Those of us that are GenX all grew up under Title IX, so we were raised believing that girls can do anything a guy can do, except maybe write our names in the snow. We all played the same sports, took on the same roles in school, and went off to graduate at the same rate from the institutions of higher learning of our choice. Now, we all get to marry whomever we want, in the event that we choose that lifestyle, and even then we get to control if and when we will create a new family and whether we choose to stay home or not. If you just take a moment to think about this, that is an amazing amount of power that we women have amassed in the last 41 years ever since Title IX went into effect, and it really has upset the apple cart in a lot ways between the way men and women interact.
Helping families restructure during a divorce, I have gotten a first-hand view of the clash between the sexes, and it is impossible to ignore how differently the two sexes behave and think, which is why I have delved into a lot of medical research on the differences between men and women. One fascinating read is The Female Brain by Dr. Louann Brizendine, which truly explains a lot about the role our different hormones play in the way our brains function. Perhaps if more people could appreciate these differences early on, we might have a lot less conflict between couples.
Speaking from my own personal experience, I spent the first half of my life living only with women. After college, I spent the next 20 years living only with men– and thanks to my son and former husband, I have been able to observe first-hand how differently men are wired:
1. Talking– Women talk twice as much, and twice as fast as men. In fact, the medical research supports these findings, and emphasizes that women actually have this need for social interaction. Hmm, do you see how this may be an issue with guys, who may actually be wired to prefer some peace and quiet???
2. Socialization– Men were originally primed to be hunters, which often requires focus and patience. They were not bred to multi-task or build consensus. Even today we reward those hunters that prove to be strong and independent. Meanwhile, until World War II, women primarily stayed home and took care of the kids, interacted with other moms in the community, and were trained to be far more social primarily as part of their survival. Although today’s woman is able to exhibit far more independence and strength than ever before, there remains a lingering need to be socially connected, which simply put men tend to lack. Generally speaking, men are okay being alone, we women are not.
3. Appearances– Women, either through nature or nurture, have a tendency to seek out external validation. In particular, after puberty hits, we seem to have a great need for approval in our appearances. Just look at how much we spend on clothes, accessories, make-up, getting mani/pedis, waxing, and haircuts with elaborate treatments. On the low end, I’ll estimate $300 per month for all of this nonsense versus $20 per month for a guy’s haircut. If all they really need is just to shower and shave and then they are good to go, it is easy to see why they don’t understand a woman’s need for such a production before a night out on the town.
4. Sex Drives– It isn’t just a saying that guys think about sex significantly more per day than women, it’s actually medically proven. Guys are visual, sexual beings, and women that ignore that fact are making a huge mistake. If we expect guys to entertain us with compliments about our appearance, talk, and our need for socialization, which may fulfill us a lot, then the least we can do is accommodate this one male need. With a few exceptions in my lifetime, most normal men with sufficient levels of testosterone are generally simple– they need to eat, sleep and get laid. 2 out of 3 they can do alone, so I don’t think they are asking for much from their partners.
Hope this helps those out there that may be struggling to understand the vast differences between the sexes. It should not be a battle of Guys vs. Gals– but first, you have to accept the fact that contrary to what we may have been taught as children, we are indeed NOT all created equal.