The other night I listened to someone give a talk about the differences between men and women. Yesterday I listed frequent comments my wife repeatedly makes. My wife, in turn, was afraid I had made her out to be an ogre, but I assured her it was just a spoof. My daughter told her mom to keep up the good work. My wife's sister told me that my wife is a saint. My granddaughter said this post was the funniest thing she had read in a long time. I assured my wife I had meant no harm, that I was merely making historically accurate observations not intended to be harmful.
As I contemplated where I should go from there, or whether I had already stuck my foot in my mouth far too far, so to speak, the words of the Professor Higgins-Colonel Pickering exchange came to mind: "Why can't a woman be more like a man?" Men are described as being honest, eternally noble, pleasant, easy to please, friendly, good natured, and kind.
I am not an expert on the female gender, although I grew up in a household with four sisters and a mother, where my dad and I were outvoted five to two, until my little brother came along way too late to do me any good or offer any protection. I have had one wife for nearly fifty-six years, employed an endless succession of secretaries and research assistants, and taught thousands of young women in my classes.
To enter the analytical phase of this discussion, I will list some basic differences between me and my wife and perhaps some other females.
1. My wife is neat, orderly, and well organized. I am messy, disorderly, and poorly organized. I am a slob.
2. My wife does things on schedule. I procrastinate forever.
3. My wife is always dependable, and can always be counted on. My dependability is a bit iffy.
4. My wife can finish the hard parts of the New York Times crossword puzzle after I have given up.
5. My wife has memorized every birthday of our 30 or so birthdays in our multi-level family downline; I have trouble remember two or three.
6. My wife knows the date of our wedding anniversary; I am usually off by two or three days and have been known to hustle to the stores in the late afternoon for a gift. One year I produced a new dust buster. I am still hearing about that one.
7. My wife rarely worries about her health, even when she has cause to worry about it. I am always just a hairs-breadth away from death's door with many fatal ailments. I told my oldest daughter one day, who is as bad a hypochondriac as I am, that the life forces were waning. My son-in-law told her to tell me it was just gas.
8. My wife never complains about her aches and pains, which, with arthritis, are often considerable. I moan and groan loudly over every little twinge and extra heartbeat, seeking sympathy and compassion.
9. My wife never, never uses a bad word, although I do recall she got mad at a referee once while watching a basketball game. I am trying to improve my language to a higher standard. I have been working on this since I was 12 years old, and am making progress.
10. My wife never says she is parched and asks me to get a drink of water. However, I always volunteer, showing what a good sport I am.
11. On the plus side, my wife started going to athletic events with me soon after we were married, so we have no differences in wasting half of our time on the Utah Jazz, the BYU Cougars, the NCAA playoffs, the NBA finals (which last six months or so), the Olympics, and other sports events. She does, however, tend to get excited. All this is in direct and stark contrast to other females in my extended family who suffer deficiencies in this regard.
12. My wife never complains about going to Church. I make a comment now and then, depending on what happens there. She is infinitely more righteous than I am and probably wouldn't have married me if she had known I was an infidel.
13. My wife raised five kids, ran a bookstore, ran a day-care, completed her bachelor's degree at age 35, worked while I pursued three graduate degrees, cleaned house, cooked,
did the laundry, hauled the kids around, while I was a lazy professor. I still feel guilty, but am making up for it a little by doing more household chores.
14. I tend to say yes or no when asked a question. I have to look at her when I ask her a question, since yes is answered by an up and down nod of the head, no is answered by a back and forth lateral nod of the head, and "who knows" or "whatever" by a shoulder shrug.
15. My wife says she reads a book when she buys one; I pile up endless stacks of unread books.
16. My wife hasn't tossed me out the front door in nearly 56 years. I don't think she thinks it is worth the effort at this juncture, so to speak.
I haven't even gotten around to the differences between myself and all of the other females who have been in my life, such as my four sisters who are looking out for me daily as I have become elderly. Maybe I will pursue this line of thinking later on.