Steve Anderson

Musings on group gender dynamics.

I am probably treading on dangerous ground here, but what the hell.

May 2010


In our sailing club there are about 10 people of both sexes who gather for a pre supper libation around 7 ish, and they are more or less evenly spread between the two sexes, they tend to arrive as a random group of people, who over the course of the next hour or so shuffle themselves into two distinct groups, one of men and the other of women. This may have something to do with a higher preponderance of women who enjoy a smoke on the terrace , which may inadvertently separate the two groups, however once the separation is made it is maintained when the smokers return to the club bar. This implies that if left to their own devices the two sexes actually appear to prefer their own company to that of a mixed group. I found this quite interesting. (I use the word ‘quite’ so as to avoid too much unfashionable enthusiasm for these observations.)

Having noticed the separation phenomenon, I have looked into other triggers or situations which may separate the sexes, and have discovered that a good gender defining test is goats cheese, men do not generally like goats cheese, women on the other hand use it to great effect in order to render salads, pasta and the like inedible. Dancing is another activity which seems to divide the sexes, men dance only after they have consumed enough alcohol to subdue a rhino with toothache, women however will happily parade the dance floor with other members of the same sex after a small shandy. Shopping! What could be a better gender litmus test than shopping, women make a day of it with a meal and wine, frequently sharing the experience with friends and luxuriating in the pleasure of choosing and trying potential purchases, men on the other hand go about the same business with a technique which was garnered from the SAS survival handbook. They power walk to the relevant shop having put the minimum parking ticket on the car, do a quick reconnaissance, pounce on the required object, purchase and gone, all in under a minute. Flowers, are not generally a man thing, most men can not see the difference between those carnation type of things which festoon garage forecourts and an  exotically priced array of the florist variety, are they not all flowers? Why do women wear high heels? Is it to make the woman feel better, rather than comfortable or is it to make them more attractive to men, I’m not sure, but maybe that's just me. Fishnet stockings and walking boots may be comfortable but I concede they do not do much for the aesthetics commonly sought after. Reminded by the stockings, fishing is another activity which could divide the two groups, apart from Georgina Ballantines record 64 lb salmon, I have not heard of that many fisherwomen, I know this is a generalisation but I do not bump into that many women on the river bank. Perhaps its a hunter gatherer thing rather than a nest building thing.

That last concept leads me neatly to the accusation that most men can not multi task, I believe this to be true and the reasoning for this is that as the hunter of the two sexes, the male, needs to be mono focussed on their prey, they can not afford the distraction of being able to deal with another scenario in the middle of the hunt. Women on the other hand are the bearers of offspring, there fore have evolved the ability to focus on more than one thing at a time, if one small child escapes the maternal fold, the woman has been equipped with multi tasking in order to deal with the miscreant without loosing all the other children.

There I think that covers pretty much everything, I have intentionally left out comprehension of the offside rule as a gender defining measure as I don’t get it either which makes me officially a woman.

Behind every successful man is a surprised woman. (Maryon Pearson)

Cheap flowers with free chocolates, every girls dream? Perhaps not.

Expensive wedding bouquet $125,000, comes with orchids, roses and a 100 year old ficus root, whatever that is, not to mention rubies, diamonds and gold.

Every mans nightmare.