Sadly my Dad passed away when I was just thirteen so I never really had the proper benefit of a paternal voice in my ear in what was a home full of females.
But I do have one single memory of an afternoon where he explained to me all he believed I would need to know about the fairer sex. "They're just different to us John," he began, "So the best you can ever do is to just try to get on with them. Treat all of them you meet like you treat your sisters and you should be alright" Here endth the lecture, as it were. Oddly though, those few chosen words from a rugged seasoned old guy have stayed with me through thick and thin and at times of confusion and frustration with the aforementioned fairer sex, I have tended to kind of leave things hanging there and re-double my efforts elsewhere to get on with them.
It is not the most perfect modus operandi, I concede, but it is better than none at all. In all of that though, it never really occurred to me to wonder what girls thought about boys or indeed, later on, what women thought about men. On the surface, it looked to me like some of them liked me and some of them didn't and that was good enough for me in the main.
If I did reflect at all it was maybe to quietly wonder to myself why those soft pretty creatures with so much going for them would even look twice at the average bloke, and I was a very average bloke, believe me. But when fortune smiles on you you just grab it with both hands I suppose.
Now at the other end of my life I read with interest in today's Irish Independent about, "The 20 things that baffle women the most about men." I had to chuckle as I read down the list and then I thought, why not offer my own answers to the baffled females out there, if only as a service to humanity. So here goes:
1. Why man flu is worse than a normal cold
Because we deeply resent anything going wrong with our bodies, that's why. It utterly pisses us off when something doesn't function as it should so a normal cold or flu becomes an annoyance of monumental proportions and we are not bitching about being sick as such, it's the lack of wellness that's getting to us. Our view is that if God is responsible for this runny nose, then he's in breach of contract, pure and simple, and we are outraged with him.Since you cannot take a swing at the almighty, you just sit miserably putting up with one of his practical jokes on you.
2. Why they don’t listen/their selective hearing.
In my experience, women will hop from topic to topic giving opinions or just recounting stories. It is often difficult in the jumble of it to determine which of them are important to her and which are not. Men will typically peel away the unimportant and discard it without a second thought. Once discarded it is forgotten. We prioritize and if it ain't on our list, it doesn't exit.
Selective hearing though has another element to it. It is the number one defense mechanism against nagging.
3. Their inability to multitask.
For the average male, the practice of multi-tasking would be defined as, doing several things at the same time and not doing a proper job on any of them. The organized male has a written or mental to-do-list in descending order of importance. As each is completed, it is ticked off as done. Re-wiring the house and going to the pub with the lads could both be on the list and it's anyone's guess at any point in time as to which is higher up the list.
4. How they can never find something, even when it’s right in front of them.
If it isn't where we put it the last time then its lost – what's the problem?
5. Why they say I’ve done the washing up ‘for you’ and think they are doing you a favour.
OK, we do need to work on this one. Demarcation of responsibilities in the home should be discussed, argued about and then agreed as to who does what. I'll give ye that one.
6. Why they insist on leaving the toilet seat up.
Because we pee four times more often than we pooh. In our practical minds then, why would you put the seat down when you have to lift it up again every time anyway.
7. Their reluctance to use instructions when building/putting something together.
This is not universally true but when you are surrounded by bits that were designed and cut so that they can be joined, screwed or hammered together to form a 'whole' of some kind, it becomes a practical challenge to figure it out for yourself. Success at that is then filed away as an achievement.
8. Why they won’t ask anyone for directions.
Another generalization but I'd venture to suggest that this is just another practical problem and the map or satnav is a badge of independence when trying to find a place.
9. Why they take days to do something women ask them to do.
Well, first there is the need to consider committing to the task. A green light on this then leads to the stages necessary for completion involving asking advice from trusted mates on the best way to do it, checking then acquiring the tools needed, researching price versus quality of materials and finally, picking a date to begin when there's no distracting sport on TV. A fella is often exhausted before he begins.
10. Why they snore so much, whatever position they are in.
11. Why they insist on keeping cables, even when they have no idea what they are for.
Keeping bits and pieces of things regardless of what they are, is our way of perhaps having a solution to breakdown in some device because we just have the fix in among the rubbish we're hoarded. If we do, then we don't have to go shopping ….. YIPPEE
12. Why they find farting funny.
Noise and smell! You know, for years I really believed that women never farted. I laughed my arse off when I did hear the first one.
13. Why they insist on leaving dirty clothes on the floor or next to the wash basket
You'll have to think basketball when understanding this one. Clothes on top of or beside the wash basket are misses. Those in it are bulls eyes.
14. Why they think doing the dishes occasionally means they’re contributing fairly to housework.
See answer to number 5.
15. Why they hog the remote control.
Flicking the channels aimlessly is annoying most of the time but doing it during a match is a red card offense.
16. How they can watch a football game, and then watch the highlights on Match of the Day that same night.
The pundit's analysis is one attraction and highlights later in the night allow for reflection and some change of mind on individual aspects of the earlier game.
17. Why they have to ‘readjust’ themselves in public.
If you had this annoying thing hanging down all the time and then dressing to the left or right when clothed, you'd be moving it around as well. There are times too, often in public, when for no apparent reason, it just gets hard an unwieldy. Adjustment then is a must. Other times though, you're just checking to see he's alright.
18. Their obsession with sex.
Hardwired into the DNA and I'm not going to apologise for it. Think of the complete opposite and be grateful for the mild annoyance.
19. How they can remember endless sports stats but forget important details such as birthdays etc.
At this point I tempted to say you're nagging and I then risk my selective memory deleting this question entirely. However, you have to understand that the male gene is competitive and in competition there are winners and losers. Winning requires effort and the winner's badge is the sign of an achievement. In that light, doing nothing for 365 days, only to hear congratulations for it, seems pointless to us. The word important, as used in the question, is subjective. Important to who?
20. Why they need to have a 50-inch TV
A diatribe on pixel depth for clarity and definition might bore the average woman so I'll confine myself to saying, the bigger the telly, the more you can spot.
I'm sure some of the lads out there could offer different answers and you're welcome to. Perhaps the lassies will have further questions or need clarification and if so, feel free to ask.