posted by Matt W on May 8th, 2013

What is the biggest difference between women and men?

While there are many different ways to tell the difference most have some sort of societal tie that really doesn’t get to the core of our non-physical differences. How we dress, what we read, the games we play, in many ways link back to what we were taught. I have always said that the easiest way to tell a man from a woman is to put a plunger in their hand in front of a clogged toilet, but even this probably has more to do with upbringing (I make my daughter plunge her own toilet… sometimes. Sometimes I don’t want to deal with the hassle). Is there a sure fire way to tell the difference? Yes.

Given any task big or little, a woman’s first thought will always be to make a list. A man will never have this as a first thought. XX list; XY no. I’m not saying guys don’t make lists; it’s just not our first instinct.  In most cases, it won’t even be in our top five thoughts. I’m sure my wife would be happy to make a list of the thoughts that go through a man’s head prior to making a list; it’s just what she does.

So here is how lists work in our family. “Matt W., put spinach on our grocery list.” If I’m in the same room there is a 50-50 chance it makes it on the page.  However, if I end up at the store without the list, there is a 95% chance spinach ends up in the cart (Interestingly, carts are called buggies in the South. I had no clue what people were talking about for a long time). Typically, I head out to the store with the list in my pocket as usually my wife puts it there. When I get to the store, I read it as I find my cart and then never look at it again. First, I’ve basically memorized it. Second, I don’t want to keep putting my reading glasses on. And most importantly, my wife will call me at some time during my shopping trip and add items (thinking I’m actually writing them down), and also go through the entire list again, reminding me of the one item that slipped my mind (Crap, I forgot about chutney. Who would remember chutney?). When we go to the store together, she is always surprised that I don’t mark anything off the list (which would be virtually impossible as it was in my pocket the whole time and I don’t carry a pencil), but mostly because she can’t imagine someone not wanting to cross things off a list, which is indeed the highlight of her list filled day. “Don’t you like crossing things off your lists?” was a typical question earlier in our marriage. “What list?” was my typical response.

Grocery lists are just another type of list in my life. As my wife is such a huge fan, they are everywhere in my life. I usually just glance at them because I find that if you are constantly looking at a list, you aren’t using your mind to solve other more important things or just experiencing life, and that almost always offsets having to go back to the store for chutney, or driving back to pick up a forgotten kid after their piano lesson. Seriously.

Every once in a while, I think my wife should go a day or two without a list, just to see if there are benefits in her life. Maybe I’ll sneak “go without lists today” between “pick up dry cleaning” and “make the beds” on her list to have her try it out.

File Under Jack of all Trades