Been thinking about the differences between men and women. (You are all reaching for the mouse, “Okay, next blog!”) Let me be more specific: about the ways men and women, especially men and women married to each other, are differently oriented. How men are often focused outside the home. After going on seven years of marriage it still amazes me that we can live in a place for several years and Alex still doesn’t know where everything goes in the kitchen. And women are focused on the home, with things external to it taking on an inferior level of importance. After several years in a place I still need to be reminded which exit is the one for the airport.
Our dinner conversation illustrates this–we were discussing the English lifestyle compared to that of Americans. While admitting more inconvenience in general, Alex didn’t find it too debilitating, citing as examples the frequent buses and bus stops, and the racks and lanes provided everywhere for bicycles. Outside. I find the level of inconvenience much more drastic; my examples involving the amount of storage, the kitchen appliances, hot water, distance to the laundry, etc. Inside. I find myself thinking about the next meal on the table, how long it’s been since I vacuumed, if the linens are clean. I would wager Alex wastes little mental energy on these things. His preoccupations involve his thesis topic and research: the work he’s been given to do (and how the Patriots are doing).
Years ago I saw an image painted by Wheaton College art professor Joel Sheesley that portrayed this in such a distinctly recognizable way that I’ve never forgotten it. (Go here and see Sheesley’s work.) Sheesley said the painting has “an emphasis on interior/exterior orientations.” I see this. In the painting, she’s absorbed in a closet, he’s gazing out the door. Even to the way that they are dressed–her clothing is comfortable, his preppy. Her posture is busy and preoccupied; she’s at home, i.e. her workplace. His posture is idle and relaxed; he’s at home, i.e. his casual zone.
I find we understand each other better if we keep these differences in mind…