kitchen in the family home I grew up in, so he set out everything and Mum pretty much kept it that way. (I should point out though
that in my parental houselhold, we all learned to cook and the deal was that whoever cooked dinner didn't have to do the dishes.)
My wife has virtually all that "kitchen utility" stuff in a couple of kitchen drawers. For years, I couldn't figure out why it was that she had a
bread knife in the same drawer as the can opener, the tenderizing hammer, the cleaver and so on, instead of putting them all in the correct
places with other knives, openers etc etc. You know, in categories
The reason is simple: my idea of what is "correct" is based upon categorizing and storing objects according to their use
, whereas my wife
stores them according to how often
she has to use them. The stuff she uses most often all goes into a drawer nearest to the kitchen bench, and
within that drawer the items that get used perhaps several times a day are always at the the very front.
I finally understood why when my wife was rummaging through my tool box one day, trying to find a tool to do a small repair on the washing machine.
(She's an ace at fixing washing machines. Not kidding...) Anyway, after several seconds of her rummaging and muttering annoyance I asked her what she
was looking for. "I need the 10 millimetre ring spanner. Where is
it?" she asked.
"Ummm... In the bottom of the toolbox...with all the other spanners," says I, sounding smug that she hadn't even looked in the bottom section. (This
is one of those toolboxes that fold out in sections with several trays. I had everything stored there according to type. A tray of screwdrivers,
another with pliers, grips, hammers and so on. And because my biggest spanners are huge and will only fit in the bottom of the toolbox, that's where I
put all the others.)
"Oh..." She dug around in the bottom part of the toolbox and finally found the spanner she wanted. Holding it in one hand she turned to me and asked,
"Why did you bury this in the bottom of the toolbox among spanners that you use maybe once in three years?"
"Because... It's a spanner, so it goes with spanners..." I mean, it was obvious to me!
"Isn't this one of the most common
spanners? I mean, we use this one and the 13 mm more than any others, don't we?"
"Ummm.. Yes. Why?"
"Why?" She looked exasperated. "Why don't you keep the tools you use most
, where you can get at them the easiest
Anyone got a sensible answer? I couldn't think of one.
Anyhow, that's when the penny dropped. I finally realized why she had her kitchen set up the way she did.
I have since reorganized my toolbox so all my most-commonly-used tools are near the top. I still have mainly spanners in one top tray and screwdrivers
in another, but they're the common ones: the ones I always have to dig out for almost any repair. Or that my wife needs for fixing the washing
machine, rewiring electrical plugs and other such things that she did for years on her own anyway.
Guys, never think that women aren't practical. It's just that their way of perceiving practicality is different.
Okay, I'll leave it there.
edit on 17/12/10 by JustMike because: Typos galore...