Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Men and Women and Channels

I saw this postcard and it reminded me of an exchange my husband and I had twenty-two long years ago.

We were getting ready to move south with our two-and-a-half-year-old twins.  We were headed for teaching jobs and needed to supply a recent physical. The only GP (general practitioner) near to where we were living and covered by our insurance was someone unknown to us, but what the heck?  It was just a simple physical.

The doctor (I can't remember his name) was an old-timer — looked like someone's Grampa.  Could have been in his late 70s and as old as he was, so was his office.  The walls were painted that dated Williamsburg green throughout. The furnishings looked as if they were from the 50s.  He did his examinations of us separately but then had us come together into his dark office with its massive wooden desk. We sat across from him while he painstakingly filled out the forms we needed to take to our new employer.

"So — how long you folks been married?" he inquired, looking at us over his eyeglasses.

"Well, just over five years," I answered wondering why he was asking.

"And how're things going for ya?" he asked peering first at me and then at my husband.

We shot each other a glance before I replied somewhat hesitantly, "Well — pretty good —  we've got a lot going on with two young kids, this upcoming move where we'll be away from everyone we know, new jobs — it's a lot.  And we don't approach these situations the same way," I added, trying to cover the tension in the pit of my stomach. 

"NO, we definitely don't tackle this stuff the same way at all," declared my husband.

"Well," he said with a bit of a puzzled look on his drawn face, "you know men and women are different, don't ya?" 

"You're telling me?" I said indignantly.

"Well," he replied rather slowly and deliberately, "it's very simple if you just accept that men have three channels and three channels only: work, sports, and nookie.  Whether they play sports or watch'em, that's it.  That's all they've got going.  But women?  Women are running on 85 channels — that's their norm — always operating on multiple channels, monitoring a hundred things at a time.  On a normal day, 85 channels, but on a bad day? On a bad day they can be up to 115 channels — when they go into crisis mode they gotta ratchet things up and believe me, women got lots of bad days.  Now if you understand that difference — and that's a BIG difference to swallow — then you'll get along much better."

We both sat there as if someone had bopped us over the head with a padded mallet you see at boardwalk carnivals.

"Geez." I said a few minutes after what he'd said had sunk in, "You should go on the radio with that, I mean REALLY. That was unbelievable insight, UNBELIEVABLE!  No one, NO ONE has ever explained it that way — but it's true — it's TOTALLY TRUE.  Seriously, you could have your own show," I said dumbfounded at this wisdom.

My husband was smiling at the simple truth of it.  "Geez.  That's really something," he chuckled shaking his head in wonder.

Now all these years later that I come across this postcard.  It visualizes what that doc told us ages ago.  I turn it over.  It's from a German company, and it says,  "Men and women switches  Dr Simplemind ©."

Maybe Dr Simplemind and our simple GP with the wisdom-about-the-sexes knew each other in another life.  I wish,wish,wish I could remember his name.  I don't remember but I hope I said, "Thank you."


  1. Wow, that is so insightful. Could imagine it to be true, yet not so sure. So I asked my husband who came into the kitchen from cleaning the pool with a net, as he does every day for 15 minutes, "What were you thinking about just now as you were pool cleaning?". His reply, "well there was a worm to catch and a couple of leaves. Then I looked at the pool and decided it was clean enough. That's about it". Yup. I would've been thinking about the grocery list in my head, did I miss anything, the card I needed to sign and mail, the bathroom cleaning to be done later and wondering which part of my busy day I could work it into, trying to prioritize the 13 things to do. Yup it's true at my house. Men are more single focused and women continually multi-task in their heads. Loved this story!

    1. Well thank you so much! And let's hope we both give ourselves a break from multitasking---at least once in awhile...OH to be single-minded....