I am baffled by men. It’s been 43 years since I first met one and I am no closer to understanding these creatures now than I was then. The one I happen to know best is a swirling cyclone of specialized skills, hair, and a carnivore’s appetite, who somehow still manages to be irresistible and adorable.
But whatever is going on between those ears is equal parts mystifying and terrifying and I’m pretty sure I don’t want to know much about it. In fact, I regularly find myself saying, “I am so glad I’m not inside your head.” And I know he is also so glad I’m not inside his head.
One of the most bizarre traits I have noticed in our tenure as a couple is his complete and total inability to multi-task. Or even remember more than one thing at any given moment. It’s like his brain is one big movie screen and can only handle one film at a time. He’s completely engrossed in a single storyline and should someone so much as suggest another film, his entire movie theater goes up in flames, ushering in utter chaos. If he’s following a screenplay about scrambled eggs, don’t you dare throw toast into the mix or the results will be a complete system breakdown and/or a brain aneurysm.
After all these years, I still find this system unfathomable and thoroughly inefficient. My brain is like a 20-screen multiplex with two fully staffed snack counters and 14 bathrooms that are all being cleaned at the same time. I’m not saying that your popcorn order won’t sometimes come back as milk duds, but at least I heard you speaking, acknowledged your existence, and responded with something that still falls into the food category, all while running over a dozen films simultaneously and also cleaning pee and/or vomit off the bathroom floor.
Please know that I’m not trying to toot my own horn. All women I know also function this way. This is how anything ever gets done. Without this skill set, we would all have starved to death and/or be mostly naked. Because laundry happens all the time. All. The. Time.
And please don’t come at me with angry comments about how I am perpetuating stereotypical roles for women and how men can cook and do laundry, too. I am fully aware of all of this. However, this is my reality, and reality for most women I know, as well. And I would venture a guess that, on occasion, when the man is doing the laundry while making dinner, something is likely burning. Not because he can’t cook, but because his brain is watching a movie about the spin cycle and there are no dinner rolls in the washer.
Also, this isn’t just an issue of domestic chores. It encompasses all areas of life. If we’re discussing our financial future and the topic has ceased to interest my husband, he will answer the question, “Do you think we should increase our contribution to our retirement accounts?” with, “Did you know that the white-throated needletail is the fastest bird in flapping flight?” It is at this point that I know the conversation about our golden years is officially over and we will now spend the next several minutes googling “fastest bird in straight flight vs. fastest bird in hunting dive.”
I cannot tell you how many times a conversation has segued in this way. Suffice it to say, it’s more than anyone should be comfortable with and also, it’s disturbing how much knowledge my husband has about birds in flight.
My scientific research has concluded that single-task oriented people do a wonderful job at that one thing. Just don’t distract these types or, like me, you may find your husband staring at the ceiling fan, wondering aloud about centrifugal force — whilst the dishwasher door hangs open and the dogs lick all of the syrup off the pancake plates — because you asked him if it felt cold in here.
Rather than divert attention away from the task at hand, may I suggest a thick sweater? Wool is always a good choice (unless you’re allergic to wool — then it’s never a good choice) and if you’re handy and/or crafty, you can even knit one for yourself! I’m neither of those things so I crochet patternless blankets that require little to no skill or attention to detail then wear them in my house, clothes-pinned around my neck. Whatever your skill set, you do you! Here’s a suggestion for the ambitious among us from a highly skilled artisan out of Germany. You’d have to make your own pattern, but it would be the Grand Poobah of all knitting projects. And I beg you if you make this glorious creation, please, please send me photos.
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