Just reading a book at the moment that revealed something about me I found rather disturbing.
Or, more accurately, boxed shaped. Apparently.
The book is Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti by Bill and Pam Farrel and, yes, is based on the Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus series. I rather liked this book’s version of the metaphor suggesting that men are like waffles because waffles are like lots of little boxes joined together and men go through life hopping from one kind of box to another.
Some boxes have no words in them and other ones have nothing in at all and one never knows what the next box to be hopped into will contain. I like this description a lot. It certainly describes me and seems to relate to an awful lot of men I know.
Women, the Farrel’s maintain, are like spaghetti because spaghetti is a mesh of interlinking strands and in a similar way they link everything and everyone together in a complex fashion that often leave men bewildered in conversations.
Again, I can’t talk for all, but this is definitely the way my wife works. In what I mistakenly might think is a simple conversation, she will have gone through at least five different subjects whilst I am still trying to figure out if the box I happen to be in actually has any words in it! It would appear that all these subjects are all vitally important to each other. I just thought we were working out what to have for tea.
So, yes, this book seems to describe at least my married life and, I suspect, the life of a lot of married or courting couples. But it was the description, a few chapters in, of the man relaxing that disturbed me.
The book suggests that men, when stressed, retreat to easy boxes – things they enjoy where they can just do something and escape the troubles of the day. Fair comment, I definitely have a lot of these ‘easy boxes’ – hobbies if you like – that help to bring the blood pressure down during the day. I may only spend ten minutes doing it at a time, but it has the effect of an hour long massage or a good bottle of wine.
But then the book says “How do we recognize a man’s easy boxes?…(they) are generally shaped like boxes”. This came as a shock as I realised it was true – not just for me but for most men I know.
The TV with the sport on is box-shaped. Sports fields are shaped like boxes. Newspapers, computers, crossword puzzles and even the bed is box-shaped. My hobbies include playing the piano (a big box), chess (64 boxes) and card games or tricks ( with a box of cards). Best of all is my favourite hobby – reading – from, of course, books which are (you guessed it) like boxes.
So it seems there is no escaping it. Boxes define my flight from reality, my rebellious nature, my desire to break free. And it is not very awe-inspiring. Squares, making up boxes, are the wildest thing about me.
It is depressing to realise that the image I had from youth of the dashing young rebellious romantic, of Mr Darcy or Gilbert Blythe proportions, is mere fantasy and I could not be further from the truth. And a book, written by a couple who do not know me and I am not likely ever to meet has been able to nail me firmly to the wall on this one.
How very, very sad.
Nothing else for it. I’ll comfort myself by eating a waffle (if I can find one) and then go to bed with a good book. Unless the wife wants to talk, of course.