Have you ever noticed that there is a peculiar difference between men and women?
If you have then it appears that you’d be right because apparently, there is.
Some years back there was a book (written, as it turns out, by a man) titled Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. Now at first glance the title suggests it to be one of those cosmological theory offerings of the (late) Stephen Hawking vintage. The type of book displayed prominently at the very front of bookshelves by pseudo intellectuals and the like and which will remain in precisely the same unread condition as it was when first bought.
This book though, is different.
Different in the fact that the author, John Gray, by virtue of not only conceiving the concept but then following it up and writing it, proved that we men (well at least one man) are not quite the Neanderthals wandering un-listening, un-caring and un-involved aimlessly in the 20th century and beyond.
Now I don’t know the numbers, however in its day I imagine Mr Gray’s work graced the nightstand of every second female on the planet at one time or another. And yet I can’t, for the life of me name one male that I know who has actually read it.
And therein lies the difference.
Venus, it seems, may be just a little too close to the sun in the average man’s reckoning.
We are different and thank heaven for it
Of course, not that there is anything wrong with this.
After all it is our differences that make us unique and indeed if we were all cast from the same mould, life would most probably be as boring as hell. Boring, and probably just a little bit too close for comfort.
Woman: “What are you doing today dear?”
Man: “Going to an arm-wrestling competition, drinking beer and cursing.”
Woman: “Oh wow, my FAVOURITE! Can I come?”
No, Just no.
Different? Yeah, you could say that
Now I don’t know about you, but I KNOW that I am different. I am different to every woman on the planet. And most noticeably so, I am different from my wife.
Sure, we have similarities. Major life goals, the colour green. But essentially, this is where it ends.
At least now.
However there was a time when I could do
no not a lot wrong, which encouraged me to think that I was, in fact, perfect. The perfect man. So when I woke up one morning and discovered that maybe I wasn’t, it led me to believe that woman do, in fact, change. Whereas we men more or less remain constant from our first breath to our last, women, especially in the way they pursue to relationships , undergo a distinct, three stage metamorphosis over the course of their life.
The curious metamorphosis of the female.
Stage One: Girlfriend
During the girlfriend stage, a woman makes it appear that she is doing everything in her power to please the male. She takes an interest in his hobbies, ignores his (minor) unsavoury habits and hangs off every word that he says. She trusts his fashion sense and lets him choose his own hairstyle. She likes all of his friends, defers to his choice of cinema and agrees that McDonald’s counts as a restaurant. However, during this stage, the woman is a master of deception. This is because in reality, she is is gathering her resources whilst waiting patiently to move into stage two where she can begin to enforce the necessary changes in her chosen mate’s behaviour.
Stage Two: Fiance
Fiance is when the woman slowly begins to introduce these changes into the relationship. At first the male doesn’t realise this. This is because he has begun to relax, dropping his guard as he believes there is no longer any need to show off and impress the female. At first, the changes are subtle, even delicate in nature. A man may find himself doing weekend brunch and drinking tall, non-fat lattes instead of plain black coffee. His steak will come with salad instead of chips and he will learn of the word ‘diet’ and its meaning. He will also learn how a day can be spent shopping for a pair of heels and his wardrobe will no longer reflect the colours of his favourite football team. He will own a pair of deck shoes and be forced to wear them with shorts even though he doesn’t sail.
Stage three: wife
By stage three the male has lost all control. He will get five minutes (per day) in the bathroom. Often, he will find himself a passenger instead of driving and when he does drive he wont be able to speed because the family car will no longer have eight cylinders. He will have no say when a child is introduced and his first born will not be called Thor like he imagined. He will learn how a vacuum cleaner works and that the dishes don’t do themselves. He will regularly attend his wife’s work and social functions. He will be forced underground to pursue the single interest he has left. He will have to talk about his feelings and be told he never listens, even though his ears are in perfect working order. It is highly likely that he will also own a cat.
