Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Shoes (According To Both Sexes)



Generally speaking, men simplify and women tend toward finer distinctions. A scene from the classic movie, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, illustrates this point.

Mrs. Blandings describes, to two contractors, how she wants her rooms painted.

“I want [this room] to be a soft green, not as blue-green as a robin's egg, but not as yellow-green as daffodil buds. Now, the only sample I could get is a little too yellow, but don't let whoever does it go to the other extreme and get it too blue. It should just be a sort of grayish-yellow-green. Now, the dining room. I'd like yellow. Not just yellow; a very gay yellow. Something bright and sunshiny... if you'll send one of your men to the grocer for a pound of their best butter, and match that exactly, you can't go wrong! Now, this is the paper we're going to use in the hall. It's flowered, but I don't want the ceiling to match any of the colors of the flowers. There are some little dots in the background, and it's these dots I want you to match. Not the little greenish dot near the hollyhock leaf, but the little bluish dot between the rosebud and the delphinium blossom... Now the kitchen is to be white. Not a cold, antiseptic hospital white. A little warmer, but still, not to suggest any other color but white. Now for the powder room... I want you to match this thread... As you can see, it's practically an apple red. Somewhere between a healthy winesap and an unripened Jonathan...”

She leaves the room.

Contractor: You got that, Charlie?

Charlie: Red, green, blue, yellow, white.

Contractor: Check.

I think I've made an important discovery, though. There seems to be one exception to the rule of men being generalists and women being specialists. It is footwear.

The other day, I'm watching Family Feud with my wife. Steve Harvey says, “We asked 100 men: How many pairs of shoes does the average man own?"

I immediately say, "Three".

My wife gets an incredulous look on her face.

The number one answer was "Four". My wife was amazed, but I explained to her that no matter how many pairs of footwear a man owns, we guys only count SHOES as shoes. Ask a man how many pairs of shoes he owns and he will count only those made of leather and able to be worn with a suit. We do not count sneakers as shoes, we do not count boots as shoes, we do not count sandals as shoes. If it's a pair of SHOES, then we count it as shoes. Women, on the other hand, seem to count everything that covers their feet, aside from socks, as falling into the category of “shoes”.

I tested this theory, by positing the question on Facebook, and the answers returned almost wholly along sexist lines. Men categorized their footwear into sneakers, boots, cleats, whatever else and SHOES. And the women were almost uniformly unbelieving of our abysmal ignorance.

It is an anomaly; the only instance I've ever found that contradicts the usual pattern of man-woman thinking. I might apply for a grant to study this phenomenon. In the meantime, I'm going to watch some Three Stooges while my wife tries to figure out why she married me.

Soon, with more better stuff.


17 comments:

joeh said...

And the number one answer...Good stuff!

Michelle H. said...

Men always complicate simple matters. It's like getting them to read the instructions to something. They think they know the right way to do it, and it turns out so horribly wrong.

Women simplify shoes into two categories: comfy shoes and shoes that hurt the feet but look good.

Men, don't make it more complicated than it has to be.

OldAFSarge said...

I thought everyone knew this.

(not necessarily your) Uncle Skip, said...

You are absolutely right.
If I were to put a pair of sandals or running shoes on while wearing a suit, GS would ask me if I didn't want to put on a pair of shoes.

Daryl said...

i did an inventory a while back when someone asked me how many pair of shoes i owned and i counted them out .. then i counted my boots and then my sandals … but if you ask my husband he wont tell you how many shoes or boots or sneakers he has (he has two pairs of shoes and one pair of sneakers) he will likely tell you he only needs one pair cause you can only wear one pair at a time

Buck said...

I never actually thought about this... but yer RIGHT.

Hilary said...

Hmmme.. we differentiate between all those shades of blue but we'd still consider them all blue if asked to count them.. and you'd get the grand total. It's pretty much the same with shoes.

The Broad said...

I would never count boots as shoes.

Joanna Jenkins said...

Really?!?! That news to me. I'm asking my husband the shoe question when he gets home... And hope he doesn't ask me how many pairs of shoes I own... cuz it's way more than 4!
jj

messymimi said...

This i will have to test out on my Sweetie, as i've never noticed him making that distinction. He does, however, own many more than just 3 pair of shoes, no matter which way you define them.

Craig said...

Well, see, I've got one pair of dress shoes, one pair of sneakers, a pair of cycling shoes that are sorta like sneakers, but not really, a pair of sandals, and a pair of boots. And a pair of what we used to call rubbers for when it rains. . .

Slippers are another category entirely. And besides, mine are really more like socks. . .

CLR said...

You had me at 'shoes'.....hence my post about the obscenities of my shoe fetish.

Love the post. Love your research - I'd fund it. Love your wife. You are da' bomb.

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

My wife has been trying to figure out why she married me for almost 25 years.

Shammickite said...

You are probably right about this (as usual!) but I don't have a man around here right now to check the facts. I own sandals, flipflops, leather shoes, hiking boots, winter boots, sandals etc etc etc, but they all come under the heading of shoes.

Tabor said...

Hubby responded "6-8" for the average guy and then added "4 pairs of good shores and a couple of pairs of sneakers." YOu can try to analyze that. I have posted so much crap on fB today that I will have to wait for anther day to test..

Lil said...

I never thought of it but, damn, you are totally right on that. Who knew?

Xavier said...

Anything my wife WANTS me to wear is a shoe, anything she's threatened to toss is not a shoe. How simple is that?

Actually she's tried to toss most of what she doesn't like but I take out the trash .....