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Monday, July 22, 2013

Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Downton Abbey

I'm a guy. Anything I say about women may be wrong. Okay?

And I'm about to go nuts with generalities.

But I may have figured something out. The main difference between men and women is not in relationships, or interests, or chemistry, or planet of origin.

It's time.

Men live in episodic time. For a guy, a typical event timeline is quite short, and when a specific event is over...it's over. The memory goes into a kind of neutral archive, an emotional cold-storage locker.

Women live - I think - in a continuum. What happens in a woman's life today is directly and intimately related to what happened last week, last month, or ten years ago. Pursuant to that, what a woman experiences today will color her life in the future, to a much greater degree than it would a man's.

Men live a sitcom life. There's generally almost no carryover from one episode to the next. As such, they are relatively easy to figure out. Understand the episode, and you understand the man.

Women live series that go on for years, and build up such layers of complexity that one simply can't walk into a woman's life and expect to understand what's happening in her heart within a few minutes. The backstory is everything.

A prime - and almost cliched - example of this is romance. For a woman, a romantic evening begins long before the actual event, with anticipation, hope, and communication. The dinner at the Top Of The Mark is the culmination of a process that takes days or weeks to unfold, and can only be fully enjoyed in its completeness.

For a man it's different. "Want to have dinner at the Top Of The Mark? You do? Cool. I'll pick you up next Friday at seven."

He'll probably make arrangements for a nice wine, and make sure of what's on the menu, and verify that he has a suit that's more or less clean, and socks that match, at least broadly, in color.

Then he'll go clean the carburetor, and all thoughts of romance will dissipate in the wonder of an engine that breathes better.

Are men horrible pagan barbarians?Yes.

Oh, sorry, I meant, no. Men are just different, but expecting them to fully understand the full texture of a woman's life is like taking a cat to the opera.

And in the end, just as a cat needs a home that provides structure and food, men need women. A woman's heart is the emotional repository of tradition and feeling, and it's only there that most men can find a place, and continuity, and meaning, in the world.

What do you think?