Cheap. Easy. Trite. Yet, we gobble it up like the last slice of grandma’s pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving.
For years, it’s been ingrained in our brain that men and women couldn’t possibly be more different. The list of differences between the sexes grows by the minute. Society tells us ‘Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus‘ and ‘Men Are Like Waffles–Women Are Like Spaghetti.’ Enough already! We get it!
This tired plot device has carried plenty of sitcoms to prime time and far too many would be direct-to-DVD films to the silver screen. Studios bank, nay, prey on, our unwavering interest in having this timeworn stereotype entertain us. The least they could do is mix it up a little bit and pretend to have served us a fresh meal instead of last night’s leftovers.
Broad strokes of the brush will cover a lot of canvas, and fast. But ask any painter worth his palette and he’ll tell you it’s the smaller #2 brush that brings the portrait to life. Likewise, the details explain the differences between men and women best – and without insulting either gender with archaic clichés. A perfect example of this is a conversation I recently had with a female coworker of mine.
Me: “How was your weekend? Did your son find an affordable car yet?”
Her: “Yeah! What about you? Did your sister have her baby yet?”
Me: “Yep – finally. What kind of car did he get? You know – year/make/model/miles?”
Her: “I dunno… a blue one. It’s got two doors. She had a boy, right? How big was he – you know weight/length/ pounds and ounces?”
Me: A boy. “How big was he? Ummm… baby size? A blue one, really?”
Her and I simultaneously: “What do you mean (baby size/blue one)? That’s all you remember? And to think (he’s/she’s) your (son/sister)!”
Me being a guy, wired the way I am, wanted to know if her son got a sweet ride or a beater with known problems. I wanted to know if I should expect to hear about him breaking down in the weeks to come or if about him loading it up with his friends for a cross-country trip before he heads off to college.
She, being a female on the other hand, only remembered what was important to her – it’s a car and it runs. And in case she hears from her neighbors complaining about someone doing doughnuts in her yard, what color is was. Blue.
In my defense, though, nothing I failed to mention (or didn’t care to remember) takes away from the value of my nephew. It’s not like there’s a Kelly Blue Book listing for kids – although I’m sure some of you wouldn’t mind knowing what the trade-in value is on your moody teen.
There we were, XY and XX, both concerned about the others’ family member. And yet, neither could understand how the other didn’t know such blatantly important details. The difference, you see, is in the details. How’s that for a plot twist?