Sunday, 3 February 2013

Things boys are rubbish at - a longish term, unverified, unblinded study.

As well as being unblinded, unverified, very biased and with no real method this study has a very small sample size. Namely males who have, to their great misfortune, been in some way involved in my life. So, you may well be one of them, or know who I'm talking about. I'm not sure if these are universal truths, I'm sure there are exceptions. I have in fact met some exceptions. But, largely, I think these things are true.

I've never been one to hanker after feminism. I feel like I was born a little too late for it, apart from an incident in Primary 1 when I was forced to make an Easter bonnet instead of a Red Indian headband, because that's what girls do (if only Pocahontas had been more famous then, I could have constructed a better defence), I've never really felt the weight of inequality on my terribly delicate feminine shoulders. I think I did take part in the "girls are the best" chants in the playground, but that was more leisure than feminism. I'm more than happy to accept now that there are some things that boys, generally, are better at, often for biological reasons. I'm not talking fathering children, or reaching high stuff, I'm more talking spatial awareness things. Though on spatial awareness skills I think I'm fairly masculine. And I genuinely think I'm quite good at parking.

Bearing all of these things in mind, there are a few things that I think boys are rubbish at. And I am quite prepared to say I think they're rubbish at them because they're boys. This has been quite some build up for what are a few small things. I've limited myself to 3, I'm sure I could possibly find more. On informing my peerie viking of this impending post he was not too offended, and suggested I might need many volumes to record all of the things boys are good at. A suitable, and probably quite boyish response of acceptance, something which, generally, I think girls aren't very good at.

I hope noone has read this far hoping for some boy bashing - boys are so mean! They play games, and are horrible to girls, or some single girl woes - I'm afraid you may be disappointed.

1. Boys are rubbish at hanging stuff up. Wet towels, washing, clothes...I'd have thought this was quite a logical thing, hanging for optimum dryness. But no. Scrunchled, bundled, rolled, piled, creased, squinty. All of these words might apply. And the very next day (I'll admit this is more related to my current situation than to my previous observations...), where's my towel? Which one's my towel? Why's it still wet? He appears to be learning on that front. Still terrible at hanging up washing, or putting things on coathangers though.

2. Boys can't change bedcovers. I always thought a greater armspan and height from ground level would give you unimaginable advantages in this arena, but, in fact, any boy I have ever met in the process of changing bedcovers (at least 5...) does it in a completely ridiculous way. They haven't learned the inside out, shakey, shakey (I'm pretty sure everyone does it that way?), instead they blindly stuff it in like putting ferrets in a bag, shoogle it about a bit then plop it on the bed. Come bed time you find you have a corner of duvet cover with no duvet friend snuggled into the inside corner, and the pillow ridge is masquerading as a  soft pillow middle. And there you are, head propped 12" off the bed and only an empty triangle of duvet cover to keep you warm.

These first two annoy me because they're things I don't specially like doing, but they're not worth not doing, for fear of the terribly executed consequences...the last is a personal irk, that may not apply to anyone else in the world. It comes to light regularly, and can almost never be admonished, as it generally becomes apparent off the back of great kindness, and what kind of horrible witch complains about something so trivial when such great kindness has been done? I shall set the scene.

Such a horrible witch is feeling a little unwell, and sorry for herself, after puking up her burns supper in a non-drink related vom-incident. I tossed and turned and dozed. And then, like an angel, it came to me in a dream. Marmalade on toast. That was what I wanted. And, like a person lost in the desert who hasn't had a sip of water in days, I croaked "maaaarrm...aa...lade...!" rather dramatically. I didn't think we had any, and the disadvantage of living remotely and rurally, shops aren't often open. But my peerie viking had a marmaladey lifeline, in the form of an RNLI jar of the orangey goodness which had come in a Christmas hamper. "Do you want me to bring you some tea and marmalade on toast?"

"Yeess..." I whispered, weakly, from my death bed.

And he did. Except the toast, were we to study the surface area, was only roughly 15% covered in marmalade. That 15% was good, the rest was just toast. The kind with no marmalade.

Had this been an isolated incident I might have sent it back, but it was anything but. I ate it. It was a very kind gesture, it is, as they say, the thought that counts. Except when it's the marmalade that counts.

Later, (this bit is by no means essential to the story, but I'm beginning to wonder if we're starting to have differences. And, as an inexperienced girlfriend, I just don't know when differences become important - marmalade, and him not liking peanut butter - are we incompatible? It is a worry.) anyway, later, in the shop, I thought marmalade - I might want that again. I should have just put some in the basket, but now we're all domesticated we have to discuss items, give them a context, dedicate them to a meal, justify them, agree, then put them in the basket. It is quite an event, shopping. "Shall we get more marmalade?" "No, there's loads left". Now I should never have asked, because once you have conferred it is very difficult to overrule, especially when you have not, as they say, had your knife in the marmalade jar (a much underused metaphor).

What I thought, at this moment, and had I been a bit more highly strung and shop stressy, like the girl I saw pushing her trolley into a display of bagels in a rage in Tesco (she was about 30), I'd have said "No, no we do not have enough marmalade - we had a tiny, tinsy, winsy, show jar out of a hamper. It is approximately the size of a thimble and I could easily use it on 2 slices of decent sized bread. If you weren't so rubbish at spreading, and covered even 50% of the toast surface area we would soon run out - on your war-time rations, however, of course we have at least enough to feed a family of 12 for a year. You can't spread! I know, I said it. You. Can't. Spread!" And then I'd have stormed out of the shop, it could have been the end.

In actual fact I haven't used any more marmalade yet, so we do have plenty, the jar is still tiny however, and just to make a point I might go and buy an enormous jar. So he was right. But, as previously observed in many boys:
3. Boys can't spread.

I may have to revisit these cavernous differences that are appearing in our relationship. Spreading and peanut butter may only be the beginning...we might not last the month.