Nothing drives home the difference between men and women like wedding preparations. I had the rare opportunity of standing up in a wedding where I was (and still am) good friends with the bride, groom, and a small percentage of the guest list. It’s an interesting view, because the girls and I would discuss some aspect of the wedding and later the guys would ask, “Why?”
I generally try to give an answer beyond, “It’s a chick thing,” but sometimes that’s the best I can say. Because weddings are very much a girl thing. Possibly because for a long time the only day a woman got where she could be the center of attention without shame or embarrassment was her wedding day, girls tend to plan their wedding most of their lives, even if they have no intention of getting married. One of my good friends once said to me in high school, “You can plan your wedding over and over again. The groom is just a convenient afterthought – he’s only there to get married.” So if sometimes we seem insistent about stupid things, it’s because we’ve wanted them for a looooong time.
But there are other things women do that bewilder men. (Okay, there’s a lot that we do that bewilders men, starting with the way we think and working our way from there.) Shoes leap immediately to mind. Many women obsess over footwear and men…don’t. Sometimes they do, but mostly if it fits, they wear it. Women have heels and heels are painful, but we like them because they make us feel sexy or powerful or just taller. We have boots that are attractive and boots that are functional. We have flats and tennis shoes that we change out from season to season. Why? Because we like the way they make us feel about ourselves and we like the message they send to the world. Shoes say a lot about a girl’s personality and what’s going on in her mind when she wears them. And it’s not always psychologically deep – for instance, I’m wearing tennis shoes today because my feet were cold this morning.
Going to public restrooms in groups is another thing that confuses guys. Lots of women have tried to explain this and even more dance around the explanation, but the truth is generally this: we go in groups because we want to talk away from you for a few minutes. We want to make plans or want candid opinions. Sometimes we just want help fixing our clothes and hair or we don’t want to lose our friends in a crowded place. And we go more often because we have smaller bladders. Simple as that really.
I’m going to wrap this up, but I want to say one more thing that men absolutely need to know when dealing with women. Women have conversation with the men in our lives that those men know nothing about. We rehash old conversations and comments we’ve made that others have forgotten. We wonder about shades of meaning and read between the lines. When a man says, “We should talk,” he means, “we should talk.” When a woman says, “We should talk,” she means, “you and I should have a serious conversation and you are probably not going to like the subject matter. I may not like it either, but we’ve got to stop dodging it.”
Sometimes I wonder if the biggest barrier in communication between genders is that we can’t stop thinking the opposite sex thinks like we do.