Friday, October 19, 2007

Men and Women

I work on the second floor, and the coffee room is on the first floor, so it makes good sense to stop by the coffee room first thing when I get to work, and grab the cup of coffee that will last until 10 AM. And that's when I might run into some ladies in the coffee room.

If there are no ladies there, it takes about ten seconds to get coffee. Grab a cup. Put the cream in the cup. Pour in the coffee. No need to stir if you put the cream in first -- physics does it for you. You're done.

If ladies are there, it's going to take at least a minute, maybe two or three. They pour the coffee first. Then over to the creamers. Set the coffee down. Open the creamer, pour it in, take a stirrer, stir. Need more cream? Pick up the creamer, pour it in, take a stirrer, stir. If any other ladies have arrived, turn, smile, and engage in conversation, stirring half-heartedly now. Be sure to loiter around the coffee pot or creamer in such a way as to take up as much space as your 130-pound body will permit. Make someone say "Excuse me" to reach around to grab what they need. Multiply by the number of ladies getting coffee.

Sorry if that sounds mysogynistic. It's what I see every morning, Monday through Friday. Truth is, it fascinates me.

Men and women are the same species, but different creatures. I see women as being process-oriented, and men as being results-oriented. With men, there is an objective to be accomplished: get the morning coffee. Get in and get out as quickly and politely as possible, with the objective accomplished. You put the cream in first because it saves at least five seconds. You don't want to get in anyone's way because you were trained years ago by the tough guys in high school, who would beat you up after school if you annoyed them.

With women, however, nothing is ever as simple as just getting what you want. There are rituals and protocols that must be observed at all times. If you're a woman, you pour the coffee before you add the creamer, necessitating the stirring, because that's the process you were taught by your mother, and if it can be done more efficiently, so what? If you're standing in someone's way, well, others can wait because you're talking with someone, and you won't be long. There's a process here: get the coffee, exchange pleasantries, never look rushed, always be feminine. There is a right way to get coffee, and you're going to do it the right way.

I'm sure there is more to it than that, but that's my best shot at explaining what I see. One perspective isn't better than the other, necessarily. If you have a problem that can easily and quickly be solved by decisive and efficient action, you should probably think like a man. And if you have a problem that is complex enough to require a more involved process, you should probably think like a woman.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh how true this is, RT (reformed trombonist), particularly in the bedroom I'd say...

Ken said...

oh whoops, that lost post was me - Ken C.