The differences between men and women have been the source of much comedic material over the years. These same differences also add to the attraction between the sexes. Who would want to spend the rest of their lives with somebody who was exactly like them in every way, including their masculinity or feminine qualities? It is these same differences that serve as a great source of contention between brothers and sisters, mothers and sons, boyfriends and girlfriends and finally, husbands and wives.
These differences and the failure to recognize their effects on the other, many times lead to fights, estrangement and finally divorce. One way in which the difference of men and woman are brought to light is in the way that we shop. And with the popularity and easy access of stores like Wal-Mart and their dozens of different categories of products, these differences are made even more apparent and thus, the possibility of strife increases. There are a number of solutions in order to overcome these fights.
The elderly couple had made it that far because either one side has totally submitted to the will of the other and as a result, has been miserable since their wedding day every time they do shopping. Or, both have learned when to give in and when to stand their ground. Or, both sides have no desire to give in to the other and it is a foregone conclusion that fireworks will follow this couple’s trip to the grocery store. The two seem to enjoy the arguments and the effort that goes into them as much as anything else in their marriage.
The two seem to strive off of the drama that comes from constant arguments. And lastly, there is the newlywed couple that is still in the honeymoon period and the thought of fighting over the way in which either of them shop for groceries or the notion of shopping at different stores and/or on different days, is seen as equally absurd as well. Perhaps it is asking too much for one to ask their spouse to change the way in which they think and complete their daily mundane chores. People are less resistant to change the older they get. This is especially true after ten or twenty years of marriage.
The recognition of these differences are the first step in being able to put up with one’s spouse and not to let the weekly chore of grocery shopping add drama to a marriage that will have enough drama on its own. Some people will no doubt disagree with the findings of this informal study and there really is no theory that perfectly fits the millions of couples in this country but what has been discovered, to one degree or another, fits some aspect of the daily interactions that the members of one couple has with each other. This has never been more true than in the marriage of my friends, Joe and Marie Burkett.
They have been married for five years now and still have not learned how to shop together. Joe has suggested that only one be responsible for the grocery shopping for the house but Marie is a romantic and loves her husband very much. She wants to take advantage of their weekends by doing things together and will not hear of this. Joe loves his wife as well but can no longer stand the stress and petty arguments that come every time, without fail, when they go to the local Wal-Mart. However, Joe cannot stand to submit to what he sees as the slow, mind numbing and inefficient way in which his wife shops.
To start, Marie never makes a complete grocery list. She will write down what the house needs but it will never be a complete list. She likes to take her time when she goes to Wal-Mart since she sees it as an event to be enjoyed. One almost expects Marie to get dressed up for the occasion as there is little else to do in their small town and Marie sees going to Wal-Mart as a way to socialize with the others from the town. The Wal-Mart that they go to is a super Wal-Mart so they not only have clothes but also electronics and food as well as a place to get your hair cut, car fixed, nails done and eyes checked.
Marie wants to take full advantage of this luxury and wishes to make a day of the entire experience. Despite the fact that she wrote a list before coming to the store, she has no intention of being a strict constructionist and leisurely walks up and down every isle in the attempt not to miss the newest sale on an item that she suddenly realizes she cannot live without. She wonders at the selection on every isle as her fellow customers wait for her to move in order to pass as they are much less amazed at the errand of grocery shopping. Joe is much different.
He does not like to shop and will not even try his new clothes on before buying them. If he comes home and they are too tight, he would rather go on a diet than have to go back to the store and try on more clothes and this extend his pain. He makes a list before going to Wal-Mart and after having shopped at the store a few times, has memorized where everything is at. He maps out a route in his head that will allow the quickest turnaround time and propel him out of the store and towards something that we would rather want to do on his weekends.
He does not need to think about what he needs. Throughout the week, he adds items to the list on the refrigerator and weights its costs with the necessity of the item since he hates wasting time almost as much as he hates wasting money. Joe prides himself in accomplishing the job in ? the time it is supposed to take with somebody not as organized as he is. He whizzes past he fellow shoppers and has no tolerance for people who seem confused while walking in the isle or those who come to the store in order to converse with friends. He hates to shop but knows that it is a necessity.
But he also hates to waste time and cannot fathom spending even an hour shopping for groceries when, according to his calculations, one could easily finish the job in under 30 minutes. What aspect of better? It all depends on what view the reader takes. For people in a small town and for people who love to go shopping, such stores like Wal Mart are seen as a church with every day being Sunday. The experience and effort that goes into this is not really a chore but rather a source of fun and socialization. For the other side, every action in the completion of a necessary chore, should be done efficiently and idleness is annoying beyond belief.
For a person who has decided what he wants in life, whether it is a new job or even something as mundane as items in a grocery store, any divergence from obtaining that goal is avoided at all costs and those who do not prescribe to said ideology are kept at arms length. However, this is more difficult to do when the two ideologies are married in the bodies of Joe and Marie.
Moir, A. (1991) The Differences Between Men and Women. New York: Random House Moir, A. (2002) Why Men Don’t Iron. New York: Random House.