Hello hello, hope you had a lovely weekend. Here’s yesterday’s Sunday Times column, hope you enjoy.
A MILLION MILES FROM NORMAL – By Paige Nick IT’S A GUY THING
Men and women, we really couldn’t be any more different if we tried. It’s astonishing to me that any of our parts ever even fit together.I get to experience some of these differences first hand on a daily basis, because I work in a studio where the men outnumber the women about ten to three, and I love it. Mainly because every now and then, when they forget that we’re there, I get to tune into guy talk.
I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that guy talk is vastly different from girl talk. For one thing, when it comes to guys, a grunt isn’t just a grunt. Guys have an entire language made up of these things. Just the delivery, or a slight inflection on a single grunt, can make the difference between a grunt that means ‘ok’, or a grunt that means, ‘dude, how about a cheeseburger and a beer?’ In fact the nuances of the grunt are so subtle and intricate, that women don’t have the ability to distinguish one from another.
To us every grunt is just a non-compliant rumble. It’s a bit like those dog whistles that are completely imperceptible to the human ear, but dogs can hear them loud and clear from a mile off. Not that I’m comparing men to dogs, well, not completely.
And it’s not just their wide range of grunts that fascinate me; it’s their choice of subject matter too. Only two guys can have a full-on conversation lasting in excess of twenty seven minutes straight, about a chainsaw. Toss in a third guy half way through the conversation, and you can easily extend that time to forty minutes. And throw in a braai and some beers, and we’re talking an hour minimum.
If I hadn’t heard this kind of conversation myself, I wouldn’t think it possible. I didn’t know there was that much about the humble chainsaw to discuss. Surely it’s just a chainsaw. You pick it up, turn it on, chop stuff up, then you turn it off again. In fact, ‘Did you get any good chainsawing done?’ is probably the only conversation I’d be able to come up with on the subject. But bring it up with a good group of guys and prepare for a meaty conversation. I hope you brought your own car, because nobody is going to be leaving any time soon.
Our brains are just wired differently. I imagine that the inside of a guy’s brain is made up of a complex system of gears, pulleys and levers. In contrast I’m not entirely sure what a woman’s brain would be made up of, but there would definitely be a couple of storage files and containers up there. And it’s not just industrial wood chopping machines and two-stroke engines that get them going.
Sport is right up there too. I once went away for a weekend and watched two guys have one conversation about sport that lasted almost forty eight hours. They went to bed at night discussing it and then went straight back into it the very first thing the next morning, like they’d never stopped. I think the longest conversation I’ve ever had with anyone about sport consisted of, ‘oh you’re not watching that again, are you?’
I’ve also discovered that as much as the subject of men are a constant source of chatter and entertainment to us girls, guys spend a fair share of their time trying to work us out too. This is an actual verbatim conversation I overheard between two guys in the studio a few months ago:
GUY ONE: Two of my ex-girlfriends are getting married this year, it’s weird. GUY TWO: (Gleefully) To each other?
It’s a guy thing, this fascination with girls getting it on with other girls. I really can’t imagine two girls getting excited about some boy on boy action, but then again I guess I can’t imagine a pair of guys getting too excited about finding a great hairdresser either.