I cannot speak personally to the ?Men are from Mars, Women from Venus? theory, because any relationship I have with Venus is exclusively with the Greek divinity (Venus being the Goddess of Beauty and Love) and not with the second planet from the sun which, for goodness sake, is twenty-six million miles away from my home town.
How arch can a self-help book be, how dichotomous, how histrionic? However, years ago when his book was as hot as Mercury on a summer day, author John Gray did make a point. At one stage or another, in one relationship or another, in one mood or another, most of us sense a slight disparity between the way men and women think.
To begin with, men believe they are the problem solvers of the world ? and women are the problem. It is irrelevant that a woman can run a home, hold down a job and manage a little league baseball team in the same amount of time it takes a man to decide to carry out the garbage. It is of no consequence that this is the same man who clutches his tan stretched-out-of-shape cardigan sweater every time a garbage truck slows down in the same way a two year old clings to the shreds of his blanket when the washing machine starts up.
A woman, genetically more pragmatic about old and new, views her possessions like a new car; once the price tag is off there?s no way to go but down. When she hangs her new little black dress right next to her old little black dress and her husband claims he can?t tell the difference ? she thinks he is joking.
Not only do men find it difficult to detach from their worn out old clothes, they take the channel selector with them when they go to the bathroom, no matter how long they plan to be in there. Women don?t do this. If a woman wants to monopolize the evening she turns the television off and talks about her feelings ? and talks and talks and talks. Not because she wants solutions to her problems. She doesn?t have any problems. She just feels like sharing. Certainly a more friendly gesture than lounging on the couch all evening changing channels.
Let?s assume for a moment that men really are from Mars, that ruddy planet named for the God of War, while we women have our roots on Venus. Whether this transmigration occurs literally or metaphorically doesn?t matter. Who cares that Dorothy is from Kansas? It is not Kansas that makes the story, it?s the trip.
If I could not be from the Pacific Northwest and Australia wouldn?t let me in, I wouldn?t mind at all coming from Venus, despite her tarnished reputation. Venus is a Garbo sort of a planet: mysterious, shrouded with clouds and no moons at all. She also spins to a different drummer, so to speak, which annoyed those bearded astronomers no end. Instead of admiring her spunk for twirling herself east to west while most heavenly bodies spin the opposite way, they labeled her a retrograde (from the Latin retro meaning back and grade meaning step). The very term smacks of decadence, noncompliance, and a general going to the dogs. I can see those old star gazers now, eyes pressed against their scopes, snickering at this lovely goddess sailing blithely through space.
But take heart. Cancel your marriage counseling, if it?s come to that. Skip the meaningful conversations. Do your nails while he?s watching TV. Cutting edge research on the ?battle of the sexes? makes it clear the way for men and women to get along is for the man to do what the woman says. Data gathered from old folks, middle-aged folks and young folks has been analyzed, replicated and assessed. The conclusion is a slam dunk: the way for men and women to get along is for the man to do what the woman says. Imagine that!
Does this imply that the channel changer will stay on the coffee table? Praise the Lord. Does this mean the garbage will be emptied with gold medal speed? Hmmm? Guess so. Does this mean a woman can spin any way she wants any time she wants? It must and OMG, I don?t have a thing to wear. My new little black dress will probably do. Perhaps my old little black dress would be better. It still is pretty eye-catching, in a retrograde sort of a way.
? Gloria MacKay
Gloria edits Bonzer magazine. Do visit www.bonzer.org.au