After reading ‘Why men don’t listen and women can’t read maps!’ by Barbara & Allan Pease, much thought followed and I have simply realised that men and women are not better or worse but just different.

Amongst the many eclectic dissimilarities which have been the centre of debate for ages, one area that has held unprecedented attention and is the focus of jokes and sarcasm is that women ramble on while men just don’t talk! This by the way is a universal phenomenon.

A study has proved that not only do girls start speaking earlier than boys but a three year old girl has twice the size of vocabulary as compared to a three year old boy, with her speech almost 100 per cent comprehensible. Ask a five year old boy ‘How are you’ and his mother or sister answers promptly, ‘He’s fine, thanks’.

Men tend to use more fillers like ‘Umm’ and ‘Ah’ when they get together to watch a game of football. ‘Pass the chips’ or ‘Got any more soda’ is enough conversation. It is perfectly normal for men to hang out, have refreshments, listen to some music with minimal exchange of words or better yet when they go fishing, they can sit quietly for hours without the need to express themselves through words. Women behaving like this while watching ‘Desperate Housewives’ would be totally bizarre! Ask your teenage son about the party he attended last night and the reply would be ‘Uhhhh good!’ Now ask your teenage daughter and what you hear is an articulate account of the entire event covering who said what to whom and how everyone felt about it, what x,y and z wore, did and must be feeling right now!

On Valentine’s day, men are urged, pushed, and driven to ‘say it with flowers’ because they find it terrifyingly challenging to write something in the card and often you’ll see them pick cards with plenty of printed words so that they have the least to add themselves!

A man visits the toilet for one obvious purpose but if on the way he stops by Ali’s desk and pokes him when he sits lost in his excel sheets, ‘Hey Ali, I’m going to the loo, let’s go’ and Ali jubilantly springs out of his chair and off they go together! Creepy! How about two men talking incessantly for hours on the phone with each other especially after they’ve spent an entire day fishing together? With women, it is different. She spends two weeks of vacation with her girlfriend, returns home and calls her again to chat for another two hours. For women it is probably a tool for bonding while for men simply a device for communication.

To give meaning to these enigmatic analogies, let us transport ourselves back to the cave era and the evolution of social patterns, roles and responsibilities. Men protected and women nurtured. Consequently their physiological and mental faculties took varied definitions. Men grew taller and stronger than women, to suit their assigned tasks, while women who were expected to keep the cave fires burning, experienced their mental faculties shaping accordingly.

The man would venture every day in the hostile jungle to bring food for the family through which his worth was measured. He wasn’t meant to bother himself with relationships or emotional conversations. The woman looked after babies and the cave, gather fruit and vegetables in the nearby surroundings with other women. This innate practice has been improvised and passed down from the early species to existing ones but the basic theme remains the same.

Hunters would sit quietly for hours to target their prey. Perhaps this is why a man under pressure or facing a problem doesn’t speak, but prefers to bottle everything inside. On the contrary if a woman has errands to run or challenges to face it is practically announced on the radio! Men have evolved as warriors, protectors and problem solvers.

Their social conditioning prevents them from showing fear or uncertainty. That’s why a man will often request that an issue to be left with him to be brewed in silence. Male brains are highly compartmentalised which is why men do not crib about domestic squabbles at work but will go about their business quietly.

A woman will think aloud about the dress that her tailor ruined, the eating disorder of her younger one and the fact that her husband is not giving her enough attention because inside her head is a complex maze and you don’t want to lose yourself in the labyrinth.

Imagine what happens when a man returns home after a long day at work. She says, ‘Hey honey how was your day?’ The short, complacent reply is ‘Good’? All he wants is peace and quiet. (Hunters who have been chasing lunch all day just want to stare at the fire, period.) Men get to the point without preamble.

Their sentences are shorter, to the point and they rely on direct speech, simple openings, clear statements and conclusions. Their mind pattern doesn’t follow multi-tracks but single track conversational paths. If they want coffee, they just ask for coffee instead of an indirect ‘Would you like a cup of coffee?’ a womanly trait when she wants coffee.

Indirect speech may build relationships but can create havoc in a business proposal. Men don’t use indirect speech qualifiers such as ‘kind of ‘sort of’ or ‘a bit’. Imagine if Winston Churchill would have used indirect speech to try to motivate the allies against Hitler, it wouldn’t have sounded quite the same; ‘We will fight them on beaches kind of we will fight them in a bit on the fields, we will never sort of,surrender.’

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