Cheryl Dickow explores the ways in which simple, everyday decisions reflect the differences between male and female.
Every time I wash, fold and put clothes away for my husband I wonder how anyone in their right mind can deny the differences between men and women.
In May we will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary; in that fleeting, precious quarter of a century I believe that my husband has owned approximately four different jogging pants, each with a matching top. They are the outfits he wears around the house on the weekend when he’s catching up on the bills or maybe relaxing and watching a bit of television.
Okay, maybe he’s owned five outfits in these 25 years.
But definitely no more than five.
And never more than two outfits at any given time. Even then, an outfit would have to become so threadbare as to no longer be considered wearable before he grudgingly relinquishes it to the rag pile where it then lives the rest of its life in service to cleaning a variety of basement or garage items: lawnmower blades, water pipes etc.
Now ask me how many pairs of black pants in the form of leggings, sweats, lounge wear and casual attire I’ve owned in the past 25 years. Actually, don’t ask. I’m almost embarrassed to say.
What I will admit, though, is this year alone I’ve far exceeded purchasing more at-home attire for myself than my husband has purchased in our entire life together. In fact, I’ll also admit that I’m officially at the age where I purchase things that I’ve already purchased but have forgotten are in my dresser drawers.
Don’t get me wrong, in his youth my husband was a dapper dude. In fact, his classic sports coats have even recently become of interest to our sons as they mature into young, dapper men themselves.
But those days are long gone and my husband’s priorities have shifted noticeably—although always well-dressed and aware of his appearance, he doesn’t “need” the things that I apparently do. With age—and children—have come the true distinctions of “male” and “female” in our home.
Nothing, we will both admit, comes before our family and children. For my husband, that truth surfaces in such male-oriented thought-process that go something like this: Why would I need three outfits to relax in when I can only wear one at a time?
This, versus my very female thought process that goes something like this: How can I NOT own all these pants because (1) the sale is far too good to pass up (2) when I’m comfortable and happy the whole home is comfortable and happy (3) there will never be another pair of pants like these, ever, and so I should own a few pair because they will eventually wear out and THEN WHAT WOULD I DO?!
I’d like to say that I’m exaggerating, but I’m not.
I fondly recall the first few years of our marriage when I vainly attempted to get my husband to see the error in his way of thinking; and he laughingly tried to get me to see his.
It wasn’t going to happen.
There had to be a reason we couldn’t see eye to eye and time has revealed that reason to me: we are hard-wired quite differently, my husband and I. And it isn’t just about leisure-wear.
Does this mean that I couldn’t practice the virtue of self-control and stop buying pants? Of course it doesn’t! But it would take self-control. It would be a bit of a task. I would have to make the effort—and maybe wear blinders in the store—whereas my husband is able to walk past aisles and rows and shelves of jogging pants and matching tops without blinking an eye. He’s hard-wired to see extra clothes for which he has no imminent need as being, well, frivolous.
And I like that in him. In fact, I love that in him.
I no longer make attempts to change his mind on the need for back-up loungewear—okay, on occasion I’ll try to make the case but mostly I’ve accepted our differences in this and so many other areas. I understand the beauty in “male and female He created them.” I get the “equal but different” splendor of God’s plan and am filled with gratitude. I know, now, the errors in thinking that we are the “same” and why that erroneous thinking is detrimental to both my own life and society as a whole.
Sweat pants have taken on a whole new meaning for me!