Friday, August 5, 2016

Living With Men


You want an everyday adventure? I’ve got one for you: living with men.

Let me explain. I grew up in a home with a single mom. Though I visited my dad, I didn’t live with him. In college, I lived in single-sex dorms, and after I college I had one female roommate before getting married. Life in our house was feminine. Since I didn’t have anything different to compare it with, I thought this feminine way of living was “normal.” Living with my husband, and eventually our son, proved eye opening, to say the least.

Here are some areas I’ve found living with men different from living with women. (In case you are unclear, I’m about to make some major, tongue-in-cheek, generalizations. Your mileage may vary. In other words, please don’t send me letters.)

Men laugh at different things than women do, often involving bodily functions or slapstick-y pratfalls. Most women I know don’t find The Three Stooges all that funny, for example. Men’s humor tends to be insulting and directed at others. Women tend not to tease as much for fear of hurting someone’s feelings. We tend to prefer clever, witty jokes, puns, and stories—we like to use humor to connect with others. (Hey, I told you I was going to be making generalizations, didn’t I?)

Here’s a quiz for you: Which of these foods would typically be ordered by a man versus a woman at a restaurant? Wings or quiche? A double-decker cheeseburger or a large chopped salad? I’m not saying the woman wouldn’t want the cheeseburger or wings, just that she probably will not order either, especially if dining with someone else. What I cook for my masculine family is considerably different from what I cook for just myself, or for a female friend or relative with no guys around. Artichoke hearts and goat cheese never figure in meals I cook for my guys. Velveeta is not a crucial ingredient in hors d’oeuvres I serve my female friends.

Noise. When my son was still tiny, I bought the following saying, framed, somehow divining the truth about boys: “A boy is noise with dirt on it.” Most women I know go through life with the tread of a cat burglar, do not slam cupboard (or microwave or bedroom) doors, do not clang spoons and clatter plates on the counter. My husband is an exception (thank you, Dear), but I’ve found that once a man is awake in the morning, so is everyone else.

In a family composed primarily of men and boys, family outings tend to be activities you do (mountain biking, swimming, hiking, fishing), rather than passively observe (movies, window shopping). And you will likely never get your family of guys to partake of high tea, complete with scones and little crust-less sandwiches (see: Food).

Hiking in Yellowstone National Park

Which brings me to energy. The energy of men has a different feel to it—a combo of testosterone and Funyuns, perhaps? Women don’t have less energy (some have considerably more), but it has a different feel, sort of like an underground power source, always humming in the background.

Physical strength. While I pride myself on being strong—opening jars, lifting 50-pound bags of horse supplements—it’s nice to have someone who can do it for me, and do it easily. Just because I can do it doesn’t mean I always want to.

Tolerance for smells. ’Nuff said.

To this woman, men can be puzzling, exotic creatures, sometimes exasperating and insensitive. But they can also be wonderfully tender and loving, and hugs from my husband and son bring me pure joy. While I often feel more understood and accepted among my female family and friends, I value the different perspective my male relatives and friends bring to life. Living with men has made me a stronger, more balanced, more adventurous person. I wouldn’t trade this everyday adventure for all the scones in the world.

What differences have you found in living with the opposite sex?

My men

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5 comments:

Deborah Nolan said...

Ah Kathy your post had me smiling. Fortunately living with my hubby wasn't a big adjustment because I had a brother and a dad present. Yet I identify because learning to adjust ones sense of humor to a man's can be a bit challenging. The teasing can make one grow a tougher hide. Looks to me like you managed quite well. Thanks for sharing your thoughts as well as the two men in your life. Hugs!

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Debbie--You were lucky to be able to "practice" with your brother and father :). Even though it's different living with men, it's certainly a (fun) adventure!

Sketchbook Wandering said...

Yup, yes, yeah...I know generalizations aren't supposed to be great, but they ARE based on real stuff. As men and women age, they sometimes are freer to adopt the characteristics of the opposite gender., i. e., men can develop their more sensitive side, women, their more aggressive side. And I'm wondering if the younger generations have less differences than we did. I think these generalizations can help us to accept our oppostive mates and family members, yes?

Sketchbook Wandering said...

Oh, my J, he is not a teasing sort...I am more of that, but it is (I hope) kind, affectionate teasing...

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Rita--Your comment brought up several interesting points--yes, I think as we get older, we tend to develop some of the stereotypical characteristics of the opposite sex, just as you've noted. And I also wonder about the younger generation--I think it's likely that they probably do have fewer gender differences than we do. (Thus I will keep an eye on my son and his girlfriend...) I think what we do well to remember is that we are different from each other, not that one way of being is "better" than another.