Men and women are different.
Call me sexist for saying so if you like, but as a highly-principled person with a column to write, I feel obligated to call them as I see them. Men and women are just different.
Now, I could point out some of the myriad ways in which the fairer sex differs from the whichever one is the other sex, but I’m going to focus this morning on technology.
“Well, now, that’s sexist!” someone is already objecting. “He’s going to go into some sort of rant about how women can’t drive or operate a forklift!” No, I’m not.
What I’m talking about is something far more primal. If I may be so bold in a family news site, I would like to use the word “desire.”
The women I know use technology all day long and are quite competent with it. From computers and fax machines at work, to coffee makers with timers at home, women operate technology all day long and do so with flair, élan, and other words that may or may not apply here but sound good.
Men, too, use these technologies and—on average—do so about as well as women.
If I may illustrate the point I have not yet made, take phones. Especially cell phones and smart phones. Most women I know can operate a cell phone as well as any man. And no, I’m not setting this up as a lead-in to some hoary old joke about women always being on the phone. Its men, after all, who I most often see wearing those ear-piece phones that lead me to say to them, “Uhura, tell the landing party to look out for Klingons.”
The difference between men and women, see, is that most women are happy with the phone they have. They’ve learned how to use it and it works, so they’re happy. If they get a new one—often as a gift from the significant male other in their life—they are happy with that new one, too. They’ll joke about it being too complicated, but pretty soon they’ve mastered it.
Not guys. From the moment a man gets a new phone (or a new computer, or a new car or a new hammer) the thing he wants most is the upgrade model. Never mind that he doesn’t use half the features on the current phone or hammer, he’s just GOT to have the newer model. Why? Because the newer model has even more features. Never mind that he won’t use half of them, either, that’s not the point! The point is that the new piece of technology does something that my old piece of technology won’t (probably just because it’s obstinate). Never mind that I have never in my life had occasion to even WANT to do whatever that new feature does, if I have a phone that is less capable of doing something than some other phone out there, I feel inadequate. That shiny new phone I just took out of the box? It’s an antiquated dinosaur because while it can be used as a flashlight, it doesn’t have a cool picture of a flashlight on its screen. I need that picture!
Never mind that I keep using the phrase “never mind”. It’s not important.
The laptop on which I write this column works perfectly. I barely use half the features it has. But there are newer laptops out there with features I can’t even begin to imagine a use for. Like Odysseus, I must strap myself to this couch to keep from heeding the siren call of those newer laptops.
My wife can’t understand why I’m not happy with a computer that does everything I ask of it. We are just different, and I have to say so. Quietly. In this article. That I won’t point out to her when it’s published.