What is most perplexing with all this is the skill in which it is accomplished. It is subtle and remarkably perceptive, two things most men have learnt they generally aren’t. What we are however is practical, realistic and logical, which is why every one of us will relate to the following…
Why there is no such thing as the man on the moon
So, recently my wife turned 49, which in my mind is a fine achievement considering the alternative.
What I learned however was that she was not actually turning 49.
She was, far more importantly to her, entering her 50th year.
Now I remember turning 49 myself. I dutifully wore my new underwear and accepted the odd well wisher with courtesy and grace, waking up the next morning to ¾ of a birthday cake left in the fridge, content with the knowledge that nothing in my life had drastically changed.
This, for a man, can be considered a successful birthday.
Not so, it seems, for my wife. For starters, she doesn’t just have a birthday, she has a birthday month. And it is a month in which the world better damn well stop, slow down and revolve wholly and solely around her.
It is a month of lunches, coffee dates and the setting of new and exciting goals. Generally, these goals are identical to the goals of the previous year however as the actual day draws closer they are revisited again in earnest. Numerous book chapters are read, mostly the kind that have middle aged women travelling to far flung corners of the world to find themselves. You know the kind. Tragedy befalls woman (ultimately the fault of a man) and before she knows it she is embroiled in an adventure that is one or all of the following:
This is also about the time where I receive wistful and slightly accusatory looks which suggest that I am the sole reason she has not fulfilled her goals, dreams, desires and full potential. As if somehow it is I and only I who is standing in the way of her true womanhood, her being. Her spiritual destiny so to speak.
And speaking of spiritual, this birthday my wife received a surprise gift from her sister. Not that it was a surprise her receiving a present, more it was a surprise as to what this present was.
Cue, Moon Bracelet.
Oh yes, you’ve read it correctly.
Consider, if you will, the following conversation:
Wife: “Oh, my sister has sent me a present, I wonder what it is.”
Me: “Open it and see.”
Wife: “WAIT. Let me read the card first.”
Wife: “Oh my, what is THIS?!”
Me: “It looks to me like some little bits of blue plastic on a piece of string.”
Wife: “Well its not thank-you very much. It’s a moon bracelet. I LOVE it.”
And, naturally, it came with instructions. “Harness the power of the moon by placing your bracelet directly in the moon’s cool, white light. Wear your bracelet throughout the day and feel the cosmic energy guide your soul and free your dreams. Place beneath a full moon for the most powerful effect.”
Now why didn’t I think of this. String together some irregular bits of coloured plastic on a piece of cotton and call it something spiritual. Actually, just call it anything other than what it is, which is simply some irregular bits of coloured plastic on a piece of cotton.
But wait, there’s more.
Wife: “You should get one too.”
Wife: “You should get one. We could wear them together.”
Me: “Well I’ve probably got some stuff lying about in the shed I could string together I suppose.”
Wife: “You NEVER support ANYTHING that I do. Maybe if you just tried something new for once things would be a little different around here.”
And so, nevermore was the moon bracelet mentioned in my presence. For some days after I would find said bracelet placed in a strategic position on the outside balcony doing what it did best, that is absorbing the natural energy of the moon in isolated silence. It didn’t glow. Nor did it throb, pulse or shimmer. It effectively did nothing but represent my inability to seek a deeper self and enrich the inner me.
And this, it seems, is one of the many differences between men and women.
Women like to believe in things. They like rich experiences, soulful musings and, of course, moon bracelets.
Can you imagine a man, any man, giving another male a moon bracelet for his birthday? Would you give the gift of a massage voucher, a tarot reading or one of those crystal ball séance things that let you connect to the distant and ancient dead?
Would you read another man’s palm?
No. You wouldn’t. These are things that simply go without saying.
Now don’t get me wrong. Men shouldn’t be frightened of a little self-enrichment. We definitely need to branch out from the everyday and get stuck in to getting the most out of our lives. But we are more pragmatic I feel. More grounded.
We also know that certain parts of our bodies are designed for certain things. Our wrists, for example, are designed for wearing a watch. Or maybe a fitbit if we are athletically inclined. They are not, under any circumstances, designed for wearing interplanetary devices.
And this, most definitely, includes moon bracelets.